Are Earwigs Harmful to Humans?

Western Exterminator of Las Vegas provides information on whether earwigs are harmful to humans.Earwigs are in full force during the summer, and it’s easy to understand why you may be wary of spotting one in or near your home. Urban legend has led people to believe these bugs are able to tunnel through your ear canal, but, thankfully, that’s simply not true. Despite their somewhat menacing pincers, earwigs are nearly harmless to humans and certainly do not engage in any ear-crawling! That said, it’s still important to know how to identify earwigs in order to prevent any problems they may cause.

The Dangers of Earwigs

Often confused for silverfish, earwigs are slender, flat insects with protruding pincers that make them seem more threatening than they truly are. While earwigs have been known to pinch humans with these pincers, they typically only use them for defense against other earwigs! In truth, earwigs are not poisonous or venomous—they can, however, pinch when threatened. Although they aren’t directly dangerous to humans, earwigs can still be a nuisance when you are dealing with a number of them in or near your home:

  • Earwigs are known to feast on indoor plants and can often be found hiding underneath plant pots.
  • Similarly, earwigs can become a serious problem if they infest and feed on your garden and seedlings.
  • While their pinch may slightly hurt, there are little to no symptoms involved with an earwig pinch because earwigs are not poisonous or venomous.

Preventing Earwigs On Your Property

These bugs are known to prefer cool, wet, and undisturbed areas, and are relatively fast crawlers. They are also nocturnal, but oftentimes are found on patios and porches on summer nights. Preventing earwigs in your home or yard requires many of the same steps you should take to prevent all types of pests:

  1. Always address areas inside or outside your home with excess moisture. Repair leaky pipes, be wary of over-watering your plants, and fix any drainage issues you may be experiencing.
  2. Clean up your landscape by mowing your grass, trimming back bushes and trees regularly, and keeping wood piles away from the perimeter of your property.
  3. Consider adjusting any outdoor lighting you have on your porch or patio to yellow bulbs, as white light tends to attract insects more often.
  4. Inspect the foundation of your home and seal or close off any holes or entry points through which earwigs can easily access the inside of your home.

Professional Earwig Control Services

If you’ve done all you can to prevent earwigs inside or outside of your home and are still dealing with these bugs invading your space, it may be time to call a professional. While earwigs aren’t dangerous to humans and full-blown infestations are rare, they can still be a nuisance and wreak havoc on your plants. The experts at Rentokil can help you eliminate the factors that draw earwigs to your property. Call our team today to learn more!

Fleas & Ticks in Las Vegas

Preventing fleas and ticks in Las Vegas with Western Exterminator.As tiny as they are, fleas and ticks can be dangerous pests if they are brought into the home by its residents or pets. These two insects are both parasitic, meaning they feed on the blood of their hosts to survive. Ticks in particular pose an immense risk in that they can pass blood-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, to their hosts. Cats and dogs are most commonly affected by fleas and ticks, and can spread them throughout Las Vegas homes once inside.

The Habits of Fleas

Fleas most commonly attach to cats or dogs outside as they nestle in fur and spread to items inside the home. They also are commonly introduced in homes when rats or mice make their way indoors. In rare instances, fleas can move on to a human host inside the home. These tiny, reddish brown insects can cause itchy bites and, in serious cases, allergic reactions. The worst part about getting a flea infestation is the time and effort that goes into getting rid of them!

The Dangers of Ticks

Similarly to fleas, ticks are known for latching onto the fur of animals as well as clothing and skin. An infestation is often caused when they’ve infested a rodent, raccoon, or another animal near the home. Certain ticks, such as the brown dog tick, does well living indoors, and many species of ticks transmit a number of viruses or infections. The most common tick-borne illness is Lyme disease which, if left untreated, can cause damage to the heart and nervous system. For this reason and more, it’s essential to prevent ticks in and around the home year-round.

Preventing Fleas & Ticks in Las Vegas

The best way to avoid dealing with the frustration and dangers of a flea or tick infestation is to prevent them in the first place. In addition to getting any pets treated for fleas regularly, it’s important to make sure you implement preventative measures outside the home to keep fleas and ticks away. Because fleas and ticks are commonly found on wild animals, it’s essential to limit the chances of rodents or wildlife getting near the home:

  • Keep a tidy landscape by avoiding piles of debris, keeping garbage stored carefully, and trimming back trees and foliage.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside.
  • Fleas cannot survive in direct sunlight, so keeping your home and yard sunny may be a natural deterrent.
  • Seal holes and any areas of entry into the home to detract rodents from getting inside.

Reliable Flea and Tick Control Services

Flea and tick infestations are notoriously difficult to manage, not to mention the threats they pose to your pets and family. For more information on keeping these parasitic insects away from your Las Vegas home or treating a current infestation, give the experts at Western Exterminator of Las Vegas a call!

Can Earwigs Bite or Pinch Humans?

Earwigs in the Las Vegas and Henderson areas - Western Exterminator of Las VegasContrary to urban myths, earwigs do not burrow into people’s ear canals! Old legends claimed that these little silverfish-looking bugs make their way into ear canals and lay eggs, but that’s simply not true. That said, many people still fear these pesky little insects and worry about their ability to bite. Despite their intimidating looking pincers, earwigs very rarely bite humans. At worst, they will use their forceps (cerci) to pinch when threatened. Thankfully, their pinches are very minor and cause little discomfort!

All About Earwigs

These little insects have flat bodies, are typically a brown or black color, and possess visible pincers or cerci that are occasionally used for defensive purposes. Although they have wings, they very rarely use them to fly. Other facts to know about earwigs include:

  • They prefer to stay hidden, and are nocturnal insects. During the day, they hide under rocks and tend to seek out damp or moist areas.
  • When they make their way inside your home, they are often found old boxes, stacks of books, in the basement, or even invading your kitchen.
  • They aren’t picky and will eat a variety of organic matter: plants, fruits and vegetables, trash, other insects, and even plants.

Do Earwigs Bite?

Just by looking at them, you would think that earwigs are known for biting or pinching people. However, that just isn’t the case. Although earwigs have strong cerci, they almost never use them to pinch or bite humans unless directly threatened or picked up. In the rare case someone is pinched by an earwig, the symptoms will be very mild—occasionally, some irritation will result from the incident but nothing more. The good news is that these bugs actively avoid contact with people and typically scuttle away when exposed.

Preventing Earwigs in Las Vegas

Although earwigs don’t pose a threat to humans, that doesn’t mean you want to come across a nest of them in or near your home! There are a number of things you can do to make your home and yard less desirable for earwigs:

  1. Keep your landscape in tip-top shape: Get rid of piles of waste, avoid using decorative stepping stones, use mulch sparingly, and keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house.
  2. Inspect the perimeter of your home: Look for any obvious entry points and seal them to keep earwigs from slipping into your home.
  3. Promptly fix any moisture problems: Repair leaky faucets, sprinklers, and other factors that contribute to a moist environment.

If you’ve implemented all of these prevention tactics and still have a large population of earwigs on or near your property, it’s time to call for professional help. The team at Western Exterminator of Las Vegas knows how to remove earwigs and keep them from returning. Call us today to learn more!

Are Yellow Jackets in Las Vegas Dangerous?

Yellow jackets can be dangerous in the Las Vegas area. Learn how Western Exterminator can protect you!Everyone learns at a young age that yellow jackets are not to be trifled with. Unfortunately, everyone comes in contact with them at some point or another, especially during the spring and summer in the Las Vegas area. Unlike other small stinging insects, yellow jackets have the ability to sting repeatedly, making their venom especially dangerous to those allergic to the flying insect.

How to Identify Yellow Jackets

Because some types of stinging insects are more dangerous than others, it’s important to learn how yellow jackets differ from bumble bees, honey bees, hornets, paper wasps, and more. Some of the identifying characteristics of yellow jackets include:

  • They are typically between ⅜ and ⅝ of an inch, are yellow and black in color, and have a thinner waist than bees.
  • Yellow jackets prefer to nest on or near the ground and have nests made of paper carton.
  • They are known to be especially aggressive when defending their nest or population.

Why are There Yellow Jackets Near my Home?

Yellow jackets are known to be attracted to nectar or other sugary liquids, which is why they’re frequently found flying around outdoor trash cans, plants, and food. If your Las Vegas home has a lot of flowers outside or if you’re in the habit of leaving the lids of trash cans open, you’re likely no stranger to seeing yellow jackets each and every year as warm weather approaches. Other common attractants for yellow jackets include pet food, fruit trees or fallen fruit, and even other insects such as caterpillars, spiders, and flies.

Are Yellow Jackets Harmful?

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when you witness a yellow jacket in or near your home. When threatened or seeking out sources of food, they have been known to chase and hover around their victim. As mentioned previously, yellow jackets do not lose their stinger after one attack as some other stinging insects do; instead, they are capable of repeatedly stinging and their stings are known to be painful. While a couple of stings aren’t harmful to most people, anyone allergic to yellow jackets may be in extreme danger if stung and must immediately seek medical attention.

Yellow Jacket Prevention Tips

The best way to control yellow jackets during the spring and summer in Las Vegas is by preventing them from being attracted to your home in the first place. To keep yellow jackets away from your property, make sure to implement some of the following tips.

  1. Remove or maintain their sources of food, including other insects, nectar-filled flowers, fruit trees, and more.
  2. Cover trash cans with tight-fitting lids and do not leave food, drinks, or garbage out.
  3. Have any nests or suspected nests removed promptly by a professional pest control company.
  4. Keep a clean, tidy yard and remove debris that could attribute to the establishment of nests.

Professional Yellow Jacket Control

At Western Exterminator, we know how scary yellow jackets can be, especially if you or a family member are allergic to their sting. It is absolutely essential to call a professional when dealing with a yellow jacket infestation, as trying to remove a nest yourself can lead to a disastrous outcome. The experts at Western Exterminator can be trusted to promptly and reliably remove yellow jackets from your property; give us a call today to learn more!

Springtails: What Are They and How do You Prevent Them?

Springtail bugs may not cause any harm but can be a nuisance in the Las Vegas area. Western Exterminator provides professional springtail control.Springtails are minuscule insects that are often mistaken for fleas due to their size and habit of hopping around. As their name suggests, they have a catapult-like body part on their underside known as the furcula, which enables them to jump short distances. Springtails are wingless, have a gray-purple body, and only grow to be about 1/16 of an inch long, making them notoriously difficult to spot. These tiny insects are attracted to moisture, which is why they’re most often seen in Las Vegas during the spring and summer seeking out damp environments.

How Did I Get Springtails?

In their preferred outdoor environment, springtails frequent damp soil, decaying straw, rotting leaves, and other wet environments. Over-watering your lawn or yard is a sure way to fall victim to a springtail infestation. Although they prefer to live outside, springtail bugs have been known to enter homes with moisture problems. Once inside, springtails will most often be found in basements, bathrooms, kitchen areas, attics, damp wall voids, houseplant soil, and anywhere mold or mildew is present.

Are Springtail Bugs Harmful?

There is little to no reason to fear springtails. They do not cause humans or pets any harm, and are not known to sting, bite, or transmit any diseases. Furthermore, they cause very little damage and would only perhaps cause a bit of destruction to plants inside the home. That said, springtails reproduce rapidly and a population can grow to alarmingly large numbers. Their danger lies in the fact that there can be thousands of these tiny creatures happily taking up residence in your home, making it seem like a much worse situation than it truly is.

What Can I Do to Prevent Springtails?

Luckily, preventing and getting rid of springtails is rather simple. It all comes down to eliminating their source of survival: moisture. If they do not have a damp environment to live in, these tiny bugs will die off quickly. Some of the ways you can actively reduce your chance of getting springtails inside your home include:

  • Reduce excess moisture in the home by promptly fixing any leaky faucets or pipes.
  • Check your basement, attic, or crawl spaces for standing water.
  • Don’t over-water any houseplants in your living areas.
  • Make sure to use a proper vent or fan in the bathroom to reduce humidity, and consider using a dehumidifier in damp locations.
  • Eliminate mold or mildew in or around the home in a timely fashion.

Professional Help for Springtail Removal

If your prevention methods have failed to keep springtail bugs away from your home, it may be best to contact a professional pest control company, such as Rentokil. Our experts can help eliminate springtails and keep them from ever infesting your home again!

Pests that Hitch a Ride on Your Christmas Tree

If you’re worried about bugs hitching a ride on your Christmas tree this year, you’re not alone! According to Associate Professor Bjarte Jordal at the University Museum of Bergen, your Christmas tree could be home to over 25,000 tiny insects!

The key word here is: tiny. Although the idea of carrying creepy insects inside isn’t exactly a welcome thought, the research conducted by Jordal is also not as serious as it sounds. Read on to find out more about pests that hitch a ride on your Christmas tree!

Common Pests in Christmas Trees

Christmas trees (typically spruce, fir, or pine) are natural homes for many different species of insects, especially pests that feed off of softwood trees. Evergreen trees are also home to a lot of nesting insects during the winter. Here is a brief list of pests commonly found on Christmas trees:

  • Wood or bark beetles
  • Praying mantises
  • Spiders
  • Weevils
  • Aphids
  • Mites
  • Moths

A lot of these pests are microscopic, and will be invisible at first glance. If you find a lumpy, almost oblong brown sac, you’ve found a praying mantis sac. Be sure to remove the nest–praying mantis sacs have been known to hatch once warmed up inside! Praying mantises feed on insects that harm gardens and shrubs, so we recommend carefully placing the nest outside in another tree or bush.

Are Christmas Tree Bugs Dangerous?

None of these insects poses much of a threat to humans. Poisonous spiders don’t typically live in trees, and most of the other possible insects cannot (or will not) bite humans. One of the only possible dangers is mites: if the tree has an extreme population of mites, or someone has a very sensitive mite allergy, there might be an allergic reaction.

Don’t be alarmed by any wood-boring or bark beetles you find on your Christmas tree; beetles that eat softwood generally don’t go for furniture!

Preventing Bugs From Living in Your Christmas Tree

These pests might not be dangerous, but most people still don’t want them indoors! A really easy way to make sure the bugs don’t hitch a ride inside is to have your tree shaken before you take it home. Most pick-your-own Christmas tree lots have a shaker on the lot, and will shake your tree before netting it for transport.

If the lot doesn’t have a shaker, not to worry–simply put your tree on a white sheet, shake your tree vigorously, and vacuum up any bugs that fall out! It’s that easy.

Professional Pest Services Year-Round

While a lot of pests look to come inside for the winter, the pests that typically live on Christmas trees will actually die inside. The dry and warm conditions of your home aren’t ideal for a lot of species. If you shake your tree and something–unusual–comes out of it, or if you’re concerned that you’ve picked up an infestation, give us a call! At Rentokil, we are committed to protecting our community, and we’d love to help you and your family stay pest-free year-round!

Plant Herbs and Flowers That Repel Insects

Using Plants for Organic Pest Control

Are you an insect magnet? You can plant herbs that repel insects, including mosquitoes, and add a touch of beauty to your backyard at the same time if you plant herbs and flowers that repel insects! The Las Vegas summer heat can be devastating for new plant growth, so experts recommend starting a garden in early spring or fall, which is right around the corner! Seeds should be planted when nighttime temperatures are around 50 degrees.

Our Southern Nevada climate (mild winters and hot, dry summers) is similar to some Mediterranean regions where many of the following insect repelling herbs originated, and that makes your backyard a perfect place to grow mint, basil, rosemary and lavender. Although these plants help repel insects, know that simply including some of these herbs in your garden won’t get rid of every pest.

BASIL

basil to help keep mosquitos away
Basil repels house flies and mosquitoes.

Basil emits its’ aroma without crushing the leaves, so you can grow basil in pots and put them in your backyard to control mosquitoes.  Pinch flowers off and give afternoon shade.

 


LAVENDER

Lavender repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes.
Lavender repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes.

Although people love the smell of lavender, mosquitoes, flies and other unwanted insects hate it. To control mosquitoes, keep potted lavender plants around seating areas on your patio, backyard and garden and in a sunny location.

 


MINT

bushes that repel insects Las Vegas NV
Mint repels mosquitoes, ants and aphids.

Ants hate the smell of mint! However, never plant mint in the garden, as it is dominant and will take over. Plant in pots and plug the drainage hole to keep the mint contained.

 


CHIVES

Chives to repel insects
Chives are pretty, easy to grow and make good insect repellents.

Chives will repel garden and household pests like ants, aphids and Japanese beetles. Chives are members of the lily family grown for their leaves and flowers, which are equally popular in the garden and in the kitchen. Plant in full sun.

 


ROSEMARY

rosemary to repel insects Nevada
Rosemary repels mosquitoes and insects harmful to vegetable plants.

Mosquitoes often strike while we are barbecuing outdoors. When grilling, throw some stalks of rosemary on the hot coals to give a mosquito repelling aroma. This simple trick will turn your barbecue into a natural mosquito repellent and adds delicious flavor to your food.

If you apply these methods and still experience ant issues, Western Exterminator has compiled a Pest Library to help you not only identify what types of insects you’re dealing with, but help you get your problem under control. Give us a call if you decide you need help combating any home or garden invaders.

Keeping Stink Bugs Out Of Your Home This Fall

What are these stinky pests?

Stink bugs are insects known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) that found their way to North America during the late 1990s. It is said that they came to the eastern United States from Taiwan, China, Korea or Japan. With the help of the Agriculture Department’s Crop Research team, new management solutions are being developed to protect our homes and food supply.

Their brown shield-like shape and the smelly odor they emit when crushed helps to identify the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. It seems that these bugs are now becoming an annoyance in homes throughout the east coast and spreading further to the western states of the U.S. These brown stinky pests are no longer just an issue for the farmer. They do not harm humans or cause interior damage to structures, but they have become a menace in homes, and businesses requiring Stink Bug Control.

Stink bugs can easily create havoc in and around the home

These pests are trouble. The BMSB easily destroy the ornamental plants around a home. They are very fond of vegetables, fruit, nut plants, shrubs, and other plants found in backyard gardens. The stink bug’s mouth has tiny needle-like projections that aids in their recovery of nutrients from their favorite plants. There are over fifty different varieties of vegetation that attract the stink bug.

Due to the cooler weather and diminishing availability of food and water they will start to look for a place to overwinter. Like many other flying insects, as the weather changes, they look for a warm home to nest. The stink bug will choose to overwinter in your home if they are given an opportunity, and will overrun any home leaving, it smelling like dirty feet.

Be Concerned if a Stink Bug is Spotted…

  • Flying around the living areas of the home
  • Near indoor lighting, light shades, draperies or blinds
  • Around the kitchen or bathroom looking for water sources
  • Near or in the family’s pet water dishes or fish bowls
  • Looking for food near indoor ornamental plants

Preventive Measures to Take for Stink Bug Control

Stink Bug Control begins with an inspection of your property as soon as a BMSB is spotted. Having a licensed pest control expert spray the exterior and interior of the home is helpful. It does not stop there; repeated applications may be required. Checking the exterior of the home for openings, holes, and cracks fends off an invitation to any flying insect who is looking for a suitable place to overwinter. They sense the cooler weather approaching faster than humans. Finding evidence of these pests too late may mean they will be visiting throughout the long winter season. Entomologists suggest avoiding the temptation to step on these pests due to the nasty smell they emit when crushed. Best practices recommended to rid the home of these pests are to vacuum them up or flush them down the toilet.

Remember to Inspect the exterior of the home for:

  • Cracks and openings in the fascia or stucco walls
  • Old and cracking caulking around incoming utility wires, cables, water pipes, and vents
  • Holes in door and window screens

Repairing these items will help keep stink bugs at bay. These smelly insects search for warm areas of the home and can flatten their bodies to fit into the tightest crack. Proper preventive maintenance of the home will keep it that Home Sweet Home.

Bug of the Week ~ The Walking Stick

Walking Stick Pest Control Las Vegas Pest Control Western Exterminator Las Vegas Henderson NV
The Australian walking stick mimics leaves.

Although you don’t come across walking sticks often in Las Vegas and Henderson, our pest professionals have spotted the insect on valley trees and shrubs. Stick insects are so named for their effective camouflage among the woody plants where they feed. They’re typically brown, black, or green, with stick-shaped bodies that help them blend in as they perch on twigs and branches. Some even wear lichen-like markings to make their disguise more authentic. Stick insects imitate twigs swaying in the wind by rocking back and forth as they move.

Almost all stick insects have a body that is not exclusively designed for movement or efficiency, but also designed for camouflage. Their body and legs are elongated and some, like the australian walking stick have projections on their legs and body to mimic leaves or other natural occurring material.

Stick insects can shed and regenerate their limbs to escape attacks by predators.

Stick insects can shed and regenerate their limbs. Should a bird or other predator grab hold of a stick insect’s leg, it can still make an easy escape. The stick insect simply gives up the leg, using a special muscle to break it off at a weak joint. Juvenile stick insects will regenerate the missing limb the next time they molt.

Stick insects don’t bite, but they aren’t defenseless.

Stick insects can shed and regenerate their limbs.

If threatened, a stick insect will use whatever means necessary to thwart its attacker. Some will regurgitate a nasty substance that will put a bad taste in a hungry predator’s mouth. Others reflex bleed, oozing a foul-smelling hemolymph from joints in their body. Some of the large, tropical stick insects may use their leg spines, which help them climb, to inflict some pain on an enemy. Stick insects may even direct a chemical spray, much like tear gas, at the offender.

 

Resource: Debbie Hadley / About.com