Cicada Killer Wasps: How Dangerous Are They?

When you see a rather large wasp flying around you aggressively, it is quite normal to be frightened.  Cicada Killer Wasps are longer than one inch and have black and yellow markings very similar to a yellow jacket.  The eastern cicada killer wasp also nests in the soil like yellow jackets, although the cicada killer is solitary so it usually nests alone.

Yellow jacket

Cicada Killer Wasp (Photo: E. Youngsteadt)

What You Need to Know

If this is the first you have heard of the cicada killer, you might be thinking about how scary its name sounds.  The name is quite fitting since they hunt cicadas and feed them to their larvae.  If you feel like you may need to get rid of these wasps around your home, contact us online or give us a call at 888-534-4535.  One of our trained technicians will visit your home and assess your situation.  Verifying if you do have cicada killers vs. yellowjackets, hornets or bees is very important, and we have the knowledge to offer expert advice.  Cicada killers are unlikely to sting you unless they feel threatened, and the male has no stinger.  The best course of action is to leave them alone and let them feed on cicadas.  On the other hand, yellowjackets and hornets can be quite aggressive and do readily sting humans.

Cicada Killer Wasp Facts

They can be up to 1 1/2″ long.

They prefer to burrow in bare ground or thin grass.

Their nests are easy to identify because of the large entry hole and excavated soil.

The female is larger than the male.

Cicada killer wasp sting paralyzes cicadas.

The cicada is taken back to the nest to be fed to wasp larvae.

Cicada killer wasps are beneficial insects-they fight high populations of cicadas.

As long as you don’t bother the cicada killer wasp too much, the two of you should be able to live in harmony.  If you have questions or concerns about these or other insects in or around your home, contact us and we will gladly offer advice.  For help with pest control around your home, consider our Pest 360 service and get pest control tailored to your needs.

Note: Insect stings can provoke serious reactions, particularly for those with allergies.  Always consult a medical professional if you are stung and experience serious symptoms.

 

Termites: the Threat that Never Sleeps

The scary thing about pest invasions is that they usually develop out of view, and by the time you see them, you have a much bigger problem under the surface.

This is especially true for termites. In North America, the Eastern subterranean termite is the most common species we deal with. They’ve been found as far north as Ontario, Canada, and as far west as Montana. Their M.O. is to build a network of interconnected feeding sites below the soil surface or just above it—allowing them to forage up to 150 feet for wood, sometimes feasting on the roots of shrubs and trees.

Termites can enter your home through cracks less than 1/16th of an inch wide. Once inside, they feed on wood, paper, cotton, and other materials. An average colony consumes over 2 feet of a 2’ x 4’ pine board in a year. That may not sound like much, but considering a colony can take years to grow big enough for you to start seeing signs, this pace can easily cause serious damage to your home. Often, we see these termites build satellite colonies inside your home that are linked to the larger underground colony.

These termites never sleep. They eat 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An average colony boasts about 300,000 termites, but they can grow as large as 5 million. The colony’s queen lays between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs each year.

One sign we look for in evaluating a potential invasion is the presence of dirt-colored tubes the termites construct to bring food back to their colony. In the spring, as temperatures reach the 70s and 80s, colonies “swarm,” meaning they grow wings to branch out from their colony to find new sources of food and to find areas where they can establish a satellite colony.

This means their current colony is at capacity. It’s ready to expand.

During or after a swarm, you may find winged termites dead near your windows or in your sinks and bath tubs. Many homeowners mistake them for ants, a mistake that can be quite costly down the road. The differences between an ant and a termite are subtle and usually require a professional to know for sure.

That’s where Lawn and Pest Solutions comes in. Our professionals know how and where to apply Termidor treatments most effectively. Termidor is a liquid that is undetectable by termites. When they carry Termidor-treated food back to their colony, it will destroy the infestation from the inside. In field trials by the United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, test plots treated with Termidor remained termite-free more than 15 years after treatment. Furthermore, LPS technicians are regulated and licensed by the State of Mississippi.

Your termite control is only as good as your termite professional. Spraying the outside of your home just once a year or spraying swarmers when they appear only treats visible termites, while the termites doing the real damage inside your walls and soil go untreated.

You shouldn’t have to worry what’s going on inside the walls of your home. At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we know every home, every customer is unique. We do what it takes to protect your home and keep it safe from pests.

Visit lawnandpest.net/termites to learn more about our termite protection program.

Concerns for Pets When Treating Your Lawn or Home

Treating your lawn for weeds, or treating your home for pests can leave you with questions if you have pets.  We are pet owners, too, so we understand your concerns.  For many, pets are not only a companion, but a member of the family that is deeply loved.  It makes sense to be concerned and ask questions if you plan to apply pesticides in or near areas that your pets frequent.  Pesticides and fertilizers can be safely applied to lawns if you have a pet.  The same is true for general pest treatments inside the home.  Keep in mind some of the following:

  • Any products our technicians apply have met the stringent safety standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. The products we use are labeled for use inside residences or on home lawns.  We take this very seriously.
  • Granular fertilizers are generally safe for application around pets. Lawn fertilizers contain natural elements such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  These fertilizers are basically a salt that break down in the soil as your lawn is watered or receives rainfall.
  • Fertilizer granules are very small and fall into the thatch layer of the turf. Our technicians take the extra step of blowing any granules off hard surfaces back into the turf.
  • When pesticides are applied to your lawn, you should take precautions. We encourage our customers to let us call them in advance of a treatment if they have outside pets.  After a pesticide application, it is recommended to stay off the lawn for two hours.  This allows the application time to dry.
  • Pest treatments inside the home have evolved over the years. Common practice decades ago was to apply pesticides(sometimes with an awful odor) in every room of your home.  Today, we apply pesticides inside the home only in areas where needed, and often these pesticides are not in the form that most would think.  Insect baits in the form of a gel are often used inside buildings in concealed areas to control common pests such as ants and roaches.  Sprays are applied only as needed inside a home.
  • Professionals are trained to look for ways to be sure that pests are excluded from homes so that less pesticides are needed over time.
  • Our technicians move pet toys, bedding and food bowls out of the treatment area prior to performing a spray application to minimize the chance of accidental exposure.

If You Decide to Treat Yourself*

  • If you choose to apply pesticides yourself, be sure to follow the label. For professionals, the label is the law.  That means the suggested rate of pesticide to mix on the label is what you mix.  If a pesticide label calls for 1 ounce per gallon of water, that is what you apply.  Mixing the same product at 2 ounces per gallon of water will not provide twice the results, and it is also very irresponsible and potentially dangerous to apply over the labeled rate.
  • Some fertilizers sold at home improvements stores and garden centers contain herbicides or insecticides that may not be necessary for your lawn. Be sure you read the label and know what you are applying.  For example, a weed and feed fertilizer usually requires watering prior to your pets entering your lawn again.
  • Ironically, some of the organic fertilizers such as blood meal and bone meal can be toxic to animals. Some of these products are applied to gardens and flowering plants by homeowners because they are natural and do work well.  Blood meal and bone meal in particular have a strong odor that is attractive to dogs.  Be sure to keep any bags of these products out of reach from your pets.
  • If you apply a liquid fertilizer to your lawn, follow the same precautions as applying pesticides.  Stay off the lawn for two hours to allow the application time to dry.
  • Never apply an insecticide for lawn or garden use inside your home. Only use insecticides labeled and intended for use inside your home.

Pesticides and fertilizers can be safely applied to lawns if you have pets, provided that you follow some simple precautions.  The importance of safety is paramount to a professional applicator.  Be sure that you hire licensed, trained professionals to treat your home or lawn.  Should you ever have a concern about a treatment made to your lawn, always consult with the applicator.

Need help with your weeds in your lawn or insects inside your home?  Consider our Lawn 360 and Pest 360 services.  Lawn & Pest Solutions are trained in the latest technologies and techniques.

*The recommendations for DIY treatments are not inclusive of all possible precautions.  Always read and follow all label directions for pesticides and fertilizers.

Note: The above recommendations are made as a general rule for a wide range of our services.  Always consult with your technician if you have a question or concern about a specific application.

Benefits of Hiring a Pest Control Professional

When roaches, ants, mice or some other pest enter your home, you probably have considered hiring a professional for help.  Seeking the help of a professional in these situations is wise, but you should also consider an ongoing service to prevent these pests as well.  Here are some of the benefits and considerations regarding pest control for your home or office.

USE OF FEWER PESTICIDES- Our pest technicians are trained to assess your situation first, and then decide the best course of action.  The days of the “bug man” coming in your home and spraying an awful smelling concoction throughout the house are past us.  Some isolated pest problems require an aggressive approach, but most situations do not call for spraying throughout your home.

SAVE MONEY- Do-it-yourself  methods can become very expensive, especially when you do not have the knowledge of a trained pest professional.  Some pests are not responsive to certain insecticides.  It is also possible to buy two products to treat the inside or outside of your home that will counteract one another.

PEACE OF MIND- Insect bites and rodent droppings can make you or a family member sick.  Worse than that, an improperly applied DIY method can lead to illness for your family and pets.  Our pest technicians work to solve your pest problems with the least amount of control products to keep your family and pets safe.

MORE TIME TO ENJOY YOURSELF- We are all pressed for time these days with work, hobbies, kids and other commitments pulling us in different directions.  When you hire a pest professional, you will have more time to do the things you enjoy instead of chasing pests from your home.

LESS CLEANING- Have you ever reached for a can of pest spray and fogged the kitchen in an attempt to get rid of ants, roaches or some other pest?   Call Lawn & Pest Solutions, and you will not have to worry about that.  Pest control techniques have advanced, and we can often control your pest problems without any interior spraying.

BECOME AN EDUCATED CONSUMER- Some pest companies come in, spray as fast as they can and leave.  When you trust Lawn & Pest Solutions with your pest control, we will provide you with important information about the pests in or around your home and the places they like to hide.  We can offer tips for preventing future infestations.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A PEST PROFESSIONAL?

The best approach to pest control is a scheduled service to keep pests out of your home.  Severe infestations may require a monthly visit, but most of the time, we can provide excellent results coming to your home or office every three months.  When you start service with Lawn & Pest Solutions, a pest technician will visit your home or office and conduct an assessment along with an initial treatment.  This is vital in helping you eliminate pests from your home.  You will receive a written report detailing your pest technician’s recommendations and course of action.  Once your technician has reviewed this with you, he will perform your initial service which will include exclusion techniques, interior baiting for ants and roaches as needed, sweeping of cobwebs outside and an application outside to exclude pests.

Should you see any pests between scheduled service visits, your pest technician will gladly return at no extra charge to identify and treat the problem.  Contact us today if we can answer any questions for you!

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Where Did All of These Ladybugs Come From?

Your home may have been invaded in the last few days by an army of ladybugs.  Technically, you are likely seeing Asian Lady Beetles which are slightly different from what most of us refer to as ladybugs.  The Asian Lady Beetle is often a nuisance to homeowners when the weather cools.  These beetles will congregate on the side of a house by the hundreds or thousands.  If they can find any entry point into your home, they will make their way inside.  Luckily, they do not bite, but they are definitely a nuisance.  Here’s a link to the National Pest Management Association web page that details fall invaders which include these beetles http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/ladybugs-swarm-homes-as-cool-weather-arrives/

If you have been invading by these beetles, stink bugs, mice or some other pest, we would be glad to help you take back your home.  Give us a call at 662-534-4535, or visit our website www.lawnandpest.net.