One of the most common signs of a wood-destroying insect problem is seeing tiny, round holes drilled into wood. But how do you know if those holes were left by a termite or another insect? These tiny holes are often an indicator of drywood termite activity. When termites swarm to form new colonies, the swarmers (called alates) will depart their nest—this is when the termite exit holes are created. Also known as kick-out holes, these holes are difficult to identify unless you know what you’re looking for. Because they are commonly misidentified, it’s crucial to learn how to identify a termite hole or work with a professional who knows what they look like.
Do All Termites Create Exit Holes?
Only drywood termites create kick-out holes. This is because drywood termites do not need contact with soil and often infest wood above ground. Subterranean termites swarm just like other termites in the spring and summer, but they leave their nests in a very different manner. True to their name, subterranean termites build nests underground and travel through mud tubes. These mud tubes also serve the purpose of being their exit from the nest. Seeing holes on a wooden structure, then, is typically indicative of drywood termite activity.
What Other Insects Leave Holes in Wood?
It can be difficult to know what type of insect has bored holes in wooden items within or outside your property. Other wood-destroying insects capable of creating tiny, round holes include carpenter bees, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, bark beetles, and more. Each of these exhibit unique behaviors and have different wood preferences, making it difficult to know which wood-boring insect you’re dealing with. For this reason, it’s always best to contact your local pest control experts for help identifying exit holes or holes made by other pests in your home.
Characteristics of Termite Exit Holes
A professional pest control expert is usually the best source to identify exit holes in your property. That said, there are a few indicators that the holes in your wood were caused by termites:
Termite exit holes are round and no bigger than ⅛ of an inch.
After the swarmer termites leave the nest, the termite nymphs within the nest will use a paste made out of frass to plug the holes.
It is rare to see uncovered termite holes, as the nymphs work quickly after the swarmers depart.
Wood that has been kicked out looks like tiny mustard seeds and can appear in a pile.
Need Help Identifying Termite Holes?
At Ehrlich Pest Control, we know that seeing holes in your wooden structures can be distressing. You can rest easy knowing that our expert termite exterminators will thoroughly inspect your property to seek out termite or other wood-destroying insect activity. For help identifying termite holes in your Virginia property, contact us today!
Mice may be seen as cute little animals to some, but they’re nothing short of distressing when they show up as unwanted pests. As shelter seekers who enter Virginia buildings in large numbers, they also bring a number of concerns with them – most notably, the potential for disease and destruction. As strong runners, climbers, jumpers, and even swimmers, they’re experts at getting indoors and finding nesting spots. Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing this malicious rodent. To keep your home or business healthy, follow our expert advice for keeping mice and rats away from your home or business.
Rats vs. Mice in Virginia Homes
If you’ve spotted the sign of rodents, you may be wondering what type of rodent you’re dealing with! You may think you have mice, but it’s best to investigate more closely to make sure you don’t have their close relative in the rat instead. The two rodents may share many of the same characteristics, but mice are quite different in a few notable ways – making them especially difficult to stop. Here’s how to tell the difference:
Mice are smaller: Mice typically weigh half an ounce or so (the weight of a slice of bread), while rats often weigh more than 10 ounces. This makes them agile, helping them slip through small openings – some the size of a dime. With their fast speeds, they’re able to roam unnoticed. Baby rats are comparable in size to mice, but mice can be identified by their larger eyes and ears.
Mice are more curious: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it often works wonders for mice. They’re quick to explore new environments –scouting out food and shelter in the process. A study even found that mice need curiosity as much as they need food. On the other hand, rats are more cautious, making them less likely to stumble in at all.
Mice prefer carbs: Mice are big fans of household staples like cereals and grains. Rats consume carb-based foods as well, but they also crave meat – something that’s harder to come by out in the open. Sometimes, mice are even preyed on by rats. You may think this simply reduces your mouse problem, but you’ll end up with a rat problem as well.
Most Common Mouse Species in Virginia
If you have a mouse in your home, more often than not it’s going to be a house mouse. They’re the most likely species to be found in urban and suburban areas – in our region, Richmond and greater Washington, D.C. Deer mice are also a threat, but more so in the rural countryside. No matter what type of mouse you’re dealing with, it’s important to get the help of a professional pest control expert when it comes to getting rid of them.
Signs of House Mice Indoors
To escape extreme weather and outdoor predators, mice won’t hesitate to take full advantage of your comfortable indoor conditions. This then brings their risks into your home or business. Mice are stingy little creatures, and the easier it is for them to infest, the harder things will be for you in return. Their presence isn’t always obvious; be attentive, and look for the following signs:
Droppings and urine pillars
Footprints (usually around 1/4 of an inch in length)
Nests made of household items like paper
Structural damage (holes in walls, ceilings, or window screens)
Damaged food containers or nibbled-on food
Mouse Prevention Tips
While proactive measures may help eliminate the mice that are currently around, they’ll keep coming back if you don’t take the proper preventative measures. This means removing the incentive that your home or business provides in the first place (food and shelter) and keeping them from getting in at all. Here’s how to keep mice outside:
1. Cut Off Access to Food
As mentioned earlier, mice love carbs; but they’ll eat just about anything – sweets, dog food, and even garbage. The problem isn’t simply that they aren’t picky eaters. Rather, it’s that we give them instant access to food, without which they wouldn’t survive. Seal containers (including your trash can), wipe up spills and don’t leave food sitting out.
2. Minimize Nesting Areas
Mice also rely on nesting areas to support indoor infestations. Because they prefer dark, secluded spots, basements, and attics are prime real estate – they usually provide plenty of clutter (papers, cardboard boxes, etc.) to construct nests. Mice don’t typically nest further than 25 feet from food sources, meaning wall voids and cabinets may also be at risk. Clean and declutter potential habitats to prevent mice from settling down.
3. Shut Them Out
In addition to removing sources of food and shelter, sealing off entry points is an effective way to keep mice away. Fill any holes they’re capable of fitting through and invest in chimney and vent covers. Doors and windows are our connection with the outdoor world, and they’re often mice’s connection with the indoors as well. Keep them shut and properly sealed, adding weather stripping along doors and replacing any window screens that are broken.
Professional Mouse Control
If you have an ongoing mouse problem, it’ll take more than a few traps to save the day. At Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, our expert technicians provide smart, thorough care, as we understand just how problematic this pest can be. Covering homes and businesses across Virginia and offering year-round protection, we take a targeted approach to eliminate mice in full. Contact us to today to learn how our rodent exterminators can keep you safe from mice.
Entomologists from Ehrlich Pest Control Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021
READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.
To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Ehrlich Pest Control used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.
1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:
With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.
“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”
Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.
“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”
2. Mosquitoes on the Move:
Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.
“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”
Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.
3. Bed Bugs:
The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.
“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”
Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.
If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.
4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.
From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.
In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:
Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.
Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.
5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere
Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.
“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”
6. Pests in the News:
There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”
The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”
The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.
The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.
“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”
While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.