So many kinds of pests come out in the spring – the mixture of increased temperature and moisture creates a perfect environment for bugs to breed, feed, and thrive. As an influx of new insects sets in, many homeowners here in the Springfield VA area are going to find that their house has been taken over by unwelcome guests. Our experts at Elrich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, will help prepare you for the season with a list of preventative measures to take.
Before you start pest-prepping your home, you should ask: what kinds of bugs should I be expecting? Here are some common spring pests in Virginia:
These pests all operate in different ways, but many of them are attracted to the same things that you might find in your house. Before you call your local pest control company, there are some steps that you can take to make your home less hospitable for bugs.
How to Keep Bugs Out of the House
Keeping an organized house is one of the most important methods of pest prevention. This might mean a number of things depending on the pest, so let’s take a look at the three main methods to keeping your home clean and bug-free.
Sealing food: Always be sure to put away your food and seal it up properly. Ants, in particular, are known for finding any open food source, even if it’s left slightly ajar in a cabinet. Storing all of your food in resealable containers should do the trick.
Close doors and windows: Any door or window left open for too long could lead all sorts of insects looking for food and shelter into your home. Install screens on your windows and doors to get fresh air in the house without worrying about pests.
Eliminate moisture: Many kinds of bugs, such as termites, spiders, ants, and more, are attracted to moisture inside your house. Water outside of your house could be a problem, too – mosquitoes lay their eggs on still water. Getting rid of dampness inside the house and pouring out or covering standing water outside of the house should work to prevent many kinds of pests.
Expert Pest Control in Springfield VA
If you’re experiencing an outbreak on your property after taking all of this advice, you might be dealing with a problem that’s outside of your control. In this case, reach out to your local pest control experts. The technicians at Elrich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, are trained to handle a wide array of issues. Our mission is to rid your home of pests and ensure that they don’t come back, all while staying up to date with the latest standards of environmental responsibility. No matter your pest problem, contact us today for a free quote!
There is a common misconception that termites only infest wood homes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Termites are drawn to cellulose, the compound found within not just wood but other materials as well. This makes brick homes or houses made of stone and other materials vulnerable to termite infestations.
With termites in full force this time of year in Virginia, now is the time to learn how to keep termites away from your home. Keep reading to learn what makes your home attractive to termites with Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s.
What Are Termites Attracted To?
Termites will infest a brick home just as quickly as a wood home in the right conditions. But what are the right conditions for termite problems? The following things are the biggest factors that contribute to the likelihood of a termite infestation:
Cellulose. Termites may be infamous for infesting wood, but they’re actually after the cellulose contained within! This cellulose is a main component that can be found in wallpaper, plants, mulch, drywall, and more.
Moisture. Leaky pipes, broken sprinklers, or clogged gutters can all lead to moisture problems in your home. In turn, this could attract subterranean termites (not to mention hoards of other pests) inside.
Access to soil. Subterranean termites need contact with soil to live. Any wood items, whether it’s your home, porch, or firewood in the yard, in contact with soil is at risk for a termite problem.
Warmth. Termite problems are generally more common in warmer, humid parts of the world. This puts our southwestern state at a higher risk of termite activity year-round.
Decaying wood. If you have logs, trees, or stumps that are rotten or in decay, you can be sure termites will seek them out.
Landscape. Termites can infest mulch, making it important to keep it away from the perimeter of your home. Also trim back tree branches that may be too close to your property.
How to Make Your Home Less Attractive to Termites
No matter what type of home you live in, the best way to know if you are protected against termites is to work with a professional termite exterminator. A thorough home inspection will pinpoint anything in or around your property that could put you at risk for termites in the future. Contact the termite control experts at Ehrlich today to get started!
Termites are a year-round pest problem here in Virginia. However, Termite Awareness Week is every year in the springtime to help homeowners get ready for the termite-ridden months ahead. At Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, we know that termites are anyone’s worst nightmare. That said, it’s crucial to learn everything you need to know about these dangerous pests in order to prevent an infestation! Our experts are here to share everything you need to know about termites—keep reading to learn more!
With an insatiable hunger for soft wood, termites cause an incredible $5 billion in damages to more than 5 million U.S. homes each year. The U.S. Department of Forestry reports that Virginia is heavily infested with subterranean termites – one of two types of termites that cause uniquely significant damage. These silent destroyers infest homes, preying on the wood, and wallets, of unsuspecting homeowners. Their clandestine tactics make prevention and precaution the best defense against termites.
Signs of Termite Problems
Termites don’t always make their presence known, but with a keen eye, you should be able to uncover evidence that they’ve taken up residence in your home. Common signs of termite damage include:
Mud tubes—which provide shelter for termites—are seen extending from the ground to infested wood. They are sometimes hidden behind baseboards and siding.
Winged swarmer termites’ shed wings are usually found along the edges of floors or on windowsills.
Termites feast on soft wood below the surface, which leaves the exterior wood intact. Tapping on damaged wood will reveal it to be hollow.
Mud-lined wood, and dark spots or blistering, are other tell-tale signs of a termite infestation.
Dangers of Termites
A common misconception is that vinyl- or metal-sided homes and brick homes are safe from termites. Houses, regardless of the outer material, usually have wooden frames, making them termite-prone. Further, infestations of nearby wooden sheds or garages can quickly spread to nearby structures.
Subterranean termites are known for their heightened survival instincts and advanced communication system. If disturbed, the colony will stealthily relocate to other areas in the building, continuing to cause damage, while your extermination techniques turn ineffective. The best practice is to leave the infestation to the pest control experts.
How to Keep Termites Away
As the snow thaws and the temperatures rise, our thoughts turn to fresh starts and spring cleaning. Did you know that by doing some tidying around the house and in the yard, you’ll be helping to ward off a termite infestation? Keeping your yard clear of wood and debris and your foundation moisture-free are great prevention methods and offer benefits beyond protection from termites. We’d also recommend using hardwood mulch instead of the soft mulch that termites love. Regular monitoring and inspection are the best methods for preventing termite problems. Our technicians use the most-advanced technology in their fight against termites—both as preventive measures and extermination tools.
The key to preventing a termite infestation is knowing how to recognize termite activity. By knowing the signs of termites, you can help stop a small termite problem from turning into a full-blown infestation. Because termites work within the very structure of a property, it is rare to see the pests themselves. However, there are a few signs of their activity to always watch for. With termite season revving up here in Virginia, the team at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s is here to share the most common signs you may have termites.
Most Common Signs of Termites
1. Mud tubes
Made from and used by subterranean termites, mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels through which termites travel. True to their name, subterranean termites nest underground. In order to leave the nest and forage for food, they will build mud tubs out of their feces. This protects the termites from outdoor elements as it blocks out cool, dry air. Seeing mud tubes along the outside of your property is likely the number one sign of termites.
2. Drywood Termite Droppings
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites nest within wood. As they tunnel through dry wood as well as when they swarm, drywood termites create kick-out holes in the wood. This is when their droppings, also known as frass, can be found. Termite frass most closely resembles sawdust or coffee grounds, and can appear in piles. Seeing this sign of termites makes it important to call a professional for closer inspection.
3. Swarming termites
In the springtime, reproductive termites will leave their colony to mate and form new ones. Swarming happens when a mature termite colony releases a number of swarmers from their existing nest. Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers, can often be mistaken for other flying insects, especially carpenter ants. Seeing winged termites in the spring months is a sign of termites spreading.
4. Piles of Termite Wings
After alates swarm and land in their new location, they will literally twist their wings off to discard them. This is because after flight, they will no longer need to fly. Termite wings are all the same size and translucent in color. These wings can often be seen in piles, which is indicative of termites forming their new colony nearby.
5. Tight-Fitting Doors and Windows
Termite activity can result in damage to your property. One of the most common signs of termite infestations is noticing your windows and doors are sticking or appear more tight-fitting than usual. Subterranean termites output a lot of moisture with their eating and tunneling habits. When they target door or window frames, the wood there will warp and make them more difficult to open.
6. Damaged wood
Termites are infamous for damaging wood. This can appear in several ways. Typically, termite damage can cause unexplained cracks on walls, beams, and rafters. It can cause sagging wood in your floors, as well as hollow-sounding wood. Sometimes wood damage can lead to weakened baseboards and floorboards. In general, wood damage of any kind can be a major sign of a termite problem.
You’ve Seen the Signs You May Have Termites—Now What?
As soon as you spot any of the above signs of termites, it’s time to call your termite exterminators at Ehrlich. Termites can frequently be mistaken for other insects, which is why it’s so important to get the expert eye of a termite exterminator. To learn about our termite inspections, contact us today.
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!
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.
People often assume that springtime is “termite season”. However, termites are active throughout the entire year here in Virginia. While termites don’t swarm in the fall and winter, they remain active in or under your property. The only thing that changes during this time of year is their routine. Many types of termites will move deeper in the ground through tunnels to escape colder temperatures. However, they can still cause damage to your home and, even worse, grow their colony. For this reason alone, it’s important to know how to look for signs of termites in your home, even in the fall. Keep reading to learn more.
What are the Signs of Termite Damage?
Signs of termite damage often appear when you have a more serious infestation in your property. In the fall, winter, and all other seasons, it’s important to look for the following signs of termite damage:
Termite frass (feces)
Holes in drywall
Hollow windows and/or doors
Shed swarmer wings
Termite Activity in the Autumn
Termites may not be swarming in the fall and winter, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone dormant. The termite queens lay eggs year-round and at a steady rate. This means that termite colonies will not only stay active but continue to grow during the fall and winter. Maturity is the number one determinant in a colony’s ability to damage your home. A two to four-year-old colony can cause damage in your property any time of the year. Termites need to stay warm in colder temperatures, which is why they will nest 25 to 30 feet down in the soil during the winter. This is why it’s unlikely to see termites this time of year even though they’re active.
Termite Infestations in the Fall
Because termites are active all year long, you need to be preventing them all year long. The termite exterminators at Ehrlich know how distressing it can be to discover an infestation, which is why we work to prevent them in the first place with preventative services. Reach out to our team today to learn about all of our termite treatment and prevention options!
From using a vinegar spray for ants to store-bought pesticides for roaches, we’ve all dabbled in DIY pest control from time to time. When many homeowners spot a pest problem, they’ll head to their local hardware store and arm themselves with chemicals, sprays, baits, traps, and more. Some even look into all-natural remedies. But do these actually work? DIY pest control is a gamble, and–unfortunately–unreliable. When you want to get rid of a pest problem fast–or perhaps avoid them altogether–your best bet is to hire a professional pest control company.
The team at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, outlines the pros and cons of DIY pest control in our latest blog post. Keep reading to learn more!
Does DIY Pest Control Work?
For some very small pest problems, perhaps a few ants in your windowsill or house spiders in your tub, DIY or store-bought pest control products may help. However, do-it-yourself pest control is not a long-term solution:
Many store-bought products are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets. Reading the label doesn’t always guarantee the product will be applied safely.
At-home remedies rarely work in the long-term and do not prevent future infestations.
DIY or store-bought products don’t come with a guarantee or warranty as often as professional services, meaning you often have to buy more products.
Benefits of a Professional Exterminator
Hiring a professional pest control company may seem like a bigger commitment of your time and money, but the payoff is tenfold that of DIY methods. There are many benefits:
An experienced exterminator has the knowledge and experience to tackle any current infestation you have. They are experts in the behaviors and habits of pests, making it easier for them to control any problems quickly and efficiently.
With a focus on IPM practices, they can also work to prevent future problems. As often as possible, a professional will use environmentally-responsible products that are always applied safely and effectively with little invasion or disruption to your daily life.
When you decide to have regular pest control services, your exterminator will work with you to develop a customized pest control plan suited to the unique needs of your home.
DIY vs. Professional: How to Choose
If you have a pest problem, you probably want to get rid of it ASAP. To do so, a professional pest control company is always the way to go over DIY pest control. Our team is committed to keeping our customers safe from pests by preventing them in the first place. To stay pest-free 365 days of the year, Ehrlich is here for you.
Spring is finally here! Many people welcome springtime with open arms. Unfortunately, that includes pests. This time of year is when pests start to peak in activity once more. To prevent the many types of pests that will likely look to invade your Virginia home, it’s important to implement some pest prevention measures into your spring cleaning! Keep reading for tips on common spring pest problems from the experts at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s.
5 Cleaning Tips to Prevent Springtime Pests
Pests in spring are aggressive, but you don’t have to suffer from an infestation! There are several spring cleaning tips to lessen the risk of getting pests this time of year:
Tidy up! Clean under furniture, wipe down surfaces, and inspect areas of your home that need some fixing up.
Clean your windows and doors thoroughly. If you find any cracks or crevices make sure to securely seal them.
Deep-clean your carpets and rugs. Vacuum, shampoo, or even steam cleaning works well.
Sanitize and clean your kitchen with a focus on your appliances. Crumbs and spilled liquids welcome all types of insects and pests.
Remove debris from your yard, and trim any shrubs or tree branches away from your home. Clear out your gutters and downspouts.
Pests to Look Out for This Spring
You know how to prevent them, but what exactly are the pests you need to worry about this time of year? Unfortunately, the list is rather long. There are five pests in particular that create trouble for property owners every spring: ants, stinging insects (wasps and hornets), stink bugs, termites, and rodents! Spring is simply the start of the pest season and can last well into the summer if pest control isn’t implemented right away. If you notice the signs of any of these pests, it’s important to act fast to prevent a full-blown infestation.
The Importance of Spring Pest Control
The time to protect your home from the onslaught of pests is now. By implementing preventative pest control into your spring cleaning, you can help reduce the risk of pest problems in the spring, winter, and fall. If you already have pests in your home, it’s time to call the experts at Ehrlich. Our exterminators will work with you to develop a pest control plan to keep you safe during each season.
Did you know that termites and carpenter ants are commonly mistaken for each other? Although they are both wood-destroying insects, these pests are quite different from one another. Termite and carpenter ant swarmers are active around the same time of the year and, from afar, look quite similar. However, termites are infamously the most destructive pest in the nation, making them much more dangerous than their lookalikes.
To learn the differences between termites and carpenter ants, keep reading for expert tips from Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s.
How are Termites Different From Carpenter Ants?
When comparing these two wood-destroying insects, one is much more dangerous than the other.
Usually make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil.
Established colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day.
Termites are significantly more dangerous than the carpenter ant, as they can cause much more damage in a short period of time.
Differences Between Termites and Carpenter Ants
In the swarmer stage, termites and carpenter ants look very alike. Carpenter ant swarmers are black in color with slightly red coloring at times. Their wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue. The biggest difference is that carpenter ants measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antennae bent at a 45-degree angle. This makes them the biggest ant species in the nation.
Termite swarmers are dark brown to black in color and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color, may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body. This is the easiest way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.
What to Do With Wood-Destroying Insects
If you think you are dealing with a wood-destroying insect infestation, it’s necessary to enlist the help of a professional termite pest control expert. At Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, our exterminators have the decades of experience required to provide effective carpenter ant or termite control.