Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ants vs. Termites: How to Tell the Difference

You’re in your kitchen when you suddenly notice that there are flying insects all over your counter. Your first panicked thought is “Termites!” But wait, they could just be flying ants. So how can a person tell the difference? Well, in the springtime, ants and termites both swarm. This is their mating ritual and they keep at it until they find a mate. Both have wings and black bodies but there are distinct differences that you can look for.

A termite has no “waist” whereas an ant has a narrow, defined one. A termite also has two distinct body segments while an ant has three. There’s also a difference in the wings – a termite has four wings that are very long and narrow. They are of equal size and extend far past the rear end of the body. They also lie against the body. An ant, on the other hand, also has four wings but the hind wings are shorter than its front ones. Their wings also extend beyond the body but only by a little bit. They also tend to point away from the body at the bottom. A termite’s abdomen is rounded on the end while an ant’s is pointed. And one of the most telling signs is the shape of the antennae. A termite has straight antennae that look like strings of small beads while an ant has a definite bend or elbow in each antenna.

If you should see a swarm of these flying insects around your home, there are several things you can do to get rid of them. First of all you should know that swarmers usually live less than 24 hours unless they are able to dig into soil. If you notice them doing this you should call a pest control company immediately, especially if you notice wings left on the ground. This is because after termites mate they leave their wings behind. If you see no wings, then you probably have ants, which can be gotten rid of by putting out ant bait.

A good way to get rid of a lot of swarmers at a time is to put up one light source in a darkened room. Since they’re naturally attracted to light they’ll probably all go to that source. Then you simply suck them up with a vacuum cleaner and dispose of the bag. If you can’t tell whether you have an ant or termite problem, just contact a pest control company and they’ll be able to help you.

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Treat Crawl Spaces to Control Pests

Do you know what might be lurking around in your home’s crawl space? Whether the crawl space is dirt or concrete, you could be at risk for many kinds of health and structural problems. Unsafe conditions can exist and you might not even know it. For example, your crawl space could be home to many kinds of mold growth or fungus. These conditions can also attract the types of pests we’re all familiar with, such as insects and wildlife. This can cause harm to your home’s structure in the form of dry rot or termite damage.

An untreated crawl space is an open invitation for all kinds of problems. Because of its location between the ground and the underside of your home, there are countless ways for molds and pests to enter your living space. Even the smallest opening can give a mouse or other pest the chance it needs to get inside. And since crawl spaces are a source of moisture you are always at risk for mold and fungus growth. These all have the ability to affect your health and your home.

Seal off all Openings

  • Take the time to go over your entire crawl space and close off any openings you find. It’s harder to get rid of pests once they are inside your home. Set traps and check them often.

Check Causes of Moisture

There are many ways moisture gets into crawl spaces. You might have a plumbing leak or poor drainage around your home. You could also have poor air flow or a high water table. No matter what’s causing the moisture the end result will be mold, fungus and rot. By controlling the amount of moisture in your crawl space you can help prevent or reduce mold growth. Mold in the crawl space can seep into the air you breathe in your home and cause many health problems. It can also lead to structural damage in your home.

You should also check your gutters and downspouts. Make sure they’re in good working order. Broken downspouts or overflowing gutters causes water to puddle near the home which can result in moisture seeping into the crawl space.

Once you’ve fixed all the cracks, openings and moisture problems the best thing you can do is to install a vapor barrier. Installing a thick sheet of rubber or plastic will go a long way to reduce or eliminate mold, pests and rot in your home. Not only will the air you breathe be cleaner but you’ll also save on heating and cooling costs.

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