Hart Pest Control Blog

This is the official blog of Hart Pest Control.

Case Study: A Home Infested With Ants

When it comes to pest, ants are one of the most common and frustrating creatures. Not only are they small enough to crawl into your home or business, but once they set up shop, they can be notoriously difficult to remove, particularly if you don’t take action immediately.

Today we want to take a closer look at one case where ants posed a significant problem for a homeowner and what was done to both identify and remove the problem. By looking at a real-world scenario, you can better understand how and why ants can invade your property.

A Home Invaded by Carpenter Ants

One of the most prevalent and invasive species of ants you can encounter are carpenter ants. Although most of these insects are unwelcome anywhere, they can be especially devastating because they like to build their nests in wood and other damp areas, which can not only make them hard to spot at first but lead to significant long term damage if the problem isn’t addressed immediately.

In this case, a home was invaded by these ants, but from an unlikely source.

Buying secondhand furniture is a great way to both save money and to find unique, stylish pieces that you can’t buy at any big box store. However, depending on where you buy it, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

For our case study, a homeowner found and bought a piece of wooden furniture from a garage sale. The previous owner had priced it to move, and since the homeowner was looking for some cheap furniture for the patio, it seemed like a great idea.

Unfortunately, a small colony of carpenter ants had taken residence inside the furniture.

Shortly after bringing it home, the colony spread to the porch and, eventually, into the rest of the house.

Once the homeowner discovered them, the infestation was pretty severe. Unfortunately, the ants had been burrowing in spots that were not easily noticed by the residents, which led to the explosion of a full-blown colony.

Thankfully, once the culprit was established, we were able to clean up the mess and eliminate the ants before they had caused too much destruction. That being said, if they had been allowed to continue, the results could have been devastating.

The Takeaway

Although we’re not saying that you should never buy used furniture, it helps to take a moment to assess the piece before bringing it into the home. All too often, people don’t realize how easy it is for bugs and critters to hitch a ride onto the property, meaning that you can wind up with uninvited guests.

The other thing to note is that pests like to spread and populate in areas you may not notice immediately. Inspecting different parts of the home regularly can help you find such infestations before they get out of control.

Contact Hart Pest Control

Whether you’re dealing with carpenter ants or some other pest infestation, don’t wait until it’s too late. We can come out and assess the situation and provide immediate relief for you and your family. Contact us today to see how we can keep your home pest-free.

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Your Guide to Wasps vs. Bees

Nearly every homeowner must deal with a stinging insect infestation at some point in time. Yellow jackets, hornets and wasps are all harmful pests that can cause you or your family harm if their population is not eliminated quickly once they are discovered.

The tricky part of dealing with stinging insects is ensuring you do not accidentally destroy a hive of helpful bees in the process. Bees are essential to the ecosystem, and without the work they do collecting nectar from flowering plants, we would be unable to cultivate healthy crops. Here are some tips on differentiating between wasps and bees, knowing how to deal with pests and safely relocating bee hives away from high-traffic areas on your property.

Wasps

This brownish-colored stinger with wings typically has reddish or yellow markings along its thorax and abdomen (middle and tail). Paper wasps derive their name from the paper-like material they use to build nests, which are umbrella-like shape and unenclosed. You find these pests in tree branches or hollows, porch ceilings, shrubs, door frames and deck floor joints as a rule.

Disturb these nests at your own risk, as paper wasps swarm when aroused in an effort to defend their homes. They are considered helpful insects, as they prey on lesser pest species and control their population. If they are nesting on or inside a structure of your home, you need to control, eliminate or move them to a safe location. Professional help with removal is highly recommended. No one should risk being swarmed and stung without the proper gear and equipment.

Bees

Honey bees are crucial to the healthy life cycle of plants. Without bees, plants and crops cannot pollinate effectively. Most measure between ½-⅝ of inch in length, and they have orange-yellow and brown-black bands over their thorax and abdomen. Honey bees are not aggressive, but they will swarm and attack when their colony is threatened. Honey bee colonies should be removed from structures near your home or high traffic areas and safely relocated. Moving a bee hive is not for amateurs, and professional help is definitely necessary.

If you notice carpenter bees, which are larger, fuzzier and have black and pale yellow fuzz with a bald spot on the abdomen, they need to be eliminated quickly. They chew and burrow into old wooden structures, and while they are not aggressive they can cause severe structural damage over time.

If you have a bee or wasp nest on your property and need it moved or removed safely, Hart Pest Control of Spring, Texas is the experienced pest control expert to help resolve your bee and wasp issues safely. As a family-owned-and-operated business, we offer affordable and reliable pest control that fits your budget and needs. Contact Hart Pest Control today to set up a consultation.

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How to Remove Rodents Humanely

Nobody wants their house infested with rodents, however, too many methods of rodent removal are especially cruel. From traps which only kill after an agonizingly long period of time to poisons which not only take a while to take effect but also pose a danger to pets, children and the environment, rodent removal techniques have a reputation for being clumsy and macabre. Yet there are many sophisticated and convenient ways to remove rats and mice which don’t involve unnecessary pain for you or them.

Humane Rat and Mice Removal

The most humane way to address a rodent problem is to stop it before it even begins. This means taking measures to deter rodents from your place of residence and keeping them in the wild. Rats and mice can crawl through any opening larger than a coin, so even the tiniest pathway can lead them into your house. Aside from making sure that all window screens are secured, and all your doors are sealed, you can defend your home against rodents by stuffing clumps of copper mesh into places such as holes in your walls, laundry vents, electrical and plumbing entrances and gutters.

You can also make an all-natural rodent repellent with ingredients you can find in your local grocery store. Just mix salad oil, horseradish, garlic and cayenne pepper and spread the solution around the perimeter of your house—spraying it near door frames and pipes.

For rats and mice already terrorizing your home, there are easy ways to address them. Stay away from poisons and sticky traps, as these merely torture rodents and create a hassle for you as you try and track down corpses and uneaten pieces of poison scattered throughout your home. Instead, stay with the basics. The classic spring trap is efficient, clean and deadly, taking rodents out with one blow and making sanitation a breeze. Or you can avoid killing them all together and invest in a catch and release trap. These machines lock up any rodents that enter and allow you to carry them away from your house and release them into the wild unharmed. To make sure they don’t find their way back inside, take them at least 100 feet in any direction away from your house.

Hart Pest Control

Rodents are troublesome little pests, but there are effective ways to eliminate them painlessly and to even keep them away from your home entirely. For more information on pest control or to hire a specialist for your extermination needs, contact Hart Pest Control today.

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Texas Ants Come in Many Species

In Texas, there are many different species of ants. Although many of them may look similar, these ants are very different. The difference may not be their color but how they interact with other insects, how they build their nests and where they live. Understanding ant characteristics and habitats will help you determine which ant species you have.

Pyramid Ants Characteristics and Habitat

The pyramid ant has some distinct characteristics. These characteristics include:

  • The head color which is either red or reddish-black.
  • The back has a pyramid shape sticking up.
  • They live in small colonies with only one queen.
  • These ants prefer a diet of sweets such as honeydew.
  • They build their nests in sunny, sandy soils.

Characteristics of The Big-Headed Ant

This ant also has a distinct characteristic, its big head. Other features are:

  • The ant is reddish-brown in color.
  • Two types of worker ants. The soldier ant has the big head. While the minor worker is smaller.
  • They are not choosy in their diet. They will eat just about anything.
  • The colonies are extremely large.
  • They build their home under logs or stones.

Pharaoh Ant Traits

The pharaoh ant is a pest that is usually found indoors. A pharaoh ant has the following characteristics:

  • They are generally yellow or light brown in color.
  • This ant is translucent.
  • They colonize in the most inconspicuous places within the house.

Black Carpenter Ant and Carpenter Ants

The black carpenter ant and carpenter ant are probably one of the most widely known ants. It can be recognized by its:

  • Larger size compared to other ant species.
  • All black body.
  • Males have wings and fly.
  • They bite.
  • They build their homes in wood, but they do not eat it.
  • They live in a large colony with one queen.
  • Their diet consists of plant juices, food scraps and fungus.
  • The black carpenter ant is larger in size than the carpenter ant.

Crazy Ant Characteristics

The crazy ant is one of the most destructive ants in Texas. They have been known to chew through electrical wires. Other characteristics include:

  • A reddish-brown coloring.
  • They are fast and move unpredictably. Hence the name crazy ant.
  • They feed on other insects.
  • They do bite.
  • They connect their colonies to form bigger colonies.
  • They do not have many natural predators.
  • Extermination is difficult.

These are just a few of the ant species located in Texas. For more information about the ants located in your area, contact Hart Pest Control today!

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How to Treat a Fire Ant Sting

Anyone who has been stung by a fire ant readily testifies to the fact that the sting causes quite a bit of pain accompanied by a burning feeling and itchy skin. A particularly disturbing aspect of the fire ant is that the insect's tendency is to sting a person several times. Reactions typically last for several hours to several days.

Although most people are not allergic to the fire ant's venom, an allergic reaction can result in a serious condition called anaphylaxis. A person experiencing a severe reaction to a fire ant's sting needs to go to the emergency room right away. A severe allergic reaction may include difficulty swallowing, dizziness, trouble breathing or vomiting. Treatment may include a prolonged series of injections containing the fire ant's venom.

Fire ants are natives of South America but have infiltrated the southeastern area of the United States. The venom emitted by a group of fire ants is strong enough to kill a turtle. People are typically stung by fire ants when they step on their mounds. Since the average person is unable to distinguish a fire ant mound from another ant mount, the best way to prevent getting stung by a fire ant is to avoid all ant mounds.

People who are not allergic to the venom emitted by fire ants should take the following 10 steps after they are stung:

  1. Sterilize the wound with warm, soapy water. Applying hydrogen peroxide can help eliminate bacteria from the wound. Apply hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  2. Place several ice cubes in a washcloth.
  3. Wrap the washcloth filled with ice in a zippered plastic storage bag.
  4. Apply the ice to the sting for 15 to 20 minutes. If ice is not unavailable, use a bag of frozen vegetables.
  5. Remove the ice for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Reapply and remove the ice for an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Do not apply heat to the area that was stung.
  8. If itching is causing a problem, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Another remedy for itching skin is to apply a paste made with baking soda and water. Baking soda may also help to reduce redness that occurs in the area of the sting. If baking soda is unavailable, apply white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to soothe the area.
  9. If the itching persists, a doctor can write a prescription for an antihistamine.
  10. If possible, elevate the affected area.

Preventing a fire ant sting is always better than getting stung. Contact Hart Pest Control if fire ant mounds exist on the premises. Exterminators at Hart Pest Control can help resolve fire ant issues.

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