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Are All Ants the Same?

Are All Ants the Same?

Ants can be a frustrating nuisance in your home, costing you money, causing damage, or just plain being annoying while you’re trying to eat, watch TV, or get your work done.

And while it can be easy to lump all ants under the “annoying” and “pest” category, it’s also important to remember that all Ants are not the same — they have different needs, behaviors, and attributes, and should be controlled in their own specific way.

In today’s blog post, we’ll review the three most common types of Ants found in the Portland metro area, some of their common characteristics, and what you can do to keep them out of your home. Let’s get started!

Soil Ants

When we say Soil Ants, we are referring generally to a number of different species of ground nesting Ants. Although the name “Soil” implies they would be found outside, if you spot an ant cruising around your kitchen, it’s most likely a soil ant. Soil Ants come from large colonies, sometimes up to 200,000 ants or more!

Characteristics

Soil Ants are no more than ¼ of an inch long and are dark brown or black in color. 

They are good for an outdoor ecosystem, as they help to aerate soil when they dig their tunnels, and enrich soil by breaking down organic matter as they move through it. That being said, Soil Ants will go where the food is, and unfortunately, they will eat just about anything that provides nutritional value, including: 

  • Any sugars or carbohydrates
  • Syrups 
  • Dry pet food 
  • Dried meat or other proteins
  • Fruit 
  • Fats and oils during the spring and summer season
  • Other insects

Soil Ants are food scavengers, which is usually why they end up in your kitchen. They don’t cause structural damage to a home, but they will likely cost you money when you have to throw out your ant-infested food. 

Warning signs

A few signs you may have a soil ant infestation include: 

  • Visibly seeing Ants exploring your counters, cabinets, pantries, etc. — unlike Moisture Ants and Carpenter Ants, Soil Ants don’t work as much behind the scenes
  • Noticing pathways around your house or kitchen — Soil Ants leave a scent trail to communicate to other worker ants where to find food 
  • Nests outside your home — these look like piles of dirt  

Prevention

Since Soil Ants enter your home on a quest for food, the easiest way to prevent them is to keep all food in storage containers and to regularly clean your kitchen to keep surfaces clear of any spills, crumbs, or scraps that a Soil Ant would find appetizing. 

How to get rid of them

If you can identify where they are coming in, seal off their entry points so Soil Ants have a harder time getting in. From there, take steps to identify the source of the problem: the colony. This, or simply calling EcoCare Pest Control, is your best option for treating bad Soil Ant infestations.

Moisture Ants

Unsurprisingly, Moisture Ants get their name because of their penchant for high moisture areas. They tend to build their nests in moist, rotting wood, but unlike Carpenter Ants, they do not usually cause much structural damage. You can look for them in high moisture areas of the home, like in crawl spaces, near leaking pipes, or behind tub wall tiles. Outside, you’ll find Moisture Ants inhabiting damp soil or rotting wood. 

Characteristics

Unlike soil ants, Moisture Ants are a yellowish, yellowish-brown, or a dark brown color. They are found all over the country, but are especially common here in the Pacific Northwest. Moisture Ants measure no more than ⅛ of an inch long, and can also be identified by a notch on their back, best seen from a side view. 

Moisture Ants feed on insect honeydew and unlike Carpenter Ants, they actually digest wood when they tunnel into it. 

Warning signs

Due to their proximity to moist environments both inside and outside, you can sometimes spot a Moisture Ant infestation when there are colonies built around the foundation of the house.  

Prevention

To keep moisture ants away from your home, simply eliminate the environments they like best: moist wood or humid soil. Keep woodpiles and tree branches away from your house. Also make sure to regularly inspect your bathroom, under your sinks, and your crawlspace for moisture issues. 

How to get rid of them

To get rid of Moisture Ants, you need to eliminate the environment they are being drawn to. This usually means identifying the moisture source, and then fixing any leaks or replacing rotting wood inside your home. Once those steps are complete, it’s a good idea to call in a pest control professional to ensure the infestation is properly treated.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are considered pests in our homes, but did you know they are actually very important to the ecosystem of our local forests? It’s a common misconception that Carpenter Ants eat wood — in fact, they actually chew tunnels into wood to form a nest. This is great for forest decomposition, but very bad when it concerns your home. 

Let’s review more about how to recognize Carpenter Ants and signs of an infestation.  

Characteristics

Carpenter Ants are the biggest ants you’re likely to see in the Portland/Vancouver area. They range in size from about 1/8 of an inch to nearly a full inch long! They have black bodies, black or reddish legs, and a small bump between their thorax and their abdomen. 

During mating season, Carpenter Ants also have two pairs of wings, one large and one small. This is a sign of a mature colony and indicates that the colony is about to reproduce and start more colonies. 

Carpenter Ants aren’t really interested in eating human food. Instead, they feed on other insects, plant and fruit juices, and insect honeydew. 

Warning signs

The tricky thing about recognizing a Carpenter Ant infestation is that they hardly leave any signs. Unfortunately, this usually means a costly repair by the time you identify you have a problem. 

An infestation is typically an indication of some kind of moisture problem in your home. Carpenter Ants prefer tunneling through moist wood, which means they typically target windowsills, roof eaves, and decks. 

A few signs of a Carpenter Ant infestation include: 

  • Unexplained sawdust – especially near window sills, baseboards or door frames. This sawdust, also called “frass”, is what the ants spit out while they are tunneling and indicates there is a nest nearby. 
  • Wings – if you notice winged ants in your house, or observe discarded insect wings, you probably have Carpenter Ants. 
  • Structural damage – typically recognized through bending, warping or buckling. 

Prevention

Carpenter Ants love chewing into rotten or very soft wood. With that in mind, one of the best ways to prevent a Carpenter Ant infestation is to regularly inspect your home for signs of cracks or rotten wood and to keep things like wood piles and tree branches away from your home.

How to get rid of them

Due to the nature of the damage caused by Carpenter Ants — that is, structural damage — it’s important to call a pest control professional as soon as you suspect an infestation. This is the only way to ensure the infestation is completely taken care of.

Spot the differences

Here’s a quick breakdown of the similarities and differences outlined above:

 

Type Appearance Warning signs Prevention Control
Soil Ants
Black or brown, no more than ¼ inch Visibly seeing them in your kitchen or around food Keep food stored in airtight containers and your kitchen clean Keep your kitchen clean, seal off entry points, locate their colony
Moisture Ants
Yellowish brown or light brown, no more than ⅛ inch Colonies built near the foundation of your home Keep commonly moist areas like bathrooms and crawl spaces dry. Remove wood piles and tree branches close to your house. Manage moist environments and replace rotting wood as soon as you find it in your home.
Carpenter Ants
Black bodies, from ⅛ inch to nearly 1 inch long Sawdust near windowsill, baseboards, or winged ants in your home Watch for signs of rotting or moisture in your home, and keep woodpiles and tree branches trimmed away from your house Call a pest control professional

Need help? Contact EcoCare today

There are many things you can do to prevent and try to control pests, but the best and easiest way to handle them is to work with the professionals! EcoCare can help. 

We take an eco-friendly approach, using non-toxic treatments that are 100% safe for humans and pets. You don’t even have to leave your home! Not only does our team of licensed and insured professionals target and eliminate pest infestations, they also help to prevent future infestation too.

If you are seeing signs of an ant infestation in your home, or would like to take steps to prevent one from happening, contact us today to schedule your inspection! 

Pest Control Tips for Landlords & Property Managers

Pest Control Tips for Landlords & Property Managers

As a landlord, the last thing you want is trouble renting out your property, or for your phone to ring alerting you of damage to your property. However, if you notice signs of a pest infestation and leave it untreated, it’s probable both of these things will happen. That’s why it’s important to take pest control seriously and handle it quickly to help keep your property in tip-top shape.

In this post, we’ll review some of the common problems rodents and insects can cause, plus some tips for controlling pests on your property.

Problems pests can cause

It can be tempting to just ignore a pest problem and hope it will go away. But it won’t. Once a pest has found a safe, comfortable home for itself, it isn’t likely to leave. As a landlord in the Portland or Vancouver area, it’s your responsibility to control naturally occurring pest infestations and keep them away from the property.

As pests settle into your property, they are more likely to cause property damage, safety issues, or spread illness. Let’s take a closer look below.

 

Property damage

It’s not hard to find examples of pests causing property damage. Rats can cause electrical problems. Bees can burrow around your property to hatch larvae or start their hives around the exterior of your property. Ants or Beetles can chew through wood until they cause structural damage. Even the best tenants can leave Bedbugs behind — infestations following travel are particularly common.

It’s important to be both diligent and proactive in your pest control approach. 

Tenant turnover

No one wants to live in a home with a pest problem. Consistent problems in a home or apartment complex due to improper pest solutions will likely cause your tenants to look for somewhere else to live and make it harder for you to fill the space once it is empty again.

 

Health and safety concerns

Many pests can be harmful to people and other animals. Did you know that Rats and Mice can be carriers to over 35 different diseases? Not only that, but Fleas and Ticks carried into your home from rodents can spread illnesses like Lyme disease and even the plague.

Signs your property has a pest infestation

If you’re worried about your property developing a pest problem, there are a few signs you can look for: 

  • Electrical problems 
  • Structural damage to the roof, gutters, or siding 
  • Holes or cracks around the exterior of the house
  • Rodent footprints or droppings 
  • Scratching sounds inside the walls
  • Grease marks or buildup along walls or on the floor
  • Bad smells
  • Damage to fabric on clothes, drapes, or furniture

The attic, basement, and crawlspace are all very common places for a pest infestation, so make sure to check these regularly. 

Most common pests in the Portland metro area

If you’ve noticed signs of an infestation on your property, or your tenants have reported signs to you, it’s important to first identify what kind of pest you are dealing with. A few of the pests common to the Portland/Southwest Washington area include: 

  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Bees
  • Ticks
  • Fleas 
  • Boxelder bugs 
  • Mosquitos 

If you’re not able to identify the pest on your own, you can: 

  1. Take a picture and then check out our pest library to help you compare
  2. Make a note of the time and location when you see the pest(s), as well as any additional notes or conditions that might help you quickly identify the species
  3. Contact us! Our team has seen it all and can help identify what you’re dealing with

Tips to prevent pests

The best piece of advice you will ever receive for controlling pests is to do everything you can to prevent them in the first place. A few ways you can do this for your property include:  

Keep common areas clean

If you’re the landlord or property manager of an apartment complex, ensure that all common areas like lobbies, hallways, utility rooms, community kitchens, game rooms, etc., remain clean and clutter-free. Pests are really just seeking food and shelter — not trying to be pests — so the more you can limit the option for them to choose your property, the better. 

Ensure you have sturdy and sealable trash and recycling bins 

It’s true — pests love trash. It might be gross to us, but there is a ton of food and other waste that is still appetizing to pests even after we discard it. That’s why it’s important to invest in rodent-proof garbage, recycling, and yard waste containers. Additionally, it’s good practice to keep these containers clean and set away from the property. 

Remove clutter from around the property 

In an effort to eliminate more opportunities for pests to take shelter, eliminate as many possible nesting sites on the exterior of your property as possible. This includes: 

  • Wood piles (or keep them at least 100 feet from the structure) 
  • Old cars or tires 
  • Hay piles
  • Shrubbery 

Keep grass cut short to remove hiding places for pests, and make sure all garbage, compost, and recycling is secured. 

Eliminate standing water around the property 

Especially in our rainy climate, this one can be a challenge. But, when left unattended, standing water attracts all sorts of pests — especially insects, who thrive in moisture-rich environments. 

Educate your tenants

You aren’t going to be able to monitor the property for pests all the time, especially when you’ve rented it out. That’s why it’s a good idea to send your tenants seasonal reminders about common pest infestations so they themselves can take preventive measures and watch out for warning signs. Additionally, you could include a pest history for the property upon move-in, so the tenant knows what to look out for.

Tips to control pests

Once they’re there, they can be difficult to get rid of. If you do find signs of a pest infestation, make sure to: 

  1. Identify the source 
  2. Seal off entry points 
  3. Contact your tenants to alert them of the problem and what you’re doing about it
  4. Call an exterminator 
  5. Consider setting up regular pest inspections or trying a maintenance program 

Here at EcoCare Pest Control, we offer a Pest Insurance Program with 4 seasonal inspections and treatments a year, providing protection from nearly 40 different common pests. Learn more about the program here.

Need help controlling pests at your property? Contact us today!

The continuous inspection and maintenance required to keep pests out of your home or from damaging your property gets overwhelming quickly. Save yourself time and stress by working with a local exterminator! 

Here at EcoCare Pest Control, we’ve been helping Portland and Vancouver-area landlords and property managers safely remove pests for years. Our clients love our eco-friendly, non-toxic pest control, preventative treatments, and friendly service.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

What You Need to Know About Rats, Mice, Wildlife and Electrical Problems

What You Need to Know About Rats, Mice, Wildlife and Electrical Problems

Rodents might look cute, but you DEFINITELY don’t want them in your home. Not only can they carry disease, but their constant need to chew can wreak havoc on your electrical system, opening up your home to unforeseen fire danger.

But how do they cause electrical problems, and what can you do to stop them? Let’s take a look!

Why do Mice and Rats chew on wires?

Contrary to how it might seem, Rats and Mice aren’t always on the lookout for wires to chew. Really, they’re looking for just about anything to chew, because their teeth never stop growing!

While our own teeth are rooted into our jawbone, a rodent’s incisors don’t have any roots. So they aren’t constantly chewing things to be a pain — they are constantly chewing to grind down their teeth and prevent them from growing into their brains.

They often go for wires simply because they’re there, and they’re hidden where the rodent is also hidden (like between walls).

Unfortunately, when rodents chew on wires, it opens up your home to a greater chance of an electrical fire. This can be caused by frayed wires or a short circuit.

Dangers of electrical fires

Electrical failures or malfunctions cause 13% of home fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. They are the second leading cause of home fires.

Unfortunately, the risk of an electrical fire increases when rodents come into contact with loose wiring, electrical panels, and more. That’s why it’s important to prevent rodents from entering the home as much as possible, and to recognize the common signs of electrical problems.

Signs of electrical problems

Rats and Mice are nocturnal creatures, meaning that the majority of the time, you probably won’t notice them in your home right away. Because Rats or Mice usually choose to chew on wires that are hidden away, it’s likely you won’t even know they are chewing on the wiring until your home starts showing signs of electrical problems.

If you notice signs of any of these electrical problems, look around your home for signs of rodents.

  • Flickering lights
  • Bite marks on wiring you can see, or frayed wires
  • “Blinking” appliances or computers
  • Acrid burning odor 
  • Droppings near outlets or wiring runs 
  • Power failures

Regardless of these signs, it’s a good idea to regularly check the electrical wiring in your home to ensure it’s functioning properly and safely. Many electricians recommend scheduling an inspection every 3-5 years or so.

Tips to keep Mice and Rats out of your home

Tip #1 – Seal holes, cracks, and gaps in your house

Did you know Rats and Mice can fit through openings less than ½” in diameter? This creates a lot of opportunity for them to make a home in your home. Common places to check for holes include:

  • Near doors
  • Inside closets (near the corners)
  • In, around, or under kitchen cabinets
  • Around pipes under the sink
  • Inside the attic, basement, or crawl space
  • Adjacent to windows

 

Tip #2 – Clean up and properly store food

We all love food, but so do rodents. Make sure you properly store food both inside and outside of the home. You can do this by:

  • Store your food in containers with tight lids
  • Wipe up any spills and keeping kitchen surfaces clear of food debris (including dirty dishes)
  • Keep all cooking areas — including outside patios and grills — clean at all times
  • Cover garbage cans with a tight lid
  • Don’t leave pet food outside overnight and keep bird feeders away from your house
  • Store pet food in a sealed container
  • Pick produce from your garden or backyard before it goes bad
  • Keep compost at least 100 feet away from your house

 

Tip #3 – Don’t give them a place to call home

We know you won’t always be able to control this, but here are a few simple things you can do to eliminate living spaces for rodents in or around your home:

  • Move wood piles at least 100 feet away from the house
  • Keep your grass and shrubbery cut short
  • Trim tree branches at least 4 feet away from your home
  • Remove old cars, trucks, or tires that you aren’t using — these make great homes for rodents

 

Tip #4 – Call the professionals at EcoCare

One of the best ways to prevent rodents from infesting your home and causing electrical problems is to work with professionals, like the skilled team at EcoCare. We’ll help you set up regular inspections and recommend a maintenance plan.
 

Inspection

First, our exterminators will visit your home and conduct a detailed inspection of the property. They’ll inspect the inside of your property, including the attic or crawlspace, and search for signs of nests, infestations, or electrical damage. Additionally, they’ll scour the foundation and outside of your home for holes or small cracks that might allow a rodent in.

Depending on what our exterminators find, they’ll recommend a customized treatment plan to best suit you and your home.
 

Exclusion

With so many opportunities for rodents to invite themselves in, “Rat proofing”  your home can be a daunting task. But not for us! Our exterminators will thoroughly examine holes and cracks in your home. Then, they’ll seal off any questionable openings, like those found around pipes, vents, wires, and more. This is an important step in preventing future infestations.
 

Eco-friendly extermination

We are dedicated not only to ridding your home of pests, but to doing it in a safe and non-toxic way. With that in mind, our exterminators will only use rat poison inside of your home as a last resort. The use of poison inside your home might lead the rodent to die inside your walls, causing even more problems. Instead, we’ll use rat traps to humanely capture the rodents inside your home without posing any risk to your children or pets.
 

Rodent maintenance program

Keeping rodents out of your home takes a lot of work and effort. This is especially true for homes in areas with: compost piles, feeding stations for chickens, birds, or squirrels, homes on a greenbelt, and homes in a neighborhood with a Rat problem. Luckily, there’s a rodent maintenance program for that!

Rodent maintenance with EcoCare looks like:

  • Setting up bait traps outside your home at common entry points to capture rodents before they enter your home
  • Regularly coming to inspect your home and remove any rodents based on a schedule that’s convenient to you

Schedule an appointment with EcoCare today!

Preventing rodents from infesting your home and damaging your electrical system is both an important and never-ending task. We can help!

Learn more about our eco-friendly rodent control options and how we can help by contacting us today.

Kid Safety and Pest Control: What You Need to Know

Kid Safety and Pest Control: What You Need to Know

When you’re a kid, bugs are cool! Furry Caterpillars, Banana Slugs, Potato Bugs, Lady Bugs — they love them!

As a parent, you might encourage their young bright minds to learn more about insects through bug catchers, books, or other insect educational resources. But that doesn’t require you to live in a bug-infested house!

Plus, some pests are dangerous to kiddos. How do you prevent problems there?

Keep reading to learn more about kid safety when it comes to bugs and pest control.

What insects are dangerous to kids?

Biting insects are the ones you have to worry about most. These bugs are dangerous to humans and children alike because they’ll look to you as a food source or as something to attack if threatened.

You’ll want to help your children avoid the following types of pests.

Fleas

Fleas are a common pest that causes discomfort by biting and can also transmit diseases. Fleas are most often found in and around homes with animals. Thankfully, there are easy treatments to get rid of Fleas.

Bees, Wasps & Hornets

Honey Bees are pollinators and essential to our environment. But they don’t like to be messed with and will sting humans and kids when they feel threatened. Your children need to be especially careful of Yellow Jackets, as they are extremely aggressive and more likely to chase down and sting someone who bothered them, especially in late summer.

If your child is stung by a Bee of any kind, make sure the stinger still isn’t in the skin, then apply a calming salve to relieve any stinging sensation. Also pay attention to the symptoms your child displays after being stung and contact your doctor if anything seems off — many children are allergic to Bee stings.

Ticks

Ticks attach to the skin and suck blood. Though your child won’t usually feel the bite itself, there may be some redness around the area of the bite. Always check your child for Ticks after being out in the woods, camping, or other outdoor playtime. If you find a Tick, contact your doctor immediately to ensure you remove it correctly. Additionally, Ticks can carry Lyme Disease, so save the Tick in a container or bag to show to your doctor.

Spiders

There are about a dozen common household Spiders here in the Pacific Northwest. Most of these long-legged insects are harmless, at most leaving an itchy bump. However, there are 2 species that are considered dangerous: Black Widow Spiders and Hobo Spiders. Learn how to identify these Spiders and if your child is bitten by one of these insects, contact your doctor immediately.

Mosquitos

Mosquitoes bite and feed on the blood of humans and animals. In summer months here in the PNW, these insects can ruin an evening on the patio or turn a fun camping trip into an itchy nuisance. Mosquitos can also carry disease. Around the world, these insects are known for infecting people of all ages with the Zika virus, yellow fever, dengue, malaria, and other diseases.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are exactly that — bugs that live in the bed. These insects are nearly invisible, coming out at night to feed on the bed’s occupant. Bed Bugs will leave little red dots on the skin, usually clustered in groups of three. These annoying critters are difficult to kill and spread easily. If you notice symptoms, make sure to take care of them as soon as possible.

What happens if my child eats a bug?

Kids love to put things in their mouth — even creepy crawlers like Beetles and Ants. The idea of your child swallowing a bug might make you feel a little squeamish, but there’s probably not anything to worry about.

Most insects contain protein, a little fat, and in many countries are considered delicacies!

Of course, you don’t want to encourage your child to gobble down bugs either. If your kid is observing some insects and is at risk of turning them into a midday snack, act as a chaperone or remove them from the area.

While most bugs are harmless for kids to consume, don’t hesitate to contact Poison Control if you’re worried.

Concerned about a bug that your child just swallowed? Contact Poison Control through their easy-to-use online tool, or call 1-800-222-1222.

Is pest control harmful to babies and children?

Babies and children are much more susceptible to pesticides and insecticides than adults.

How are pesticides harmful to children? Consider that a child’s body and immune system are still developing. They don’t have the ability to fight off or deflect the toxic chemicals or irritants.

Plus, you have to consider that kids are much lower to the ground (perhaps only just crawling), and are much more likely to be exposed to pesticides. And then there’s that habit of always putting things in their mouths!

How to handle a pest infestation with kids in the house

Do you have a pest infestation in or around your home? Knowing that traditional pesticides are dangerous to children, how do you get rid of the insects while also keeping your kiddos safe?
If you’re set on handling a pest problem on your own, make sure you know the pesticide warning labels to look for. The three big ones are:

  1. Caution — Slightly toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing minor eye or skin irritation.
  2. Warning — Moderately toxic if inhaled or eaten, causing more severe irritation to eyes and skin.
  3. Danger/Poison — The pesticide is highly toxic if eaten or inhaled, causing severe damage to the eyes or skin.

Never, ever leave pesticides or chemicals sitting around in the house. They should be stored under lock and key. Additionally, read the label carefully to understand instructions. Keep children away from any treated areas or get out of the house until it is considered safe. If your child comes into contact with a pesticide with any of these labels, call Poison Control or take them to the emergency room.

You can try your own methods — chemical or natural — for getting rid of bugs in the house. But considering the risk, the best way to get rid of bugs and keep kids safe is to work with an eco-friendly pest control company.

Keep your kids safe with eco-friendly green pest control

Don’t risk your child’s health. Don’t put yourself through the stress. You don’t need to use harmful chemicals to keep your home safe from pests.

At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we can help keep your home safe from pests and dangerous chemicals alike. We use green pest control treatments that are free from dangerous chemicals and pesticides to effectively target and eliminate pests from your home.

Our targeted treatments are highly effective but most importantly, always safe for kids, pets, and your entire family.

Questions about pest control and kid safety? Contact us

As an eco-friendly pest control company, we answer many questions from parents about how to safely eliminate pests. We’re dedicated to offering safe, green, and effective pest control treatments to our community and are here to help.

Contact us and let’s chat.

What Bugs Aren’t Worth Worrying About

What Bugs Aren’t Worth Worrying About

Scientists have identified around 925,000 species of insects in the world. That’s a lot of bugs! 

While there are lots of harmful bugs out there (even here in the Portland and Vancouver area), there are some you don’t need to worry about, either.

Read on to learn what bugs you can leave alone here in the Pacific Northwest without worrying about any danger to your property, family, or self.

What bugs SHOULD you worry about?

Before we get into what bugs you DO NOT need to worry about, it’s important to remember that there are lots of little pesky insects out there that need to be controlled for you and your property’s safety. 

Some insects that need to be controlled to keep you and your family safe include:

If you see these troublesome insects, get in touch with EcoCare Pest Control. Our insect extermination solution is 100% safe for people and most pets. We’ll target and eliminate your insect infestation and prevent future infestations from popping up. 

Contact us online for advice and a firm price for getting rid of your insect infestation.

Ladybugs

While they can potentially cause harm if they make their way into your home, for the most part Ladybugs are a positive presence in your outdoor space. Why is this? It’s because they themselves act as a natural pest exterminator! 

Ladybugs actually eat many pests that are harmful, such as Fruit Flies, Mites, Thrips, and other harmful plant damaging insects like Aphids. Some Ladybugs may consume up to 5,000 Aphids in their life.

Further — Ladybugs won’t damage your home, your pets, or your family. In the meantime, they are an active member of the ecosystem and remove pests bad for the flora and fauna around your home. Now that’s what I call a symbiotic relationship. 

Just watch out. Mexican Bean Beetles and the Squash Beetle can cause some minor harm to your plants, so make sure to identify insects to make sure they are in fact Ladybugs.

Honey Bees 

While still possessing the ability to cause some mild harm, Honey Bees are one of the most valuable members of the animal kingdom. These super insects pollinate flowers and crops. This is done by collecting nectar and pollen, which is then turned into delicious, sweet, and nutritious honey. This actually makes them the only insect that produces food eaten by humans! 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wary of Honey Bees, and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about their similar (yet very different) relatives, Wasps, Yellowjackets, and Hornets. While Bees eat nectar and pollen, Hornets and Wasps are carnivores and have a different place in the ecosystem. Importantly, Hornets and Wasps are a lot more aggressive and more likely to injure you and your family.

Luckily, there is an easy way to differentiate. If the Bee-like insect you see is furry, breathe easy, as all Honey Bees appear furry. If not, it’s likely an aggressive Hornet or Wasp that needs to be dealt with.

Earwigs 

Let’s face it, Earwigs look scary. Their gigantic pincers look like they could do some serious damage. Fortunately, despite their scary appearance Earwigs are not poisonous, do not sting, and cause no harm to humans or pets.

In fact, Earwigs are a great member of your neighborhood ecosystem by eating dead bugs and gobbling up dead and decomposing plant matter. This actually helps your garden and the other plant life on your property thrive.

Praying Mantis 

Despite their size (a Praying Mantis can grow up to 6 inches long!) they are not to be feared! These bugs cannot hurt you and are a form of pest control themselves. So much so that many gardeners actually buy Praying Mantises to release into their gardens. There is such high demand that many gardening stores keep the bugs stocked up during the gardening season!  

Why are they such good pest controls themselves? These buggers munch on everything from flies, to Beetles, to Moths.  Fun fact — the Praying Mantis is the only insect able to rotate its head 180 degrees, making it a flexible little predator.

Butterflies

Given their beauty and natural wonder, we probably don’t need to do too much convincing for you to leave Butterflies alone — but just to be sure: Butterflies cannot do you any harm.

Butterflies, in addition to being beautiful creatures, pollinate flowers, eat other insects, and are a valuable member of the ecosystem. They’ll actually promote the health of your garden and any other plants on your property. Plus, many are endangered and have regulations protecting them.

If you see a gathering of Butterflies on your property — enjoy. If anything, you’ve been blessed with a natural wonder that will bring both health and beauty.

Green Lacewings

These delicate insects, sometimes called Stink Flies, are a valuable bug neighbor. While adult Green Lacewings eat pollen and actually don’t eat bugs, their offspring are aphid munchers!  

These Green Lacewing larva eat aphids and other critters, such as Spider Mites, Thrips, and many more small insects. Much like Praying Mantis, you can actually buy Green Lacewing eggs at gardening stores to help you naturally control pests in your garden.

Just don’t touch these bugs! While they’ll do no harm, they do release a mildly unsettling odor when threatened. The mild smell of the Green Lacewing is nothing compared to the good they’ll do for your home’s ecosystem.

Dragonflies

One of the most misunderstood bugs in the animal kingdom, Dragonflies are one of your home ecosystem’s most beneficial insects.

Dragonflies are straight-up insect killers. In fact, Dragonflies are known for their love of small, flying sects such as Mosquitos — the bane of a relaxing summer evening barbeque. While you may have confidence in your fly swatting ability, Dragonflies will do a much better job of controlling the Mosquito population. They’re not called Mosquito Hawks for nothing! 

Further, Dragonflies won’t do you much harm. While Dragonflies can bite, it is extremely rare. Even when provoked, they are much more likely to fly away than attack. If you do get bitten — there is never a reason to fret. Bites from Dragonflies will not cause any lasting harm.

Do you have questions whether an insect poses a threat to you and your family? Let’s talk.

Learn more about how we can help protect your home from insects by contacting us online today.