As spring arrives, termite swarmers will emerge from beneath the earth to infest homes. Although these insects don’t eat or damage wood, their presence is an indication that your home has an infestation.
If you notice these swarmers around your house, be sure to get a professional inspection and treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, the swarmers will find shelter and the termite colony will expand, potentially leading to extensive property damage.
Carpenter ants, also known as wood borer pests, are common in the Pacific Northwest and can do extensive damage to structures made of wood. As they burrow and consume their way through wood to create nests, carpenter ants become particularly problematic where termites are present; left unchecked they could potentially destroy homes.
These pests can be distinguished from termites by their sharply curved antennae and aggressive behavior. When they chew through wood, they often produce a sawdust-like substance while termites create small pellets of dust.
Omnivores, they consume a variety of foods such as plant nectar and juices, honeydew syrup jelly sugar salt meat grease spills fruit and pet food. If available they will also feed on dead animals and insects.
Carpenter ant infestations are typically detected when homeowners notice piles of sawdust or faint rustling noises in walls and under floors. Swarms, or small clusters of ants that swarm, are another indicator that carpenter ants are active in an area.
If you uncover an ant nest, it is best to contact a professional exterminator for treatment. An experienced pest controller can identify the species of ants present and decide which method of control is most effective in your situation.
Preventing carpenter ant infestations is the best way to ensure wood damage. This includes fixing leaks in roofs, chimney flashing, and plumbing; repairing or replacing gutters, downspouts, and chimney flues; increasing ventilation in attics, crawl spaces, and basements to reduce moisture buildup.
Maintaining the structure’s moisture level is another essential aspect of controlling carpenter ants. Address any issues that cause high moisture, such as leaking roofs or chimneys; seal holes where pipes or wires enter the house; and trim back trees and bushes so they do not touch the foundation of a building.
When a home is affected by carpenter ants, the best course of action is usually applying an insecticide spray or dust on the exterior of the building. This should include areas like foundations, under door and window frames, around lower edge siding, tree stumps and bases of tree trunks; however it must be noted that these sprays won’t eliminate all colonies unless both are treated simultaneously.
Have you ever noticed bugs that resemble flying termites around your home, and been uncertain whether they were termites or another pest? Flying ants often get mistaken for termites; however, their appearance and behavior differs significantly between them.
Flying ants have a more complex shape than termites, with defined body segments and antennae that bend at an elbow instead of being straight. Furthermore, their front and back wing lengths differ.
Both termites and flying ants can be found around homes, but the difference is that termites cause severe damage to wood by eating it. On the other hand, flying ants do not consume wood and do not cause any structural issues for homes.
In springtime, female and male ants (known as alates) leave their nests to search for mates and new nesting places. They form swarms and disperse to increase their chances of finding a mate while providing protection to their colony by numbers.
A swarm of alates is usually not dangerous to people as they rarely bite or sting, but they can serve as a warning that an ant colony is nearby. While these small insects will disappear quickly after mating, it serves as an effective alert that an infestation is underway.
The swarm may only last a day or two, and for some species it may only occur twice annually. To protect your home from potential issues caused by these insects and termites alike, it’s essential to know the difference between them and termites.
Other than their physical characteristics, you should be able to distinguish between termites and flying ants by looking at their caste systems. Termites belong to the lower caste of workers while flying ants belong to the upper caste of queens. Both species live in large colonies; termites feed on wood and cellulose while flying ants feed on small insects and food debris.
Green lacewings (Chrysopa) are small, net-winged insects found throughout much of the world. They can be found in a range of habitats like field and tree crops, gardens and landscapes, as well as wildlands.
Adult cicadas measure around 1/2” long and are bright green with heavy venation on their wings. They have lustrous eyes and antennae, some species having prominent golden eyes which hold their wings in a tent-like position when resting.
Lacewings are predators that feed on aphids, insect eggs and other pests. They have proven to be an effective biological control for some pests like whiteflies, aphids and thrips in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.
In the spring and summer, female bats lay hundreds of tiny eggs on twigs, leaves or limbs in groups ranging from 10 to 100. Larvae develop through three instars within 3-6 days and overwinter as adults in leaf litter at the edges of fields.
Many lacewing larvae possess sharp mouthparts which enable them to impale and sucke their prey, as well as strong jaws which enable them to pierce cell walls. Some species cover their bodies with plant debris or prey remains when searching for food, such as cocoons of male scales or flocculence (waxiness) of woolly aphids.
Certain species of lacewings use chemicals to communicate with their partners during courtship. Males vibrate their abdomens, releasing pheromones that females find attractive and stimulate reproductive responses.
Pheromones are essential to these insects as they help them successfully mate. If the lacewings possess a high level of pheromones, females will be more likely to mate with them and lay eggs.
Lacewing larvae differ from other insect pests in that they do not bite or sting their prey. Instead, they consume their own body contents and may even cannibalize each other if there are no other sources of protein available for consumption.
Lacewings come in a variety of species and can either be beneficial or detrimental to gardeners and farmers. Beneficial species include Chrysoperla carnea and Chrysoperla rufilabris, which are usually released to help control common garden pests.
Mayflies are insects that look like flying termites and can be found in a variety of habitats, such as streams, lakes and ponds. Their life cycle provides important indicators for environmental health and condition while their lifespan allows them to provide numerous ecosystem services. Furthermore, mayflies serve as excellent indicators of water pollution since they spend so much time submerged in the water which makes them highly sensitive to toxins.
Their appearance can range greatly, from a tiny yellow insect to an enormous brown or black creature with detailed wings. They possess two pairs of large front-facing wings that sit vertically on their bodies and two smaller round wings behind their thorax. Furthermore, they possess two or three long tails which appear threadlike.
Mayfly wings look similar to butterfly wings, but are much more intricate. Some can be transparent to the naked eye and some even feature specialized structures on them that enable them to filter water columns [17,18].
Mayfly larvae begin their life cycle when a female deposits eggs into freshwater habitats. After about two weeks, these hatch and may then go through diapause – an adaptation that allows nymphs to survive under conditions which would otherwise prove hazardous if they grew normally.
Once the nymphs have grown, they can develop gills to feed on algae they strain from the water. While these gills help them survive, they cannot catch food as quickly as if they could fly.
Adult mayflies can be found in a variety of habitats. Some prefer open areas with lots of sunlight, while others thrive deep within ponds and lakes.
Mayflies are excellent indicators of environmental health. They’re highly sensitive to toxins and can detect environmental changes through their behavior and habitat, making them popular as models in ecological studies. Furthermore, mayflies provide insight into climate change impacts – an imminent threat to biodiversity – which makes them valuable indicators.