Envirotrol Pest Management Multi-Family Housing Specialists Since 1978
   
Other Pests
Envirotrol also has treatment programs for the following pests.
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Dallas-Fort Worth (972) 263-2333
 
Fleas
Description: Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied (difficult to crush between fingers), have three pairs of legs (hind legs enlarged enabling jumping) and are flattened vertically or side to side (bluegill or sunfish-like) allowing easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of the host.

Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop for a human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.) They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward.
Adult fleas are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets, but can cause medical problems including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, secondary skin irritations and, in extreme cases, anemia. Although bites are rarely felt, it is the resulting irritation caused by the flea salivary secretions that varies among individuals. Some may witness a severe reaction (general rash or inflammation) resulting in secondary infections caused by scratching the irritated skin area. Others may show no reaction or irritation acquired after repeated bites over several weeks or months. Most bites usually found on the ankles and legs may cause pain lasting a few minutes, hours or days depending on one's sensitivity. The typical reaction to the bite is the formation of a small, hard, red, slightly-raised (swollen) itching spot. There is a single puncture point in the center of each spot. (Ants and spiders leave two marks when they bite. Mosquitoes, bees, wasps and bedbugs cause a large swelling or welt). Also, fleas may transmit bubonic plague from rodent to rodent and from rodent to humans.

Habits and Habitats: Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. A typical flea population consists of 50 percent eggs, 35 percent larvae, 10 percent pupae and 5 percent adults. Completion of the life cycle from egg to adult varies from two weeks to eight months depending on the temperature, humidity, food, and species. Normally after a blood meal, the female flea lays about 15 to 20 eggs per day up to 600 in a lifetime usually on the host (dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, chickens, humans, etc.). Eggs loosely laid in the hair coat, drop out most anywhere especially where the host rests, sleeps or nests (rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, cat or dog boxes, kennels, sand boxes, etc.). Eggs hatch in two days to two weeks into larvae found indoors in floor cracks & crevices, along baseboards, under rug edges and in furniture or beds. Outdoor development occurs in sandy gravel soils (moist sand boxes, dirt crawlspace under the house, under shrubs, etc.) where the pet may rest or sleep. Sand and gravel are very suitable for larval development which is the reason fleas are erroneously called "sand fleas."

Larvae are blind, avoid light, pass through three larval instars and take a week to several months to develop. Their food consists of digested blood from adult flea feces, dead skin, hair, feathers, and other organic debris. (Larvae do not suck blood.) Pupa mature to adulthood within a silken cocoon woven by the larva to which pet hair, carpet fiber, dust, grass cuttings, and other debris adheres. In about five to fourteen days, adult fleas emerge or may remain resting in the cocoon until the detection of vibration (pet and people movement), pressure (host animal lying down on them), heat, noise, or carbon dioxide (meaning a potential blood source is near). Most fleas overwinter in the larval or pupal stage with survival and growth best during warm, moist winters and spring.

Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live from two months to one year without feeding. There is often a desperate need for flea control after a family has returned from a long vacation. The house has been empty with no cat or dog around for fleas to feed on. When the family and pets are gone, flea eggs hatch and larvae pupate. The adult fleas fully developed inside the pupal cocoon remains in a kind of "limbo" for a long time until a blood source is near. The family returning from vacation is immediately attacked by waiting hungry hordes of fleas. (In just 30 days, 10 female fleas under ideal conditions can multiply to over a quarter million different life stages.)

Newly emerged adult fleas live only about one week if a blood meal is not obtained. However, completely developed adult fleas can live for several months without eating, so long as they do not emerge from their puparia. Optimum temperatures for the flea's life cycle are 70°F to 85°F and optimum humidity is 70 percent. The cat flea is the most common flea in Ohio which feeds on a wide range of hosts.

Control: Flea control is best achieved with a simultaneous, coordinated effort involving strict sanitation, pet treatment and premise treatment (both indoors & outdoors).

Inspection - Before treatment, discuss the pet's habits with family members to determine where resting and sleeping occurs most frequently. Flea activity "hot spots" can be detected by placing white socks over shoes and walking through the residence into suspected areas. Research has demonstrated that these areas will contain the highest amount of eggs, larvae and pupae even after vacuuming. Hot spots for homes with dogs are usually areas where the pet goes in and out of the house, eats, sleeps and spends time with the family at the base of furniture. For cats, check the tops of refrigerators, cabinets, book cases and higher locations.


Sanitation - Before vacuuming, collect all items (toys, shoes, clothes, etc.) off the floor, under beds, furniture, in closets, etc., to ensure best access for treatment. Also cover fish tanks, remove bird cages, pet food and water dishes and wash or dry clean any pet bedding. Vacuuming carpet with a beater-bar type vacuum where the pet rests and sleeps will help control flea larvae by removing eggs and dried blood feces (larval food) plus opening up the carpet's nap for more effective insecticide treatment. Vacuuming must be performed on a regular basis every other day to be effective. Flea larvae do not move far from the site of hatching when there is adequate food (dried blood feces from adults). Research indicates larvae spend 83 percent of the time deep in the carpet at the base of fibers frequently becoming entwined within the carpet. At pupation, the larva move up the carpet fiber spinning a camouflaging cocoon around itself. Vacuum especially where lint and pet hairs accumulate along baseboards, around carpet edges, on ventilators, around heat registers, in floor cracks, and under and in furniture where the pet sleeps.

After vacuuming, place the vacuum bag in a large plastic garbage bag and discard in an outdoor trash container. If the cleaner uses a liquid water medium in a plastic pan (rather than a dust bag) discard dirty water far away from the house.

Prevention - Trim lawns and weeds to create a drier, less-ideal environment for flea larvae. Avoid piles of sand and gravel around the home for long periods of time. Fence yards to prevent dogs from roaming freely in heavily infested areas or contacting other infested animals. Discourage nesting or roosting of rodents and birds on or near the premises. Screen or seal vents, chimneys, crevices, etc. where rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, etc. may use to enter crawlspaces and buildings. Wash or destroy pet bedding, regularly groom pets and vacuum frequently to remove up to 95 percent of the flea eggs, some larvae and adults. Only about 20 percent of the larvae might be removed when vacuuming since they wrap themselves around the bottom strands of carpeting.

 
Honey Bees
DESCRIPTION: The honey bee is covered with short, dense hair, usually golden-brown and black, and its abdomen is striped. There are three castes of honey bees in the colony: workers (2/5 to 3/5 inch long), drones (3/4 to 5/8 inch long), and the queen (3/5 to ¾ inch long).

HABITAT: Around flowers and flowering trees

LIFE CYCLE: The queen is responsible for reproduction. The drones are fertile male bees that mate with new queens. The workers are sterile females responsible for feeding the queen, maintaining the hive, gathering the pollen and nectar, and protecting the hive.

TYPE OF DAMAGE: Honey bee workers have a barbed stinger that becomes detached along with a venom sac after the sting.

CONTROL: When stung by a bee, immediately remove the stinger and venom sac by gently scraping or flicking the stinger with a fingernail. Do not use tweezers or try to squeeze out the stinger- this pushes more venom into the wound. Next, wash the sting site with soap and water. Apply ice to minimize pain and swelling. If you experience anything more than a localized, normal reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Sting victims should be kept calm, quiet and inactive. In some cases, an allergy specialist may advise a series of injections to lessen sensitivity for persons with case histories of severe allergic reactions to insect stings.

PREVENTION: Wear proper clothing and use caution when worker honey bees are foraging around houses on flowering trees and plants. When flowers finish blooming, the danger will decrease. It is best to allow swarms of honey bees to leave on their own. A swarm of bees will remain clustered until scout bees have located a suitable site for permanent nesting. In two days or less, the swarm will usually break the cluster and fly away. If it is necessary to remove a swarm, be sure to contact a local beekeeper, who usually will be happy to get the bees. (Contact your county extension office for a list of local bee keepers.)

REMOVAL FROM BUILDINGS: Honey bees are valuable pollinators of crops and other flowering plants. There are situations, though, when our "beneficial" honey bee can become a "nuisance" honey bee requiring control. Treatment is only recommended when swarming bees move their nest into a building, wall void, attic void, chimney, garage or porch roof. Remember that after the honey bees are killed, they must be removed with their comb nest along with honey. Untended honey soon begins to decompose and/or seep out of the comb, causing odor problems, staining walls or ceilings, and encouraging secondary pest infestations by ants, cockroaches, wax moths, flies, and dermestid beetles. Clean the area with soap and water and let dry completely. Left over odors from the previous colony can attract other bees into the same location. Other bees in the area may try to remove honey from the killed colony and the site is likely to be recolonzied by other bees. Fill the void with insulation or other material to keep it from being used as a nest site again.

 
Roaches
Description: Most cockroaches have a flattened, oval shape, spiny legs, and long, filamentous antennae. Immature stages are smaller, have undeveloped wings and resemble the adults. Adult German cockroaches are light tan to medium brown except for the shield behind the head marked with two dark stripes (separated by a lighter stripe), which run lengthwise on the body. Adults are about 1/2 to 5/8-inch long and have wings, but rarely fly. Wings cover the entire abdomen of females and all except the abdominal tip in males. The male is light brown and rather boat-shaped, whereas the female is slightly darker with a broader, rounded posterior. Young roaches (nymphs) are wingless and nearly black with a single light stripe, separating two black bands, running down about halfway of the middle of the back. Egg capsules are light tan and less than 1/4-inch long.
These are the most common roaches found in homes, apartments, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, and other buildings where food is stored, prepared, or served. They eat food of all kinds and may hitchhike into the home on egg cartons, soft drink cartons, sacks of potatoes or onions, used furniture, beer cases, etc. These roaches will move from building to building during the warm summer months. They can develop into large populations and live throughout the home, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Roaches can foul food, damage wallpaper and books, eat glue from furniture, and produce an unpleasant odor. Some homeowners are allergic to roaches, and these pests can contaminate food with certain bacterial diseases that result in food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea. Cockroaches can cause childhood asthma.

Habitat and Habits: German cockroach females, unlike most other roaches, carry the egg capsule protruding from their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The case is then dropped in a secluded location, with the nymphs emerging within one day. A female may produce four to eight cases during her lifetime, each containing 30 to 48 eggs. Eggs hatch in about one month, and nymphs develop in 1-1/2 to 4 months. Female roaches live about 6-1/2 months and males live slightly less. The German cockroach produces more eggs and has more generations per year (three to four) than other roaches, and only a few individuals are needed to develop into troublesome infestations. This roach is spread by commerce and transportation as well as mass migrations. It is the most prevalent pest in the Apartment Industry in the United States.

During the day, these roaches may be found hiding, clustered behind baseboard molding, in cracks around cabinets, closets or pantries, and in and under stoves, refrigerators and dish washers. If clusters of roaches are seen during the day, the population is large. Both nymphs and adults are very active and capable of running rapidly. German cockroaches have a high need for moisture and usually travel 10 to 12 feet from their harborage for food and water in kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, etc., preferring darkness. Without food or water, adults may die in two weeks, but can live a month with only water.

Control: German cockroaches can be detected by examining the premises after dark with a flashlight. During the day, probing hiding places with a wire or thin wood strip will expose roaches. Adults and nymphs usually hide clustered together.

German roaches can move from one building to the next during the summer, entering through cracks in foundations, around loose-fitting doors or windows, and along water and gas pipes. Repair leaky water faucets and pipes. Seal openings such as cracks in foundation walls, exterior walls around air conditioners, doors, windows, floors, ceilings, around plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, baseboards, etc. with putty, plastic wood or other caulking material. Inspect for roaches and their egg cases in sacks, cartons, boxes, used appliances and furniture, etc., brought into the home. Sanitation is critical in roach control. (Unclean living conditions from housekeeping neglect is the major contributing factor of roach outbreaks.) Clean areas beneath cabinets, sinks, stoves, refrigerators, etc. as well as cupboards, pantry shelves and food storage bins. Do not line cabinets with paper products. Do not keep brown grocery casks around since they are often contaminated with roach eggs. Roaches can thrive in the dark warm folds of paper sacks. Clean up spilled foods and liquids. Avoid leaving scraps of food on unwashed dishes and countertops overnight. Keep food in tightly sealed containers, rinse cans and bottles before putting in the trash, and transfer garbage outdoors into roach-proof receptacles away from the house. Leftover pet food should not remain in the feeding dish overnight. Remember that "wet" pet food attracts roaches faster than dry pet food.

 
Silverfish
Description: Silverfish are always wingless and are silvery to brown in color because their bodies are covered with fine scales. They are generally soft bodied. Adults are up to 3/4 inch long, flattened from top to bottom, elongated and oval in shape, have three long tail projections and two long antennae.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs continuously after reaching the adult stage and may lay over 100 eggs during her life. Eggs are deposited singly or in small groups in cracks and crevices and hatch in 3 to weeks. Silverfish develop from egg to young to adult within 4 to 6 weeks and continue to molt throughout their life. Immature stages appear similar to adults except they are about 1/20 of an inch long when they first hatch and whitish in color, taking on the adults’ silver coloring as they grow. They are long-lived, surviving from two to eight years. Simple metamorphisis (egg, nymph, adult).

Habitat, Food Source(s): Silverfish are chewing insects and general feeders but prefer carbohydrates and protein, including flour, dried meat, rolled oats, paper and even glue. They can survive long periods, sometimes over a year, without food but are sensitive to moisture and require a high humidity (75% to 90%) to survive. They also have a temperature preference between 70 and 80 degrees F. They are fast running and mostly active at night and generally prefer lower levels in homes, but may be found in attics.

Pest Status, Damage: Primarily a nuisance pest inside the home or buildings; can contaminate food, damage paper goods and stain clothing; medically harmless. Many of their habits are similar to cockroaches and they appear to be more common as household pests in drier parts of the state. Occasionally damage book bindings, curtains, wallpaper.

Control: Sanitation only helps prevent a reinfestation after a population has been eliminated. It alone cannot control silverfish or firebrats and is only marginally effective in reducing their numbers. However, a reduction in available water or relative humidity is helpful in eliminating silverfish and firebrats. Dry out or ventilate resting or shelter areas to reduce their moisture level. Since these insects prefer darkness, lighting a sheltered area sometimes forces them to migrate to sites where they cannot survive or where they can be controlled more readily.

Apply insecticide sprays to sheltered areas, cracks, crevices, around floor moldings, in and behind furniture and in attics. Occasionally, large populations become established in wall voids. It may be necessary to drill small holes in the walls in order to treat inside them.

It is advisable to use the services of a pest control operator when the infestations are large, persistent and hard to find. A commercial operator has the knowledge, training and equipment to perform safe and effective control.

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Dallas - Fort Worth 972-263-2333