Frequently Asked Questions
- My kitchen is inundated with small- and medium-sized ants. They seem to cluster in my dishwasher. I’ve used ant traps and boric acid and nothing works. What should I do?
- How effective are bait traps for controlling cockroaches?
- Is it possible to get rid of cockroaches and keep them from coming back?
- How do I get rid of mice?
- Is it possible to get rid of rats?
- What is the best mouse/rat bait and how should I use it in my traps?
- I have moths in my clothes, and have indoor pets that may get into mothballs. What are my alternatives?
- I have discovered small, worm-like bugs which are tan colored and taper at one end to a darker brown color. They are living in the carpet and area rugs. What are they? How can I remove them?
- What can I do to keep spiders out of my home?
- What is the best way to treat a flea-infested home?
- Are there really such things as “bed bugs?”
- We have several small, almost microscopic bugs around our windows and sliding glass door. They are reddish-brown; and when killed, they make a tiny red dot that looks like blood. What are they, and should we be concerned if they are increasing?
- I have these bugs with multiple legs and long, thin bodies – like worms. They move slowly and are creepy. What are they and what should I do?
- How do I know if I have house centipedes?
- What harm can Earwigs cause, and how can they be eliminated?
- I’ve heard that silverfish are extremely difficult to control. Is this true? If so, what should I do?
- What can I do to keep crickets from taking over the exterior of my home and office?
- I think I have a gnat problem, but I’m not sure. What should I do?
- I have a problem with flies in my house during the fall and winter. They are black and 1/4-inch in size. What type of flies are these, and what can I do about them?
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It is important to identify the type of ant prior to trying to control it. Some ant species can be controlled using ant baits, while others cannot. The key to success is following the ants back to their colony and treating the colony directly (except when dealing with pharaoh ants).
If placed properly, bait stations may be effective in controlling cockroaches. However, they rely on every cockroach in a population to feed on the bait before the infestation can be eliminated. Bait stations should be combined with other control efforts such as crack and void treatments.
Cockroaches can be eliminated from a home, but re-infestation can occur depending on the particular species involved and where the home is situated. Outdoor cockroaches, like the large smoky browns in the Southeast or Oriental cockroaches in the Northeast and Midwest, may continually try to enter a home from the outside. Regular exterior service in addition to sealing outside cracks will limit such infestation.
Mice only need 1/4-inch in space to squeeze through. They are best controlled by using traps, either snap traps, live traps (e.g., Tin Cat) or a combination of the two. Traps with a bait such as peanut butter or chocolate should be placed where the mice are active, but also out of reach from children and pets. Exterior cracks and holes should be sealed and weather-stripping on doors should be regularly replaced. Numerous mice indicate a more serious problem and should be dealt with by a professional.
With continuous effort, it is possible to eliminate rats. Rats are best controlled with the use of traps so the carcasses can be removed. Baits should be avoided but in many cases, both traps and baits are needed.
Contrary to popular belief, cheese is not a good bait for mice. A minimal amount of peanut butter and chocolate work well.. Work the bait onto the trap so that it is forced to climb onto the trigger.
The first step is to clean the affected clothing and other clothing items that were stored with it. Next, thoroughly clean the closet, dresser, or storage area. Cracks in these areas may also be treated using a properly-labeled indoor pest control product. Pheromone traps are available to monitor moth activity.
They are most likely carpet beetles or cabinet beetles. These beetles feed on items made of wool, dead insects, pet/human hair, and food items. They can be very difficult to control so it is recommended to consult a professional.
To minimize spiders, seal all cracks around windows and doorframes and around light fixtures, vents and ceiling fans, and openings around pipes. Place sticky traps designed for cockroaches near doorways; and regularly remove webs and spiders by vacuuming.
Flea control requires treatment of pets and the premises. Vacuuming removes the soil and debris but could interfere with the treatment. Treatment removes adult fleas, and opens carpet fibers to penetrate to larvae and pupae. An insect growth regulator (IGR) should be used together with a product targeted at the adult fleas. The IGR affects only the flea larvae and prevents them from molting into adult fleas. It is important to treat pets the same day as the home is treated and to consult a veterinarian.
Bed bugs are small, oval, reddish-brown insects that are approximately 1/4-inch long as adults. They live in cracks in beds and walls as well as in furniture near beds. At night, they will crawl into the bed and bite the person sleeping. The bite is usually not painful and, fortunately, bed bugs do not transmit any diseases. Bed bugs can prove difficult to control so a professional should be consulted.
We have several small, almost microscopic bugs around our windows and sliding glass door. They are reddish-brown; and when killed, they make a tiny red dot that looks like blood. What are they, and should we be concerned if they are increasing?
Most likely they are clover mites. They usually live in the grass and invade homes during the spring. During the fall, the adults will deposit eggs in cracks in the outside of buildings. When these eggs hatch in the spring, the tiny, red mite “larvae” crawl up the foundation and find their way inside. Treating the exterior foundation and surrounding ground usually remedy this problem.
They are most likely millipedes, which are related to insects. They live in moist areas outside and feed on organic matter in mulch, lawns, and leaf litter. When the temperature rises, but also in very wet or dry climates, millipedes may try to enter a home. Treatment involves sealing cracks and holes in the home’s exterior walls. Mulch should be kept under 2 inches thick kept 10-12 inches away from the foundation of your home. Professional help is usually required.
House centipedes have very long legs breed indoors and feed on spiders and insects. Homes with house centipedes usually have a crawlspace or basement underneath where they harbor. You may want to consult a professional to inspect.
Earwigs do not bite and are not dangerous. In order to control them, cracks in the home’s exterior and outdoor harborage sites (woodpile, landscape timbers, etc.) need to be treated. Indoors, a residual aerosol or dust insecticide labeled for indoor crack and crevice treatment should be used. Outdoors, a suitable exterior household insecticide can be applied to areas where earwigs might live. If the infestation is large, professional is recommended.
Silverfish are difficult to eliminate because they often hide deep within walls or attics where treatments are difficult to apply. Several months of a residual pest control dust product should be applied into all cracks and voids where activity is visible. Experience has shown that homes with wood shingle roofs typically have the most silverfish infestations.
Crickets are attracted to buildings by bright exterior lights. Changing commercial lighting to sodium vapor lamps and home lighting to yellow “bug light bulbs” greatly reduces the numbers of crickets. In addition, limit heavy ground cover (such as ivy), especially next to the building. Remove any sites where crickets could harbor, such as piles of lumber and bricks. Additionally, seal exterior cracks and holes and make sure all doors have weather-stripping on the bottom.
It is very important to identify these flies or gnats. If the fly is tiny and black, it may be a fungus gnat that lives in the wet soil of potted plants. Small tan flies with red eyes are fruit flies that breed in fresh fruit and garbage.
If they hold their wings flat over their abdomens, they are likely cluster flies. These flies enter the walls and attics of homes in large numbers to survive the winter. On warmer days, they may crawl into the living spaces of the home. Once inside the walls, they are difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate. You need a professional to inspect the home and make recommendations for sealing cracks where flies could enter. Treatments can be applied that can greatly reduce their numbers.