Termite and Ant Swarmers
As temperatures warm up in the Fort Worth area (and they eventually will) insects of all kind begin to make their presence known. The main sign of insect activity is flying or swarming reproductives. The two most destructive varieties of swarming pests are termites and ants, both of which swarm during the spring months. These swarms can occur outside or inside a house. If this activity takes place in or around your home, call for a free evaluation from your pest control professionals at XPest.
Wasps Threaten Fort Worth Homeowners
Wasps continue to plague home owners in the greater Fort Worth area. Their ominous presence poses a constant threat to homeowners seeking to enjoy relief from the heat in their swimming pools. Wasp colonies reach their maximum size in late summer and early fall. The mild spring and warm summer we experienced this year have been favorable to increased wasp activity. More overwintering queens survive when the weather is mild, while wasp metabolism and growth rates increase in high temperatures. Wasp nests commonly occur around the home underneath eaves or in bushy plants. Wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and each wasp can sting repeatedly. Their stings typically cause localized pain and swelling, but sensitive individuals can experience severe allergic reactions. Wasps feed on other insects and are considered to be beneficial by many gardeners. However, those Fort Worth residents plagued by wasps fail to appreciate the benefits of these stinging pests.
Fleas in Fort Worth
The recent rains in North Texas have brought much needed relief to our dry soils and low lake levels. Unfortunately, the rainfall has also led to vast increases in flea activity. Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that attach to humans and animals by their mouths. Blood is a flea’s only food source and they cannot survive without it. Besides severe itching, fleas can also pose severe health problems for our pets. Eating a flea may cause a pet to become infected with tapeworm. Severe flea infestations can also cause a pet to suffer from anemia. To determine if your pet is infested with fleas, check for “flea dirt” on the pet’s skin. Flea dirt is actually flea droppings and looks like coffee grounds on their skin. Of course, the presence of a flea on your pet is evidence that there are far more in the environment. To prevent flea infestations, pet owners should ensure that their pets are protected by veterinarian-prescribed flea prevention medication. To remove existing flea infestations from inside their home or their yard, pet owners should contact a pest control professional.
Bed Bug Activity on the Rise in Fort Worth
XPest offers tips to avoid bed bugs during summer travel season
The increase in international travel has led to a resurgence in bed bug activity during the last eight to nine years. Bed bugs are on the rise in most major metropolitan areas and Fort Worth and the rest of Tarrant County are no exception. The presence of a major international airport has no doubt contributed to the major increase in bed bug activity experienced in greater Fort Worth. With the onset of the busy summer travel season, XPest is advising Fort Worth residents to remain extra vigilant to prevent exposure to these blood sucking pests.
“As people travel during the summer months, the risk of bringing bed bugs home with them increases substantially,” said Frederick Raymond, Managing Partner of XPest of Texas, LLC. “Whether they’re staying in a hotel or staying with friends or family, travelers should take precautions to prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride in their suitcase.”
XPest recommends travelers take the following precautions to avoid bringing bed bugs home with them:
- At hotels, carefully inspect the entire room before unpacking, especially behind the headboard and in upholstered furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams and the box springs for evidence of bed bug activity.
- Do not place luggage on the bed or on the floor. Use hotel luggage racks when packing or unpacking.
- Upon returning home from a trip, inspect luggage and other items before bringing them into the house. Wash all clothes and run them through a high-heat dryer cycle.
For more information about bedbugs, please visit http://xpesttx.com.
XPest of Texas, LLC is a fully licensed pest control company serving the greater Fort Worth community. XPest is staffed by professionals with over 21 years of experience protecting Texas homes from bed bugs and other pests.
The Texas Brown Tarantula Invades Fort Worth
There have been numerous sightings of tarantulas in the greater Fort Worth area. These tarantulas are Texas Brown Tarantulas, one of the most common tarantula species in the southern United States. Tarantulas are prevalent throughout Texas and are common in grasslands and open areas. Tarantulas use burrows, natural cavities under logs or stones, spaces under loose bark of tree trunks and even old rodent burrows as shelters. They also dig their own burrows. Tarantulas usually remain in their burrows waiting for prey to come by but may move a few yards out to forage when necessary. They typically feed on crickets, June beetles, ground beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas, and caterpillars. Texas Brown tarantulas usually don’t venture far from their burrows, except in the spring when male tarantulas actively wander apparently seeking females. Texas Brown tarantulas can grow over four inches in length and weigh more than 3 ounces as adults. The large size and hairiness of tarantulas attracts attention and concern from Fort Worth residents who observe them in and around their homes. However, the bites of the Texas Brown species are generally not serious to humans.
Wasps in Fort Worth
With the onset of warmer weather in the Fort Worth area, flowering bushes and smaller plants are in full bloom. This time of year brings about a buzz of activity around homes and gardens, and this buzz often emanates from stinging pests like wasps. Wasps are considered beneficial because they feed on many insects that destroy crops and plants. However, these wasps can represent a life threatening threat to those who are allergic to their stings. Wasps frequently build their nests underneath eaves around a home. Wasps usually attack when their nests are disturbed and each wasp can sting repeatedly. While stings typically cause localized pain and swelling, sensitive individuals or victims of multiple stings can experience allergic reactions that may result in death. Most wasp nests can be removed from an eave with a strong stream of water. However, people must exercise precautions when attempting this removal, especially those with known sensitivity to their stings.
Termite Season in Fort Worth
Everyone looks forward to the warmer weather and flowering plants associated with the spring season. One of the most unpleasant aspects of spring is the emergence of termites. This is the time of year when termites seek out new mating grounds. Termite swarmers are typically the first sign of termite season as they show up in inside of homes, looking to start new colonies. As Fort Worth homeowners take on projects to improve their homes and gardens during the spring season, they should also look for telltale signs of termite infestation. Discarded wings on window sills or near doors are signs that swarming termites have made their way into a home. Homeowners should check their foundations for mud tubes that termites use to reach their food source. They should also look for cracked or bubbling paint or hollow spots in their sheetrock. If a homeowner detects these signs of termite activity, they should have their homes inspected by a termite professional.
Fire Ants in Fort Worth
Many have long considered fire ants to be a problem that Fort Worth residents only experience in the spring and summer months. However, fire ants are quickly becoming a year-round problem. Recent rains have resulted in a great many fire ant mounds popping up, despite the cooler temperatures we are still experiencing in the greater Fort Worth area. Residents must be weary of fire ants while engaging in activities in the yard or on the soccer field, especially those residents who are very sensitive to fire ant stings. The best defense against fire ants is to avoid them altogether. There also a lot of options available to prevent or remove fire ant mounds, including some home remedies. However, Fort Worth residents must exercise good judgment when experimenting with fire ant home remedies. Just this past week, a 12-year old boy in Southeast Texas was critically burned in a fire he started while using gasoline to eliminate a fire ant mound.
Carpenter Ants in Fort Worth
One of the first pests to appear in the spring is the carpenter ant. These destructive pests are common in the greater Fort Worth area. They are large ants, ranging from half an inch to an inch in length. Although not as destructive as termites, carpenter ants can cause significant damage to homes and business over time. Unlike termites, they do not eat wood, but instead use their mandibles to create galleries in wood, building a nest in which to lay their eggs and raise their offspring. Carpenter ants are attracted to wood that is dampened by moistures, in areas such as window and door frames and soffits. The most common indicators of a carpenter ant infestation are foraging worker ants and mounds of saw dust-like material beneath wood members. Residents of Tarrant and Parker county should be on the lookout for these signs and seek professional help removing these damaging pests.
Termites as a Fort Worth Fuel Source?
Termites are unquestionably one of the greatest threats to most people’s biggest investments: their homes. However, scientists at the University of Western Australia are studying termites to see if they may contribute to biofuel enhancement. Termites have single cell organisms called protozoa in their guts that allow them to digest consumed wood. These scientists are testing the enzymes in the gut bacteria to see if it has the potential to help with biofuel production. Termites already make huge contributions to the environment, helping to recycle wood and plant material in our ecosystem. The microbes in their guts transform the cellulose in leaves and the wood of dead trees into food. During this process, they release methane, carbon dioxide and other gases. Unfortunately, the benefits of termites to the environment are eclipsed by their economic destructiveness. Termites cause more damage to homes in a year than lightning, fire and tornados combined. As we approach the warmer weather months, homeowners in the greater Fort Worth area should be on the lookout for signs of termites around their homes.