Black Widows

Black Widow

The Black Widow is arguably one of the most recognizable spiders. For decades and still today, the black widow is a cause of fear for many. What is it about this spider that sets it apart from the others?

When you hear the words “black widow” the image that comes to most minds is actually the female black widow. Some may not know it, but it is the female that has the famous shiny black bulbous body, with a bright red or orange hour glass shape on the abdomen. It is the iconic hour glass shape that makes this particular spider easy to identify. Black widows are also different in the way of their webs. Black widows do not contstruct “beautiful” intricate webs like many other spiders. Instead their webs look like a tangled jumbled mess and irregular in shape. Don’t let the messy look fool you though, the black widows web is actually constructed carefully with strong thread and still works great for trapping prey.

Black widows are solitary, meaning they like being alone only socialising when mating. Mating for the black widow is during spring and early summer. Black widow egg sacs are typically white, sometimes gray in color and each egg sack can contain 200-400 spiderlings! A common misconception about black widows is that females kill and eat the male right after mating. This is not always the true. In most cases she will not kill him and he will be on his way.

As mentioned before, black widows are solitary and like to stay that way. They prefer dark areas that won’t be disturbed such as a dark corner in a garage or closet, wood/rocks piles even shoes that have been setting untouched for a while. Black widows are not the type to start a fight, these spiders are actually docile and only attack/bite if they feel they or their egg sac are in serious danger. The majoraity of the time when people are bit they are unware of the black widow in the first place, such as putting on a pair of shoes or placing their hand near the egg sac in a pile of wood. Black widows are poisonous but do not always inject the venom with every bite, they save the precious venom for extreme threats.

When ever you are dealing with spider control its important to know what your dealing with. If you are unsure or are unable to identify the spider you should contact your pest management for advise or to handle the problem for you.

(208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

 

Indian Meal Moths

                                                Pantry Pests Indian Meal Moths

Have you noticed moths flying around your kitchen or even in the pantry? Maybe you’ve seen them but just didn’t give it that much thought, after all what’s the harm in a moth or two right? Well if you are seeing moths near your kitchen often, you could have an Indian Meal Moth infestation going on. Indian meal moths are considered the most common among pantry pests.

What do they look like? The adult Indian meal moth is small, about 3/8 inches long with a wingspan of about 5/8 inches. Their wing color is generally gray but the rear half of the wing is a rust-brown or bronze. The colors and patterns on the wings make it easy to identify and distinguish Indian meal moths from other house moths. The larval is cream colored, sometimes with yellow-green or pink shades, and the head is a dark brown. Larvae are sometimes seen as they are wandering about in search of a space to pupate, or pass through the pupal stage. These little guys tend to enjoy finding a spot high on the wall, where the wall meets the ceiling.

How do they get into your home? The most common way the Indian meal moth finds its way into your home is through your groceries. That’s right, most likely something you bought was already infested when you brought it into your home. The larvae of Indian meal moths can infest a large range of common pantry dry foods such as bread, birdseed, dry pet food, cereal, flour, pasta, dry soup mixes, dried fruit, nuts, and most spices. They have also been known to infest chocolate and dried flowers that have been used for decoration like wreaths and other craft projects.

Inspection and what to do: If you think you may have Indian meal moths in your pantry your going to need to do a thorough  inspection of all food to identify the infested food source(s). You basically need to inspect ALL food items with the exception of unopened tin cans. Bags of food that you haven’t even opened yet need to be checked, remember the infestation may not have started at the grocery store, but could have started at the factory before the item was even packaged. You’re going to be looking for moths (of course!) but you need to keep a keen eye out for larvae. The larvae cover their food source with a silken webbing. The silken webbing often accumulates casts skins and fecal pellets which may help make them easier to see and notice. Remember to check EVERY item. Finding the source of the infestation is critical in ridding these pests. Immediately tightly bag and dispose of all infested food and wipe down the shelves with warm water and soap to help remove any larvae and/or pupae. Also as advise with many other pests, store food in air tight glass or plastic containers to avoid re-infestation. Remember to check pet food and store it in air tight containers as well, even if you keep it in the garage.

If you feel you need help with the inspection or proper identification you can always call your pest management professional.

Give Alpha Home Pest Control a call (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

 

Paper Wasps

                                                                   Paper Wasps

The paper wasp gets its name due to the construction of their nests. Paper wasp nests are made with their saliva and combined with plant material and really do look as if to be made from paper. Their nests include numerous compartments, within which wasps lay their eggs and raise their young. These nests typically do not have an outer shell making the cells of the nest visible. It somewhat resembles an umbrella and depending where you are may also known as umbrella wasps. They love to build their nests in sheltered areas, such as door frames, window sills, around outdoor light fixtures and the eaves of houses.

Adult paper wasps generally feed on nectar and pollen, although they also hunt for insects that are used to nourish their colonies’ larvae. As larvae develop into adults, they do their part and help assist in expanding the nest and taking care of future generations.  Something that people don’t realize is that paper wasps are actually considered beneficial because they assist in pollination by feeding on nectar, and they help control pest insect populations by feeding them to their larvae.

Now even though they are beneficial, nests should not be permitted to develop in or near the home structure. If you’ve every been stung by a wasp you know that stings from paper wasps are extremely painful and may cause serious reactions to people who are allergic to the venom.

If you do find a paper wasps nest (or any nest) developing on your homes structure, it is advised that you call a pest control professional to assist in treatment of paper wasp infestations. Removing a paper wasp nest may be dangerous. Paper wasps generally only attack if they feel threatened and if your trying to remove and destroy their home, they just might feel threatened.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control for you pest control needs (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

 

 

 

 

Mud Dauber

Mud dauber is a common name for wasps that make their nests with mud. There are many species of wasps referred to as mud daubers; some other common names are dirt daubers, organ-pipe wasps, mud wasps and potter wasps. Although their appearance varies, mud daubers generally are from ½ to 1 inch long. Mud daubers are colored either completely black or blue metallic. Some species have yellow or greenish markings on the body. Their body shape is often referred to as “thread-waisted” with some mud daubers possessing an extremely long and thin, stretched out looking body segment located between the thorax and abdomen.

Mud daubers are an interesting insect, especially in the way that they feed their larvae. In the spring, the overwintering pupae develop into adults. The adult females begin building a new nest and after completing the mud nest, they start capturing insects or spiders that are then placed into each mud nest cell. Eggs are deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey left by the adult wasp, and then change into the pupa stage (cocoon) that overwinters. Here is the interesting part, the prey isn’t killed, but stung and paralyzed before being placed into the mud cell. This is crucial because if the prey was dead, it would decompose and then become unsuitable nourishment for required larval development. Adults feed on plant nectar, honeydew and the body fluids of the spiders and insects they capture. At least two species of mud daubers are especially important since they are reported to seek out and capture spiders including black widow spiders!

Mud daubers can actually be very beneficial since they help reduce the numbers of some pest insects and spiders. Also, they are not likely to sting.  But remember, it is never smart to approach their nests without using caution. If your a “do it yourselfer” scraping off the nest or using a strong stream of water from a garden hose may work, but they still may return. If mud daubers become a problem and keep coming back, be sure to contact your pest management professional for their recommendations and assistance.

Give us a call, Alpha Home Pest Control  (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

 

 

 

 

 

Commercial Pest Control

                            Commercial Pest Control

Alpha Home Pest Control understands how quickly a business can come to a stop when there are unwanted pests invading your work space. Pests do not discriminate and can quickly invade a structure if they please, leading to an infestation that could harm your professional reputation. Commercial Pest Control is a must for any business.

Office buildings, restaurants, warehouse/storage areas, schools, churches, house/apartment rentals whatever your business may be, Alpha has you covered. Not all commercial pest control services are the same. We understand your facility’s uniqueness requires a custom designed pest management and grounds care program.

If you are already working with a pest management company and still have pests, you need to give them a call. Let them know that what they are doing isn’t working and you need a new inspection with a custom designed plan of action that you both agree on. Don’t lose money by giving it to a company that isn’t doing their job. Many pest control companies (such as yours truly) will re-service free of charge as well. If they don’t seem to be on board and try to talk you out of a new inspection, give them the boot and find a new company that have your best interest in mind.

You can rest assured when working with Alpha Home Pest Control. We’re licensed, certified, experienced, use sustainable practices and the latest tools and techniques in pest management. Alpha will always have your best interest in mind. The products we use are top of the line and are kid and pet friendly.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control to schedule your free commercial consultation inspection and estimate including a custom designed plan of action that fits your unique business needs. (208)475-4440

You can also visit our website and request quote, see reviews from customers and check out our helpful articles that include pest control tips!

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Traveling and Bed Bugs

Spring Break is here and many will be traveling. If you stay in a hotel or motel, keep Alpha’s Bed bug tips in mind! Bed bugs can be pick up in hotel rooms and you may not know it till they’ve made themselves at home in your own bed.
While you’re getting ready for your trip, we suggest packing a small flashlight to help investigate your hotel bed and other areas around the room. Remember to start checking out the room as soon as you get there. You can start by not setting your luggage on the bed, instead set it on a hard surface such as the bathroom counter or even setting it in the bathtub while you check out the room.

• Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, especially the corners. While using your handy flashlight, we also suggest moving or lifting the mattress to check underneath as bedbugs sometimes will be under the mattress. You’re looking for telltales signs of the rust colored spots.
• Check the head board and inside of drawers of dressers and nightstands
• Check anything upholstered like chairs and curtains
• Check the edges of the carpet for bed bugs, they can be anywhere in the room, but be sure to thoroughly inspect the carpet edges that are close to the bed

*If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms or establishments immediately!! If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and or directly above or below the suspected infested room. Bed bugs can easily catch rides of housekeeping carts, luggage, and even through wall sockets.

Remember that bed bugs are not picky and will hitchhike a ride with anyone. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into your home. You can use a vacuum or a garment steam cleaner before putting the luggage up for storage. Using a steam cleaner will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have stowed away with you. Don’t just put your clothes into a hamper; take them from the luggage directly to the washer (even clothes that may not have been worn). Wash all clothing in hot water. The longer you wait, the more time they will have to get established, which can slow down the elimination process.

Call Alpha Home Pest Control for all your pest needs! (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Spring Cleaning before Pests

                                    Spring Cleaning before Pests

It’s that time of year that many anticipate and look forward to. Spring! The temperatures are finally starting to warm up, the days are getting longer and the birds are chirping their sweet songs. While spring brings many things to look forward to, the spring pests are not one of them! This is the time that those pests seem to try and make up for lost time and they just come out of nowhere. Spiders are out making new webs, ants are marching along, mosquitoes start annoying, and bill bugs start eating away at lawns. But don’t fret, even if you don’t use a professional pest control company there are some ways you can help prepare your home to help keep it pest free this season! Being proactive and following Alpha’s pest prevention tips could save you from possible infestations.

The pest pros at Alpha Home Pest Control suggest doing some spring cleaning before pests! Don’t panic, just a little cleaning up here and there will add up and can make a huge difference in the battle against unwanted pests. For the inside, Clean out common clutter areas such as basements, attics, closets, under beds, and even bookshelves. Areas with clutter generally don’t get disturbed too much and make a nice place for pests and rodents to make a home and start a family. Keeping these areas clear of clutter and clean will minimize the hiding spots for many pests. The kitchen should also get a good deep clean. Go beyond cleaning up daily crumbs and spills. Check behind and under appliances for pest activity and give it a good wipe down while you’re there. Wipe down cupboard shelves, and inside of drawers, removing all crumbs and debris. Don’t forget the pantry. Dispose of expired foods, vacuum the floor and shelves, and wiping down all the shelves. If you keep a trashcan in the pantry give it a quick rinse, removing spills or sticky spots that may have occurred.

As for the outside, you can start by raking up the yard. Getting rid of leaves, old mulch, and picking up fallen tree limbs can help keep pests away. Trim back bushes and trees away from the house. Just like clutter, overgrown trees and branches make a great home of all kinds of insects and pests. Insects and rodents can get through some of the smallest of holes. Check the outside of your home for holes and/or cracks and make sure all window screens fit properly and are in good condition. Check for any standing water and remove it to help reduce mosquitoes. Another thing that a lot of people seem to forget is the outside trashcan. Trashcans can attract all types of pests such as ants, bees, wasps, mice, even stray cats! On the day that your trash has been picked up, use the hose and spray inside of the trashcan, leave the lid open and let it dry in the sunshine.

Alpha Home Pest Control encourages you to be proactive against unwanted spring pests. If you feel you need help preparing your home for spring or think you may already have a pest problem, don’t hesitate to call us!

(208)475-4440       http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Bees

                                                    Bees

No doubt bees are some of the best workers on the planet, Buzzing about from flower to flower, visiting different plants and vegetation working nonstop all day long. Unfortunately bees can often be feared as a nuisance and unwanted insect.  When generally bees are there to do their job and go home without causing trouble.

What do these beautiful creatures do for us besides creating amazing honey? In truth, likely much more than we can possibly realize. There are hundreds of types of bees, all with different roles, habits, nests, and hives. Pollinating is absolutely critical and a major job role for many of the bees and plants around our world. Bees don’t only make honey and help flowers grow. They do so much more and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve. In addition to the flowers and many plants bees’ help, there are many crops that rely a great deal on help from the bees and just wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for the bees working hard pollinating and doing what they do.

While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if the bees weren’t around: apples, mango’s, kiwi fruit, plums, peaches, nectarines, guava, pomegranates, pears, black and red currants, alfalfa, okra, strawberries, onions, cashews, cactus, apricots, avocados, passion fruit, Lima beans, kidney beans, green beans, cherries, celery, coffee, walnuts, cotton, flax, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil, lemon, figs, limes, carrots, cucumber, hazelnut, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, egg plant, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, cocoa, vanilla, grapes, tomatoes.

So what should you do if you discover a swarm or hive of bees on your property?

  • You should call your local bee keeper to report the bees (you can call non emergency or even your local human society to help find the proper person)
    *The bee professional will be able to help evaluate your situation and help determine if the bees need to be removed, or if they will likely be moving on their own within a short time
  • You should avoid the area and keep children and pets away from the swarm
    Do not attempt to control the bees yourself. Do not tease the bees by throwing rocks or spraying with water! Do not use any chemicals around the bees
  • Bee Keepers are there to help and in most cases will remove the bees for free. Remember the importance of all bees. If you come into contact with a swarm or hive please take the proper precautions and alert the proper authorities such as your local bee keeper.

If your still unsure of who to call we would be happy to direct you to the proper people! Give us a call or visit our website for contact info http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

 

Gophers

Have you ever had the yard or garden of your dreams and then discovered someone has gone through and vandalized it? Having your prized yard or garden destroyed and eaten by some mysterious creature can be a frustrating situation for some to handle. If you are noticing piles of dirt or tunnels a long with the damage going on, you may have a gopher!

The Idaho Pocket Gopher is a medium sized rodent and is found in Idaho (of course) and nearby states. They are yellowish brown with dark brown-tipped hair on the back, their feet are whitish and they have dark gray around their nose. Their length is can range from 7 to 9 inches. They are herbivores eating a variety of weeds, grasses, crops and plants. Gophers are often mistaken for other rodents such as moles, voles and groundhogs. But there are some ways to distinguish them from other rodents.

Gophers are excellent burrowers; their tunnels can range from a few inches to a few feet in depth and several hundred feet in length. What is unique about the gophers burrow is the shape. As a gopher digs tunnels and pushes dirt to the surface, he comes to the surface at an angle, resulting in crescent (sometimes referred to as horseshoe) or irregular shaped mounds. Moles tend to have volcano shaped mounds at the surface of their burrows. Another thing to note about the gophers mound is that it will usually have loose dirt and plant mixture plugging the tunnel opening. They will come up to eat vegetation near the opening of their burrow and when they return they will close their door and fill the hole.

Gophers control can be a difficult task. We always advise that you contact your pest management for proper rodent identification and to discuss what the best options for your situation are.

If something is bugging you, give us a call (208)475-4440

http://www.alphahomepestcontrol.com

Carpet Beetles

                                                    Carpet Beetles

It can be hard to think of “beetles” living in your carpet without realizing it, but it can happen. Many people have seen them but few people know what these tiny insects actually are and capable of. Carpet Beetles are a common pest and often is mistaken for “some sort of ladybug” because of their similar characteristic shape. Carpet Beetles are small (about 1/8th to1\4th) dome shaped insects. The Varied Carpet Beetle has an irregular pattern of white, brown, and dark yellow scales on its wing covers. In older adults the scales that form this pattern wear off, so the beetles may appear solid brown or black. Mature larvae are slightly longer than adults and are covered with tufts of hair that extend upright to form a round plume if disturbed. They have alternating light and dark brown stripes and are distinguishable from other carpet beetles because they are broader in the rear and narrower in the front.
Carpet Beetles have an unusual ability to digest keratin, the chief protein component of skin and hair giving them the ability to eat clothing, carpet and upholstery. They can be a significant nuisance in the home, in storage facilities, museums, and clothing stores.

What to look for?

Seeing adult Carpet Beetles are typically the first sign of an infestation, they primarily feed on pollen and usually don’t cause too much damage. It’s the Carpet Beetle larvae that are responsible for damage to clothes, ornamental decorations, and other natural fiber house wares. The larvae are what you should be seeking to control if you are unfortunately dealing with this insect. If you do have an infestation, examine those types of items closely. You can usually find traces of their discarded molt skins in darker areas, such as closets. The discarded molt skin from the larvae has been known to cause asthmatic episodes in some individuals.

It’s wise to remember that the most damage is caused by the larvae, which are typically found in dark, secluded areas of closets, under furniture, or at the area of where carpeting meets a wall. Adult Carpet Beetles have wings and are capable of flying; the adults are typically attracted to light and sunny windows. The females tend to lay eggs in clusters of lint where the larvae can emerge and sustain themselves on a high quality source of both essential proteins and oils shed by humans and pets. The more mature larvae tend to be more mobile and can sometimes be found crawling up walls or across ceilings.

Occasionally Carpet Beetle infestations can be the result of bird or wasp nests in wall voids where the larvae are feeding on discarded feathers and debris. More commonly the infestation can be traced to a pile of forgotten/neglected clothing or old upholstered furniture left in the attic, so it’s important to not overlook materials when inspecting for these fabric loving insects. Also, if you have pets be sure check around pet areas like beds or where your pet likes to lay. Carpet Beetles may be hiding under the pet bed or kennel as there would be plenty for pet hair for them to consume.

The majority of Carpet Beetle infestations can usually be controlled and eliminated by the homeowner being proactive, regularly vacuuming and staying on top of good housekeeping habits. If you feel like you have a case that is beyond what you can handle, give us a call!

(208)475-4440

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