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Carpenter Ants: Among the largest of all ants. Worker ants are usually 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, with large heads, shiny black bodies and no sting. They eat almost anything but cause most damage by tunneling in wood, both indoors and outdoors, to make smooth, "sculptured" nest cavities.

We had an ant problem and could not control it ourselves.  We were referred to ACME Pest and are extremely happy we called!  They were at our house the next day to start the treatments.  After the first treatment we noticed the ants in different areas of the house.  We called an they were at our house that same day to add more treatment. ACME Pest is wonderful to work with an definitely work around your schedule!

Thanks ACME Pest! - C. Chamberlain

Pavement Ants: Small blackish-brown ants. Workers 1/10 to 1/8 inch long with mild sting. Mostly nesting outdoors under stones or in cracks in paving, but often invading homes seeking food and sometimes nesting in crevices indoors in winter.

Pharaoh Ants: Very small yellow or reddish ants. Workers only 1/16 to 1/12 inch long with mild sting. Originated in tropics and mostly found nesting in warm (80(-86(F), humid crevices indoors, such as near radiators and sinks. Active throughout the year, eating and contaminating all foodstuffs and sometimes attacking invalids and newborn babies. Easily spread between buildings on groceries and laundry.

"I had problem with ants by my front door and ants in the kitchen. I called ACME and they not only came by on schedule but were accurate, and told it like it was. They were honest and sprayed the house on the first go around. I have not had any more issues.  I recommend them to anyone because they are trustworthy."
  Jason Bennett

Argentine Ants: Small brown ants. Workers 1/10 inch long, with no sting but a severe bite. Found throughout the South and California, and in some other states. Mostly nesting in the ground under boards, tree stumps, concrete walks, and leaf piles, but sometimes overwintering or nesting indoors, especially in heating ducts. Eats almost anything but prefers sweet foods and frequently establishes trails to raid food sources in homes.

Fire Ants: Small reddish ants with blackish abdomen. Workers 1/16 to 1/4 inch long with powerful stings. Found in the Southern states, Arizona and California. Some species form large nest mounds in open ground, while others nest under boards, rocks and plants, and sometimes under buildings, especially near fire hearths. They eat everything from cereals to meat, and attack domestic animals and people, especially invalids and babies. 
More about fire ants...

What Can You Do Against Ants?

Many species of ants remain outdoors and are not pests. In fact, ants may be beneficial when they are predators on crop pests, and some are useful pollinators of plants. Ants can also improve soil quality because their tunneling activity enhances soil drainage and aeration and helps recycle soil nutrients. However, those ants which cause harm to people or property must be controlled using appropriate chemical and nonchemical methods. The choice of pesticide is especially important because some pesticides, particularly over-the-counter brands, are readily detected by ants and cause them to disperse and infest new locations. Also, many pesticides used by consumers perform poorly on soil and other porous surfaces, and are adversely affected by rainfall and ultraviolet light outdoors or by the heat and humidity in places where ants choose to nest indoors. Consequently, the selection and use of pesticides against harmful ants is usually best left to professionals. However, here are 10 nonchemical measures you can carry out that will discourage ants and complement other measures taken by professional pest control operators.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Guard against importing ants by checking incoming materials for "hitchhiking" ants. Pharaoh ants can be carried in luggage, laundry and groceries, and Argentine ants may be introduced in balled nursery stock.
2. Trim trees and bushes away from buildings to discourage ant passage.
3. Remove plants that attract ants because of their fruit or nectar, or because they harbor honeydew-producing insects (e.g. fig trees, cherry laurel, bamboo, oleander).
4. Eliminate tree stumps, leaf piles, boards on the ground and other favored nest sites outdoors.
5. Seal cracks in walks and driveways and rot holes in trees where these provide harborage for ants.
6. Store firewood off the ground away from building, and check it for pests before bringing it indoors.
7. Screen windows and vents, and seal crevices in foundations and around doors, windows and vents to discourage ant entry.
8. Correct outside moisture problems, such as leaking flashing, clogged gutters and downspouts and soil-wood contact.
9. Ensure good ventilation in attics and eaves, and eliminate moisture problems caused by plumbing leaks or condensation in bathrooms and kitchens.
10. Keep food and garbage in tightly fitting containers, especially overnight, when many ants are most active.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Ants

Did You Know?

1. There are an estimated 10,000 different species of ants worldwide.
2. Some experts believe ants are more numerous than any other group of creatures on earth.
3. Ants are related to wasps and bees and live in colonies or nests containing worker ants and one or more queen ants.
4. Worker ants may live 7 years and queen ants up to 15 years. A colony of ants may survive more than 20 years.
5. Ant colonies of some species may contain more than half a million ants.
6. Many ants have powerful bites, but some species, especially fire ants and harvester ants, have poison stings which cause pain and sometimes disfigurement and death of people, pets and wildlife.
7. Ants eat a wide range of foodstuffs and can cause food contamination in homes. Outdoors, crops and ornamentals can be damaged directly by ants or because ants may protect aphids from predators in return for honeydew.
8. Some ants are small enough and persistent enough to get into almost anything searching for food. They are a particular hazard in hospitals where they penetrate sterile packs.
9. Ants can spread disease organisms. One species, the Pharaoh ant, which invades homes, restaurants and hospitals can carry more than 20 types of bacteria, including several responsible for gastrointestinal and urinary infections.
10. Carpenter ants can cause major structural damage in homes. Some species of ants also cause short circuits by chewing wiring, while others cause settling of roads and even runways by excavating soil.

I have used the services of Acme Pest since November 2010.  They have serviced the property twice since then and have done a very good job. They are punctual and courteous and considerable of time and property. Keep up the good work!!

– Paul O’Connor March 2011


German Cockroach: Adults 9/16 inch long, with well-developed wings (but they seldom fly). Prefers hot (85-95(F), humid places, e.g. in kitchens, near stoves, dishwashers and sinks.

Brown-banded Cockroach: Adults about 1/2 inch long; will fly when disturbed. Prefers warm (over 80(F), dry, high-level places, e.g. wall cabinets, behind pictures and inside television sets and wall clocks.

I was desperate; HUGE WATER BUGS aka American Cockroaches were everywhere and I have “Bug Phobia”, they like me but the feeling is not mutual; Mr. Donnie was my hero and he rescued me from all these scary critters that appear from the twilight zone.  This includes: carpenter ants, mosquitoes, mud daubers, and now brown recluse spiders that built a web from my house to my neighbors, which Mr. Wesley saved me from today.  Thank you Mr. Wesley; Mr. Wesley is Mr. Donnie’s assistant dragon slayer.  Knight and shinning armor.  When they come to my house they need to wear shirts that say, “Have no fear, Acme is here”   Have a blessed day!!! 
--God Bless,Martha Jones

American Cockroach: Adults 1 1/2 inches long, with large wings which they use for flying or gliding in warm locations. Prefers hot (85-95(F), humid places, living outdoors in decaying vegetation in the South and Southeast, but also occupying sewers and invading homes, especially basements and garbage areas.

Smokybrown Cockroach: Adults 1 1/4 inches long, with large wings-an excellent flyer. Prefers hot (85-95(F), sheltered humid places, living outdoors (especially in treeholes) in the South and Southeast but commonly invading homes, often via the eaves.

Oriental Cockroach: Adults about 1 inch long, wings present but small and functionless in males and absent in females. Prefers temperate (70-80(F), low-level, damp places, especially sewers, drains, basements and mulched flowerbeds. Several other species of cockroaches are regionally important and will be known to professional pest control operators.

What Can You Do Against Cockroaches?

Cockroaches need food, water and hiding places in order to survive, and if you can reduce the availability of these factors you will discourage them and make them more vulnerable to other measures aimed at killing them. However, it is important to recognize that while good sanitation can make it harder for cockroaches to thrive, sanitation measures alone will not eliminate a well-established cockroach infestation - only pesticides can do that. But remember that cockroaches have developed resistance to many over-the-counter pesticides. Even worse, some over-the-counter pesticides are highly repellent and can actually make an infestation worse by scattering cockroaches to new areas.

Proper selection and use of pesticides is best left to professionals. But here are 10 specific nonchemical measures you can carry out that will complement pesticide applications, perhaps improving the results from pesticides and reducing the amount of pesticide needed to get rid of cockroaches.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Where cockroaches are common outdoors, trim overhanging trees and remove foundation plantings or wall climbing vegetation to discourage invasion (this is especially useful in the South and Southeast).
2. Screen doors, windows and attic vents, and seal foundation cracks and around utilities, to discourage entry of outdoor-living cockroaches, Also, windows and doors, especially, garage doors, should be closed when not in use.
3. Check incoming provisions, especially groceries, drink cartons and firewood, for "hitch-hiking" cockroaches.
4. Inspect your luggage and handbags when returning from buildings likely to be infested, such as some hotels or hospitals.
5. Don't leave food and drink, for people or pets, exposed overnight. Cockroaches love this! Put it in the refrigerator or tightly fitting containers.
6. Regularly clean up food scraps and keep garbage in closed containers to make it harder for cockroaches to find food.
7. Eliminate plumbing leaks, dripping faucets and condensation problems to discourage most types of cockroaches.
8. Repair grouting in tiles to facilitate cleaning and to prevent cockroaches hiding in tiling.
9. Seal crevices along baseboards or work surfaces and around pipe runs and electrical outlets and conduits, to reduce cockroach hiding places and routes for cockroach dispersal.
10. Get rid of old grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and other clutter that provide hiding places for cockroaches and makes cleaning, inspection and pesticide application difficult.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Cockroaches

Did You Know?

1. Cockroaches are the No. 1 indoor pest in most countries of the world and can infest even the cleanest buildings.
2. Cockroaches originated more than 100 million years before dinosaurs, and have now occupied our planet for more than 300 million years.
3. Cockroaches can become established wherever people live, travel or work, including homes, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, and even on ships, trains and aircraft.
4. Cockroaches carry numerous disease organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, which they can pick up in drains, sewers, etc. and transfer to human food and utensils.
5. About 5 million Americans are allergic to cockroaches, and exposure to environments contaminated by cockroaches is a significant cause of asthma.
6. Cockroaches cause serious economic losses by eating, staining or tainting our possessions. They can even wreck computers and other electronic equipment by causing short circuits.
7. Cockroaches can survive by eating almost anything, from meat to paper, and by drinking anything from beer to human urine.
8. Cockroach infestations often go unnoticed, and are hard for untrained personnel to deal with, because cockroaches are mostly nocturnal and spend 75% of their time hiding.
9. Cockroaches can produce thousands of offspring within a year, and a single building may ultimately contain more cockroaches than the population of people in a large city.
10. Some populations of cockroaches have developed resistance to many of the pesticides sold over-the-counter to homeowners.


Adults are about 1/10 inch long. They are wingless, but have strong legs, particularly the hind legs, which are adapted for jumping. Adult fleas have a flat body and backward-pointing spines which help them more easily between the hairs or feathers of their victims and make it hard to dislodge them. Experts identify different species by the number and position of spines on the head and body of adult fleas.

We had roaches a year ago and had a different exterminator; they were great on the initial visit, not so much on follow ups. We had another infestation and called Acme, the came out that day - a Friday – and took care of the problem and the follow ups have been excellent.

Tim Campbell 11/18/10

Cat Flea: The most widespread flea in homes. Also attacks dogs, wild animals and people.

Human Flea: Especially common in warm regions, where it attacks dogs and wildlife, as well as people.

Northern Rat Flea: Mostly found on rats, mice and opossums, but it also attacks people and is common in some cities.

Chicken Flea: Common pest of fowl, but they are also found in nests of wild birds, including sparrows and starlings. People may be attacked by chicken fleas from bird nests on or in buildings.

Oriental Rat Flea: Often found on rats in seaport towns. It also attacks house mice, cottontail rabbits, California ground squirrels and people. It is one of the most common carriers of plague from rodents to people. Other pest species include Dog Fleas, Squirrel Fleas, Chigoe Fleas and Sticktight Fleas. Unlike most adult fleas, which spend only a short time on their victims while feeding, chigoe and sticktight fleas stay attached most of their lives.

Adult fleas avoid daylight but like warm areas and are attracted by the warmth and movement of their victims. They lay hundreds of eggs which hatch into whitish, maggot-like larvae in or near the nests and resting areas of their victims. These larvae burrow in nest debris or nearby soil to find food and to avoid light and desiccation. Indoors, flea larvae find similar conditions in pet bedding or deep in the pile of carpets.

What Can You Do Against Fleas?

Outside every home there are wild rodents, birds, bats and other animals which are parasitized by fleas. When these nest on or near the home, there is a risk of flea invasion, particularly when the infested animal dies and the adult fleas seek alternative hosts. When homeowners keep cats or dogs, the risk is even greater because such pets easily pick up fleas from wild animal sources outdoors, or when they mix with other pets at veterinary clinics, pet shows or neighboring homes. However, the fact that fleas are such a common pest does not mean they should be tolerated. Even if you are not particularly disturbed or irritated by fleas, control measures are necessary because of the disease risks and the distress caused to pets and visitors. These control measures must be aimed not only at existing adult fleas, but also at sources of new fleas, particularly larval development areas on the premises. Finding and dealing with these sources is essential to prevent immediate reinfestation, but it requires special knowledge and is best handled by professional pest control operators. However, here are 10 measures you can carry out or arrange that will reduce any existing problems and make it harder for fleas to become established in your premises.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Keeping your pets indoors (or having no pets at all) is the most effective and economic method of avoiding fleas being brought into your home.
2. Where pet dogs go outside, try to minimize their contact with infested animals by keeping them on a leash and fencing yards.
3. Remove bird nests which are a close source of fleas (e.g. from gutters, eaves, etc).
4. Screen or seal foundation vents, chimneys, crevices, etc. to keep out flea-bearing mice, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, bats, etc. Pay particular attention to crawl spaces.
5. Keep lawns cut short and eliminate weedy areas in order to create the dry ground conditions which discourage flea larvae.
6. Eliminate carpets or rugs which are difficult to clean (e.g. some shag rugs) or have them regularly cleaned by professionals.
7. Vacuum thoroughly and regularly all areas of your home visited by pets and those places where dirt accumulates (e.g. edges of fitted carpets, under cushions on sofas, under heavy furniture, pet resting areas). This will particularly remove flea eggs, adults and larval food. Immediately dispose of the vacuum bag outside.
8. Where pets are a main source of fleas, regularly wash pet bedding to destroy immature stages of fleas.
9. Pets subject to flea attack should be regularly treated with products specifically approved for use on pets.
10. Bathe your pets after taking them to a vet, groomer, pet show or other potential source of fleas.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Fleas

Did You Know?

1. Fleas are highly advanced insects which are adapted as adults to live as parasites, sucking the blood of mammals or birds.
2. Flea larvae are not parasites. Instead, they scavenge on organic matter, particularly dried blood in the excreta of adult fleas, which is found in the burrows, lairs, or nests of wild animals, or in carpets or pet bedding indoors.
3. There are more than 2,000 different species of fleas, the majority of which live in the burrows and nests of wild rodents.
4. Most species of fleas parasitize more than one type of host animal, and some of these fleas can also attack humans.
5. When adult fleas feed they inject an anticoagulant saliva to stop the blood clotting. This saliva can be infected with disease organisms which then enter the victim.
6. Fleas transmit disease organisms between infected wild animals and people, particularly in ports, wildlife parks and recreation areas. In the U.S., these diseases include plague, murine typhus and tularemia.
7. Fleas transmit harmful organisms between pets and people, especially tapeworms.
8. Flea bites can cause severe skin reactions in humans, including "hives", particularly after repeated attacks by fleas.
9. Fleas on pets can cause dermatitis, tapeworm infestation, anemia and personality changes. Fleas are responsible for about 40 percent of all small animal veterinary effort.
10. Fleas can survive long absences of people and pets because newly formed adult fleas can remain dormant in protective cocoons for 6 months or more until returning animals or people stimulate them to emerge and attack. More about fleas...


10 Things You Can Do

1. Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt, and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure that water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
2. Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than 5 to 7 days. Drill holes in tire swings so rainwater will drain out. Inspect septic drain fields. Do not allow water to accumulate on the ground surface.
3. Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
4. Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly. Clogged gutters are one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around homes.
5. Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children's toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc. Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks, and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
6. Place screens over rain barrels so that adult female mosquitoes can not lay eggs there.

7. Root or grow outdoor plants in sand or soil instead of water only.
8. Change the water in bird baths (and flower cuttings) at least once a week.
9. Clean out and change the water in your pet's water bowl or trough every day.
10. Stock ornamental pools/ponds with mosquito-eating minnows, and keep vegetation trimmed from the edge of the pond.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Mosquitoes

1. Some species that are active in the winter, in fall and summer, with the greatest number being the summertime species.
2. The southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) is a medium-sized brown mosquito that is found in the southern United States and is present throughout Texas.  Southern house mosquito is a vector of many pathogens including encephalitis virus and West Nile virus.
3. Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours, and night. However, some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.
4. To avoid being bitten cover up with clothes and repellent when you're outside.  Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so clothing should cover arms and legs completely and be light-colored.
5. Electrocuting devices or bug zappers that use ultraviolet light to attract bugs are not effective against mosquitoes. Bug zappers mainly kill beneficial moths, beetles, and other harmless night-flying insects.
6. Citronella smoke can reduce the number of mosquito bites - but only for people who stand very close to the candle or Tiki torch.
7. The Citrosa plant does not contain citronella. It is actually a scented geranium that does not repel mosquitoes.
8. Devices that use ultrasonic waves to repel mosquitoes do not work.
9. Garlic or taking garlic pills by mouth do not repel mosquitoes.
10. Protect pets from deadly heartworms carried by mosquitoes. Heartworms occur in both dogs and cats, although they occur more frequently in dogs. Cats are at most risk for heartworms when many infected dogs are around or if the cats are sheltered. The effects of heartworms in cats are usually more severe than in dogs. Cats can not be treated for heartworms, so prevention is the key. Do not give your cat the same medicine your dog gets for heartworm prevention, as their needs are different.


House Mice are light brown to light gray in color, with large ears, pointed snout and a small, slender body. The length of the head and body is usually 3 to 4 inches, and the scale-ringed, sparsely haired tail is about the same length. House mice can be distinguished from young rats, because young rats have relatively large feet and a large head, usually with a blunt snout and small ears.

Orchard Mice and other outdoor species of mice usually have a blunt snout and their ears are almost hidden in their thick fur, which is often darker brown or reddish in color.

Outdoors, mice eat seeds, fruits, grubs, roots, buds and bark. Indoors, house mice can eat any human food, and have even survived on flour alone and on meat alone. House mice mostly take small meals 10 to 20 times each day, mostly in different places, within a distinct territory which they mark with their urine. Most feeding is at dusk and just before dawn.

Mice have a much lower need for water than rats and can survive without drinking at all if they eat food with a high moisture content. When water or moist food is in short supply house mice can lose up to 40 percent of their body weight and, like a camel, make a dramatic recovery after a single drink of water.

Mice can breed throughout the year, raising their young within nests in such places as wall voids, attics, basements, and even inside sofas and armchairs. The gestation period is about 3 weeks and there are usually 5 to 6 mice per litter, and up to 10 litters per year where there is plenty of good food. Young mice are weaned in 3 to 4 weeks and can start breeding when they are only 6 weeks old. Most wild mice live less than 12 months, although caged mice have lived up to 6 years.

What Can You Do Against Mice?

Mice can be discouraged by making it harder for them to get into buildings and by reducing the available food and nesting places. However, keeping mice out is difficult because they climb so well and can squeeze through crevices only 3/8 inches wide. Likewise they are very good at finding food and nesting sites. Even the best sanitation and mouse-proofing measures cannot be expected to achieve more than 89 percent control.

Total elimination of indoor mice is essential because of the dangers they represent, and this requires active killing measures using traps or chemicals known as rodenticides. However, the use of traps and rodenticides requires great skill in order to be effective and to avoid hazards to people or animals. The main skill lies in choosing the right positions and right numbers of traps or rodenticide placements. In the case of rodenticide baits, special bait stations may be required to safeguard children and animals. Also, because mice are often more resistant to rodenticides than rats, particular care must be taken to choose effective products, many of which are not available to homeowners. For these reasons, the use of traps and rodenticides is often best left to professionals. However, listed below are 10 specific measures you can carry out to protect yourself and your property against mice.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Store garbage in sound, metal containers with tight lids.
2. Store food in mouse-proof containers. In the case of pet food, only put out what pets will eat and don't leave any food exposed overnight.
3. Regularly inspect food stocks, quickly clean up any food spills and dispose of any packages which have been penetrated by mice.
4. Seal holes leading to wall voids and pick up any long-term clutter or debris to reduce nesting opportunities for mice.
5. Store firewood, boxes, etc. 18 inches off the ground and at least 1 foot from walls to reduce cover or nest sites for mice.
6. Discourage mice living too close to your home by trimming or removing vegetation around foundations and moving bird feeders and kennels further from the building.
7. Fit tightly closing exterior doors and keep all doors closed when not in use, including garage doors.
8. Cover exterior vents with 20-gauge wire screen of 1/4 inch mesh to exclude mice.
9. Patch any holes in exterior walls with concrete. Coarse steel wool can be rammed into small holes as a temporary measure to exclude mice.
10. Check any incoming supplies, particularly boxes which have been stored in garages and outbuildings, to prevent hidden mice being carried indoors.

For several years various electronic devices have been marketed as a "clean, safe" method of controlling mice. Many of the claims made for these devices are not supported by facts. Scientists are generally agreed that electromagnetic devices do not work and Federal court orders have prohibited the sale of several of these products. In the case of ultrasonic devices, which can produce high frequencies and amplitudes of sound, there is some evidence that they can affect mouse behavior. However, they are usually ineffective unless they are installed and maintained by professionals and used by them in conjunction with traps and rodenticides.

Things Everyone Should Know About Mice

Did You Know?

1. Mice are among the most common mammals, ranging throughout the world from the tropics to the Arctic, and spreading easily via trucks, trains, ships and aircraft.
2. Mice have been known as pests for thousands of years and the ancient Greeks and Romans were among the first to use pesticides to control them.
3. Many species of mice live entirely outdoors and by gnawing roots and bark are a major cause of tree injury and death in forests, orchards, nurseries and yards.
4. There are periodic population explosions of outdoor mice during which their numbers may exceed 50,000 per acre and result in frequent invasions of nearby buildings.
5. House mice are capable of living outdoors but the majority spend their whole lives indoors, mostly within 10 feet of where they were born.
6. House mice have become the most common mammalian pest of buildings in the world, largely because of their amazing adaptability and fast breeding. A single pair can give rise to over 3,000 in 1 year.
7. House mice are very short-sighted, but have superb senses of smell, taste, hearing and touch which enable them to move around easily at night and find food.
8. House mice thrive on all types of food, including human junk food, which they can reach by climbing, jumping, tunneling, swimming or gnawing.
9. House mice contaminate food with their urine, hairs and droppings, and spread disease organisms, especially those causing food poisoning. Outdoor species are involved in spreading other diseases, including plague and Lyme disease.
10. Mice cause major economic losses by gnawing on building materials and packaging to reach food, and by chewing paper and clothing to make nesting material. Many fires are caused by mice chewing on electric wiring.


Norway or Brown Rats are usually brown or dark grey, while the underparts are lighter grey or brown.  The length can be up to 10 inches, with the tale the same length as the body adding up to 10 more inches to the pest. Adult body weight averages 19oz, but very large animals can reach up to 32oz.

The Roof Rat is a smaller, slimmer rat than the Norway Rat, and cannot compete with the Norway when space is limited. Its tail is noticeably longer than its body length, the best ID characteristic in the field. In relation to its head it has a pointed nose, large eyes, and large ears. Its color is dark gray to black with a lighter grayish belly, and it ranges to a lighter brown.

What can you do against Rats?

It is often said that there are as many rats in cities as people, but this varies depending on climate and living conditions.  Brown rats tend not to wander extensively when a suitable, consistent food supply is available.  Keeping food tightly sealed and properly stored is vital to prevention. 


Brown rats live in hierarchical groups.  When food is in short supply the rats lower in social order are the first to die.  If a large fraction of a rat population is exterminated, the remaining rats will increase their reproductive rate and quickly restore the old population level.  Sealing all cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home is crucial to prevention.  Rats can not reproduce in your home if they can not get in the first place.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Keep food in sealed plastic containers.

2. Seal holes larger than ¼ inch around doors, windows and foundation.
3. Keep firewood and other debris away from your home.
4. Keep outside garbage cans tightly sealed.
5.  Put away pet food when your animal has finished eating.
6.  Keep brush and high grasses away from your home.
7. Keep all doors closed when not in use.
8. Cover exterior vents with 20 gauge wire screen of ¼ inch mesh.
9. Check incoming boxes and supplies, epically if they have been stored in garages and outbuilding.
10. Regularly inspect food stocks and quickly clean up any spills.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Rats

1. Rats are excellent climbers and can enter a home through holes the size of a quarter.

2.  Rats enter your home looking for food and insulation. Their diet is extremely broad.  They will eat almost anything that is edible, with a preference for grains.
3. Rats have a sense which tells them exactly where they are.  If startled, they know exactly where their line of escape lies.
4. The rat has a gestation period of 3 weeks. After a period of about a month the young rat is able to breed. The litter size can vary from 7 to 14.

5. Norway rats can chew through wiring, causing fires or damage to outside electric equipment; such as well pumps and air conditioner systems.

6.  Norway rats produce communicative noises capable of being heard by humans. The most commonly heard is tooth-grinding, which is most usually triggered by happiness, but can also be ‘self-comforting’ in stressful situations.

7. Inside, rats contaminate food meant for humans and pets. They can cause damage to wood, clothing, book paper and drywall.

8. Rats can consume approximately 30 grams of food per day. Rats leave about 40 droppings per day.

9. Rats carry a variety of diseases such as, Salmonella, Trichinosis, Rat Bite Fever and Weils Disease.
10. Rats are nocturnal; they are most active at night and good swimmers.

 Pantry Pests  

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle: Adults dark brown, about 1/10 inch long with a flat body enabling penetration of many "sealed" food packs without chewing holes. Adults and larvae crawl actively and eat flour, breakfast cereals, sugar, nuts, dried fruits, dried meats, etc. Infestations make food unpalatable.



Confused and Red Flour Beetles: Adults reddish brown, about 1/8 inch long. Red flour beetle can fly and is more common in South. Confused flour beetle does not fly and is more common in North. Common pests of flour but also eat cereals, beans, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, and even spices. They are among the many pantry pests which secrete chemicals known as quinones which taint food and may harm people.

Drugstore Beetle: Adults light brown, about 1/10 inch long and able to fly. Found throughout the U.S., eating almost anything, including bread, flour, cereals, and even red pepper. Often brought into homes in bagged pet food but able to bore through most packaging and infest other food.

Sitophilus oryzae - Rice Weevil
Rice Weevil: Adults reddish brown, about 1/8 inch long and able to fly. Females bore holes in grain kernels (rice, corn, etc.) in field crops and food stores and lay a single egg in each kernel. Hatching larvae eat and develop within the kernel. Emerging adults also eat cereal grains, as well as beans, nuts, and even grapes. Mostly found in the South, where buildings can be invaded from nearby fields.

Spider Beetles: Adults oval-shaped, brownish, 1/10 to 1/6 inch long, resembling small spiders but having 6 legs. Adults and larvae scavenge on animal and vegetable matter, including cereals, flour, bread, nuts, dried fruits, spices, feathers, fur and rodent droppings. They will even chew carpets, books and wood. Preferring damp locations and resistant to cold, they often infest unheated warehouses, basements and outbuildings, even in the North.

Indian Meal Moth: Adults have 3/4 inch wingspan. Outer section of forewings reddish brown. The whitish larvae prefer dry foodstuffs, including corn meal, flour, nuts, dried fruit, powdered milk and bird seed. Larvae leave a mess of silk webbing and frass on food. One of the commonest food pests throughout the U.S.

What You Can Do Against Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests eat the same food as people, as well as many other organic materials that we don't eat. Once they get into our homes they can thrive and it is important to understand how they might enter. Some pantry pests can live outdoors feeding on crops or scavenging in nests of wild birds and rodents. Such pests may actively enter nearby homes, particularly where entry is easy or where they are attracted by warmth, lighting or food odors. However, most pantry pests are passively introduced on infested merchandise. In both cases, homeowners can take steps to reduce pest entry. Also, by routinely following good food management and sanitation practices, the impact of any pantry pests which enter can be kept to a minimum. In fact, homeowners can probably do more to prevent and control pantry pests than any other group of pests. Nonetheless, it has been estimated that the average American unknowingly consumes 1 to 2 pounds of insects or insect fragments each year in food. This is equivalent to eating about 500,000 small, food-infesting beetles - so there is clearly scope for better pest management. Here are 10 measures you can carry out against pantry pests.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Check your food purchases for signs of infestation and return to the retailer any newly purchased "buggy" items.
2. Avoid purchasing food, particularly bagged or loose food, from stores which are unsanitary or which hold stocks too long or do no practice strict stock rotation. In particular, beware specialty stores where turnover of some pest-prone food items may be slow, making them more liable to become infested.
3. Avoid purchasing more food than you need. This is especially important for items which are sold in bulk and are very vulnerable to pest attack (e.g. flour, beans and dried fruits).
4. Keep food refrigerated or in clean tightly closed glass, metal or plastic containers. Dispose of original paper or cardboard packaging.
5. Regularly rotate your food stocks and dispose of any items which are out-of-condition or infested.
6. Discourage pests such as red flour beetles, cigarette beetles and larger beetles from entering from outdoors by screening or sealing possible entry points.
7. Regularly clean food storage areas (at least every 3 weeks), paying particular attention to less accessible places such as in corners and under cabinets where food spills and dirt might otherwise accumulate and encourage pests.
8. Seal cracks and crevices in and around food areas to prevent them collecting food particles and providing feeding or hiding places for insects.
9. Keep bagged pet food separate from human food and preferably in a tightly closed metal bin. Pests such as drugstore beetles are often introduced in bags of pet food and can readily spread.
10. Prior to purchase, be aware that decorative arrangements of dried wheat, Indian corn and other seed-bearing plants are potential sources of pantry pests. Rice weevils and other pests are often brought into homes with such items.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Pantry Pests

Did You Know?

1. The pests which attack stored food in our homes cause major economic losses and hardship worldwide, damaging 50% of foodstuffs in some developing countries.
2. Most pantry pests originated in the tropics and subtropics and have been distributed throughout the world with infested merchandise.
3. Pantry pests are mostly insects and the majority belong to 2 groups: beetles and moths.
4. Many pantry pests are extremely small, often less than 1/10 inch long. Some, such as the rice weevil, undergo their entire development from egg to adult hidden in a single grain of rice.
5. Huge numbers of pantry pests can breed within stored foodstuffs. A sack of grain can contain over 40,000 grain weevils, and scientists obtained 250,000 bean weevils from an 87 lb. bag of red kidney beans.
6. Some pantry pests can squeeze through crevices in packaging only 5/1000 inch wide and others readily eat through paper and cardboard packs. Larval drugstore beetles can even eat through tin foil.
7. Many pantry pests can spread from foodstuffs and attack other items. For instance, the drugstore beetle, lesser grain borer and cigarette beetle eat the binding of books, and spider beetles often eat clothing and other textiles.
8. In addition to destroying some foodstuffs, the presence of pantry pests may impart off-flavors which render much more food unpalatable.
9. Consuming food contaminated with insects or fragments of insects can sometimes cause irritation of the digestive tract or allergic reactions.
10. Some pantry pests can spread pathogenic organisms. For instance, flour beetles can carry tapeworms.

Perimeter Invaders 

Household Cricket
Crickets: Large insects (usually over 1/2 inch long) sometimes winged but mostly using powerful hind legs for hopping and jumping. Noted for the chirping "song" of adult males. They usually feed on vegetation outdoors but invade buildings during droughts and cold weather, often attracted by lights, and eat foodstuffs, paper and clothing.

Earwig picture 
Earwigs: Adult insects up to 1 inch long, characterized by pairs of forcep-like organs of defense at end of body. They scavenge at night, hiding under porches, rocks, compost, litter, etc. in daytime. Feed mostly on vegetation outdoors, but often invade and eat stored food indoors.

Ground Beetles: Large, long-legged, mostly flightless insects, often black or metallic blue or green color. They actively chase insect prey and often enter homes through doorways.

Sowbugs and Pillbugs: These are not insects but crustaceans, related to crabs and lobsters, adapted to life on land. They have 7 pairs of legs and an oval body up to 3/4 inch long covered in 7 "armor plates". They feed on decaying organic matter, especially under logs and other moist locations, but frequently invade damp basements.

Centipedes: Flattened, elongated creatures up to 6 inches long, with one pair of long legs on most segments, antennae, and powerful poison jaws. These fast-moving predators catch and kill insect prey in damp situations indoors and outdoors.

Millipedes: Tube-shaped bodies, 1 to 2 inches long, with two pairs of legs on most segments. Slow-moving creatures which mostly feed on decaying vegetation in damp areas outdoors, but sometimes invade homes, especially in the fall.

Scorpions: Eight-legged creatures, related to spiders, mostly 2 to 3 inches long, with a pair of large pincers at front and a stinging tail. Found under tree bark, rocks and logs, especially in South and Southwest but as far North as Canada, feeding on insects. They commonly enter homes where they can survive without feeding for months.

What Can You Do Against Perimeter Invaders?

Fully effective pest control measures require expert knowledge of each pest. While the details vary with each pest situation, the main focus will generally be on outdoor measures aimed at preventing pest buildup and pest entry. Pesticides can play an important role in the fight against perimeter invaders. However, many over-the-counter pesticides do not perform well when used on porous outdoor surfaces, such as soil, wood and concrete. Also, the performance of most pesticides will be adversely affected by outdoor conditions, especially rainfall and ultraviolet light. In addition, special pesticide formulations or application techniques may be necessary outdoors to achieve control without harming plants, wildlife or groundwater resources. For these reasons, the selection and use of pesticides against perimeter invaders is best left to professionals. However, here are 10 specific nonchemical measures you can carry out that will discourage perimeter invaders and complement measures taken by professional pest control operators.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Keep lawns cut short and trim bushes and trees back from the building to reduce cover for pests.
2. Keep gutters and outside drains clear and ensure proper grade against foundation walls to reduce moisture available to pests.
3. Maintain a dry, weed-free, bare strip of concrete or gravel about 3 feet wide around the foundations to create an inhospitable zone for pests.
4. Remove outside accumulations of leaves, lumber, etc., which provide cover and a moist microclimate for pests.
5. Store firewood off the ground and away from the house to reduce the chances of it becoming a "beachhead" for invading pests.
6. Remove unnecessary exterior lights which attract pests, especially near doors and windows. Where exterior lighting is necessary, use lamps with minimal attractants to pests (e.g. high pressure sodium vapor lamps), and preferably mount them away from the walls, on posts, etc.
7. Screen windows and vents and caulk crevices through which pests might enter.
8. Ensure exterior doors shut tightly; tension strips or sweeps to keep out cold will also help exclude pests.
9. Always keeping doors shut when not in use, perhaps with self-closing devices, will make pest entry harder.
10. Check firewood, patio furniture and cut flowers before bringing them indoors, and remove any "hitch-hiking" pests.

NOTE: Additional nonchemical measures may be appropriate. For instance, placing the legs of a crib in wide-mouthed glass jars can stop scorpions crawling up. Altering irrigation of your lawn and ornamentals from evening to morning will discourage all those pests which are active and seek moisture at night, Professional pest control operators may be able to advise you on other things you can do in your particular circumstances to fight perimeter invaders.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Perimeter Invaders Did You Know?

1. More than 9/10ths of all known creatures are insects, and most yards contain hundreds of thousands of individual insects.
2. There are more than 1 million species of insects, and the total weight of insects on our planet has been calculated to be more than 10 times the weight of all human beings.
3. Your home can be invaded by creatures which fly, walk, climb, jump or burrow.
4. Some occasionally invading pests cause painful stings or bites and, in the case of some scorpions, even death may result particularly among the very young or elderly.
5. Some perimeter invaders, such as earwigs can not only eat human food but also contaminate it with their own body parts and excretions.
6. Invading pests with chewing mouthparts, such as crickets and many beetles, can cause severe damage to valuable documents and clothing.
7. Some invaders, especially millipedes and earwigs, emit foul odors which can taint premises and upset occupants.
8. Pests such as millipedes, earwigs and crickets, sometimes invade buildings in hordes of thousands, particularly during droughts or cold weather, causing major visual annoyance, debris and disturbance of occupants.
9. Some perimeter invaders die of starvation or desiccation soon after entering homes, but others such as some crickets and beetles can survive and become a permanent nuisance.
10. In some areas, perimeter invaders such as earwigs have built up to such nuisance levels that property values have fallen.


American House Spider: Adult female body about 1/3 inch long - males smaller. The almost globular abdomen is brownish with dark and light streaks and patches. This is one of many species that weaves irregular webs known as cobwebs. Web sites are chosen at random and if a web does not catch enough prey (mostly flies), it is abandoned and the spider builds another web. Most dirty cobwebs seen indoors are abandoned webs. After mating, the female lays about 250 eggs in a silken sac about 1/4 inch long, which is placed near the web center. The eggs hatch into spiderlings in about 8 days and several egg sacs are produced each year.

Black Widow Spider: Adult female body about 1/2 inch long - males smaller. Color variable but commonly black with red hourglass mark on underside. Weaves cobwebs and, like the house spider, occurs throughout U.S.A., but more commonly in South and Southwest. Builds webs in and around homes, often under objects. Females rarely leave the web, spending most daylight time in a silk tunnel near the center waiting for prey. Adult males do not attack prey or bite, but wander in search of females, often mating several times and sometimes being killed by mate. After mating, the female lays about 400 eggs in a silk sac and several egg sacs are produced each year. Eggs hatch in 8-10 days and the spiderlings disperse within a few days, living independently and reaching maturity in about 3 months. Adult females can live over 1 year. Black widow venom contains powerful neurotoxins which can cause several pain at the site of the bite and elsewhere.

brown recluse spider

Brown Recluse Spider: Yellowish to dark brown, with long body and legs. Adult female body about 1/2 inch long. Mostly found in the South and Midwest, this is the most venomous of many related brown spiders, all of which have a dark brown fiddle shaped mark on their backs. They wander around at night hunting insects, usually taking prey back to a web spun in a quiet location, such as attics or closets. They also hide in shoes, trousers and other clothing. Adults and young of both sexes are venomous and will bite if disturbed. Bites may cause severe pain and disfiguring scars. Females produce 1 to 5 egg sacs, each containing about 50 eggs, and may live over 4 years.

What Can You Do Against Spiders?

In many cases the presence of a few spiders is not a problem and requires no specific action. For instance, the spiders known as orb weavers, which spin wheel-shaped webs, are not dangerous to people and almost always live outdoors. Indeed, they may be useful in controlling garden pests. Likewise, a few spiders indoors is usually no problem if they are not dangerous species. However, a lot of spiders can be a serious nuisance because of the unsightly webs and because of spots of spider excrement on windows, drapes, or more valuable items, such as paintings.

Where highly poisonous spiders are present, particularly if there are young, sick or elderly people in the home who are often more vulnerable to spider venom, specific action against spiders is recommended. Since spiders are predators, which feed mostly on insects, a homeowner's main focus should be on discouraging spiders' prey. Here are 10 measures you can take against spiders.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Trim back or remove bushes, weeds and grass around foundation to discourage insect and spider activity.
2. Remove outdoor cover favored by black widows and brown recluse spiders, including loose bark, logs, old bricks and concrete blocks, and other seldom disturbed debris. Move woodpiles away from the house.
3. Check patio furniture, firewood, cut flowers and other items prior to bringing them indoors and remove any "hitchhiking" pests.
4. Eliminate exterior lighting close to the house, especially near doorways, or use lamps which have minimal attractants to insects.
5. Screen windows and vents, caulk exterior crevices and weatherstrip doors to reduce entry by spiders on their prey.
6. Eliminate clutter in closets, attics, basements, garages, etc. and dispose of old boxes, unused clothing etc. to reduce indoor cover for pests.
7. Regularly clean sinks and drains to discourage breeding of certain flies which spiders thrive upon.
8. Vacuum regularly around windows, doorways, corners of rooms, under shelving and furniture, and behind mirrors and pictures.
9. Ensure adequate ventilation in attics, basements, crawl spaces and other areas, since excessive humidity encourages the pests upon which spiders prey.
10. In areas where highly venomous spiders are common, check shoes and clothes left out overnight and particularly any work clothes left in a garage, before putting them on. Many bites from brown recluse spiders result from spiders in clothing.

NOTE: Wear thick gloves, coveralls and stout shoes when handling firewood, clearing debris, etc; in areas suspected of harboring dangerous spiders.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Spiders

Did You Know?

1. There are about 35,000 known species of spiders in the world and in most states in the U.S. there are at least 400 species.
2. Spiders are related to ticks, mites and scorpions, and like them have four pairs of legs, and no antennae or wings.
3. Spiders are predators, mostly feeding on insects and other small creatures, including other spiders, but able to go without food for long periods.
4. Almost all species have poison fangs which they use to inject venom which kills or paralyzes their prey.
5. Spiders cannot swallow solid food. Instead, after immobilizing their prey, they inject saliva containing protein-splitting enzymes, and after an hour or so the resulting liquidized interior is sucked out, leaving a dry husk.
6. Spiders, along with snakes, are among the most commonly feared creatures. This fear may be inherited rather than learned and is shared by some other primates, including chimpanzees.
7. Most spiders are harmless because their fangs cannot penetrate human skin or because they have weak venom or none at all. Most species of tarantulas are capable of causing painful bites, but they are not aggressive and are commonly kept as pets.
8. Only one type of spider in the world is aggressive. This is the funnel web spider of Australia, which attacks people without provocation and is highly poisonous.
9. In the U.S.A., the most poisonous spiders are the brown recluse and black widow spiders. These are mostly shy, but will bite if provoked and can cause severe injury or even death.
10. Spiders produce silk, which they use to make egg sacs, shelters for themselves, or traps and webs for catching prey. The gossamer threads produced by young spiderlings enable them to be dispersed by the wind, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles.

Stinging Insects 

Cicada Killers: These large solitary wasps, about 1 1/2 inches long, hunt cicadas and put them in burrows as food for the young. Rarely sting people, but their burrows damage lawns.

Umbrella or Paper Wasps: These slender, reddish or brown social wasps build small nests shaped like an inverted umbrella, often under eaves. Can be dangerous when they nest near doors and windows.

Hornets: Larger and less distinctly striped than yellow jackets. European hornets nest in hollow trees and attics. Bald-faced hornets build exposed nests which hang in trees like large grayish footballs. Both these social wasps are very aggressive.

Yellow Jackets: These black and yellow striped social wasps are small (workers about 1/2 inch long), but their large nests may contain over 5,000 individuals. Nests are concealed underground, or in hollow trees, wall voids and attics. They often scavenge around food facilities and trash containers and sting repeatedly with little provocation.

Bumble Bees: Resemble carpenter bees but top of abdomen is hairy, not shiny. Social insects, forming small colonies, mostly underground. Can be pests when nesting near sidewalks or where children play.

Honey Bees: Yellowish to blackish, with workers about 2/3 inch long. They are the most common social bees, vital for pollinating wildflowers and crops and for producing honey. They are unique in forming perennial colonies, using stored honey as food in adverse weather. Can become pests by nesting in wall voids. They are not very aggressive, and their barbed stinger stays in the wound, so they only sting once.

Carpenter Bees: Solitary bees, usually darker and larger than honey bees. Each female chews a tunnel in wood in which she lays a row of eggs, sealing each egg in a cell with food derived from pollen and nectar. Nest tunnels are about 5 inches long, with an entrance about 1/2 inch wide. Tunneling by many bees over several years can cause major damage to siding, window sill, eaves, outdoor furniture and fences.

What Can You Do Against Bees and Wasps?

Bees and wasps should only be controlled when they are damaging property or endangering people. Too often, bees and wasps are killed when they pose no threat and may be beneficial. For instance, the large, dark, hairy wasps seen hovering over lawns may be digger wasps, which generally don't attack people but are very useful in getting rid of beetle grubs which attack grass.

Even when bees and wasps are really pests, homeowners should be wary about tackling them because of the risk of people being stung. Some over-the-counter pesticides make bees and wasps more aggressive and may cause them to surge out of their nests, stinging not only the pesticide applicator but anyone else nearby. Some pesticides may also make treated nests repellent so that bees and wasps mill around disoriented, perhaps entering nearby buildings and causing a greater nuisance. Nonchemical measures, such as knocking down nests of umbrella wasps from the eaves, may also be ineffective - the wasps may quickly rebuild their nests. However, here are 10 measures you can take to reduce problems from bees and wasps.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Eliminate problem plants close to the home, including certain flowering plants which attract bees and some plants producing honeydew or fruit which attract yellow jackets. Also, remove hollow trees where they might nest. 2. Seal crevices and screen vents which allow bees and wasps to establish nests in wall voids, eaves or attics.
3. Eliminate unnecessary exterior lighting, especially near doorways, since this attracts hornets in summer and fall. 4. Keep windows and doors closed or screened, especially during periods when social wasps are most busy scavenging.
5. Cover food and garbage which attracts wasps.
6. Where possible, avoid carrying sweet foods or drinks outside where wasps are foraging. Set down and leave any food attracting wasps.
7. Avoid sitting near trash barrels or food stands in parks, since these are often visited by wasps.
8. At picnics, check for bees and wasps before sitting on the ground, and check each mouthful when eating or drinking. Stings inside the mouth and throat are particularly dangerous.
9. Minimize use of perfume, after-shave or scented talc, which attract some insects which forage on flowers. If pestered, don't flap at wasps - leave the area or go indoors.
10. Be cautious near nests. In particular, don't cast a shadow on the nest, keep out of insect flight paths and walk softly near ground nests.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Bees and Wasps

Did You Know?

1. Bees and wasps are related to ants and fossil evidence indicates they originated about 180 million years ago.
2. There are several species of bees and about 4,000 different species of wasps in the U.S.A., including yellow jackets, hornets and cicada killers.
3. Many species of bees and wasps are solitary insects, but others are social insects, nesting together in communities comprising a queen and numerous workers.
4. Nests of some social wasps may contain 5,000 workers, while a large nest of honey bees may contain over 50,000 workers.
5. Wasps are scavengers and predators, the adults feeding on fruit juices and other sugar-rich liquids, and hunting for spiders, insects and other protein-rich materials to feed wasp larvae.
6. Bees collect pollen and nectar which is eaten by both adult and larval bees. Honey bees convert some nectar into honey which is stored and eaten later.
7. Yellow jackets and some other social wasps can cause food contamination when they scavenge on human food.
8. Bees and wasps cause many auto accidents when they get in vehicles and distract drivers.
9. Some bees and wasps regularly cause damage to lawns (e.g. burrows of cicada killers) and to buildings (e.g. carpenter bee tunnels in siding).
10. Bee and wasp stings kill about 40 people each year in the U.S.A. Sensitive people can die within 15 minutes of being stung, and many sting-related deaths may be misreported as heart attacks.

Ticks & Mites   

Brown Dog Tick: This 1/8 to 12 inch reddish-brown tick is the most common indoor tick, mostly attacking dogs, but sometimes people, cats and other animals. Each stage (larva, nymph and adult) feeds once over the course of several days until fully engorged, and then drops to the ground, where the young molt to the next stage and the adult female seeks a place to lay up to 5,000 eggs. Dogs pick up ticks from infested premises, not directly from other dogs. Each stage can survive months until a dog comes along - adults living up to 1 1/2 years without feeding.

Lone Star Tick: Darker tick, found mostly in South and Midwest. Like the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain spotted fever tick, deer tick and other "wood ticks", this tick mostly lives in woods and fields. An important vector of human diseases, people and pets are attacked when visiting tick country, or when these ticks are carried into suburbs by infested wild animals. As in the brown dog tick, each stage drops off the animal after feeding and new victims pick up infestations from infested locations.

Clover Mites: These are usually bright red, smaller than a pinhead but visible to the naked eye. They are distinguished from other mites by their very long, forward-projecting front legs. They feed on grass, clover and other plants found in yards, thriving especially on well-fertilized lawns. They invade adjacent buildings during summer droughts or at the onset of cold weather. Outdoors they mostly overwinter as eggs in crevices of trees, fences or foundations. Some adults overwinter indoors, especially in wall cavities near doors and windows. They don't bite people or pets, but when they invade from outside or emerge from indoor winter hiding places their sheer numbers create a major nuisance.

Other Mites: Microscopic dust mites are the most common mites found in homes. They eat organic matter, especially dander in carpets and bedding. They don't attack people but their presence causes allergic reactions. Other mites, including some food mites and bird and rodent mites, attack people and cause injury and disease.

What Can You Do Against Ticks and Mites?

Various medical or veterinary conditions are caused directly or indirectly by mites or ticks, and their diagnosis and treatment is a job for experienced medical professionals or veterinarians. For instance, the human itch mite parasitizes people causing severe itching and a condition known as scabies. It spreads directly from person to person and must therefore be dealt with as a medical problem, with treatments focused on affected people and their clothing. Likewise, people who contract the various diseases transmitted by ticks and mites must be treated by medical professionals. However, apart from scabies, most problems from ticks and mites are caused by species which spend the majority of their time living apart from people. This makes them vulnerable to a range of non-medical pest control measures aimed at their habitats and alternative hosts. Here are 10 measures you can carry out that will discourage ticks and mites and complement any measures taken by medical or pest control professionals.

10 Things You Can Do

1. Confine your pets and observe leash laws to reduce risks of them picking up parasites from other pets or wild animals.
2. Screen or seal openings which allow entry of rodents carrying ticks and mites.
3. Discourage birds nesting or roosting on the building and remove old nests and droppings to avoid problems from fowl miles, pigeon ticks, etc.
4. Keep grass, weeds and brush cut short to reduce the humidity, shelter and resting places preferred by many mites and ticks.
5. Maintain a bare strip of soil or gravel 2 to 3 feet wide around the foundation to discourage clover mites and many other crawling pests from approaching the building.
6. Seal cracks and crevices in foundations and siding to discourage egg laying or sheltering of ticks.
7. Keep food storage areas clean and dry and rotate stocks of food (especially flour, cereal products, dried fruits and cheese). Dispose of items already infested with flour mites, grain mites, cheese mites, etc.
8. Dust mites and other indoor mites fail to thrive and can be killed if the humidity is reduced to below 50%. Raising the temperature and improving ventilation can help reduce humidity.
9. Thoroughly vacuum carpets and furnishings to help control dust mites. Clean or destroy pet bedding infested with brown dog ticks.
10. Avoid sitting on the ground or logs and regularly check your own body (esp. back of head) and your dog (esp. ears, back and between toes) in tick country. Repellents applied to socks and trousers give some protection.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Ticks and Mites

Did You Know?

1. Mites and ticks are related to spiders and scorpions. The adults have 8 legs, a rounded body and no wings.
2. Ticks are all blood sucking parasites of vertebrates, attacking mammals, birds and reptiles.
3. Many species of tick attack more than one type of host and, though preferring wildlife or pets, they may also attack people.
4. Mites are smaller than ticks and, because many species are invisible to the naked eye, homeowners may be unaware that thousands or even millions may be present.
5. Scientists estimate there are more than 1 million species of mite and they occur indoors and outdoors, on land and in water, from the equator to polar regions.
6. Many mites eat and damage plants or stored food. Other species are parasites and have been found everywhere - in nostrils of seals, gills of crayfish, ears of moths, and in hair follicles of most people.
7. Over 1 million clover mites can invade a home, and when accidentally crushed they leave red stains on drapes, shades, walls, and documents.
8. Bites of ticks and mites can cause severe itching, and lead to rashes and ulceration. A neurotoxin injected by some ticks can even cause paralysis and death.
9. Some mite spread diseases from animals to people, including rickettsial pox, endemic typhus and encephalitis. Dust mites affect 40% of allergy sufferers and are the biggest single cause of asthma.
10. Ticks spread more diseases to humans than mites or any other creature, including tularemia, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever and the notorious Lyme disease.