honey bee

Bee Hives Consist of Tightly Knit and Efficient Communities

bees

Bees Play a Crucial Role in the Propagation of Plant Life

Queen bees mate and lay eggs for the entire span of their lives and can sometimes live up to five years, though the average lifespan is only about two to three years. Male drones, on the other hand, exist solely to fertilize the queen, and die soon after they do so.

Alternatively, female worker bees perform a variety of tasks around the hive and ensure that things continue to run smoothly within the population. Most of the time, these duties include the collection of pollen for the nourishment of the developing brood, but their roles also extend to honey sealing, grooming and feeding the queen, honeycomb building, pollen packing, carrying water, guarding the hive, and ensuring that dead drones and failed larvae are removed from the hive. As a result of their near-ceaseless toil, the life spans of these female workers rarely last longer than six weeks.

All bees are covered in thin hairs, which is crucial for pollination. They are attracted to blooming flowers and fruits, at which point they’ll alight on a blossom and collect pollen in specially-evolved pollen baskets on their back legs. As a bee travels from one blossom to another, some of this pollen will rub off into the pistil of the second plant, resulting in cross pollination. Almost all of humanity’s food supply is dependent upon pollination by honey bees.

beesWhile only female worker bees can collect and transfer pollen from plant to plant, all bees can drink nectar—their primary source of energy—through a tongue-like proboscis. After the nectar is collected, females can convert it into honey with the help of a cocktail of specialized enzymes in their stomachs. This nectar is then transported back to the hive and deposited into wax cells where it eventually evaporates into honey.

While swarms are not unheard of, they’re generally not considered a threat unless the species in question happens to be the Africanized honey bee or “killer” bee, as it’s colloquially known. Swarming usually only occurs in robust and thriving populations and often occurs as a result of overcrowding. Swarms occur when the queen, accompanied by a contingent of workers, leaves the original colony in search of a new nesting site.

beesThe swarm will commonly stop at a resting place before sending out scouts to locate a suitable location for a new nest, such as a hollow log or similar cavity. The swarm will then relocate to the new nesting site and begin to build the hive anew.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas bee control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If bees have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced bee removal experts.

bees

Carpenter Bees vs. Honey Bees

bees

What Are the Principal Differences Between These Two Species?

Carpenter Bees, or wood boring bees, are often mistaken for large bumblebees. Though both are relatively harmless and help to pollinate flowers, carpenter bees can cause cosmetic damage to your home and other wooden structures. Differentiation between these two species can be made through identification of color, size, and living habits.

Carpenter bees have shiny black bodies covered in fuzzy hair, while large bumble bees have black and yellow stripes and are the largest in size of the bee species. Carpenter bees are also oval in shape, with short, straight antennae.

Male carpenter bees have black bodies with white or yellow heads and do not have a stinger, and are therefore harmless. Females, however, are completely black, and though they do have stingers it is rare that a female becomes aggressive unless physically handled.

If a female does choose to become aggressive then she may sting several times due to the fact that female carpenter bees’ stingers are not barbed and the stinger does not become unattached from the body after a single sting. Each bee is around 3/4th – 1 inch in length, about the relative size from a person’s cuticle to the first knuckle.

beesBoring bees are solitary insects and do not have a social lifestyle unlike honey bees  which live in nests and interact with other members of their hives. Due to their solitary lives, wood boring bees do not have queens, instead, after mating the females will choose to construct new homes for their offspring.

Each female bee will bore a perfectly round hole in a tree, or in an unpainted wooden structure. These holes are too small to cause structural damage, only cosmetic damage. Once the initial entrance is made the female will then create tunnels that will be used to store eggs, and then the female will close up the tunnels with nectar to be eaten when the eggs are newly hatched.

beesHatching happens in the month of August after 7 weeks of being laid. After a short growth period from larvae to pupae and then to full adulthood, these insects will go into hibernation for the winter, and emerge again in the spring between the months of March and April.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas bee control experts are excited to offer Green Shield Certified pest services to our customers in search of a more prevention-based solution to their pest removal and on-going pest management needs while minimizing the use of pesticides.

If bees have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced bee control experts.

Bee and Wasp Removal | Dallas-Fort Worth | Houston | Cantu Pest Control

Bees and Wasps Are Beneficial Insects

bees

Nests in Close Proximity to Humans Still Pose Significant Threat

Stinging insects like wasps and bees are very common summertime problems in some areas of Texas, including Dallas and Houston. In fact, stinging insects are responsible for over half a million visits to the emergency room each year.

In most cases, allergic reactions as a result of these insects is the root of the problem, but this can be an especially pronounced concern for young children or the elderly whose immune system may not be able to handle a sudden violent reaction. While allergic reactions can be blamed for most of these instances, anyone can be severely affected by these insects if they happen to be stung in large enough numbers.

In order to decrease the chances of a pet or member of the household being repeatedly stung by bees or wasps, it’s imperative that you make sure there are no nests or hives on your property. Make sure that you keep a keen lookout for hanging bee hives or wasp nests that may be clinging to trees or the outsides of manmade structures.

Oftentimes, bees and wasps will nest in nooks and crannies that my not be immediately visible to the casual observer. In these instances, observes flight patterns of the insects in question, and take not of where they seem to be entering and exiting structures. Wasps especially have been known to prefer semi-hidden nesting locations like under hangs, eaves, and the undersides of decks and porches.

If you do happen to discover nesting bees or wasps on your property, it’s not a good idea to try and remove it on your own. These stinging insects have been known to become very defensive if provoked, and have a tendency to attack en masse if they determine that their hive or nest is threatened. Your local pest control professional will know exactly how to identify and remove these nests with the minimum of cost and effort.

Although many species of bees and wasps have the ability to sting humans, they are largely considered beneficial species. Bees are vital to the ecosystem because the help pollinate plants and are largely responsible for biodiversity in a given area. Despite their negative reputation, wasps are also often considered beneficial because they control other insect populations and their predatory instincts keep other pest populations in check.

Of course, if either bees or wasps make their nests too close to, or even inside of, you home, then special action by a pest control professional may be warranted. In older structures especially, bees and wasps have been documented contracting nests inside the walls and attics of homes, which can lead to all sorts of problems if left untreated, even for a short amount of time. This kind of situation will make removal extremely difficult, and will put every member of the household at risk if the insects should become frenzied from any reason.

If bees have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.

wasps

Social Wasps Prove Highly Territorial

wasps

Wasps Build Nests Under Awnings, Decks, and Inside Walls

At a glance, it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a wasp and a bee, especially if you’re focusing on net getting stung. The principal difference between wasps and bees is that the former are carnivorous while the later feed on nectar and pollen. Wasps have smooth, sleek bodies with a thin profile, while bees have larger, hairy bodies, which they use for transporting pollen.

They are usually half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long and mainly feed on spiders. These insects are common problems for homeowners all across North America. Like many other insects, they are most active during the summertime.

Wasps can be dangerous, especially to kids who have developed allergic reactions to these pests. To make matters worse, these insects often make their nests in areas that may be inaccessible to some homeowners. Elderly people, especially, may not have the means to remove a nest on their own. In these instances, nests may be allowed to grow to extreme sizes, thereby exacerbating the problem through inaction.

Wasps are either solitary or social. Solitary wasps will usually bother human beings unless provoked, and since they’re usually on their own, they really don’t present that great of a threat. Social wasps, on the other hand, can be significantly more dangerous, because they’ll always have back up, as it were, and they can quickly organize themselves into threatening swarms.

Once these social insects have established a nest, they will continue to return to it again and again, at which point they become territorial and have the potential to become highly aggressive. Many wasps prefer to build their nests under protected, shady areas, like under eaves, porch roofs, decks, sheds, and steps. Sometimes their nests are hard to locate because they can maneuver themselves into very small spaces.

One good method to determine exactly where the wasps have nested is to wait until dusk and then observe the flight patterns of the wasps. Just this mild degree of observation is usually enough to determine the general whereabouts of the nest, and even if you can’t find it that night, you may be able to see the nest itself the next day when visibility has improved.

If you are able to determine the exact location of a nest, it’s a good idea to call a pest control professional to help you remove the nest quickly and safely. Homeowners often try to remove wasp nests themselves, but only end up aggravating them instead.

Occasionally, wasps will make their homes inside walls. This is probably the most difficult place from which to remove them, as they’re sheltered from all sides. Also, the wasps may detect any hammering or banging that a homeowner may make trying to remove them, further angering them and causing them to swarm. If this situation occurs, call an expert immediately, who will know exactly how to go about removing them.

If wasps have made unsightly appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.

bees

Bees and Hive Behavior

bees

Bees Maintain a Complex Social Hierarchy

Bees are closely related to wasps and ants and are known for their role in pollination and the reproduction of various plant species. Most species of bees, like the honey bee and bumble bees, for example, are extremely social insects and arrange themselves into hierarchal hives. Bee colonies can be split into three distinct castes including the queen be, the infertile female worker bees, and male drones.

Queen bees mate and lay eggs for the entire span of their lives and can sometimes live up to five years, though the average lifespan is only about two to three years. Male drones, on the other hand, exist solely to fertilize the queen, and die soon after they do so.

Alternatively, female worker bees perform a variety of tasks around the hive and ensure that things continue to run smoothly within the population. Most of the time, these duties include the collection of pollen for the nourishment of the developing brood, but their roles also extend to honey sealing, grooming and feeding the queen, honeycomb building, pollen packing, carrying water, guarding the hive, and ensuring that dead drones and failed larvae are removed from the hive. As a result of their near-ceaseless toil, the life spans of these female workers rarely last longer than six weeks.

All bees are covered in thin hairs, which is crucial for pollination. They are attracted to blooming flowers and fruits, at which point they’ll alight on a blossom and collect pollen in specially-evolved pollen baskets on their back legs. As a bee travels from one blossom to another, some of this pollen will rub off into the pistil of the second plant, resulting in cross pollination. Almost all of humanity’s food supply is dependent upon pollination by honey bees.

While only female worker bees can collect and transfer pollen from plant to plant, all bees can drink nectar—their primary source of energy—through a tongue-like proboscis. After the nectar is collected, females can convert it into honey with the help of a cocktail of specialized enzymes in their stomachs. This nectar is then transported back to the hive and deposited into wax cells where it eventually evaporates into honey.

While swarms are not unheard of, they’re generally not considered a threat unless the species in question happens to be the Africanized honey bee or “killer” bee, as it’s colloquially known. Swarming usually only occurs in robust and thriving populations and often occurs as a result of overcrowding. Swarms occur when the queen, accompanied by a contingent of workers, leaves the original colony in search of a new nesting site.

The swarm will commonly stop at a resting place before sending out scouts to locate a suitable location for a new nest, such as a hollow log or similar cavity. The swarm will then relocate to the new nesting site and begin to build the hive anew.

If bees have made appearances around your lawn, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millions

The Most Destructive Pest Swarms, Part II

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millions

When these pests swarm, destruction is sure to follow.

It’s time now for a continuation of last week’s post about the costliest and most destructive pest swarms around. We had some very strong contenders last week including the savage, all-consuming Mormon cricket, and perhaps the king of all invasive species, the fire ant. The destructive capabilities of these pests lie in their numbers, and when they begin to swarm, your humble author suggests staying well out of the way.

Yellow jackets:

Most of us are probably familiar with the yellow jacket because of its characteristic yellow and black markings that run the length of its body. Likewise, we’re all probably somewhat familiar with just how aggressive yellow jackets can be when aggrieved. They will defend their nest with their lives and, unlike bees, are able to sting repeatedly. Speaking of nests, yellow jackets have the ability to build their nests to incredible size, although the scarcity of resources generally means that they’re content to keeps their nests small and well protected.

Emerald Ash Borer:

Yet another invasive species on this list, the emerald ash borer was originally a native of northeastern Asia. This pest was fist sighted in the U.S. in 2002, now a severe menace to the ash trees of the American northeast. Ash borer larvae get under the bark of the trees and begin eating away at the live plant tissue, eliminating the trees’ ability to transport water and other nutrients to the upper branches.

Japanese beetles:

These pests are, as you might intuitively assume, originally from Japan, but were brought the states in 1916. They’ve since developed quite a taste for roses, crepe myrtles, and the leaves of various fruits and vegetables; so much so, in fact, that as of the 1972 USDA animal and plant health inspection, they had spread to over 22 states east of the Mississippi. Japanese beetles are incredibly difficult to get rid of and have been know to wreak ecological and agricultural havoc on farms and in gardens.

Bedbugs:

As I’ve commented on this same blog, the number of bedbug infestations have taken a sharp uptick in recent years. In many, many metropolitans areas on the east coast, as well as the American heartland and even in more southwestern areas, like Dallas and Houston, Texas. Interestingly, bedbugs only feed on human blood and, as such, prefer to take refuge in the cracks and cervices of bedframes and in the tiny stitching of mattresses. Many times, the victim of the infestation won’t even know they’ve been bitten, allowing the bedbug population to grow unchecked until things really get out of hand.

Stinkbugs:

Stinkbugs are, of course, known for the noxious odor they produce when disturbed or crushed. Their natural tendency to stink up the place as homeowners try to get rid of them means that proper extermination is a real nightmare. Infestations typically occur in the autumn, which means that they also take a drastic toll on agricultural production in some areas of the United States.

If swarming pests like termites, bedbugs, and yellow jackets have made an unsightly appearance in your home, call Cantu Pest Control at 972-885-3618 (Dallas and Fort Worth areas) or 713-999-3495 (Houston area) and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millions

When Pests Swarm

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millions

 The combined efforts of these pests can cause major economic problems.

When one or two, or perhaps even ten pests chance to accost a home, we hardly feel cause for alarm. The problem arises, though, when these pests begin to number in the thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands. As the old adage goes, “there’s strength in numbers,” and when these pests attack en mass, widespread destruction, financial ruination, and ecological disaster are sure to follow. When these particular pests swarm, infest, or otherwise overrun a place, the following insects are on the top of the list for the most likely culprits.

Locusts:

The problems that locusts can present to human populations are nothing short of biblical. When a group of locusts begin to swarm, they can destroy the agricultural livelihood of an entire region as they devour everything in sight. However, locusts only begin to swarm when the number of members in a particular population has reached a critical mass, which triggers a drastic change in behavior and feeding patterns.

Mormon crickets:

In recent years, these highly destructive pests have become a massive problem for farmers in the American southwest, including the areas surrounding cities like Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth.  Like locusts, Mormon crickets consume massive amounts of crops, and they’ve also been known to create dangerous slick spots on roads after they’ve been crushed by cars; in turn, creating hazards for other drivers. When cricket populations become too large to sustain, they will often turn to cannibalism—the avoidance of which is one of the main reasons for their swarming habits.

Termites:

The damage that termites can render to wooded structures is, of course, well documented; but they’re considerably less of the threat while swarming. When termites begin to swarm, that means they’re actively searching for a mate to reproduce with. When ready to find a mate, thousands of winged termites take to the sky in an attempt to search for a suitable partner.

Cockroaches:

An infestation of roaches is often seen as a sign of horrendous housekeeping and, what’s more, they’re almost impossible to get rid of once they’ve gotten a foothold in a home. Cockroaches are drawn to areas of the home where food and water are easily accessible, meaning the kitchens and pantries are prime targets. Cockroaches can survive for months without food or water, and can survive extremely harsh temperatures. They can be killed with various pesticides but, in many cases, these pesticides can be just are harmful to humans.

Fire ants:

Originally brought to the US from South America, fire ants now cause major problems from coast to coast. Fire ants are, of course, known for their particularly obnoxious bite, as they can latch onto their target with their proportionally powerful jaws and drive their stinger into the target multiple times.

Killer bees:

Killer bees don’t actually kill that many people, despite the mini-panic that was started in the 1990s. They are, however, incredibly territorial and will attack any thing they perceive to be a threat to the security of the hive.

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millions

The 10 Most Destructive Pests

these pests could cost you LITERALLY millionsHow will YOU protect yourself from these pests?

Those zany kids at the National Pest Management Association are at it again with this list of the ten most destructive pests. In terms of both property damage and health risks, these household pests have been known to wreak havoc on even the most well protected homes.

Termites:

Like ants, termites are among the most successful groups of insects on earth, in as much as they’ve managed to colonize most landmasses, apart from Antarctica. Hundreds of species of termite are economically significant and can cause severe damage to buildings, crops, and forests.

Ticks:

Ticks are actually small arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals. That said, the principal threat that ticks pose is health-related. Ticks are dangerous vectors for Lyme disease (especially on the Eastern seaboard) and various other viruses and bacteria. Some ticks, such as the Australian paralysis tick, is intrinsically venomous and, as the name implies, can cause paralysis.

Carpenter Ants:

Like termites, carpenter ants are known for causing serious structural damage to buildings. However, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they bore through. Rather, they drill elaborate tunnel systems for nesting and breeding purposes. Carpenter ants favor wooden structures with water damage, compounding an already serious and potentially fatal problem.

Aphids:

Aphids pose a mostly agricultural threat, as they feed on the fluids inside plants. Like ants and termites, aphids are hugely successful insects from a zoological standpoint, which is largely due to the fact that they can reproduce asexually. If left unchecked, the honeydew that aphids produce can turn into a mold fungus and can transmit viruses to other plants.

Yellowjackets:

Yellowjackets, along with hornets, paper wasps, and other stinging insects, are responsible for upwards of half a million ER visits every year. Yellowjackets, known colloquially as “wasps,” are known for their characteristic coloring, their occurrence only colonies, and their distinct side-to-side flight pattern prior to landing. Despite the threat they pose to humans, wasps are actually important predators in their own right, commonly hunting other varieties of household pests.

Moles:

These strange creatures like to feed on worms, grubs, and other insects beneath the surface of your lawn. Like many other destructive pests on this list, the mole is perfectly suited to its environment—that is, underground. For example, moles have been known to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide than other animals because of a special protein in the blood, allowing them to breathe underground with ease.

Deer:

As your author can attest, deer love to snack on expensive flowers and other outdoor ornamentals. Besides tearing up landscaping, deer can also carry deer ticks, which, in turn, can carry Lyme disease. In some parts of the US, deer populations have escalated unchecked, and have now reached pest-levels.

Mosquitoes:

We all know about the health risks posed by mosquitoes: malaria, west Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue fever, filariasis, and other arboviruses, making them one of the deadliest animals in the world. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a bottle-cap’s worth of standing water, meaning that homeowners should diligently check their property for potential mosquito breeding locations.

Slugs:

Like worms, slugs play an important role in the ecosystem by eating and decomposing dead plant and animal matter. That said, they’ll just as soon eat live plants as dead ones, and frequently present agricultural problems for farmers and gardeners. Slugs can destroy plants faster than they can grow and bore holes in fruits and vegetables, making them unfit for sale or consumption.

Japanese Beetles:

As the name suggests, Japanese beetles are invasive pests that were initially found in the US sometime in the 1910s. They feed by skeletonizing plants, meaning that they consume only the leaf material between the veins, while leaving the veins themselves relatively untouched.

hornets and wasps

Hornets & Wasps

Hornets and wasps can be an unsightly addition to your home and can be very territorial and dangerously painful if encountered. All wasps have general physical characteristics that they share with one another including exoskeletons that cover their head, thorax, and their long narrow bodies, two pairs of wings of different lengths, two antennae and a stinger that can be used multiple times. If a human comes too close to a hornet’s nest or tries to unsuccessfully eliminate it then hornets are capable of a full on assault resulting in hundreds of hornets attacking a single invader. If a single hornet is killed then their last attempt at protecting the nest will cause them to release a pheromone that will result in the whole nest narrowing in on and attacking the invader. If you have a hornet’s nest that is too close to your home it is best to consult a professional exterminator like Cantu Pest Control for help. Read more

carpenter bees

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees are often mistaken for bumble bees, and though both bees are relatively harmless, and help to pollinate flowers Carpenter Bees are solitary insects. Carpenter Bees, or wood boring bees, can cause cosmetic damage to wood structures that are unpainted or untreated often leaving behind small, round holes in which they use for nests. Though these bees are harmless and do not cause structural damage to homes, they are a nuisance and too many carpenter bees in a single area can leave multiple unsightly holes behind. Let Cantu Pest Control help you take back your home by eliminating these pests. Read more