voles

Voles Can Cause Costly Damage to Landscaping

voles

Vole Burrowing Can Disrupt Root Systems

Voles spend most of their time burrowing in their elaborate, far-reaching den network, although they can sometimes be seen running along above ground as well. One of the clearest telltale signs of voles in your yard is the appearance of well-traveled, above ground routes or pathways that connect one burrow opening to another.

However, these paths can sometime prove difficult to spot, as they’re commonly covered with a protective layer of grass or foliage, which is usually adequate to protect the runway from sight. These burrow openings, which can appear suddenly and in worrying numbers, are usually about one and a half to two inches in diameter.

Further evidence of voles, apart from their burrow openings, is the appearance of fresh grass “clippings” or small droppings which are usually greenish in color. As these droppings are exposed to oxygen, they tend to turn brown or grey over time.

Voles are active through the year and can operate even in frozen climates. In the winter, they have the ability to burrow layers of snow and up to the surface. Vole populations tend to fluctuate from year to year, but under favorable conditions and with access to enough food, their numbers can increase rapidly and they can quickly become pests.

volesSeveral families can occupy a single burrow system, and they size of the system depends largely on the availability of food in the area.

Voles can and typically do breed through the year, although peak mating times often occur in the spring. Females mature very quickly, usually in about thirty-five to forty days, and can give birth to up to ten litters a year.

Litters usually consist of about three to six young, although it’s uncommon for voles to live longer than a year in the wild.

Most voles usually will not venture inside human habitations; most of the damage they cause will be outdoors. During prime vole breeding seasons, outbreaks of vole populations can lead to fairly serious economic issues, as voles have been known to destroy crops and gardens, and their burrowing disturbs the roots of many other kinds of plants.

volesMoreover, they can also cause costly damage to landscaping, which may have to be replaced completely. Although voles are poor climbers and prefer to remain underground, they can sometimes climb up on low hanging tree branches and cause damage to trees off the surface of the ground as well.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas vole removal 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 voles 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 vole removal experts.

rats

House Mice at a Glance

mice

Mice Are Tenacious and Potentially Dangerous Pests

As they try to seek out spaces for nests that aren’t likely to be disturbed by humans, mice will often traverse dusty attics and seldom-used basements, meaning that if a mouse were to scamper across a particularly dusty patch of floor, they’ll likely leave behind their telltale footprints.

Mice have a unique bone structure, making their tracks fairly easily recognizable—as long as you have an idea of what you’re looking for. They have a four-toed front paw and a five-toed back paw, which you’ll often see in conjunction with myriad tail-prints. That said, your local mouse removal professional will be able to tell at a glance what species and how many mice you may be up against.

Likewise, the sudden abundance of holes in various surfaces like furniture and walls are a clear indication of the presence of mice. Their ever-growing teeth need to be constantly used—much like a beaver’s—so they don’t do any undue harm to themselves.

miceThat said, mice can chew through almost any surface and, given enough time, they tend to do just that; unchecked mouse populations can present serious economic repercussions, as the damage that they do during the course of the infestation will doubtless need to be repaired.

Moreover, mice have been known to present serious fire hazards, as electrical wires rank among the items most frequently defaced. Apart from furniture, wiring, and walls, teeth and nail markings might also appear along baseboards or wooden paneling close to the floor, as well as the edges of frequently travel routes. Mice will often gnaw through boxes, both wooden and cardboard, as untended boxes tend to provide easy access to hiding and nesting places.

On that note, it’s very common to find that mice have been hard at working boring holes into insulation in between walls and in attics. These holes or tunnels may be indications of possible nesting areas, and are often characterized by a lack of dust and/or cobwebs, albeit with an abundance of droppings in the near vicinity.

miceThe characteristic scent that’s produce by a mouse’s urine is the factor that finally convinces homeowners to call in their pest control professionals, although by the time the odor becomes offensive, the mouse population in the area in question has been able to propagate unchecked for quite some time.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas mice removal 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 mice 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 mice removal experts.

cotton rats

Combatting the Spread of Cotton Rats

cotton rats

Cotton Rats Can Pose Serious Agricultural Threats

Cotton rats are especially destructive when it comes to sugarcane and melon, as they tend to favor the natural sugars in both foods. In some cases, cotton rats will eat quail eggs, severely impacting the quail population in a given area. To make matters worse, cotton mice are often in competition with quail for a lot of the same food sources.

The cotton rat makes its home across most of the southern United States, including all parts of Texas, as well as most parts of Mexico. Cotton rats are distinguished from other species by their small internal cheek pouches, much like those of the chipmunk, which they use for carrying seeds.

cotton ratsIn many instances, the cotton rat will move from farms and fields to gardens and lawns if the opportunity presents itself. While, in most cases, cotton rats are outdoor pests, it’s not unknown for them to enter homes and other structures if food is readily available. They’ve been known to infest outbuildings like barns, sheds, garages, and other similar structures. Other seldom used buildings like lake or hunting cabins are also prime targets for cotton rats.

Like other species of rats and mice, cotton rats are prolific breeders, and, if an infestation is not caught early on, it can increase in severity at an exponential rate. Females can produce up to nine litters per year, and have about five to seven babies per litter. The young cotton rats reach maturity in about a month, at which point they’re ready to find mates of their own. When resources are plentiful, there’s really no limit to the number of rats that a population can sustain.

Signs of cotton rat activity include the appearance of nests or burrows, likely make out of grasses or weeds, and often with multiple entrances. Cotton rats generally nest directly on the ground or in shallow burrows, and tend to make trails in the grass, similar to ruts, wherever they travel.

Like many other species of rodent, cotton rats have the ability to transmit hantavirus, meaning that extreme caution should be taken when handling dead rats, their nests, or their feces. Most experts recommend making sure that grass and weeds near structures is kept as short as possible, and that all holes and openings in outbuildings are sealed as a means of keeping an infestation of cotton rats at bay.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas cotton rat removal 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 cotton rats 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 cotton rat removal experts.

chinch bugs

Chinch Bug Destruction of Formerly Healthy Lawns

chinch bugs

Chinch Bugs Cause Brown Spots and Destroy Your Lawn

Chinch bugs love to spend time in open, sunny areas, and often appear in very large numbers; in fact, they’re often present in the hundreds in an areas as small as a single square foot. Chinch bug infestations often go unnoticed because of their exceedingly small size. An adult chinch bug is about one-sixth of an inch long and had a greyish-black body which is covered in fine hairs. On top of their bodies are a set of white wings, joined on each side of the body by sets of reddish legs. Young chinch bug nymphs can be as small as a pinhead, and are commonly brick-red in color.

Chinch bugs mainly feed on a variety of grasses, including red fescues, perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, and Kentucky bluegrass. Chinch bugs are most common during high summer, and are attracted to turf grass that is exposed to full sunlight. Damage caused by chinch bugs can be best noticed during the period between early July and late August, when these insects feed most ravenously.

Adults and nymphs alike can cause fairly serious damage to grass, as they feed on the plant matter, remove important plant fluids, and inject a certain natural toxin that causes the grass to turn from yellow to brown, and eventually die. One of the most prominent indications of chinch bug infestations is the appearance of large patches of dead, brown grass. These patches will of course appear unsightly amid a well-maintained lawn, and may even have to be specially treated or removed by lawn care specialists.

chinch bugsIf you believe that your lawn is being infested by chinch bugs, it’s a good idea to call your pest control professional as soon as possible in order to avoid mounting damage and even more excessive lawn care costs. Your pest control expert will be able to determine exactly which species of chinch bug is responsible for the damage to your yard, be they the western variety, the hairy variety, or the southern variety.

Over time, chinch bugs have become immune to a variety of pesticides, which means that effectively exterminating their population numbers can be challenging. Even as early as the 1950s, chinch bugs were resistant to powerful pesticides like DDT. There still are are few pesticides that have proven effective against chinch bugs in the past, however, including Talstar and Acephate.

chinch bugsThe removal of excessive thatch is another important step when it comes to the elimination and control of chinch bugs. Adequate maintenance of moisture on lawns and plants will also help reduce feeding damage and promote the growth of beneficial fungi that will help protect your plants from these insects. The use of low nitrogen fertilizer will also slow the reproduction of chinch bugs.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas chinch bug exterminators 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 chinch bugs 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 chinch bug removal experts.

 

beetles

Beetles Can Pose Problems on Farms and Gardens

beetles

Beetles Pose Agricultural Threats, Especially During Summer

Many species of beetles can prove damaging to humans, especially in an agricultural sense. These insects feed on plants, other small insects, or animal fibers, depending on the species. While some species are characterized as pests on farms and in gardens, while some other species, such as the ladybug, often prove beneficial to humans by killing harmful insects.

Beetles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be found all throughout the world. Some species are long and slender while others are rounded or oval shaped. They have firm antennae and chewing mandibles, and are characterized by their very firm, hard wings, which are often mistaken for their outer shell.

They fold their front pair of wings over their back pair, which are waterproof and protect the beetle from damage and dehydration. Interestingly, despite their two pairs of wings, beetles are poor fliers.

beetlesFlour and grain feed on food products in homes, and have also been known to damage food production/storage facilities and stores. June beetles, on the other hand, attack lawns and landscapes and attack the roots of grass, which might necessitate costly replacement in the long run.

During the fall and winter, these insects may become an even more prevalent pest to homeowners, because they’ll constantly be trying to make their way inside your home to escape from the cold weather. During these periods, you may be able to spot hundreds of beetles clustering around the outside of your home as they try to spot an opening.

In general terms, they can be divided into three different categories, which allows pest control experts to more accurately identify and exterminate the offending species. These categories include food product beetles, wood-destroying beetles, and fabric-infesting beetles.

Some kinds of beetles can be removed simply by using a vacuum of a broom, but your pest control profession will be able to recommend the best means of removal. Moreover, many different types of beetles and other insects are attracted to floodlights outside the home or business. Therefore, it’s a good idea to switch from white lightbulbs to the less enticing yellow lights.

beetlesIn the summer months especially, it’s important to remove food or compost that supports beetle development and reproduction. Likewise, moisture control is an important step in controlling beetle infestations. Make sure that areas like basements, bathrooms, and attics are kept as moisture-free as possible.

Some popular removal methods that pest control companies may choose to employ include using a pheromone-based beetle trap, which will effectively attract and immobilize the beetles. This will serve to determine the location of ingress and help you to administer insecticides effectively.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas beetle 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 beetles 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 beetle 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.

squirrels

Squirrels in Winter

squirrels

Attics Are Attractive Hiding Places for Squirrels During Winter Months

Attics are ideal entry points and nesting places for destructive vermin like mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels. As any homeowner beset by such a problem will likely be aware, the fist and most obvious sign of the presence of squirrels in one’s home is the supremely irritating sounds of bumping and scratching that can be heard across the upper floors and walls.

Squirrels are more at home in trees than on a flat, ground-like surface and as long as there is adequate shelter from predators, a squirrel will make it’s home just about anywhere.

squirrelsAs the weather continues to get colder, especially in areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, an attic is the ideal home for a squirrel, as it’s warm, dry, and virtually perfect for both nesting and storing food. Moreover, an attic is the perfect place for squirrels to breed, as they’re usually well out of the way of predators—meaning that homeowners beset by this particular problem should immediately search for means of dealing with the problem in order to avoid an infestations.

It’s worth nothing that an infestation of squirrels could mean anywhere from two to twenty of these animals obstinately tearing up your property, and as with any animals that have a tendency to invade homes—insect or otherwise—they’re almost impossible to get rid of when they invade in large enough numbers.

Calling your local wildlife control experts in certainly a solution, but it should be noted that such a measure is generally fairly costly, though they can generally be relied upon to remove the pests to a different location, as opposed to just killing them outright. On the other hand, the enthusiastic homeowner does have a number of options at their disposal to deal with the problem themselves, including trapping and removing the squirrels manually.

squirrelsHowever, this squirrel removal method is generally easier said than done, as it requires the amateur to accurately identify all entry and exit points that may or may not be hidden around your attic. For the untrained civilian, this is not small task. Assuming that the individual in question has successfully managed to identify all of the points of ingress and egress, the next step is to block all of these points except for one. If done correctly, this means that the squirrels have no other option than to use the exit in which the trap should be placed.

Appropriate squirrel-sized traps can be purchased at nearly any hardware store, and should be placed in or near the squirrels’ point on entry. Follow the instructions provided by the trap’s manufacturer, and ensure that the trap is mounted correctly. When a squirrel is successfully captured, it may then be removed to a different location, which usually means that the critter in question will not be invading your attic again anytime soon.

Cantu Pest Control cares about safe and humane trapping of the wildlife that has invaded your home or business. We believe that wildlife invaders do not have to be killed in order to solve the invasion. After our squirrel removal professionals have properly and thoroughly employed measures that will eliminate future wildlife infestation then the property owner may choose to have any wildlife in and around the property caught in humane traps.

If squirrels 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 squirrel removal experts.

crickets

Controlling and Exterminating Crickets

cricketsAlthough they seem harmless, crickets can do considerable damage to your lawn during the summer months. When crickets appear in large numbers, their constant feeding on foliage can begin to take a real toll. Most species are active at night, which is when you’ll most likely hear their characteristic chirping.

Crickets can be found wherever there’s a bit of shelter, including under rocks, logs, and in tall grass. Mating season for these pests usually occurs during late summer. During this time, they’ll burry their eggs in the dirt where they’ll remain safe throughout the winter.

cricketsThe eggs will hatch during the spring and summer of the next year, and the whole process will begin anew. This is a challenging time for homeowners because crickets will eat almost any organic material, including any plants you may have in your yard as well as beneficial insects. That said, they also serve as a food source for predators like centipedes and birds, ensuring a healthy ecosystem.

In rural areas and on farms, crickets can be especially dangerous pests. They have a propensity to consume crops at an alarming rate, and can economically devastate an agricultural operation.

Crickets can sometimes find their way indoors and make their homes in hidden or inaccessible spaces, like the cavities inside walls. Once there, they can drive some homeowners crazy with their ceaseless chirping which can be aurally magnified by the walls of a home.

Apart from their incredibly loud and grating chirping, crickets trapped inside homes often feed on clothing and carpeting, making them an economic threat as well.

As is the case with many different types of pest control threats, a mixture of approaches and treatments is usually required to ensure that the infestation is taken care of. If the problem persists it may be a good idea to introduce predators of the cricket to your property, like cats, birds, or spiders, all of which will help to curtail the population of these insects.

Pest control professionals will also help to seal cracks in walls and foundations to ensure that more crickets can’t find their way inside your home in the future.

cricketsThese pests are most active during the summer months, and are attracted by garbage left outside and by electric lights, both of which can be found on the property of the average homeowner. Crickets resting on vertical surfaces like walls and light posts, especially during the summer, is not an uncommon sight.

During the winter, however, they will move from these exposed areas to sheds and crawlspaces because of the warmth and moisture they provide. It’s during this time that crickets will likely try to worm their way inside your home. They’ll be drawn by the warmth, light, and the easy availability of many different food sources.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas cricket removal 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 crickets 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 cricket removal experts.

Ants

Fire Ant Removal and Identification

Fire Ants

Fire Ants Are Social Insects and Can Create Massive Colonies

The term fire ant is the general name that acts as an umbrella over a large number of specific species of red ants that inhabit the United States. The types of ants that are under this umbrella include pyramid ants, pharaoh ants, harvester ants, and finally the most notorious: the red imported fire ant. All these species of ants closely resemble one another, and all share the same biology. All ants have a body divided into three sections: head, thorax and tail. Fire ants also have antennae that are bent at a 90 degree angle, and sport the standard six legs.

Fire AntsAnts are very social insects that make their home in a colony which was built by their queen after recently swarming and mating. Swarming usually occurs during the spring and fall after a rainfall. Winged males and winged females will leave their current colonies to swarm, pair off and mate. After mating the male ant dies while the female ant will shed her wings, and burrow into soil to build her own colony. These new colonies are generally found near wood sources, such as a fallen tree or near a house, and in sunny areas. After burrowing the new queen will give birth to a small number of eggs and feed the new hatchlings herself. These new ants will either be winged males, reproductives, or sterile female worker ants. From this point on the queen will continue to increasingly produce more offspring resulting in over 500,000 new ants in a single colony.

Fire AntsThe fact that fire ants can be social insects can be seen in the way that they interact with other nearby colonies of the same species. A single colony of ants can be very territorial and attack intruders, but fire ants are known to actually share queens with other nearby colonies resulting in a rapid growth of even more colonies and swarming. The resilience of these ants is evident in their survival tactics. If a colony is subjected to flood water, or attacked by outside forces such as a human with chemicals, it only takes the queen and a handful of worker ants to survive in order make a brand new colony a few feet away just overnight. Therefore, it is important to completely eradicate this pest problem from the start.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas fire ant removal 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 fire ants 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 fire ant removal experts.

carpenter ants

Carpenter Ant Infestations Can Prove Deadly If Left Unchecked

carpenter ants

Carpenter Ant Colonies Can Expand Extremely Quickly

Carpenter ants, also known as sugar ants, are indigenous to many parts of the world, including North America, and are known for their characteristic habit of nesting inside wooden structures, most notably dead, damp wood. However, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood that they remove from these galleries.

Carpenter ants usually have a dark coloration and may have a pair of wings or bent antennas that can be discerned by the casual observer. Their sturdy, dark-brown or black bodies can reach up to three quarters on an inch in length. In an effort to expand their nesting area and accommodate new members in the colony, carpenter ants bore through wooden structures continuously, making them just as aggressive as termites, who, of course, must consume wood in order to survive.

It’s a common knee-jerk reaction by homeowners upon discovering ants in the home to want to immediately start spraying pesticides all over the place, but such an unmeasured and spastic response might not only be ineffective against the ants, but might pose serious health risks to yourself and to other family members or pets in the dwelling.

carpenter antsA good place to start would be to confirm that carpenter ants are, in fact, the offending species. Your local pest control professional will be able to spot the telltale signs of a carpenter ant infestation, such as the presence of sawdust and other such trails around carpets and doorways. Often, these trails can lead directly to the nest. It’s important to note that before any pesticides can be applied—or any other effective action is taken, for that matter—the nest must be located.

If pesticides are sprayed arbitrarily, the nest will likely break up and simply form again in a different location. Often, the use of sweet baits or attractants is a good method to confirm that carpenter ants are actually in the area.

carpenter antsOnce the presence of ants is confirmed, there are a number of effective strategies to kill them for good. Some, like commercial pesticides, are more statistically effective, but also present a much greater health risk to you and your family.

It should be noted, however, that these home remedies should not be relied upon to clear out an infestation of extremely destructive insects, and the best advice that I can give in such a situation is to contact your local pest control profession, who will be able to eliminate the infestation in both an effective and environmentally friendly way.

Cantu Pest Control is proud to be the first company in Texas to offer a Green Shield Certified Service. Our Dallas carpenter ant removal 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 carpenter ants 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 carpenter ant removal experts.