The Homeowner’s Guide to Dangerous Utah Spiders

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in I.D.

Utah’s desert mountain climate is beautiful and unique, and it makes Utah a truly remarkable place to live. Many people love Utah for its friendly, family-focused culture. Others love the rapidly growing business grid. Still others love the phenomenal skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and water sports. Utah is an incredible place, but there are two little problems.

Their names? The black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.

These two poisonous spiders can make living in Utah a bit dangerous unless you know what they look like, what they can do, and how to get rid of them. And because these spiders are so often found in homes across Utah, you as a homeowner should know how to protect yourself and your family. Learn more about these spiders below-and if you spot one, call your local pest control company immediately.

Black Widow Spiders

In this section, we’ll discuss the black widow spider so you can better recognize this pest.

What Are the Dangers of Black Widow Spiders?

Black widow spiders look shiny black in color, with a bright red, hourglass-shaped pattern on their bellies. They’re quite small-usually not larger than 10 millimeters in size. Black widows are desert spiders and quite at home in the relatively dry climate of Utah’s valleys.

Black widow spiders are the most venomous spiders in the US and Canada, with a venom that National Geographic reports to be 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. They don’t usually attack aggressively. They’re more likely to bite if they’re startled and feel threatened, like if someone sits on them or sticks their hand unknowingly into the spider’s web.

Most black widow bites are not dangerous-in fact, many people aren’t even aware that they’ve been bitten because so little venom enters their system. But for small children and those with weakened immune systems, the black widow’s bite can be deadly.

If you or someone you love is bitten by a black widow spider, you should seek immediate medical attention. You’ll likely feel muscle aches and nausea, but don’t panic. An emergency room doctor can help ensure that the black widow’s venom doesn’t cause serious damage.

What Are Black Widow Spiders’ Habits?

Like most spiders, black widows prefer the dark. They create irregularly shaped, messy webs in quiet corners, so you’ll likely spot a black widow in a dark corner of your garden shed or dry area of your kitchen. Black widows are solitary, and they’ll avoid noise and light whenever they can.

When reaching into dark places that you can’t see well, such as when you garden or clean, be sure to wear protective gloves. These spiders like to build their large webs near the ground and beneath protected ledges-just the sort of place you’d stick your hand into without thinking much.

What Should I Do About Black Widows?

If you spot a black widow in your home, your pest control company should be the first to know. Although black widow spiders are not aggressive, their bite can injure and even kill, so you need to live in a completely black-widow-free zone.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Below, we’ll talk about the brown recluse spider, its habits, and what you should do if you encounter one.

What Are the Dangers of Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders are a light brown color with a dark mark on their backs. Because the shape looks a bit like a violin, these spiders are also called fiddle-back spiders. The average brown recluse spider is about the size of a US quarter (including its legs). However, in Utah, they’re known to be quite a bit larger-some adult spiders can even be nearly as large as the palm of your hand.

Brown recluse spiders are venomous. And although a study at UC Berkeley revealed that 90% of brown recluse spider bites heal without medical assistance, the venom can be dangerous and even deadly. Like black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders usually only bite when provoked or surprised.

If you are bitten, a small white blister may develop. This blister can eventually develop into a gangrenous, open, painful wound. You may also experience chills, nausea, and a fever. If you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, go to the emergency room right away.

What Are Brown Recluse Spiders’ Habits?

Brown recluse spiders like closed, dark, dry places, so they’re so often spotted in piles of clothes, in bedding, or inside closets. In fact, most bites occur because someone puts on an old sweater or climbs into a bed that a brown recluse has made its home in these areas.

The best way to protect yourself and family members from brown recluse spiders is to keep tidy. Don’t allow piles of clothing or garbage to frow, and wash your bedding frequently.

What Should I Do About Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders can threaten the health of you and your family members, so if you see one in your home, contact your pest control company immediately.

In fact, we recommend that you have your home sprayed for spiders at least once each year anyway. If you haven’t already had your home sprayed against spiders, insects, and other pests, do so now, before black widows or brown recluses have a chance to move in and get comfortable.

Talk to your pest control specialist if you have more questions about Utah’s dangerous native spiders.

Cockroaches: Which Roaches Your Home Invites Inside and Why

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in I.D.

You aren’t much of a bug person. In fact, you keep your home and property clear of garbage, overgrowing plants, and clutter so insects don’t call your living environment “home.” But no matter how tidy your home is, you still find the occasional critter scurrying across your floors or countertops.

You wonder how exactly these bugs find their way inside your home. And if you see one insect in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are there are more hiding elsewhere in your house.

In another blog, we discussed the myths associated with cockroaches. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the roaches common to your area, as well as how your home inadvertently invites these critters inside. Read this blog post to find out how to make your home yours-and keep unwanted critters out.

Roaches Common to Utah

If you’ve ever seen “Men in Black,” you know that cockroaches come in all shapes and sizes. Though you’ll never have to worry about a colossal roach in your home, Utahans should know about the following four species native to the state.

German

These usually flightless cockroaches look light brown in color and have two black, parallel lines that run vertically behind their heads. German cockroaches range between one-half and five-eighths inches in length. Males and females look almost identical. However, males are typically lighter in color and the females have a wider abdomen.

This species of cockroach prefers warm and humid or moist areas, such as your bathroom or kitchen (specifically, your toilets, sinks, showers, and pipes). However, you’ll also find them wherever they can find food. Additionally, German cockroach feces emit aggregation pheromones to attract other cockroaches.

American

American cockroaches are some of the biggest you’ll find in the state. They measure over two inches in length and have wings to maneuver from place to place. These cockroaches display a rusty, burnt brown color. Males typically live about 200 days, whereas females have an average lifespan of 440 days, depending on the temperature of their environment.

You’ll commonly find American cockroaches in sewers and commercial food kitchens or preparation areas. These insects thrive well with German cockroaches, so if you see either of the two in your home, both species are likely present.

Oriental

Oriental cockroaches typically run between one and one-and-a-quarter inches long. They maintain a shiny dark brown or black physique with wings. Due to their color, you can sometimes mistake them for crickets. The males’ wings cover most of their thorax, while the females have much smaller extensions.

Unlike German and American roaches, this species thrives well outdoors. If you don’t find these insects near your sinks, tubs, or plumbing, you’ll likely discover them in your yard around plants, rocks, and mulch-even on your patio if it’s moist.

Brownbanded

These roaches don’t grow larger than half an inch long. Their exoskeleton shows a mixture of colors including:

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Grayish white
  • Burnt orange

You can easily identify Brownbanded cockroaches by the bell-shaped design at the bottom of their abdomen. Though these roaches have wings, only the males can fly.

This species of cockroach lives in warmer locations, including ceilings, inside and under furniture or appliances, walls, and even inside picture frames.

Items that Attract Cockroaches

Though you know which types of cockroaches to look out for, you still need to know which items in your home entice these pests to come inside.

Primary Sources of Food

As omnivores, cockroaches eat essentially anything. They often look to the following for their main food supply:

Garbage and organic compost

Unsealed or poorly tightened food containers

Crumbs on the counters, floors, and furniture Sugary, starchy, or greasy foods

They also thrive near water, so if you have any pipe leaks, your plumbing could unknowingly establish the perfect environment for cockroaches to thrive in.

Secondary Feeding Options

When they can’t obtain nourishment from the items listed above, roaches will search for other “edible” items, including:

  • Stacks of newspaper
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Book bindings
  • Leather
  • Toothpaste
  • Glue
  • Bars of soap
  • Wallpaper
  • Nylon clothes

If cockroaches can’t find their primary or secondary food sources, they’ll search for live or decaying plants, insects, and wood. Cockroaches can also go three months without food, so if they don’t find something immediately, they will begin to eat each other and even their own feces.

Preventative Measures to Take

If you don’t see cockroaches in your home, follow these tips to prevent them from entering your abode:

  • Immediately clean food preparation areas. Also wipe down your tables and chairs after you finish eating.
  • Repair any pipe leaks in your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Rinse off your dishes before you put them in your dishwasher. Any food scraps that don’t drain after a cycle will attract cockroaches.
  • Sweep and mop your floor regularly.
  • Clean in, under, and around appliances regularly.
  • Take out your trash as soon as the bag fills up. Be sure to tightly seal your trash can if possible.
  • Vacuum your carpets and rugs often. Throw away the vacuum bag or empty the container frequently. Wash your dishes as soon as possible. Don’t let them sit in the sink overnight.

To keep roaches out of your living environment, keep this advice in mind. But remember, cockroaches can find their way into even the cleanest homes. So if you spot one of these critters in your pantry or around your house, contact a pest control specialist immediately.

How to Identify Common Household Ants and Keep Them Out

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in I.D.

“The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah . . .”

Does this sound like something that has happened at your house? Ants are one of the most common household insects in the U.S. and some of the hardest to get rid of. They love to invade homes because human food contains so many of the natural sugars they enjoy. They find a food source, and then they tell their colonies to move in. Within a short time, you may have some unwanted houseguests.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common types of ants in the state-including carpenter, pavement, and little black ants-and describe what they can do to your home. We will also what these different species look like, what they eat, and where they live in each of the sections below.

The Big Guns: Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants range in size from 1/4 in. to 1/2 in., making them one of the largest ant species in the United States. They usually appear black, but some subgroups of carpenter ants have a reddish brown or yellow color. The worker class of carpenter ant has noticeably large mandibles.

Diet

Carpenter ants forage, which means they eat anything from dead insects for the protein, to fruits for the sweets. You will find them around aphids since they make the honeydew that they thrive on. They also tend to feed at night, when they work in groups to find food. Once these ants locate the food, they create the shortest path possible from the food source to the colony. This path is called a foraging trail. It continues until the ants deplete the food source.

Habitat

Carpenter ants live in areas where they can find moist, decaying wood. Contrary to popular belief, these ants do not eat wood-they excavate it to form galleries in which they nest and build to form their colonies. If you see a pile of wood shavings mixed with insect remains on your property, those shavings called frass, signal that a carpenter ant nest lies nearby. Potential Problems

Watch for a line of workers and swarmers (winged ants) entering your home to look for food, or scout out a new site to start a satellite colony. Perfect sites for satellite colonies may include porch columns, soffits, hollow core doors, moisture areas like bath, showers, and hot tubs, ceiling beams, skylights, stored items, crawlspaces, and attics, etc.

However, those leftover wood shavings we mentioned earlier signal a deeper problem. If the ants borer through the wood too much, they could undermine your house’s structural integrity. Avoid property damage and call your pest control experts at the first sign of trouble.

The Common Invader: Pavement Ants

The pavement ant is the most common species of ant in the country. These ants grow much smaller than their carpenter cousins and span about 1/8 inch in length. They have a light brown or black color. These ants got their name due to the fact that they usually build their nests in the cracks & under pavement. Sidewalks and driveways often show small mounds of soil indicating an ant nests.

Diet

Pavement ants eat almost anything. They will invade a home searching for vegetables, fruits, sweets, cheese, meat, and even other insects. If they get into your home, pavement ants can also contaminate your food.

Habitat

Pavement ants build their nests both outdoors and indoors. Outdoors, they live in pavement cracks, along curbs, or under rocks. Indoors, they prefer to nest under floors or in walls.

You can often see pavement ants carrying food and ant eggs on the sidewalk. After a queen ant lays eggs, her drones and workers transport them to a different nesting site to form a new colony.

Potential Problems

Pavement ants are generally harmless until they find your food. Once they find a few crumbs, the drones and workers swarm the food source and bring it back to the colony.

The Small Fry: Little Black Ants / Sugar Ants

Little black ants are the smallest of the three ant species mentioned here. A little black ant measures approximately 1/16 in. long and has a shiny black appearance.

Diet

Little black ants have an omnivorous diet, which means they eat pretty much everything. However, they commonly prefer aphids’ honeydew. If they invade a kitchen, large numbers of little black ants will travel through tiny cracks and form foraging trails to and from your pantry.

Habitat

Little black ants can live almost anywhere. Though they generally build their nests outside, these insects can build their nests in any dark and protected area, such as a foundation wall, baseboard, or wall void.

Potential Problems

Due to their short reproductive cycle and large colony size, little black ants represent one of the hardest species to eradicate. Mating season occurs during the summer months when mated females form rapidly expanding new colonies.

Some types of ants may carry and transmit disease organisms such as Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Clostridium, and Streptococcus.

 

Odorous House Ants

All brown in color, have a one-segmented petiole (connecting middle), 2.4 to 3.3 mm long, and when crushed emit a rotten, coconut-like odor.

Diet

Workers forage both day and night for honeydew, their favorite food, and both live and dead insects.

Habitat

Build shallow nests under rocks, firewood, cardboard, bricks, etc. when they invade a home, their nests are often outside. Indoor nests usually found in areas associated with moisture i.e. bathrooms, kitchens, & utility/hvac. They are active in as low as 50 degrees outdoors and can be active all year indoors.

Still have questions about ants in your home? Contact your pest control experts if you suspect an infestation. Only then can you rest easy knowing you’ve cleared every ant out of your house. Keep in mind that the eradication process may take time. After all, ants are resilient, and some of them may escape the first few treatments-especially if you attempt the treatments on your own.

In the meantime, throw away any food ants have touched, keep any additional food containers closed or in the refrigerator, and try to locate where the ant colonies might be. Then you can call your exterminator and eradicate the ants in no time.