I get this question all the time. According to Phil Pellitteri (retired) from UW Madison. Most native insects and arachnids can survive air temperatures above -24 F. Wind chill has no impact on an insect that is protected from the wind. Keep in mind, being able to and actually surviving are two different things. There is always a level of winter kill each season. Desiccation is a leading cause. Ironically a mild winter can be as devastating as a severe cold snap.
Insects like the Box Elder Bug have a natural antifreeze due to their liquid diet of the sap from the Box Elder Tree. Many other true bugs also have the same trait. meaning, they can not only survive sub zero temps, they can also be active in temps in the teens, so long as they are exposed to the sun. Their darker coloration acts as a solar collector, warming their core enough to move around in the sun. If they cannot keep up with the sun's movement? They will literally get stopped in their tracks until the next sunny day. If they are fortunate enough to "stumble" across" a warm air draft exiting your home? They will crawl into that opening and settle in.
How do pest survive outdoors? They will either find warmer conditions, such as the detris (rotted wood) of an old growth tree, where the decay is feeding bacteria that is composting the wood. This bacteria produces heat. If you ever get a chance, visit a large compost pile during the winter. As they dig into the pile, you will see steam. Cool, hey? Animals and insects will also burrow below the frost line. Those that cannot handle freezing and hibernate? Can be killed during sudden extreme subzero spells. As you can imagine, moisture levels are lower in frozen conditions. It is at this point, there will be a natural level of die off from dehydration.
Lady Beetles, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles in particular, need cooler temps, yet not freezing. It is not unusual to find them behind the insulation in the basement sill box. Their entry points are usually close by, for where they enter, so does the cooler temps from the drafts. Finding these entry points are critical in preventing future problems. Ironically Box Elder Bugs will find these same spots equally attractive.
Spiders! Yes, these guys can survive very cold temperatures as well. Spiderlings and their eggs. The Yellow Sac Spider is the most common spider to make an appearance off and on during the winter months. Their indoor activity peaks in Mid March to early April. Their tell tale signs are the shelter webbing they make at the ceiling wall junctures. These opaque webs will protect and shield them from other spiders and even the house centipede. The Yellow Sac Spider can and will bite. What about the centipede? Will they bite? Yes if given a reason. Their bites are rare, yet painful.
Now that Labor Day Weekend has snook up on us. Now what? What can we expect weather wise and how will over wintering pest respond?
Our spring was late and very long. Some would argue it never really let go. Summer was mild. Never hitting triple digits. It has been a while since we have had such a wet August. Grass never went dormant. Paper Wasp have been quiet. Ground nesting Yellow Jackets have been minimal. Likely due to the heavy rains this spring early summer. Structural nesting yellow jackets have been 80% of my wasp calls. The Bald Faced Hornet, ie the Black Yellow Jacket has been at normal levels. Their hives are always Aerial , therefor not effected by the rains. MICE! Yes, the summer surprise. Their indoor activity never really slowed down. The common house mouse has been active. Deer mice have recovered from the spring rains and look to make their move indoors later than normal.
What does a warmer than normal Fall mean to you? It means mice, box elder bugs, fleas, earwigs and other pest, will produce one or two more generations than usual. This will put a lot of over wintering pressure in November and December. Great! Just in time for the Holidays...
What can you do to prevent this seasonal push indoors?
1. Identify potential entry points and repair.
2. Remove material close to structures where mice and insects may try to hide till winters cold sets in. This includes making sure organic mulch such as bark or wood chips is not too deep. Three inches is the maximum depth. More than that requires turning the material every four weeks till a deep freeze. A garden weasel type tool works good. Firewood needs to be raised off the ground, either on the rack or blocks. Never allow wood to sit for more than two seasons.
3. Look for damaged wood and repair or replace.
4. Have gutters cleaned as well as trim overhanging branches. They need to be several feet away or ideally no longer overhanging roof.
5. Have a preventive service prior to their appearance. Contact me for a pest risk and proofing evaluation.
Beware of the traveling salesman. There has been reports of a large service provider trying to enter the Kenosha market place. Make no mistake, they are not interested in a long term relationship. They will not remain under the same ownership for more than another year or two. When their annual sales reach a set level? They will sell their clients to a very large international service. This is the third company they have built up this way.
As many of my local peers know. I am more than glad to share their name when I am over booked. I enjoy friendly competition. It is not only healthy for the pest control industry. I helps motivate innovation. I also want the consumer to have a positive experience when dealing with a professional pest service.
I strongly believe it is disingenuous to build up ones client base, solely to build value of company for the auction bloc .
Spectrum Pest Control since day one, has been built with the intent to remain a small family owned and run business. matter of fact, it has been our goal since day one, to not have employees. I perform all my own services. My wife, Judith does the books while also raising our son, including homeschooling him. Our son looks forward to working with his dad. Not for, with. This means he will spend his summers riding with me and servicing our clients with me.
Spectrum Pest Control does NOT advertise. We also will not go door to door pressuring people to buy our services. If you want to find out how we are doing? Don't look for online reviews. We all know, most are asked for. Instead. Go to FB or other social media and ask "who do you recommend for pest control in the Kenosha area?" You will find Spectrum Pest Control is mentioned more often than any other services.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
With all this rain we have been having. One would thing the mosquitoes would be much worse. Yet here we are, approaching mid July and most are not experiencing elevated mosquitoes. Why is that? Mosquitoes spend most of their lives as larvae. Meaning, they are in the water. They need surface air to breathe. They will attach to the surface tension of the water and breath air. When we get heavy rains. The waters surface gets churned up pretty good. Causing the larvae to drown. I don't know about you, I lose no sleep at all over this. It is also believed many get washed down into the great state of Illinois. Which may explain why Wisconsin is their favorite vacation destination.
What can you do to reduce mosquitoes in your yard?
1. Make sure all bird baths and other water receptacles are emptied and refreshed daily.
2. Have garden ponds aerated or have mollies or guppies added. They love skeeters.
3. Have your gutters cleaned and check that they are hanging properly. You would be shocked how many mosquitoes can breed in a gallon of water.
4. Use a small barn fan for the deck. Direct the fan towards the seating. No need to produce an 80's rock video. Medium or low speed may do the trick.
5. Citronella and other natural repellents only work in smaller more confined areas. Any breeze will clear their aroma out and defeat the function of confusion.
6. Save your money on bug zappers. They will attract far more than they kill and will take out many of the good guys who feed off of mosquitoes. If you must have one, mount as far away from seating area as possible. This way they are a decoy.
7. Avoid white lights near doors or deck. The amber bug light is still a solid mainstay. If you need brighter lighting. Have the lights mounted off of structure pointing towards the structure. Mercury lights are the worse. Sodium vapor or even LED will be better.
8. During wet season, try to mow lawn more frequently and at a lower blade. As rains become less frequent, start to mow at a higher blade to help you grass grow deeper roots for better drought resistance.
9. Call Spectrum Pest Control for an evaluation of risk as well as estimate for preventive 100% natural mosquito barrier service.
Thank you for reading my long over due blog posting. Enjoy the rest of our short Wisconsin Summer
The Difference is in the details. How many times do we hear this?
Many in my profession are very good people who only want to help their clients resolve their pest problems. And, that they do. So, what is the difference? What separates them from what I do? Is there a difference between intent and execution? We all have our favorite Bakery, Fish Fry, Coffee Shop etc. What is it that makes us choose one over the other? Is it the quality of their food? The customer service? Friendship? We all have our favorites.
When I discuss methods of control with my peers, I often discover they have a good grasp of how to kill the bad bugs yet have little knowledge of the nuances of how each product or method interacts with the entire population or colony of the pest they are targeting. Ants in general and specifically Carpenter Ants, have very intricate interactions with each other and the environment around them. If one does not have a full understanding of the holistic picture? They quite often win the battle and not the war. When approaching the elimination vs the control of carpenter ants, knowing the big picture is critical. For their colony is seldom in one location.
A mature colony will have up to ten thousand ants, spread out over a dozen satellite sites as far as five hundred feet away from the main colony with the queen. Few structures will have the proper water damaged wood to support the needs of the chamber the queen claims as her throne. More often this is found in a rotting tree, tree stump or landscaping timber. The satellites will be in locations ideal for very specif stages of development with in the colony. The eggs, early larval stages tend to need the highest moisture levels, thus usually near the queen. As the larvae develop and grow, their dietary and environmental needs change as well. The workers will move them to the sites best suited. These locations may be bone dry, such as hollow core doors, curtain rods, window frames etc. Other locations for later stage larvae may require minor water damaged wood such as that found in the sill plate area where the house sits on top of the foundation.
How does all this make a difference in proper management and ultimate elimination? If any product or method works too fast? It will not allow the colony to fail. Even if the queen is reached? The colony may already have future queens in the pipeline. Most commonly known as winged reproductive's . If the colony senses the loss of their queen they may force a new queen to emerge from the batch of reproductive's.
There are now dozens of ant baits labeled for carpenter ants, yet only a few that actually gain complete control. How is this important. Even though they all are now accepted by carpenter ants and their picky palate, most will kill the ant before it can be transferred to the queen.
Attacking wasp are important to have instant kill. Carpenter Ants require by comparison a slower approach. The methods I have perfected over the years will give reasonably fast results. The difference is, this may mean several days vs minutes or hours. Why is this important to you? With Spectrum Pest Control, you are far more likely to see results that last well over a year. Sometimes even years. This allows me to be able to offer a full one year warranty against carpenter ants. Something only Spectrum Pest Control has been offering since 1998!
April is the month were the colony comes back to life after a long winter pause. The warmer temps will trigger their foraging for sugars, water and sweets as well as house cleaning their nest of the winter die off. It is at this phase of their season where the colony is the most vulnerable to a proper and aggressive approach. Only Spectrum Pest Control provides several follow up visits every seven to ten days. While most may only offer one follow up or worse yet. Force you into a maintenance contract of bi monthly or quarterly services. These options do very little to diagnose why you have carpenter ants and what needs to be done structurally to prevent future problems.
Be sure to contact us today to schedule a no cost or obligation estimate inspection.
I believe 2016 will be one of those years we talk to our grandchildren about. Between the roller coaster ride of a presidential election to drastic swings in the weather. We have spent most the time not knowing which way is up.
January and February were seasonally average months. Then March warmed up. This made for a busier than expected spring. I have worked 60 plus hour weeks since the last week of March. November was warmer than normal. Even did a large termite service in Kenosha the second week of November. Traditionally my termite rig is already winterized by the first of November.
What were some of the seasonal surprises in 2016? In late March and early April the paper wasp were behaving more like what you would see in October. What was the cause? It appeared far more wasp survived the winter in the safety of attics and overhangs. Since our Indian Summer of 2015 was a slow gradual occurrence. Their trigger to hang out in the sun wasn't dramatic enough. Follow that with a mild winter, yet not too mild. They came out in late March......sunned themselves and most perished from "old" age. Most of the summer, where we were expecting a higher level of wasp due to the spring activity, did not occur. The Mediterranean/European Paper wasp seems to be taking over. Their peak season is late July and by mid-August, they are done reproducing. Their behavior then changes to clustering outside of their paper comb hive.
BED BUGS! Yes, BED BUGS, have continued to increase in activity. This has been our busiest year yet for bed bugs. Since I specialize more in the higher end homes, that has also been where most of our bed bug calls have seen the largest growth. Yes, they like everyone equally. Nice hey? Whether it has been Hunters Ridge, River Oakes, Forest Park, Allendale or many of the other residential subdivisions, bed bugs have been on the increase. Travel being the leading cause of introduction, followed by returning college students. I have seen more than a few pieces of bed bug furniture being sold on online rummage sale sites.
Carpenter Ants had a bit of a setback mid-summer. The hard drought was not as bad as 2012, it got too close though. This caused carpenter ant population growth to slow down. It also likely killed some parts of the colony off. Carpenter Ants are tough and know how to survive our climate. They will not only rebound, they will likely over react. Thus causing them to produce more than average reproductive swarmer’s. These winged ants are mostly fertile females. There is a smaller number of winged males. Expect carpenter ants to be busy the first 70F day of April.
MICE. Mice were up this fall. More deer mice than I can recall in a while. These are the native species that will typically come and go throughout the year. Settling in for the fall and winter months. They seldom reproduce indoors. The common grey house mouse usually move in for the long haul. They are more comfortable being around humans than even the deer mouse.
The national pest control journals all agree 2017 we will be seeing and even greater pressure from bed bugs as well as a possitive oulook of our economy.
No, we are not facing another British invasion. More like an Asian invasion....
The Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetle that is. For many, it is a familiar tune. We look forward to one last blast of Indian Summer, only to be reminded of who plans on spending the winter with us. That's right. The Muliti-Colored Asian Lady Beetle has their sites set on your home or business. Many of you will see thousands of dead ones outside your home or business over the next few days. You will give out a sigh of relief, thinking....ah yes... dodged that bullet.... Right? Wrong... What you see along the foundation is only the tip of the iceberg. Those were the ones who's genetic number was up. Yes, they only live so long. This final Indian Summer spell triggers their death. Fear not. The other half that found your home an ideal sunning spot, will be moving into your walls and attic for the winter.
If you are just now learning this? FEAR NOT! You are not too late. No one and I mean no one has been treating for these lady beetles longer and more successfully than I have. The very first year they hit South East Wisconsin back in the mid 90's, I had pioneered in an effective service protocol. No ongoing service contract is needed. One service in the fall and a recommended one in mid spring next year is all that is needed. The majority of the work is from the exterior. The later into November we go? The more interior work needs to be done. Mostly wall voids and attic spaces.
Don't be shy. Don't give up. Have no fear Brent is here! Check out my website for more details and then contact me for your no obligation free estimate inspection.
Looks like life can change on a dime. We never know what will hit us next. Just a few weeks ago, no one knew about Pokemon Go Now we are seeing people of all ages "enjoying" the outdoors. As they wander through the streets and parks, many are no doubt discovering they are themselves a lure. Not just potential bad guys but mosquitoes and ticks as well. Even with the drought, mosquitoes seem to be bad, especially in wooded areas. The dry conditions seem to be perfect for ticks. Fleas will soon follow. Then there is the annual picnic spoiler "The Picnic Bee" which isn't even a bee. It is a yellow jacket which is in the wasp family. Their numbers are already elevated for this time of the summer.
Other than sending our children back into the basement to play video games all summer. There are some reasonable precautions we can make. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn. Avoiding being outdoors during this short period will reduce exposure. Avoid dark clothing and strong perfumes etc. Proper labeled deet products and even some of the newer natural products will work fine. Ticks require a bit more effort to avoid. Long sleeves and long pants are helpful, wearing a hat helps as well. Avoid the tall grassy areas where bushes and trees are thick. Pathways made by wildlife are sure to be hot spots as well. Repellent products help but not as well as they do for mosquitoes.
In you yard? Avoid allowing bird baths and other items to hold water for too long. Make sure to refresh bird baths daily. Don't forget your gutters. Yes, those things way up by the roof can be a major source of mosquitoes. Make sure they are properly hung, avoiding pooling where plants and mucky water can build up.
All hornets are wasp, yet not all wasp are hornets. Then there is the aggressive Baldfaced Hornet which isn't a hornet but a black yellow jacket. Which is a wasp! It gets trickier. Wasp, Bees and Ants are all related. Some ants look like bees and don't sting, while some bees look like ants and sting. The velvety ant, otherwise known as the "cow killer" is an example of an ant-looking bee with a bad attitude!
If you see wasp, bees or hornets entering a hole in your siding? Do NOT seal it up. They are not entering to explore. That is their home. You want to make sure the hive is dead before sealing. Liquids and spray foams only work if the hive structure is visible.
Spectrum Pest Control is more than glad to evaluate your problem, free of charge. You can even text us a picture or two for an estimate on wasp or bees.
Enjoy your summer and the great outdoors. Pokemon Go away!
Easter is early this year and so is spring.The frogs are chirping two weeks earlier than normal as well.
Spring is here! No wait....Yes.... No.....Yes. Sheesh
Due to the recent news about the Zika Virus.Many are already securing their slot in our mosquito service calendar. The Zika virus will not likely make a mosquito borne appearance in the upper midwest. LIKELY, not very reassuring.... The mosquitos common to our area are not known carriers. Which means unless a Southern House Mosquito or Tiger Mosquito works it's way up north? We will be fine.
We have plenty of other mosquito borne diseases to worry about. West Nile being the most likely.
Spectrum Pest Control offers a comprehensive approach to protecting your family from mosquitoes. First and foremost, we identify conditions that would attract and breed mosquitoes. They are far more lazy than you think. If given a choice, they will feed off of those sitting a few feet from their breeding source than they ever would hundreds of yards away.
Top five sources of residential mosquitos.
1. Stagnant birdbaths/ ornamental ponds.
2. Poorly hung gutters that never completely drain.
3. Hidden water reservoirs such as tires, children's toys and sagging pool covers.
4. Poor drainage in turf. Avoid allowing standing water in yard. Especially near permanent bodies of water.
5. Dense foliage near decks and patios. Mosquitos hate air movement. Avoid privacy screens that block proper circulation.
In some areas, the mosquitoes are hard to avoid due to marsh and other bodies of water outside you control. One of the best ways to prevent mosquitoes from spoiling your summer evenings? A large "barn" fan blowing towards where people will be active. Again, mosquitoes hate wind.
Pest Pro of the Month: SPECTRUM PEST CONTROLA little over 2 decades ago, a young fella and his bride decided that they would spray their way into financial independence while serving the citizens of Kenosha, WI. Brent and Judith Towle celebrate 22 years of business this month, and we’re proud to be able to announce Spectrum Pest Control as the February 2016 “Pest Pro of the Month”.
Like many in the USPMPA, Brent started his pest career with a national company. A consistent top salesperson in his branch, Brent loved the ability to solve his customers’ pest problems, while also continuing to learn. At the same time, Towle wanted what we all desire: the elusive “work-life balance”, the ability to raise a family AND have the ability to spend time with them, and also be his own boss while still serving the public.
The Towles jokingly refer to Feb. 1, 1994 as their “Independence Day”, and they jumped in with both feet. They started by advertising in the phone book, and relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, referrals and Brent’s participation in the Rotary Club. The business is lean: Brent designed and built their website, kenoshapest.com, and is owner-operator while Judith is owner-office manager. Initally Towle found himself tempted to follow what was a very aggressive strategy. Doing so required longer hours in the business, however, leading up to what he describes as a “pivotal conversation” with Judith. Staying true to their desire to have a work-life balance, the Towles agreed to pace themselves to live comfortably while still steadily growing into a 6-figure gross revenue. A minimal marketing budget has worked for Spectrum: while 2008 and 2009 were a depression, Towle has reported growth every year since and projects growth again in 2016.
USPMPA: If you could go back, what would you tell yourself?
BT: I’d say two things to myself:
BT: I really enjoy and even look forward to carpenter ants! I feel like I’m best known in my market for my success at treating carpenter ants. I really enjoy the troubleshooting and the challenge of eliminating a colony that may have satellites that a new customer has been dealing with for years before they called me.
USPMPA: Ok, and how about your least favorite?
BT: Bed bugs! (laughs) I like the money that comes with the treatments, but there is an elevated amount of chemicals applied, more so than with other pests…plus the risk of bringing them home. That’s the last thing I want!
USPMPA: What is one of your most memorable achievements?
BT: A few years ago I was hired to deal with a massive flock of about 100,000 starlings. I was the the first documented operator to successfully – and permanently – remove an established winter roost of starlings using lasers! It took 3 seasons for me to deal with them, using lasers in 40-minute sessions. I actually got the job because everyone else said it was too big a job for them. I had even said that at first, and the factory owner called me back when he couldn’t find anyone to take the job! (laughs) I think that’s how I got the nickname “MacGyver of pest control”.
USPMPA: (laughs) I just saw one of your inventions…the plunger…
BT: (laughing) I have a big foaming job coming up and needed to be sure that the foam would get past the P-trap, so I made this..MacGyvered it!
Brent and Judith have built a solid business, and his commitment to his community has paid off handsomely. Spectrum Pest has customers still on service that started 22 years ago. The Towles give back as well: Spectrum donates 5% of gross receipts to local charities. Those who have interacted with Brent on US Pest Management Professionals Association or other groups know what a nice guy he is, always glad to offer advice to others.
Please join us in congratulating Brent and Judith on the remarkable milestone of 22 years in business, and for being the Pest Pro of the Month!
I am the owner and sole operator of Spectrum Pest Control. Hope you enjoy my helpful hints, predictions and fun stories.