Pittsburgh Springtime Pest Invaders And How To Control Them

The warmer months of the year are just around that proverbial corner. Soon, buzzing bees and colorful blooms will adorn walkways, gardens and parks. Winter coats, sweaters, mufflers and gloves will lay out of sight in back closets and dresser drawers until next year when they will be needed once again.

While the cycle of life and the seasons seem to spin by, there is always enough time to prepare for the inevitable problems associated with the incoming changes in temperature and clime.

Windows will open and warm air will drift languidly through our homes in spring, but so will some unwanted visitors that can and do put a damper on this usually pleasant and fragrant season.

If you live in or near Pittsburgh and are a homeowner or manager of a commercial enterprise, beware of the following creepy crawlies that are likely to invade your space and, more importantly, learn how to deal with them with the help of our pest control and pest management experts.

Read on or call our team today with any residential or commercial pest control or exclusion needs – (412) 252-5200!

Carpenter Ants And Termites

Both Carpenter ants and termites live in colonies and are social insects that attack wood. Homeowners may easily mistake one for the other, but they are different and as such, require diverse control measures. Although the black carpenter ant aids Mother Nature in the decomposition of dead and decaying trees by providing compost for new environmental growth, the large worker ants do much destruction to residences as they search for food for the colony.

A carpenter ant infestation indicates a residence or commercial space with a moisture problem. They are often found near sinks, dishwashers, laundry areas, and bathrooms.These insects are known to tunnel into soft materials, such as foam insulation, and moist rotting wood to make their nests. Common indoor nest locations include: wall studs, window and door casings, porch pillars and supporting timbers, sills, girders, joists and under insulation between ceiling joists or wall studs. The proper resolution of a carpenter ant infestation usually requires help from professional pest maintenance specialists who must first identify all of the nests, which is no easy process.  They may apply insecticides that require humans and pets to vacate the premises for an extended period of time.

Termites can be a financial disaster for both the residential and commercial space owners because they literally eat wood, which differentiates them from carpenter ants that carve tunnels and nest in the wood. Both are destructive but if one must be named as the critter that does the most damage, termites would win hands down.

Termites nest in vulnerable buildings and residences of all types and their activities often devastate entire structures. Perhaps the worst aspect of a termite infestation is the fact that there is little indication of their presence until it is far too late for the pest management and pest control specialists at Pestco to do anything about it.

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For those living in the Pittsburgh area, the Subterranean Termite presents the most potential for building devastation. This species constructs tunnels that are also known as mud tubes, which both allows them access to food sources and offers protection from the open air. Subterranean varieties build their nests underground as their moniker indicates, and they only eat softwood, which results in layered damage. In addition, unlike others of their ilk, they eat with the grain rather than across it.

Lady Bugs and Stink Bugs

While Lady Bugs are a favorite insect and a few of them are attractive and fascinating to behold, an infestation of hundreds can be a disturbing situation and for some can cause serious allergic reactions. Large infestations often occur in springtime after over-wintering in a residence or commercial space. This insect is both a pest and beneficial to the natural order of things, as it consumes harmful garden pests such aphids and does not feed on or damage home and building interiors. Still, in great quantities their presence is a definite eyesore and they multiply rapidly during the springtime. Proper exclusionary measures are needed to combat this bug.

A nuisance by any other name is the Stink Bug, an insect that produces a very unpleasant odor if crushed. Their bodies are unable manufacture heat, and during the spring and summer when higher temperatures allow their bodies to heat up, they are problematic to both residences and industry. They are rarely seen in winter months, as they hibernate inside buildings, factories and homes on curtains, lampshades, computers and screens.

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To the average homeowner, the presence of stinkbugs is annoying, but for the business world and the Pittsburgh agricultural industry particularly, this insect is a serious threat to crops and plants and that all-important bottom line. These insects love fruit, and have been known to attack apple orchards, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits, corn, tomatoes, green peppers and persimmons as well as ornamental plants and soybeans grown for food production.

Fruit is permanently damaged because stinkbugs utilize their piercing and sucking mouthparts to feed on the juices of fruits, plants, soybeans and corn grown for human consumption. As a result, the produce becomes shriveled, distorted and unmarketable. Some unfortunate growers have lost everything they have to these invasive pests and the agriculture industry in general has incurred losses in the millions due to ruined crops. Damage is usually not evident upon first inspection by the integrated pest management experts at Pestco, which is part of the problem in developing a strategy to eliminate them.

Stinging Insects

Spring in Pittsburgh means an influx of stinging insects that include: bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets. Bees are necessary, but the others can be real concerns in a backyard or inside the walls of homes and buildings. Hornets have potent stings and can ruin fruit crops and wood and horntail wasps can cause damage to structures by laying their eggs in dying or recently felled trees. They also sometimes infest wood used in construction.

Fire ants are a growing concern to residence and commercial spaces because the mound that they build deep in the soil can contain a colony of more than 100,000 ants. These structures are usually found in areas frequented by humans such as: meadows, parks, pastures, playgrounds, lawns, and golf courses, as well as forested regions.

According to a 2006 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, red imported fire ants are responsible for more than $6 billion worth of damage annually. These ants consistently ruin wildlife habitats and destroy crops. It is estimated that fire ants will infest more than 300 million acres of land this year alone. Attacks on humans are on the rise in both the elderly and infant populations in health care facilities. They often gain ingress to buildings via HVAC systems and cause electric malfunctions because they are attracted to air-conditioners and traffic lights. While they have not yet been found in Pennsylvania, more and more incidences have been inching northward from southern states where they are quite prevalent. Hopefully, we won’t ever have to deal with them in Pittsburgh and our surrounding areas, but rest assured, we’re prepared to combat this pest should they find their way into the Golden Triangle.

Yellow Jackets cause damage to home and industry because they construct their nests from materials sourced from surrounding structures. Nest can be very large and heavy and can contain thousands of insects. Over time, their nesting process weakens and erodes building walls and ceilings and creates conditions of potential structural collapse.

The Common House Fly

Flies are a pain in places too polite to mention. In addition to annoying humans as they hover over food at outdoor picnics and barbecues, which occur so frequently in the spring and summer months, they are also known carriers of a few very unpleasant diseases. These include: cholera; typhoid; dysentery; salmonella and tuberculosis. They also can transmit the eggs of parasitic worms to humans.

Pestco Residential and Commercial Pest Control Solutions

We are a 5-star-reviewed, family-owned and operated business leader in the pest control and pest management sector, and have been in continuous operation for more than seven decades. With age comes experience, and that wisdom reflects in our superior products and services, which far exceed industry standards.

Our expert, highly trained technicians can provide quick answers to all questions pertaining to pest control and pest management, and our solutions are based on the principles of prevention, inspection exclusion, understanding insect behavior and the hard-earned ability to detect and identify the signs of any type of infestation.

So if you’re home owner or business manager and find yourself find yourself in need of controlling any of the above-mentioned Spring time critters, or you’d like to preventative and exclusionary measures, submit a written inquiry or call our team today (412) 252-5200, so you can be pest-free tomorrow!

Final thoughts about springtime: Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!~ Robin Williams

A Few Interesting Facts About Springtime Insects

While these springtime critters can be very destructive and must be eliminated if they threaten human populations by the pest management specialists at Pestco, each one of them possesses its own unique and interesting characteristics and has its own particular place in the natural order of things. Here are some fascinating facts about these invading pests.

  • Ladybugs Are Not Bugs

They are technically beetles and belong to the order Coleoptera.

  • Some People Call Ladybugs Birds, Bishops or Cows

No one seems to know why in parts of England lad bugs are known as bishops or ladybirds. In Russian, the words for ladybug translate into “God’s little cow.”

  • There Are More Than 300 Species Of Stink Bugs In The World

More than 200 distinct species of stinkbugs are found in North America. They are also known as shield bugs because of their distinctive anatomy.

  • The Stink Bug Originated in Eastern Asia

Native to China, Japan and Korea, this insect was accidentally introduced to the United States in the mid 1990s in a shipment of Asian goods. They were first found in the United States in Allentown, PA in the mid 1990s. They were not identified however, until September of 2001.

  • Fire Ants Are A Non-Native Species

These insect pests were accidentally brought into the United States on a cargo boat from South America in the 1930s. First arriving in Alabama, fire ants have since spread aggressively throughout the country.

  • Fire Ants Is A Widespread Term

The term, fire ant, does not refer to a single species of ants, but rather to at least 280 diverse species that are classified under genus, Solenopsis.

  • Fire Ants Have A Unique Sting

The first time these insects bite, they get a good grip on the skin and then they pull out a chemical compound known asSolenopsinfrom their stomach and inject it into their victims. This dangerous amalgam is alkaloid venom.

  • Flies Carry An Enormous Number of Pathogens

Scientists have estimated that flies can carry almost 2 million types of bacteria.

  • Flies Do Not Have Teeth

Flies suck up food like a straw with their long tongue, which is known as a proboscis.

  • Yellow Jacket Stings Can Be Dangerous

Bites from yellow jackets, hornets and bees send more than 500,000 people to hospital emergency rooms every year. Perhaps for this reason above all others, the elimination of an infestation is best left to our professionals at Pestco!


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