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The Importance of Preventing Pantry Pests

There’s nothing worse than opening a box of your favorite breakfast cereal only to discover that insects are already snacking on it. Since bugs love many of the same foods that people do, this experience isn’t surprising. Apex Pest Control experts recommend focusing on preventing these hungry pests.

bowl of cerealFavorite Foods for Pantry Pests

Pantry pests will feast on nearly any dry foods. Besides cereals, flours, and spices, they also eat dried fruits, chocolates, cookies, and even pet foods.

When small numbers of pests are present, they can go unnoticed. Later, when the pest population increases, you may notice bugs in your cupboards, on your counters, or in packages of food. Sometimes, people don’t realize a food is infested with pantry pests until they’ve already eaten it.

Where Pantry Pests Come From

Pantry pests can enter homes in infested food products. These products can become infested at any point in the supply chain, including in the warehouse, delivery vehicle, or the grocery store. Sometimes, they can fly through open windows or doors.

To prevent infestations, inspect any packaged goods before purchasing. Check for tears or holes in the packaging, and if you find any, don’t buy the item. Unfortunately, foods can still be infested with bugs, even if the packaging is undamaged. When you get home from the grocery store, transfer your pantry items into hard plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. If pantry items are infested, the bugs will be confined to the containers.

Control Methods

When pantry pests move into your home, they must be controlled. To successfully control these bugs, you need to inspect your pantry and remove the infested food. Once the infested foods are removed, the number of pantry pests in your home should decrease quickly.

Clean your cupboards and pantry shelves to remove any crumbs or spilled foods. Vacuum and wash these surfaces thoroughly to avoid attracting any more pests.

Typically, insecticide sprays aren’t required for pantry pest infestations. If throwing out infested food and cleaning thoroughly doesn’t eliminate the pests, contact a licensed pest control professional for help. They have the experience to apply the necessary insecticides safely and effectively.

Pantry pests are gross and getting rid of them can be inconvenient. To avoid these problems, take steps to keep these creepy pests out of your home. If they’ve already moved in, Apex Pest Control can help you reclaim your pantry. We serve over 30 counties in and around the following areas: Orlando, Brevard, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade/Broward County, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

Pest Spotlight: The Armyworm

grass bladesFlorida is home to many species of lawn-destroying pests. Apex, the Tampa lawn care experts, frequently encounter one particularly concerning species: the armyworm. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Identify Armyworms

The first generation of armyworms appears in April, and there can be three generations per year. The larval stage is responsible for the damage to lawns. Larvae molt multiple times as they grow, and each instar looks slightly different. The youngest larvae have greenish bodies and black heads, while the older larvae have brownish bodies with white lines and reddish-brown heads.

The larvae form cocoons in the soil and emerge from their cocoons as fully-grown adults. Adult armyworms are gray and brown moths. These moths are active at night and lay their eggs on foliage. Egg masses can contain 100 to 200 eggs, and they may look moldy or furry.

Armyworm Damage

Armyworm larvae feed on foliage such as blades of grass. The young larvae start by eating tissue from just one side of the leaves, but as they age, they start to eat right through the leaves. These older larvae can cause extensive damage to plants.

When armyworms are feeding on your lawn, you might notice patches of chewed grass. Another clue is an increased number of birds on your lawn; birds eat armyworms but can’t eat fast enough to keep these pests under control.

Control Methods for Armyworms

If you’re concerned about armyworms, it’s important to seek advice from a lawn care professional. Other species of larvae can damage lawns, and identifying the pest that’s responsible is essential for effective treatment. A professional can let you know if armyworms are present and propose an effective treatment strategy.

To control armyworms, lawn care professionals apply an appropriate mix of chemicals. This could include both granular and liquid insecticides. Since armyworms are resistant to some insecticides, products must be selected carefully, and these commercial-grade chemicals may need to be applied throughout the year to prevent future armyworm problems.

Once the armyworms have been controlled, the lawn may need to be repaired. If any patches of your lawn are discolored and dead, the areas may need to be aerated and overseeded.

Armyworms can cause serious damage to Florida lawns. If you’re worried that these pests are feasting on your lawn, contact the Tampa lawn care experts at Apex right away.

Cockroaches Aren’t Just Creepy – They Can Harm Your Health

cockroach

Many people recoil in disgust when they see a cockroach. With their greasy bodies and fast-moving legs, these pests are certainly repulsive. However, they’re not just creepy looking — they can harm your health by triggering allergic reactions. To help you stay healthy, the Orlando pest removal specialists at Apex have prepared a guide on cockroach allergies. 

Symptoms of Cockroach Allergies

The symptoms of cockroach allergies are similar to those of typical seasonal allergies, including nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, or a skin rash. Since cockroaches are present year round, the symptoms of cockroach allergens may become chronic and last longer than typical seasonal allergy symptoms. If you think you might have a cockroach allergy, see an allergist for testing.

Causes of Allergic Reactions

At night, cockroaches come out of their dark, damp hiding places. Their saliva, feces, and shed body parts (such as exoskeletons) all contain allergens, and as they roam around the home, these are spread. When those allergens are kicked up in the air, they can aggravate allergy symptoms.

Controlling Cockroach Allergens

The best way to control cockroach allergens indoors is to eliminate the cockroaches themselves. To make your home less appealing to cockroaches, keep everything as clean and sanitary as possible, especially your kitchen. Your counters, sink, and floors should be clean and free of clutter and crumbs. Store your food in airtight containers to further deter cockroaches.

Barrier exclusion is another key step for homeowners seeking to control cockroaches. This means sealing up the cracks and gaps that cockroaches could use to sneak into your home. Cracks in walls, tears in window screens, and gaps beneath doors are just some of the potential entry points for roaches.

Controlling cockroaches is a big job, but you don’t need to tackle it on your own. For help, contact a pest control professional. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to effectively treat cockroach problems.

Cockroaches are creepy, but for people with allergies, they can also be dangerous. If you have a cockroach allergy, controlling the roaches in your home is very important for your health! For help controlling roaches, turn to the Orlando pest removal specialists at Apex.

Protect Your Yard From Fungus

lawnmowerThere are many fungal diseases that can affect Florida lawns. These diseases don’t just make your lawn unhealthy, but they harm its appearance. Apex, the Orlando lawn care experts, knows how important green, thriving lawns are to homeowners.

Identifying Fungus

Fungal diseases can seriously impact the look of your lawn. One sign of fungus is the appearance of round, discolored patches that are brown and sunken, and sometimes bordered by orange. Irregular patches of yellow or light green grass, or patches of dying grass, can be signs of fungal activity.

Mushrooms, or toadstools, are another sign of fungal problems. Large, white mushrooms (4 to 5 inches wide) are commonly seen on Florida lawns. In addition to being an eyesore, many common lawn mushrooms are poisonous to both people and animals.  

Fungus isn’t the only cause of lawn damage; cold weather or drought can also damage your lawn. Since these problems have to be treated in different ways, it’s important a lawn care professional diagnoses your lawn.

Preventing Fungus

To prevent a fungal infestation, focus on properly caring for your lawn. When lawns aren’t cared for, they can become more susceptible to disease.

Set a regular mowing schedule and mow your lawn to the recommended height for your grass species. Be careful to avoid overwatering your lawn — Florida lawns usually need between 1/2 and 3/4 inch of water during each watering session. It’s best to water your lawn in the early morning, rather than in the evenings, so your grass blades can fully dry out during the day.

Controlling Fungus

If your lawn is affected by fungus, the first control step is to accurately identify the type. Once identified, you can start an appropriate treatment. Fungicides may only need to be applied to affected areas of the lawn, but in some cases the entire lawn requires treatment.  

It’s also important to eliminate the conditions that originally let fungus invade the lawn. Depending on your lawn’s needs, this could include adjusting your irrigation system or mowing on a regular schedule. Disease control isn’t a simple process, but your lawn care professional can set up a customized plan to get your lawn back on track.

Fungus can damage your lawn, but this can be prevented with proper care. To keep your yard looking and feeling its best, call the Orlando lawn care experts at Apex.

 

Termites are Back – and They’ve Brought Their Friends

houseDid you know that termites aren’t the only insects that can damage wood? In Florida, there are many species of insects that could cause damage to the wooden structure of your home. Orlando termite removal specialists often encounter these wood-damaging insects.

Termites

Termites are the most well-known of the wood-damaging insects. There are a few different types of termites found in Florida. Subterranean termites are a particularly destructive type, and they live in underground colonies. Drywood and dampwood termites are also found in the state, and they feed on dry wood and damp wood, respectively.

Termites are sometimes called “silent destroyers” because of their ability to stay out of sight while they’re causing damage. On the surface, the infested wood can look fine, but below the surface, the wood could be severely compromised by termite feeding. To detect termite infestations, homeowners should schedule regular termite inspections.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are large, winged ants that make their nests in wood, but unlike termites, they don’t eat the wood. They just tunnel through it as they grow their nests. Still, this can cause significant damage to wooden structures.

These ants are drawn to wet, deteriorating wood. To prevent carpenter ant infestations, homeowners should replace any wet or rotting wood. If an infestation is already present, removing the damaged wood may be the only treatment that’s required.

Powderpost Beetles

The larval form of these beetles live in dry, seasoned wood, like the kind used for beams, subflooring, and plywood. They can even live in hardwood furniture and floors. They eat tunnels in the wood and can cause serious damage. Since the tunnels are entirely below the surface of the wood, the damage can remain undetected until the wood falls apart.

Beetles are usually introduced to houses through infested wood. If you’re doing renovations in your home, inspect all the wood before you install it. Once an infestation develops, pest control professionals can use treatments like surface insecticides to control the beetles.

Wood Borers

Wood borers are another annoying pest that can damage wood. These bugs lay their eggs in the crevices of logs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae bore through the wood. The adult beetles then emerge through holes in the wood. Fortunately, the damage occurs slowly.

The most effective way to get rid of wood borers is fumigation, a process that can only be performed by licensed pest control professionals. If the infestation is localized, replacing the damaged wood may also be an option.

 

Termites aren’t the only insects that can damage the wood in your home. If you’re concerned that wood-damaging insects may be in your home, call the Orlando termite removal experts at Apex to schedule an inspection.

Ants: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

antAnts are common nuisance pests in Florida homes and backyards. As Orlando pest control experts know, ants are much more interesting than they may seem. These complex creatures have many effects on people and the environment from positive to rather nasty.

The Good

Did you know that ants are good for the soil? In fact, they’re better for the soil than worms are. The vast underground tunnels they dig are a major reason for this. As they tunnel, they redistribute nutrients and improve air and water circulation. The food scraps and waste they leave behind improve the soil chemistry. Ants also help distribute seeds by bringing them into their nests, and some of those seeds will take root and grow.

Ants have another important function: they eat other pests such as ticks, termites, scorpions, and stink bugs.

The Bad

Unfortunately, ants aren’t entirely good. Some of them can cause severe structural damage to homes. Black carpenter ants are one of these bad ants to watch out for as they invade homes and tunnel through the wood to build their nests, causing significant damage in the process.

Repairing the damage that carpenter ants leave behind can be costly, which is why keeping these ants away from your home is so important.

The Ugly

Structural damage is bad enough, but some ants can cause even worse problems. If you’ve lived in Florida for a while, you’ve probably already had a run-in with fire ants. These aggressive ants bite and sting repeatedly when their nests are disturbed. These bites are painful and can cause allergic reactions.

Unfortunately, fire ants aren’t the only type of ant that can give you a painful sting. Twig ants are another type to watch out for. These ants look like wingless wasps, and their stings have been compared to those of hornets.

Ants have many beneficial effects on people and the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re welcome in your home. If you need help controlling the bad and ugly effects of ants, call Apex, the Orlando pest control company.

 

Top 10 Most Damaging Pests in Your Home

mouseIn Florida, there are many pests that could damage your home. Tampa pest control experts recommend watching out for these 10 damaging pests.

 

Termites: Termites feed on wood and can cause significant deterioration of homes. Infestations can remain undetected for years, even in exposed wood. They feed on the hidden surfaces of the wood, while the outer surface is usually unaffected.

 

Powderpost Beetles: The powderpost beetle has larvae that feed on beams, subflooring, and other wood. The damage isn’t usually noticeable until the wood disintegrates.

 

Carpenter Ants: While most ants won’t destroy your home’s wood, carpenter ants are an exception. These ants don’t eat it, but they hollow out solid wood to make their nests and galleries.

 

Rats and Mice: Wild animals can be just as damaging as insects. Rats and mice chew anything they can sink their teeth into and can cause significant damage. They also contaminate your home with their urine and feces.

 

Squirrels: Like rats and mice, squirrels can cause damage to homes. They often move into attics for warmth and safety and may chew through weak parts of a home’s exterior to gain entry. Once inside, they can chew on wood, insulation, wiring, and more.

 

Honey Bees: Honey bees are important insects, but these pollinators can cause a lot of trouble indoors. When treated with insecticides, their unattended honey can leak out of the nest and deteriorate the surrounding structure. The hive can also attract scavengers, like rodents.

 

Indoor Ants: Many types of ants can be found living inside Florida homes. Pharaoh ants, white-footed ants, Argentine ants, and ghost ants are just some of the ant species you could encounter indoors. These pests feed on human foods and can contaminate your pantry goods.

 

Fire Ants: These aggressive ants can sting or bite if you get too close. While you probably already know that they can make using your backyard less enjoyable, you may not know that they can also hurt your home. If they get inside transformer boxes or air conditioners, they can ruin them and cause power outages.

 

German Cockroaches: German cockroaches can spread bacteria, parasitic worms, and other human pathogens. They can contaminate your food or food surfaces and make you sick. These pests can also be an allergy trigger.

 

Bed Bugs: Bed bugs won’t damage your home’s structure, but they can definitely hinder a good night’s sleep by attacking while you sleep. It’s never enjoyable to wake up with nasty bites every morning. Bed bugs can also cause soiling of your sheets or furniture, sometimes causing these items to deteriorate to the point of needing to be replaced.

 

If you’re worried about these pests, call the Tampa pest control specialists at Apex.

Widow Spiders in Florida

Most of Florida’s spiders aren’t dangerous to people, but female widow spiders are one of the exceptions. There are four types of widow spiders found in Florida: three are native, and one is introduced. Apex, the Orlando pest control company, has prepared a helpful guide about these spiders.widow spider

Southern Black Widow

Southern black widow spiders are shiny and jet black. Their bodies are round and 8 to 13 millimeters long (about the size of a pea). On the undersides of their abdomens, they have a reddish hourglass marking.

These spiders take shelter in a variety of undisturbed places, such as wood piles, crawl spaces, or dark garage corners. While they aren’t aggressive, they may bite people who disturb their hiding places. Their venom is neurotoxic, and people who are bitten can experience symptoms like pain, nausea, muscle cramps, and raised blood pressure within one to three hours. An antivenom is available, so if you’re bitten, see a doctor right away for treatment.

Northern Black Widow

Northern black widows look very similar to their southern relatives. However, their markings set them apart; Northern widows have incomplete or split hourglass markings on their undersides. They can also have red dots or white stripes on their abdomens.These spiders like to hide in the same sheltered locations as southern black widows, and their bites have similar effects on people.

Red Widow

These spiders have round, black abdomens, red heads, and red legs. On their abdomens, they have one or two small red marks instead of the hourglass marking seen on other widow spiders. The neurotoxic venom can cause sustained muscle spasms.

Fortunately, these spiders have a limited range in Florida. They’re found in the pine scrub habitats in the central and southeastern parts of the state. If you’re hiking or camping in one of these areas, steer clear of palmetto shrubs. Red widows often hide in unopened palmetto shrubs, and they’re hard to spot.

Brown Widow

These introduced spiders may be native to Africa or South America, but they’ve been found in Florida for decades. Their bodies are tan and brown and their legs are banded. On the undersides of their abdomens, they have an orange hourglass marking.

Brown widows tend to build their webs in open containers like mailboxes or buckets. They can also be found living underneath outdoor furniture and may bite if they’re disturbed, but their bites are minor compared to bites from black widow spiders. The two main symptoms are redness and pain at the site of the bite.

These four species of widow spiders can be harmful to people, so you don’t want them in your home. If you need help controlling spiders, call the Orlando pest control experts at Apex.

Mosquito Magnet? Find Out Why

mosquitoDo you feel like you always get more mosquito bites than everyone else? It’s not in your imagination – some people really are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, as Tampa pest control experts know. Here are a few reasons why mosquitoes may be drawn to you.  

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is the main way mosquitoes find their targets. While everyone produces carbon dioxide, some produce more than others due to their metabolic rates. For example, people who are physically exerting themselves will release more.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women are magnets for mosquitoes. Researchers think this is because they release more carbon dioxide. Pregnant women also tend to have warmer abdomens which may draw mosquitoes.

Beer

Studies have shown that those who drink even one beer are more attractive to mosquitoes than those who haven’t had any. Since drinking alcohol can raise your metabolic rate, increased carbon dioxide production may be why beer drinkers are popular with mosquitoes.

Skin Bacteria

Everyone’s skin is home to bacteria, though the number and type of bacteria varies from one person to another. These bacterial differences can make some people more appealing to mosquitoes than others. One study found that people with more foot bacteria, but lower bacterial diversity, attract more mosquitoes.

Clothing Choices

Mosquitoes tend to fly close to the ground to avoid being blown off course by wind. From that height, dark colors stand out against the horizon, while lighter colors blend in. People who wear dark clothing are easier to see, so they attract more mosquitoes.

Sweat

Mosquitoes aren’t just drawn to carbon dioxide; they can also sense the compounds in sweat, like lactic acid and ammonia. If you tend to sweat more than others, or if you exercise outdoors, you may find yourself popular with mosquitoes.

Blood Type

There are four human blood types, A, B, AB, and O. About 80 percent of the US population secretes chemicals related to their blood type, and mosquitoes can sense these chemicals on the skin. Studies have indicated that mosquitoes are drawn to people with type O blood.

While some of these factors are within your control, others aren’t. However, no matter how much mosquitoes love you, you can still take steps to keep them away. For help controlling mosquitoes on your property, call Apex, the Tampa pest control company.

Why Squirrels Love to Call Your Attic ‘Home’

Squirrels are common in urban areas, and one of their favorite spots is inside your cozy attic. These fluffy-tailed rodents often make their homes in attics because they’re quiet, warm, and safe from predators. Why do squirrels live in attics? The Orlando pest removal experts at Apex have the answers.

Why Squirrels Live in Attics

squirrelIn wooded areas, squirrels prefer to live in trees. Sometimes they build leaf nests among the tree branches, and other times they live in tree cavity dens. In urban areas, trees can be in short supply, and that means squirrels need to adapt. To stay dry, safe, and warm, they move into people’s attics, where they can build cozy nests, raise their young, and hide from predators.

Dangers Associated with Squirrels

Squirrels can be cute when they’re outdoors, but they’re an annoyance when they decide to move indoors. Worse, their presence can be dangerous. Like other rodents, squirrels chew constantly and can damage vents, wires, insulation, roof timbers, and other structures.

Wild animals can spread diseases to people, and squirrels are no exception. Contact with squirrels or their urine can spread leptospirosis. This disease can cause a range of symptoms in people; some are lucky and don’t have any symptoms, while others have a flu-like illness or more serious symptoms, like meningitis or liver failure.

Getting Rid of Squirrels in the Attic

Squirrels can enter attics through gaps like open vents, uncapped chimneys, and damaged soffit. Seal any holes to prevent this. However, if you currently have squirrels in your attic, make sure to leave one hole open so they’re able to leave.

The squirrels may eventually leave on their own, but you can quicken the process by making your attic a less appealing place to live. Loud music, flashing lights, or ammonia-soaked rags can encourage them to go live somewhere else. Once they leave, the last opening to the attic can be sealed.

Another option is to hire a pest management professional to remove the squirrels for you. Once done, potential entry points to the attic can be sealed.Squirrels belong outdoors, not in attics. If you discover a family of squirrels living in your attic, call the Orlando pest removal specialists at Apex.

Service beyond
the expected.

The technician was very professional, neat and on time. He inspected my house and found a trail of ants….NO MORE ANTS!! Thank you Apex.
Richard B, Orlando