Can Bed Bugs Fly?

Bed bugs may seem like a pest problem that occurs only in seedy motels, but the truth is that these insects can be found even in your own bed. Bed bug infestations are on the rise, partly due to increased travel and a lack of awareness.

Bed bugs can be annoying. They feed on hosts—humans— at night. You may not even know you have them until you wake up with bite marks. These bites can cause itchiness and rashes. You may not be able to sleep well with all these bugs attacking you at night.

Bed bugs hide in box springs, mattresses and furniture. If you have an infestation, it can seem as though these pests are everywhere. But how do they travel from place to place?

How Bed Bugs Move

It may seem as though bed bugs fly, since they can travel so quickly. The truth is, they don’t have wings, so they can’t fly. They don’t even jump. They get from place to place simply by crawling. They have the ability to crawl very quickly, thanks to their six legs.

Bed bugs can travel long distances. They can easily traverse hallways, heating ducts, and laundry or mail chutes. They have been known to travel through apartment buildings with ease.

Bed bugs had wings at one time—many years ago. However, they have evolved since then. It was determined that they no longer needed wings. If they flew around, there was the risk of them being seen and killed. Now, they hide, living secretly in your house.

Because they do not fly, they live close to you. They stay in your bedding during the day. They can also hide in cracks in walls and floors. They then come out at night to feed on you. Bed bugs do not like pets as their hosts, so you don’t have to worry about finding them on your dog or cat. 

Bed bugs can get from place to place quickly because they can be easily transported. They go wherever humans go, so you can find them in your car, on the school bus, in a taxi or on a plane.

Bed bugs can latch onto your clothes and jackets. They can hide in your child’s books. They can hide in luggage and purses, so you need to be especially careful when traveling. If you stay in a hotel with bed bugs, you can easily bring them home. Bed bugs can also travel in soft items, such as blankets and towels. Be careful when buying used furniture, since you may bring home bed bugs as well.

Even those who are disabled can’t get away from bed bugs. These pests can hide in wheelchairs, prosthetics and other medical devices. These bugs are so small—about the size of an apple seed—so finding them and eliminating them is no easy task.

Do I Have Bed Bugs?

Do you think you might have bed bugs? Here are some signs to look for:

  • You see bugs. Bed bugs are reddish-brown and the size of an apple seed. They are about the width of a credit card.
  • You see evidence. You may see blood stains on your sheets. There may be droppings on your bed or on the floor. They sometimes shed their skins, so you may see shells.
  • Bites on your skin. Bed bugs tend to attack the arms and shoulders. These bites are red and itchy and can be found in a line pattern.
  • Strong smell. Bed bugs release pheromones when in large numbers. They have a musty odor that smells like wet towels. 

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

If you think you have bed bugs, you need to act quickly. They are hard to kill and can go one year without eating. Female bed bugs can lay eggs daily. Bed bugs tend to be resistant to over-the-counter chemicals, so killing them on your own can be impossible. 

A thorough inspection and treatment is needed to eliminate these pests for good. Bed bugs can come back, so regular maintenance may be needed. Contact a professional today so you can live and sleep in peace again.

Contact Amco Ranger Today

Bed bugs are annoying pests. While they can’t fly or even jump, they can still cause problems.

Don’t let bed bugs irritate your skin and ruin your sleep. Call Amco Ranger today and we can provide you with bed bug solutions in the Missouri area. Our professionals can help you get rid of bed bugs and other household pests for good. To schedule a free inspection, contact us today. Call or text (636) 224-6098 or fill out the online form.

Where Do Mosquitoes Go in the Winter?

Mosquitoes are simply unstoppable. These annoying pests have been on this planet for a whopping 46 million years and they show no signs of leaving any time soon. They’re always around to ruin your summer camping trip, BBQ, pool party or sports game. Unless you live in Iceland and Antarctica, you have dealt with the annoyances of mosquitoes at some point.

Now that fall is here, though, you may be seeing fewer mosquitoes. Temperatures are cooling down. Those hot summer nights are fading away, allowing you to go outside without fear of getting bitten.

So where did those pesky mosquitoes go? Are they hiding in your garage? Are they under your house? In your attic? Are they building nests in trees? Do they just die?

Hibernation

Mosquitoes lived through the Ice Age millions of years ago, so a little cold weather isn’t going to kill these bugs. However, due to climate issues, mosquitoes cannot be found in Iceland and Antarctica.

Male mosquitoes have a very short lifespan. They die after mating, and live up to 10 days total. Because of this, male mosquitoes never make it through the fall.

Bears are known to hibernate in the winter. Female mosquitoes do the same thing. These resilient creatures typically stay around until the temperature drops to about 50 degrees. After that, they find places to hibernate until they die. Their lifespan is roughly 6-8 weeks.

Like bears, mosquitoes are inactive during the winter. They will hide in trees and burrows. Some hide in basements and storm sewers. When there is no water around, mosquitoes can go into diapause. This means they can essentially delay life. They can simply put the pause button on their lives for several months. Then, when there is enough water or warmth, they can continue on with life as usual. When a female mosquito lays eggs, the larvae and pupae can also go through diapause. 

There are more than 3,500 mosquito species, and they have their differences. Some can dehydrate themselves to avoid freezing. Then they wait until the weather warms up again. Others have the ability to raise the level of glycerol in their body. This glycerol acts as an anti-freeze so they stay warm.

After Winter

When spring comes around, you may notice that the mosquitoes are out in full force again. This is because mosquitoes have spent their winters in hibernation. In order to survive and help their babies thrive, the female mosquitoes need a blood meal. That’s why they are on the lookout for people wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts. The mosquito will get her meal, rest and lay eggs. Then the cycle continues.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites can be painful and itchy. Some take days to go away. Others carry diseases that can be life-threatening or even fatal to humans. Because of this, it’s a good idea to prevent mosquito bites, if possible. Here are some tips:

  • Keep mosquitoes outside. When these pests are left indoors, they can bite. Keep doors and windows closed. If you do intend to keep them open, use nets and screens.
  • Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in just the smallest amount of water. Even water in a bird bath or pot left outside in the rain can turn into a mosquito breeding area. Empty any containers that contain water. If you have a pond, mosquito fish and minnows can help.
  • Wear repellent when outdoors. When going outside, spray on a repellent to avoid getting eaten by mosquitoes. DEET, IR3535 insecticide, picaridin and PMD are the most effective chemicals. They are also considered safe, even for babies and pregnant women. Just avoid spraying near the face.
  • Wear the right clothes. Wearing nothing but a swimsuit is a recipe for mosquito attacks. Choose long pants, long sleeves and loose-fitting clothing. Dark colors like red, blue and black attract mosquitoes, so opt for lighter colors.
  • Stay indoors. Mosquitoes tend to feed when it’s dark, so avoid being outside early in the morning and late at night, if possible. If not, wear appropriate clothing and apply repellant.

Contact Amco Ranger Today

Mosquitos are most annoying in the summer, but they can ruin your yard any time of the year. They may can make being outdoors less enjoyable.

Take back your yard with Amco Ranger today. We offer various pest control programs and options for homeowners in Missouri. Our professionals focus on safe, convenient and affordable options. Schedule a free inspection today. Fill out the online form or call/text (636) 224-6098.

How To Remove Wasp Nests

First of all, removing wasp nests can be very dangerous. It is strongly recommended that you hire an experienced professional to do the job for you. If you decide to attempt it yourself, first ensure you are not allergic to wasp stings by setting up an allergy test with your doctor.

If you decide to remove a nest yourself, make sure that you wear protective clothing at all times, including long pants, socks, boots, a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over your head, gloves, and protective goggles or glasses. It’s also important to plan an obstacle-free escape route should the wasps decide to swarm.

 

Plain soap and water

An eco-friendly way to remove wasps that have already housed themselves on your property is to use plain soap and water. Add two tablespoons of dish soap to a spray bottle filled with water, and spray away, directing it at small hanging nests. Experts say the soap works to clog their breathing spores and they die almost instantly. This works well with small nests. For large nests, which can contain thousands of wasps, hire a professional.

 

Drown Aerial Nests

You can also get rid of aerial nests and their wasps by drowning them, but it’s important to be sure you aren’t allergic to them first, as this method comes with some risk of getting stung. If you have an allergy, a sting can be life threatening, so hire a professional. Also keep in mind that this is a job that’s best done at night because that’s when the wasps are least active, so their reaction time is slower, and they are less aggressive. Use a red or amber colored light for safe visibility, as standard flashlights will attract wasps to you.

Carefully place a cloth bag over the entire nest, and then quickly tie it off at the top. As you draw in the tie, pull the nest free and the bag should be well sealed. Then place the bag in a bucket of water and cover with a large rock, so that it stays totally submerged. If you have wasp nests in the walls or your home, or underground, it’s best to turn to a professional.

 

Smoke them out

Another option, which also calls for the protective measures mentioned above, is to use smoke. You can light a fire in a grill just below the nest. The smoke will rise up and seep into the nest, where it will suffocate the wasps and force them to evacuate. Allow the smoke to rise for an hour or two, and when you’re 100% certain the nest is empty, put the fire out and then knock the nest down using a broom or other long object. It’s a good idea to keep a spray bottle filled with dish soap and water nearby so you can use it to fend off any live wasps that might remain.

This technique only works on aerial nests that are hanging from tree branches or other exposed areas. Don’t use it on nests that are anywhere near your home, such as in doorways or under eaves, as you could accidentally set your house on fire.

 

We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your wasp problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure they don’t return. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of wasps at your home or business in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.

Don’t want wasps around you in the first place? Find out how you can keep wasps away.

How To Keep Wasps Away

The most commonly known types of wasps are hornets and yellow jackets. While wasps can be invaluable for natural pest control – eating dead insects, spiders, and flies – their potential to injure people and pets makes them something most people want to eliminate. Apart from stinging, their persistence can be irritating and present a serious threat to those who are allergic.

Before you turn to chemical treatments, realize that chemical management of wasps and wasp nests is difficult and dangerous to attempt by yourself. Using chemicals can also harm the health of you and your family, as well as your pets and the environment.

 

Prevention

Prevention is always the first step in keeping wasps out of your home and yard. Wasps buzz in and out of people’s yards and decide to form nests in any opportune spots your home might provide. Keep them away by removing tempting food/beverage, especially sweets like soda, and covering trash cans. Think about anything and everything they may be attracted to, which includes pet food and even bird food.

 

Home maintenance

It’s also important to maintain the structure of your home and its fixtures by walking around it and checking for any areas that need repair. Broken siding or panels, or any other type of crevices, make ideal places for a wasp to build her nest. Be sure that all of your screens, windows, and doors are in proper working order to keep out insects. Check around your yard too, searching for rodent holes and potential burrows that could make a perfect home for wasps. Fill the hole with dirt so they can’t use it.

 

Decoys

Wasp decoys are especially effective for paper wasps, which are territorial and generally won’t build a nest that’s within 200 feet of another one. Placing a decoy on each side of your home can deter them from moving in.

 

Grow wasp-repelling plants

Plants like spearmint, thyme, citronella, eucalyptus, and wormwood serve as natural wasp deterrents. Grow them in your yard or garden in an area you’d like to enjoy wasp-free. In addition to their ability to chase the insects away, they naturally add beauty and fragrance.

 

Use peppermint essential oil

Not only do wasps stay away from spearmint, they don’t seem to like any type of mint, which is why peppermint oil can be so effective at repelling them.

A study published in the Journal of Pest Management Science in 2013, reported outstanding results with peppermint oil. In addition to planting any type of mint in your garden, you can simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to cotton pads and place them strategically around the outside of your home where wasps like to build nests, such as porch roofs, under eaves, and other crevices and ledges. Target spots where you’ve discovered nests in the past, because some types of wasps repeatedly build new nests in the same locations.

 

A wasp repelling essential oil blend

The same research referenced above, also found that a blend of lemongrass, clove, and geranium essential oils completely repelled worker wasps. Apply a mix of several drops of each of the oils in a spray bottle filled with water and add a few squirts of dish soap. Coat the areas outside of your house in places wasps are known to build nests.

 

Sugar & water wasp traps

These traps work by attracting wasps to fly inside a container that offers a tempting treat like sugar water, but they aren’t able to escape once they make their way in. You don’t need to buy one, you can make your own in just minutes by cutting the top from a two-liter bottle and inverting it inside the bottom. Once the wasps go in the bottle they can’t figure out how to get out, so they get trapped and die. You can increase the odds of success by locating the trap near a nest entrance.

 

We can help

No matter how intimidating or pervasive your wasp problem, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure they don’t return. Give us a call today if you need help getting rid of wasps at your home or business in Cottleville, St. Peters, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Louis, and surrounding communities.

Have a wasp nest? Check out easy ways to get rid of wasp nests.

What Draws Mosquitoes To Some People More Than Others?

Not only are mosquitoes attracted to some people more than others, but they may be attracted to you after different activities. By what strange alchemy does this occur? Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others? According to scientists, it’s mostly chemistry.

Some people naturally produce more of the specific chemicals that attract mosquitoes than others. Your blood type also has some bearing on whether or not mosquitoes will find your delectable or not. Your metabolic rate also impacts the choices that mosquitoes make when targeting their victims.

People Who Love To Exercise

After a wonderful jog, you may find yourself a feast for mosquitoes. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles and joints and causes cramps. More lactic acid equals more mosquitoes.

Yet there is one other reason why mosquitoes like folks who have just finished jogging. They tend to have a higher metabolic rate than others around them. Nature’s great gift to the mosquito is the capacity to sense carbon dioxide. Since mosquitoes feed on mammals, and all mammals exhale carbon dioxide, what better way for a mosquito to find food than to locate the nearest carbon dioxide?

Metabolic Rate and Mosquito Attraction

As mentioned earlier, the primary way that mosquitoes sense prey is by detecting the carbon dioxide that they exhale. Those with a higher resting metabolic rate will tend to be more attractive to mosquitoes than those with a lower resting metabolic rate. Both pregnant women and obese people tend to have higher metabolic rates. If you’re not interested in purchasing a can of mosquito repellant (doctors recommend those with 15% DEET) then you can minimize the impact that mosquitoes will have on you by keeping at least one pregnant woman or obese person at arm’s length at all times.

What else raises your metabolic rate? Alcohol! Initially, researchers believed that the secretion of ethanol through sweat attracted these little buggers. But one study showed that simply wasn’t the case. Instead, it makes you breathe faster creating more CO2.

Type-O Blood

Those with Type-O blood aren’t just going to have a hard time in the hospital if they need a transfusion, they are also much tastier to mosquitoes. One study showed that mosquitoes landed on those with Type-O blood twice as often as those with other blood types.

Additionally, around 85% of folks send out a chemical signal indicating what their blood type is. Mosquitoes were far more attracted to those who secrete than those who didn’t, and they were the most attracted to those with Type-O blood who secreted. Sorry, guys.

Ankle Biters and Bacteria

One study showed that mosquitoes are more attracted to certain types of bacteria that naturally live on our skin than they are other types of bacteria. Our feet tend to be the areas where we have the most bacteria. Additionally, mosquitoes can’t fly very well in the wind. Even 1 mph of wind is more than the tiny mosquito can handle. For that reason, then tend to stick close to the ground.

The Color Of Your Clothing

Did you go through a phase in high school where you wore a lot of black clothing? If so, you may remember that you were more attractive to mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes stick close to the ground to avoid flying problems in the wind, they rely on the contrast between your clothing and the horizon to differentiate you from a car or some other inanimate object that emits carbon dioxide. Wearing light clothing can minimize your attractiveness to mosquitoes.

Genetic Factors

While scientists have yet to isolate every variable that makes one person attractive to mosquitoes and another person naturally repellant, genetic factors are believed to make up 85% of the difference. At this point in time, no gene modification treatment can reduce your mosquito exposure, but if you can find someone who is more attractive to mosquitoes than you are, you can essentially create a lightning rod.

Insect Repellant

Today, many folks apply insect repellant in the hopes of warding off mosquitoes. Cities are all spraying overhead to reduce mosquito populations. These pesky critters are the bane of human existence. No one wants to be bitten by a flying vampire.

Talk To A Missouri Pest Control Expert Today

One thing you can do to ward off mosquitoes is to stay indoors during dusk and dawn (when they’re the most active). But your home needs sufficient screens that are small enough to keep these critters away. Talk to Amco Ranger pest control today about creating a veritable fortress to keep these buggers out where they belong!

Find out what diseases mosquitoes could carry.

How Will I Know If My Home Is Infested With Termites?

Termites can do rapid and serious damage to any home. The trick to preserving your most valuable asset lies in early diagnosis. While many newer homes are constructed with termite-resistant features, many older homes are not. So if you enjoy beautiful older homes with a lot of history and character, you’ll need to be on the look-out for the following signs of termite infestations.

Termite Damage

Termites can be found in your window frames, foundation, and door frames without you even noticing. Just about any piece of wood they find will become food. Worse still, the worker termites can chew up your wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They never sleep. It’s estimated that termites cause $5 billion worth of damage each year. 

Instead of looking for the termites themselves, homeowners are forced to look for signs that they were there. Catching them early ensures that the damage done to your home is kept to a minimum.

Signs Of Termite Damage

Luckily, termites leave the same kinds of signs everywhere making them fairly recognizable. Some of these include:

  • Headbanging – No, not the kind of headbanging you’ll find a Megadeth concert. Soldier termites will make noises (using their heads) to signal to the other termites that danger is afoot. Additionally, the worker termites who spend all day chewing up your wood are fairly noisy themselves. If you listen closely enough, you will be able to actually hear them destroying your home.

Incidentally, if you play loud and fast rock music, the termites will actually begin working faster. A study showed how termites keep the beat to the music and work that much harder. If you’re afraid you have a serious termite problem, it might be time to pull out Barry Manilow. 

  • Flying termites – The only termites that can fly are the reproductive termites. Termites are divided into three castes with one queen. You have your workers, your soldiers, and your reproductive termites. Once you start seeing reproductive termites flying around, you have a problem. These are the guys who establish new colonies. That means that the colony inside your home is doing so well, it’s about to give birth to another colony.

Scientists have discovered all-female termite colonies in Japan. These termites reproduce asexually making tiny genetic copies of their mother. 

  • Timber is flaky, papery, and hollow – Termites will consume wood from the inside on out.
  • Hard-to-open windows and doors that stick when you try to close them – Some of the signs of a termite infestation can mimic the effects of humidity. Termites create moisture when they’re eating and this results in the warping of wood fixtures.
  • Tunnels in broken wood – If a piece of wood falls of a termite-ridden home, you’ll be able to see tiny tunnels through which the termites burrow.
  • Floor damage – Termites can damage both laminate flooring and hardwood. The also like skirting boards. If you begin to see blistering there, it may be time to call in the exterminator.
  • Wall damage – You may notice cracks in your walls that weren’t there before. The termites extract the cellulose from the wood weakening the overall structural integrity.

I’ve Seen The Signs! Now What?

Termites are incredibly destructive and notoriously difficult to get rid of. However, the skilled pest technicians at Amco Ranger have decades of experience dealing with these critters. Our technicians will take a look at the current infestation and provide the means to prevent future ones. 

If termites are a major concern given your home, you can sign up for our prevention plan. This will ensure that you’re not one of the thousands of Americans each year who is contributing to the $5 billion that is spent annually to repair the damage done by termites.

Call Amco Ranger Today

You can get rid of termites in Missouri. At Amco Ranger, we provide various degrees of protection against these destructive critters. This includes making recommendations on the best way to protect your property before there is a serious termite infestation. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up your free inspection today.

Everything You Need To Know About Lawn Dethatching

What is thatch?  

Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that accumulates on a lawn between the grass and the soil surface. When a lawn begins to have a spongy feel to it, this can be a sign of excess thatch.

Thatch is composed of stem nodes, crowns, fibers of vascular tissues, and roots. About 25% of thatch is made from a compound called lignin. Lignin is resistant to decay by microorganisms and can cause thatch to build up faster than it can be broken down.

 

Is it good or bad?

Like a majority of things in life, thatch is best in moderation. A thin layer of thatch (less than ½ inch) can be beneficial for a yard, helping insulate it from extreme temperatures and foot traffic. It can also reduce weed germination by keeping weed seeds from reaching the soil and helping retain soil moisture.

Any lawn with more than an inch of thatch will start to experience problems. A thick layer can harbor pests and diseases and trap roots in the layer, subjecting them to drought and temperature extremes. Too much thatch can limit the ability of oxygen, water, insecticides, and pre-emergent herbicides to reach their intended target.

Mower scalping can also occur when there are thick layers of thatch. As the mower wheels sink into the thatch, the height of the cut is also lowered. The crowns of grass growing in thatch also tend to be elevated above the soil, making it more likely to be cut.

 

Causes of thatch accumulation

There are a number of factors that can lead to thatch buildup, which is when organic matter is produced faster than microorganisms can decompose it.

Depending on the species and variety of turf grass in question, certain species produce more stem tissue than others, causing them to create more thatch faster than other species. Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, creeping red fescue, and creeping bent grass all form thatch at an accelerated rate and even certain cultivars of these grasses are worse with accumulation than others.

Meanwhile, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue tend to not produce significant thatch buildup. Yet even if you do have a grass that typically does not have problems with thatch accumulation, aggressive fertilization with nitrogen can stimulate too much production in the stems and leaves, resulting in an overabundance of thatch.

Another element that allows thatch to build up is reduced microbe activity, which can occur in acidic soils (5.5 pH or lower) as this inhibits microorganisms from being able to decompose thatch. Compacted, clay, or sandy soils can also lack the needed population sizes of microorganisms to keep thatch under control.

Pesticides that reduce microorganism or earthworm activity can also decrease thatch breakdown. Overgrown grass, excessive watering, and lack of aerationare all contributors that can lead to unhealthy amounts of thatch.

 

Preventing thatch 

The best control for thatch is to have a good management program in place, to avoid the most common causes of overly thick thatch. Taking soil tests regularly can alert you to any changes in the pH that would cause microbial activity to drop, while core aeration alleviates soil compaction and boosts microorganisms’ activity.

Applying fertilizer in controlled amounts that do not cause rapid growth and only using pesticides when they are needed can also improve the rate of thatch breakdown.

 

Removing thatch

If your thatch is already thicker than one inch, preventative practices are not going to be able to control the problem. Thatch can be removed with rakes, a vertical mower, or a dethatching mower, depending on the thickness of the thatch.

Dethatching is a stressful process for the turf, so it should be conducted when the grass is actively growing and the soil is moderately moist. Early spring or early fall is the best time for cool-season grasses, while late spring through early summer for warm-season grasses.

 

We do lawn care

Did you know that Amco Ranger does lawn care in addition to pest control? We give these services the same professional attention to detail as our pest control services and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call today to ensure a lush-looking lawn this spring.

Everything You Need To Know About Lawn Aeration

What is aeration?

Aeration is a lawn maintenance practice that removes soil plugs or slices the turf and opens passageways through thatch and into the soil. This promotes a healthy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide and helps your lawn to breathe. The passageways also give water and fertilizer a pathway to your lawn’s root zone where roots can absorb them more efficiently. Aeration encourages root growth by reducing thatch buildup and soil compaction.

 

How do I know if my lawn needs aerating?

If your yard has not been aerated within the last year, it needs aerating.

 

What would happen if I never aerated my lawn?

Eventually, you would have a weak and sick looking lawn that is susceptible to weeds and disease and is harder to maintain. But aeration is just one practice used to ensure a healthy lawn. Proper watering, fertilization, mowing, and pest control are also important maintenance practices.

 

When should I aerate and how often?

At a minimum, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year. Fall works the best for most grass types. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay or subsoil, may need aerating more frequently.

 

Can I water my lawn and fertilize after aerating?

Yes, you can. The newly made aeration holes or slices give both water and fertilizer direct access to the roots, and watering can help to break down the aeration cores.

 

Can I overseed after aerating?

Yes, but for better germination, put the seed down while the holes or slices are still open and before the cores start to break down. Do not use a fertilizer combined with weed control when overseeding, as it will hinder germination. A starter fertilizer is best.

 

How long will it take for the cores in my yard to disappear?

The cores will break down naturally and disappear into the lawn over time, depending on weather conditions. As the cores disintegrate, the soil microbes they contain will help break down thatch, so don’t rake them off. Watering and mowing also help to break down the cores sooner.

 

Can I aerate a newly laid sod or seeded lawn?

No, you should wait at least six months before aerating new sod and hold off aerating newly seeded lawns until the seedlings reach maturity.

 

Can aerating damage underground utilities lines, pipes, or wiring?

Most underground utility lines are buried deep enough that aeration tines will not strike them. Other buried items such as sprinkler systems could be impacted. If you are concerned, call to have underground utilities marked. Use flags to mark irrigation heads and other hidden objects to avoid damaging them and/or the aerator.

 

Should I continue to aerate after my lawn improves?

Yes, you should aerate your lawn at least once a year, or more if necessary, as well as perform all other important maintenance practices (watering, fertilizer, pest control, etc.) to maintain turf health and vigor.

 

We do lawn care

Did you know that Amco Ranger does lawn care in addition to pest control? We give these services the same professional attention to detail as our pest control services and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call today to ensure a lush-looking lawn in the spring.

Also learn about lawn dethatching.

How To Prevent Termites From Attacking My Home

Termites are among the most destructive insects for homeowners. Each year, homeowners deal with millions of dollars of damage caused by termites. While dealing with a current infestation is, of course, possible, it’s better to have never had to deal with it in the first place. 

When Amco Ranger removes a current infestation, we also make several recommendations concerning what you can do now that it’s gone to prevent a future one. Below, we’ll talk about some of the preventative remedies that you can take to avoid major termite damage

Understanding Termites

The termite brain may not be very sophisticated by our standards, but their society is very well ordered. They have a reproductive caste, a warrior caste, and, of course, a worker caste. The workers work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Clearly, they haven’t invented the union yet. On the other hand, termites don’t require sleep and the majority of their work involves eating. 

Worker termites provide the colony with all of the food it will need. Their very import job is mostly eating and feeding the rest of the colony. While one termite may not be able to make a significant dent in your property value, several thousand will be given enough time. 

Preventing Termite Infestations Prior To Building A Home

There are several technologies that can be used for dealing with termites.

  • Basaltic termite barriers – Newer homes can be built with Basaltic Termite Barriers (BTBs). In other words, the planning stages for dealing with termites begin before the home is even built. BTBs are made of rock particles packed densely enough that it creates an insurmountable barrier for termites. 
  • Termite mesh – This is a stainless-steel screen with holes that are too small for termites to pass through. Additionally, they cannot chew their way through either. These are placed in concrete to prevent termites from entering through small cracks that could arise over the course of time. 
  • Pressure-treated wood – Pressure-treated wood is termite-resistant. Note that we didn’t say it was termite-proof. The wood should still be kept a few feet off the ground to prevent termite access.

Preventing Infestations For Already-Built Homes

Of course, not everyone is so forward-thinking in their home-building approach. Most folks simply own properties that were built prior to these innovations. Nonetheless, there are ways to prevent termite infestations even when the house was not built with these anti-termite measures. These include:

  • Reduce soil-to-wood contact – When possible, reducing soil-to-wood contact is a top first step to any proactive plan to reduce the threat of termites. This not only includes your house itself, but also any mulch, paper, or cardboard that might be around your house. You want at least a four-inch barrier between any mulch and your home. Having a concrete foundation with siding at least six inches off the soil is also a good idea.
  • Beware your landscaping – You’ll want to consider keeping plants at least a few feet away from your foundation. If you’re landscaping is near your home, you can use pine needles as opposed to mulch. If you can’t find pine needles, you can use pea gravel or just about anything else that isn’t organic.
  • Beware your storm drains – You’ll want your storm drains to empty a few feet away from your foundation.
  • Eliminate excess moisture – Termites feed on moisture and are attracted to it. Leaky pipes, faucets, drains and anything else needs to be managed to prevent a future infestation.
  • Sprinkler systems – You want to avoid any pooling water around your foundation. Some folks go out of their way to reroute their storm drains and forget about their sprinkler system. 

It’s Swarming Season!

The first winter thaw is when termites really go into action. They like to hit the ground running and make a breakneck attempt to find food and set up new colonies. One of the things that they are attracted to is floodlights. Yes, I know they look pretty, but they’re a serious risk. You want to either term them off in the early spring or relocate them entirely. There are bug-resistant lights that you can purchase if you’re totally committed to your floodlights. 

Talk To Amco Ranger To Stem Off A Serious Termite Infestation Today

If you’re seeing signs of wood damage or flying termites around your home, it’s time to consider a professional pest control expert. Amco Ranger not only provides top-quality extermination services, but we will also recommend ways to keep the termites off your property once their gone. Talk to us today to set up a free inspection.

Everything You Need To Know About Ants

Ants are one of the most common household pests in Missouri. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any less annoying when they enter your home. Once ants have found their way in, homeowners attempt a variety of different methods to get rid of them. In order to truly eradicate ants, you must first understand their social structure and how they live. Below are some common questions and answers about these pesky insects. Understanding them can help you eradicate ants from your home once and for all. 

How Many Queen Ants Are In A Colony?

Some ants have more than one queen in their colonies. These are known as polygene colonies. More commonly, ant colonies are monogyne, meaning they have only one queen ant. 

Colonies will typically have more than one queen ant when the colony is new. This allows the ants to produce more offspring. Once a colony is developed though, the worker ants will typically kill additional queens until only one remain. Sometimes, they may kill the only queen as well, which eventually eliminates the entire colony. 

What Do Ants Eat?

Ants have a very diverse diet. While ants are omnivores, some species of ants prefer one type of food over others. Some ants eat animals, often other species of ants. Certain ants prefer protein such as meat and will look for it in small animals. Usually, when this is the case, ants will feed on dead or decaying animals. Dairying ants will keep a farm of aphids, tiny insects that destroy gardens. The ants will protect these farms from other animals and will milk the aphids for honeydew, a sweet substance aphids produce. 

Whatever the source of food is for a particular colony, worker ants will forage for it. As they do, they’ll leave a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow, so the food is easily found in the future. 

How Much Can An Ant Lift?

It’s been said that ants can lift up to twice their body weight. However, it’s much more than that. In fact, ants can carry up to 50 times their body weight. This is due to the fact that ants are so small. Their muscles are thicker, which means they can produce more force pound-for-pound. 

Do Ants Have Wings?

Certain ants develop wings, also called alates, in their reproductive stage. The wings allow the ants to fly, and they mate while in flight. Although these ants swarm in certain areas during this nuptial flight, they pose no harm to humans. After mating, the male will die. The females, now fertilized, will continue to fly, looking for a suitable place to nest. After finding an appropriate colony site, the female will settle there and shed her wings. As the queen begins to build the colony, she will use the wings, and the muscles she used to move them, as a food source until worker ants can start bringing her food.

Do Ants Bite Or Sting?

All ants have the ability to bite. Most will only do so when they feel threatened. After biting in defense, an ant will also sometimes spray a chemical onto the bite site to inflict further pain. Fire ants, on the other hand, bite only to get a grip. Once attached to the threat, these ants then use their stinger to inject venom into the threat or prey. 

A few species of ants that sting include:

  • Red imported fire ants
  • Acrobat ants
  • Harvester ants

Ants that bite include:

  • Field ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Carpenter ants

These are some of the most common ants in Missouri that bite or sting.

How Do Ants Communicate?

Ant colonies are extremely large, sometimes consisting of millions of worker ants. Of course, ants can’t speak and so, many wonder how the ants communicate with one another. They have a number of ways of doing so.

  • Scent: An ant’s antennas are a big part of their communication. These antennae allow ants to smell the pheromones left behind by other ants in their colony. These pheromones are specialized, with each communicating something different to the other ants. One pheromone cocktail may lead the way to a food source, while another may indicate a predator nearby. 
  • Touch: Ants often communicate simply by moving their bodies, or by touching their antennae to another ant’s antennae. In doing so, one ant can tell another what type of food is at the end of the trail. Sometimes, ants will even give other ants a sample of the food they are carrying so the other workers can better identify it. 
  • Sounds: Ants make sounds by rubbing their legs on a part of their body similar to a washboard. This sound is often too low for humans to hear, but other ants certainly can. Ants often communicate in this manner if they have become trapped, as pheromones will not help other ants find them if a tunnel or chamber has collapsed. 

Ants are much more complex than humans often give them credit for. The varying ways in which they communicate with each other is just one example of this. 

Do You Have Ants? Call A Missouri Pest Control Company

Ant colonies are very large, which makes them difficult to get rid of if they’ve found a way into or around your home. If you have an ant problem, you need a St. Charles pest control company that can help. At Amco Ranger, we can easily eliminate ants from your home, and any other pests you may have, too. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 to schedule your free inspection and learn more about how we can help.