orb-weaver-web

What kind of Spider did I see?

Have you seen me lately? I’m an Orb Weaver Spider and I look like this…

orb-weaverNormally, all you hear about are the Brown Recluse Spiders here in the St. Louis area. But, today we are going to talk about the Orb Weaver Spider.
Unlike the Brown Recluse, that lives mostly indoors, the Orb Weaver is an outside spider. Typically, you don’t see them until mid-September, but with all the rain, they are out early and in full force!
Orb Weavers vary in colors, sizes and shapes. The most common Orb Weaver here in the St. Louis area is the one pictured above. This Orb Weaver will have bands around its legs. The webs of orb weavers consist of radial strands, like spokes of a wheel and concentric circles. Most build their webs vertically, attaching them to branches, stems or manmade structures. Webs may be quite large, spanning several feet in width.

Most orb weavers are nocturnal. During the daylight hours, the spider may retreat to a nearby branch or leaf but will spin a trapline from the web. Any slight vibration of the web will travel down the trapline. The orb weaver possesses venom, which is used to immobilize her prey.
When threatened by people or most anything larger than itself, an orb weaver’s first response is to flee. Rarely, if handled, it will bite, but the bite is mild.

The Orb Weaver Diet

Like all spiders, orb weavers are carnivores. They feed primarily on insects and other small organisms entrapped in their sticky webs. Some larger orb weavers may even consume hummingbirds or frogs!

Orb Weaver Life Cycle

Male orb weavers occupy most of their time with finding a mate. Most males are much smaller than the females and after mating he may become her next meal! The female waits on or near her web, letting the males come to her. She lays eggs in clutches of several hundred, encased in a sac. During the winter, the female orb weaver will lay a large clutch in the fall and wrap it in thick silk. She will die when the first frost arrives, leaving her babies to hatch in the spring. Orb weavers live one to two years, on average.

Want to keep your home or business pest and animal free? Have one of our Certified Building Analyst come out and do a Bansill inspection and learn how to keep pest and animals out while maintaining the efficiency of your home.
We take pride in helping to solve all your pest and animal problems. That’s why “solutions” is part of our name! Find out the difference in St. Louis pest control, call us today at 314-544-7378 and learning more about how we can give you “Peace of Mind”!

how did i get bed bugs

Test Your Knowledge of Bed Bugs

I know, I know…Why would anyone want to know that much about bed bugs let alone want to test your knowledge about them?
Do you start itching just thinking about them? Me too! Holper’s continues to receive calls and Internet inquiries about bed bugs on a daily basis. It seems like most of our recent blogs have been about Bed Bugs. More and more people on the Internet are searching for information or some understanding about how bed bugs came into their lives and how to get rid of them.

Below is a short quiz to test your knowledge of Bed Bugs and a few links to our past Bed Bug blogs as a resource to your questions.

Test Your Bed Bug Knowledge: Bed Bug Trivia

  1. How do bed bugs arrive in your home?
  2. What are two signs of a bed bug infestation?
  3. True or False? You can only be bitten by a bed bug in your bed.
  4. Do bed bugs transmit disease?
  5. True or False: About 20 percent of the population is not sensitive to bed bug bites, even when bitten frequently over time.

Answers:

  1. Bed bugs arrive in your home a couple of different ways, although you may never know how you got bed bugs. The ways we know about include visiting a bed bug infested motel or public area where these bugs climb onto your clothing or your personal belongings. From here they travel with you back to your home, drop off your belongings and look for a safe place to hide. Bed bugs can come into your home on friends and neighbors as well, but they don’t typically crawl into your home on their own, unless you live in an apartment building where bed bugs are infesting a nearby unit.
  2. Signs of a bed bug infestation include little red bites on your skin (usually in clusters of 2, 3 or more), bed bug fecal spots, shedding bed bug skins and in large infestations, some people recognize the scent of over-ripened raspberries to be present. Obviously seeing actual bed bugs in your home is proof of a bed bug infestation, so contacting Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions at the first sign of these pests can help eliminate the problem.
  3. False! Bed bugs can bite you in other places of your home, or even in public! You can be bitten while lounging on your couch or while spending time on public transportation, including trains, buses and airplanes. These bugs only need to find you sitting still for a little while and you can pick up bed bug bites.
  4. No! Bed Bugs are usually considered disease-free nuisances whose victims are left with only itchy welts from bites and sleepless nights. However, secondary infections may result if someone fails to keep the bites clean and disinfected, leading to swelling and bleeding of the bites.
  5. False! Only about 20% of the population is sensitive to bed bug bites. What that means is that only about 20% of people will show signs of being bitten by bed bugs and suffer the subsequent symptoms. This means that two people sharing an apartment or hotel room may both be bitten, but only the person who is allergic will wake up with bites, itching and discomfort. The non-allergic person will not notice anything different. However, even though the non-allergic person will not display bites or suffer from itching, that person is equally at risk as the allergic person for contracting secondary infections from bed bugs.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions would love to treat your home or business with the same care as we treat our own. We take pride in helping to solve all your pest control problems. That’s why “solutions” is part of our name!
Find out the difference in St. Louis pest control by calling us today at 314-544-7378 and learning more about Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions!

standing-water-mosquitoes

What to do with Standing Water, Gnats, Mosquitoes and Pests!

With the severe weather, flooding and all the standing water in and around the Greater St. Louis Area, homes and yards have been getting bombarded by swarming pest and other unwanted animals in and around the house.

The main thing to remember is that insects and small animals need shelter just like the rest of us. When it floods and their habitats are destroyed, they will naturally seek out shelter to protect themselves from the elements. Unfortunately, the shelter they will try to find could be your home.

I’m reissuing a couple of Blogs you might have received last year addressing the same pest issues we here in the St. Louis area always face this time of year with the rain and raising waters. This year with the continuous flooding, I believe these blogs are more useful than ever.

Holper’s is currently offering a special price of $39.95 for your First Mosquito Treatment in June (up to a 1/4 acre) when you sign up for our Mosquito Treatment Package for 2019!

prevent-west-nile

pest-management

Do I have Squirrels in My House?

Is scratching in your walls and attic driving you nuts?  Are squirrels running on your roof or on the power lines leading to your house? Do you see them disappearing above your gutters?  Does it sound like something is knocking on your ceiling?  You, my friend, likely have yourself a good old-fashioned squirrel problem.

What Are the Signs of Squirrels in My House?

If you hear scampering in your attic, knocking noises above your head, or scratching in the ceiling and walls between 5:00am-7:00am or between 4:00pm-6:00pm, you quite possibly have squirrels in your home.  If it is a pregnant squirrel that has chosen your home to birth her young, she will then look at it as her home.  It won’t be long until you have a family of squirrels enjoying the benefits and bounty of your home as protection from the elements.  The longer they remain the more potential danger to your biggest investment-your home.

Squirrels 101

Gray squirrels are the primary squirrel species found in the Greater St. Louis region.  The average gray squirrel is 20 inches in length, but half of that is made up of the iconic wide, bushy tail.  Most adult females first breed in December or January, with a small percentage of older females breeding again in June of each year. Each litter consists of 3-5 young, who spend the first three months in the nest before heading out to discover the world.

What’s so bad about a Squirrel?

In a word: Damage.  While many wildlife visitors to your property are merely a nuisance, a squirrel can pose a significant threat to property, health and welfare.  Squirrels are avid chewers and the bark on your trees and shrubs are of particular interest to them.  During the fall and winter, squirrels will often enter homes and businesses for shelter, while in the spring they enter to bear and raise their young.  Many structure fires of unknown origin are believed to be caused by pests, such as squirrels, gnawing into electrical wires.  These zealous chewers have also been known to destroy wiring in cars.

Disease is also a concern where squirrels are concerned.  They are known carriers of and capable of transmitting, the following diseases; leptospirosis, salmonellosis, tularemia, encephalitis, typhus and in very rare cases, rabies.  Lyme disease is also spread by the ticks that squirrels carry.

The First Steps to Control Squirrels

Scratching in the walls and attic, and/or knocking noises above your head, can also be the calling cards of mice, raccoons, birds or opossums.  An inspection by Holper’s is the only way to determine which pest has invaded your home. After consulting with you to pinpoint where the noises have been heard, your Holper’s technician will inspect the gutter line and the roof, looking for entry points and damage.  If no obvious entry points are found, the attic will also be investigated to help ID your pest(s).

Reclaiming You Home or Business

Once our Holper’s technician confirms that you do have squirrels, they can begin to formulate a customized treatment plan addressing not only the infestation, but also the damage.  Variables that will be evaluated are the construction of your home, the location/height of the entry points, and the types of entry (e.g. gable vents, mushroom vents, gutter line, dormers, etc.).  Consideration of these will determine the type of trap(s) used. While the trapping phase is progressing, Holper’s will monitor activity at the entry points.  Monitoring is done to ensure that no animals remain in the structure.  Since every infestation is different, the length of time for the completion of trapping will vary by population density; however, most Holper clients find this phase to be over within 30 day or less.

Continued Pest Management with Holper’s

Prevention of additional infestations is always the goal that Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has for our clients. Once it has been confirmed that no activity has occurred at the monitoring site(s) for at least seven days, Holper’s starts the final step; repairing the damage done by the squirrels.  The goal of a Holper’s repair is to blend in so seamlessly with the surrounding area that it cannot be detected.  To keep squirrels from entering through a chimney, Holper’s recommends and installs approved chimney screens and rain caps. It is also wise to keep trees trimmed back 8 to 12 feet from the structure to aid in reducing access to the roof.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions can help keep your home or business free of squirrels and all other pests!  Call us today at 314 544-7378!

 

five ways to tell if you have termites

Five Ways to Tell if You Have Termites

Did you know termites are a bigger threat to Missouri homeowners than fire, flood, and storm damage? Even though we hear more about these unfortunate events in the news than we do termites, it’s the tiny pests that do the real damage. In fact the National Pest Management Pest Association, to which we belong, estimates that termites cost American homeowners $5 billion in damage each year!

There are approximately 2,500 species of termites worldwide.  Only about 45 species are found in the US, and most of these are located in southern states.  Four species of termites are reported to occur naturally in Missouri.  All of these species are closely related and belong to the genus Reticulitermes.

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions has been a St. Louis pest control expert for over three decades. We’ve experienced firsthand, over and over, the type of damage termites can do to your home. The good news is that you don’t have to live in fear of termites. You just have to know a little bit about termite control and how to spot them, treat them, and keep them away.

Termites are most active in spring as termite swarms gather for reproduction and new colony formation. But the reality is termites are active year round in one form or another. They just happen to be spotted by humans more frequently in the spring. An important aspect of effective termite control is to know how to spot termites even when they aren’t swarming.

Mud Tubes on Exterior Walls

Termites mostly travel in tunnels made of mud as they search for food. You’ll typically find termite tunnels on top of brick, concrete, or other hard surfaces (like your foundation). If you spot even one mud termite tunnel on the outside or inside of your home you have termites and should immediately consider investing in termite control.

Hollow Wood

Termites eat wood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The problem is they don’t eat in plain sight. Termites prefer dark and humid environments so they typically eat wood from the inside out. Hollow logs around your lawn are one thing, but also look for soft or hollow sounding wood in your walls and door frames. Cracked or bubbling paint might also reveal the tip of an iceberg. In our experience with St. Louis termite control we’ve seen the harsh realities of undetected termite activity that had been going on for years. 

Frass and Sawdust

Drywood termites especially produce wood-colored droppings called frass. If termites are present in your home you might spot trails of frass or sawdust left behind by a hungry colony of termites. Frass is often encountered in small piles and it looks like tiny wood pellets or salt and pepper colored sawdust.

Discarded Wings

Termite swarms generally go about 600-900 feet from their original nest. They don’t get very far before their wings fall off – which you’ll find often en masse near windows, doors, or light fixtures. Windowsills are an especially common place to find discarded wings.

Cracked Entry Points

You’re more likely to have termites if your home is an attractive environment for them. Termites enter your home through wood-to-ground contact such as doorframes, deck posts, and porch steps. They also exploit cracks in your foundation or in brick mortar. Finally, they prefer moisture. So the more moisture you have close to your home – the more likely they’ll be nearby. Watch for water pooling around your gutters and structure.

St. Louis Termite Control

Termites are tricky business. They’re hard to spot and homeowners often discover them before it is too late. Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions is the St. Louis termite control expert and would be honored to partner with you in termite control. We have tremendous local knowledge, award-winning customer service, and a passion for enabling peace of mind in your home through effective pest control.

Call 314 544-7378 – Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions, your St. Louis termite control expert and let us partner with you in your battle against termites!

wasp-control

Wasps Facts: Habitats and Habits

There are about 2,500 species of wasps known to inhabit North America; only about 50 can sting at all.  Only female Wasps and Bees can sting.  Unlike bees, female wasps have the ability to sting a target multiple times because their stinger does not fall off after use. What we call a stinger is actually a modified ovipositor, the hollow tube through which female insects deposit eggs.  Most wasps use it for that purpose alone.  Some species employ the tube to bore holes in the tree bark or other vegetable matter in which to lay eggs. Only a handful of wasps are also capable of injecting venom through their ovipositors, and thus a painful sting. Most Wasps are mild-mannered loners, solitary wasps that keep their distance from man and use their venom only to stun spiders, caterpillars or other insects with which to provision their nests. Except when mating, they live their lives alone.

When the queen emerges from hibernation in the spring, she dines on flower nectar to restore her strength, then selects a nesting site and begins to build a nest dissected into cells. The queen lays an egg in each cell.  A week to three weeks later, they emerge as adults.  The first brood and most of the subsequent broods are sterile females, workers who take over nest building and all other duties except egg lying, that’s the queens’ job.  In her single-season lifetime, a queen hornet or yellow jacket may lay as many as 25,000 eggs.

To avoid contact with Wasps

May we suggest that you never work in the yard or garden wearing yellow or white, since these colors attract insects. Many insects cannot see red, making it a good color to wear when working in the yard. You should also minimize wearing perfumes, colognes, hair sprays, and other fragrances, and by all means, never walk barefoot.

Avoid sugar and meat snacks, especially in open containers, and keep garbage cans well sealed and as clean as possible. Companion animals should be fed indoors or on screened porches. If you have playground equipment, make sure you plug the ends of the pipes to prevent wasps from settling in them.

Creating a Game Plan for Successful Treatment

Holper’s has specialized in stinging insect treatments for over 34 years.  Determining the course of treatment is determined by two factors; the type of stinging insect and the location where the nest is found.  Because of these variables, nests need to be treated and removed by trained technicians using the proper safety equipment and professional-grade materials.  Nests in the ground are particularly problematic, so a call right away to Holper’s is your safest bet – they know how to get rid of the Wasps or Bees in the ground.

Stinging Insect Control

There’s a good reason so many people in the Greater St. Louis area trust Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions as their exterminators for their stinging insect control – It’s the first type of pest that Holper’s conquered over three decades ago.  If you want to effectively implement stinging insect control, do your family and home a favor and call Holper’s today at 314 544-7378.

 

Ant Control

The Ants are coming…Oh dear they’re here!

It’s that time of the year when you see ants marching in a row around your house on the ground or worst…Marching in a row on your house and it seems like they know exactly where to go! Like, inside the walls of your home looking for food sources. If you’re like me, that’s a really creepy thought!
Ants invade homes through small openings from the outside. These openings include cracks and crevices in the foundation, small openings under siding, gaps under doors or around windows, ventilation openings, laundry vents, plumbing penetrations, electrical wiring outlets, etc. Once inside, ants follow structural edges or guidelines where walls meet floors, windows, contact walls, between baseboards and floors, between shelving and walls or along water pipes and electrical wiring.
When they discover a food source, worker ants form trails. Following this trail can provide clues about what the ants are feeding on, where the colony is located and how they are getting into the home.

Ant Management & Control


The first step is to focus on minimizing the likelihood that ants can get into your home or on reducing the available resources they can find once inside. Some common recommendations include:
• Repair and caulk cracks and crevices where ants enter the home. Pay special attention to areas around doors, windows, siding, foundation, vents, pipes, etc.
• Eliminate outdoor nesting areas around the home such as piles of debris, rocks, boards, leaves, tall grass, etc.
• Place ant-attractive foods in glass or plastic jars that are sealed tightly or store them in the refrigerator.
• Clean all kitchen surfaces and sweep or vacuum the floor thoroughly each day to remove all food scraps.
• Rinse dinner dishes and wash dishes daily to reduce the availability of food.
• Rinse used glass, metal and plastic food containers before throwing them into the garbage can or recycling bin.
• Take out the garbage regularly and keep outdoor trash cans clean and in good repair.
You can remove trailing ants that are already inside by wiping the ant trail with a sponge saturated with soapy water. This is only temporary, though, and the ants will reestablish trails soon. Further work is necessary to reduce ant activity indoors.
Whether it’s pavement ants, carpenter ants, or any other kind of ant, Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions experienced technicians have the know-how necessary to identify and control your ant problem. Our system will rid your home of ants as well as other pests and ensure that they will not return in the near future by also treating the outside perimeter of your home. Schedule your FREE in-home inspection.

Prevent pest problems before they start with monthly or quarterly pest control applications. Sign up today to keep the ants, spiders, rodents & other pests out of your home and save $50!

Hurry, Offer Expires April 30, 2019

tick treatments

It’s “Tick Talk” time!

Now that the winter thaw is over and the Crocus’ and Daffodils are in bloom,  it’s time to start preparing for the warm weather pest to arrive.

Holper’s is offering a service called “Tick Management “. This is not a broadcast spray of the entire yard; instead we focus on areas where ticks are most commonly encountered, known as ecotones.  Ecotones, or transitional areas between woods and field, or brushy areas and lawns, are the most likely place for ticks to thrive.  Close-cropped grass in the middle of the yard doesn’t support tick populations the way more natural areas do. The reason for tick activity in these areas is two-fold:

  1. The hosts for the most common ticks are more likely to be found in natural areas, and the edges are great places for questing ticks to latch onto a passing animal.
  2. Sunny, open lawns don’t provide the humidity most ticks need to develop and thrive the way shady edges do.  Therefore, the entire yard typically doesn’t need a treatment; just treat the tick zones.

Ticks have become an increasing problem to people and animals in the United States. Ticks feed on a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and even amphibians. Ticks can be a nuisance; their bites can cause irritation and, in the case of some ticks, paralysis.  They can also transmit many human and animal disease pathogens, which include viruses, bacteria, rickettsiae, and protozoa.

Holper’s Pest and Animal Solutions is offering a “Tick Treatment Package”.  This package runs April through October to treat the Tick Zone areas.  This service is designed to reduce the number of questing ticks on your property.    

When you purchase this package before April 18th, you will receive your October treatment FREE!  Packages start at $79 for ¼ acre.  Call us at 314 544-7378 to schedule this service and start enjoying your yard this spring and summer!

how do bedbugs travel

How do Bed Bugs Travel?

“How do Bed Bugs travel” has been a very popular search recently.  It’s a very good question…you may not want to hear the answer to, but should be aware of the problem.

I recently wrote a blog on this issue called Bed Bugs: Not Just in Beds! Please click on this link, to read the blog:

spider-mites

Spider Mites to Brown Recluse Spiders

Recently, many web browsers have been curious about Spider Mites.   Many people want to know if they bite, are they harmful to humans or pets and how do you get rid of them?

Well, fear no more, I am here to tell you that Spider Mites (as creepy crawly as that sounds) will not bite humans or animals.  Spider mites feed on plants (sorry plants).

Spider mites are members of the Acari (mite) family. They are less than 1mm in size and vary in color. They generally live on the undersides of leaves on plants, where they may spin protective silk webs, and they can cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed.  They get the “spider” part of their common name from this webbing.

The other spider being goggled recently is the Brown Recluse Spider aka “Violin Spider”, because it looks like it has a violin on its back.  It is very common in the St. Louis area, but even where they are common, people don’t often find them.  The Brown Recluse prefers quiet nooks and crannies in buildings and woodlands.

Brown Recluse spiders hide in storage areas that are dark and undisturbed for long periods.  They are in your house because they can find insects to eat there.  To reduce the chance of contact with these creatures, keep usually undisturbed areas free of clutter.  Like all spiders, a Brown Recluse avoids human contact.

Brown recluses are not nearly as fearsome looking as harmless wolf spiders, which are bigger and bulkier.  In fact, the Brown recluse might go entirely unnoticed, except that its bite can cause people serious medical problems.

The bite of the Brown Recluse is usually not felt, but symptoms may develop 5-12 hours later, in the form of chills and a fever.  The area of the bite may discolor and medical complications including disfiguring wounds may occur.  Medical attention is advised!

If you see one Brown recluse spider or suspect you have an infestation, you need to call the Brown Recluse experts…Holper’s Pest & Animal Solution at 314 544-7378.  Let our spider exterminators give you back your home and give you peace of mind!

We have written many blogs about Missouri spiders.  If you would like to learn more about them,  read: