what's biting me

What’s biting me? Chiggers, Ticks, Mosquitoes

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!

Chiggers

Chiggers are mites: tiny insects about 1/50th of an inch long. Also know as harvest bugs or red bugs. They’re nearly invisible except, as occasionally happens, they cluster on your skin. They are red in color. Seen under a magnifying glass, they look like tiny red spiders. Chiggers love moist grassy areas, including lawns and fields. They are transferred to human beings through contact with grass, brush, and vegetation. Chiggers don’t carry disease, but they can cause severe itching.
Unlike mosquitoes, which bite where they land, chiggers may move around the skin to find a good place to eat. Like ticks, chiggers are opportunistic parasites that grab onto any hosts that happen to wander by. Unlike ticks, chiggers don’t embed themselves in the skin
Belts and tight clothing prevent them from moving further, so chigger bites are often found around the waist or near elastic waistbands. Other favorite locations are spots where the skin is thin: near the groin, behind the knees, or in the armpits.
One prevalent myth is that chiggers burrow into the skin; this is not true. Instead, they inject enzymes into the skin that destroy the surrounding tissue. The chiggers then ingest the dead tissue. Because this activity is likely to cause intense itching for the host, chiggers are usually unable to feed for long; if left undisturbed, though, they can feast for days.
Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, chiggers do not carry disease, which means that contact with them isn’t dangerous per se. Unfortunately, however, chigger bites are incredibly itchy. Even worse, chiggers usually move in large groups, so it’s unlikely you’ll experience just a single chigger bite.
Oh, and the home remedy that your mom may have told you about or used to kill chiggers and stop the itch…Nail Polish or Vaseline. It doesn’t work.

Ticks

Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Many species transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Ticks live outdoors in grass, trees, shrubs & leaf piles.
They’re attracted to people and their four-legged pets, and they can easily move between the two. Ticks prefer warm, moist areas of the body. Once a tick gets on your body, they’re likely to migrate to your armpits, groin, or hair. When they’re in a desirable spot, they bite into your skin and begin drawing blood. They remain attached to your body once they bite you.
Tick bites are usually harmless and may produce no symptoms. However, if you’re allergic to tick bites, you may experience: pain or swelling at the bite site, a rash, a burning sensation at the bite site, blisters and difficulty breathing, if severe.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are members of the fly family. They may be small and have short lifespans, but they can wreak havoc on human lives. From their itchy bites to the diseases they can carry, mosquitoes are often annoying and sometimes downright deadly.
Mosquitoes live in grass and bushes located close to areas where humans live. Their favorite breeding ground is standing water. They gather in neglected birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, storm drains, pools, ponds, and other bodies of water that aren’t flowing.
Male mosquitoes don’t bite humans, but females do. While both of them feed on plant nectar and water, females also need blood in their diet to reproduce. Mosquitoes choose their human victims based on the scent of carbon dioxide and other chemicals in your perspiration.
Mosquitoes and Ticks can carry viruses, bacteria, and parasites in their saliva. When they bite you, they can transmit those pathogens into your body, causing severe and even life-threatening illness.
Mosquitoes are known carriers of malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, and several viruses that cause encephalitis.

Prevention

If you think your yard is infested with Mosquitoes or other pesky intruders, before they bite, call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions.
We love to treat your home and yard with the same care as we treat our own, and we take real 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 314-732-1413 and learning more about Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions!

bedbugs

BED BUGS: Teensy Mutant Travelers

Bed bugs are small.  And they get EVERYWHERE:  deep into clutter, upholstery and every nook and cranny from fabric seams to crew holes.

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites or bites from other insects, and some people show no reaction at all to bed bug bites. So it’s no wonder they go undetected for long periods.
However, if you know the right place to look, you may be able to spot bed bugs. Adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye—no equipment is required. Check:
  1. Headboards
  2. Bedside tables
  3. Ceiling/wall junctions
  4. Loose wallpaper or paneling
  5. Wherever you find a crease or crevice near where a person sleeps. This includes baseboards, mattress seams and personal belongings
If you are interested in keeping your home free from bed bugs, read our blog post on “How to Prevent Bed Bugs” today!
Signs of Bats

What Are Signs You Have Bats In Your Home?

Hearing high-pitched chirping noises or scratching in your walls or ceilings? Finding droppings around your foundation that seem to be below soffit gaps or vents? You might very well be harboring bats in your home! We covered important information on this subject last July in a blog you can access here, “Do I Have Bats in My Attic”?

Is St. Louis Experiencing More Wasps This Summer?

It sure seems like we’ve been hearing about significantly more stings from wasps this summer. Maybe you’re experiencing that, too. Do you know how to tell a wasp from other stinging insects? Do you know how to recognize a wasp nest? Why are we seeing so many wasps this year? Most importantly, do you know who can help you get rid of your wasp problem? You’re about to find out!

The ABCs of Wasps

Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions gets a lot of calls about wasps, primarily about the European wasp, which is fairly new to St. Louis. These wasps resemble yellow jackets in color (yellow and black striped), but European wasps are about 1¼ inches long (½” longer than a yellow jacket). Also, like yellow jackets, wasps have pointed stingers capable of multiple stings. Ouch!

European wasps make a cone-shaped paper nest that often is built under overhangs of houses and inside the hollow fencing around pools. Sheltered areas, like soffits and corners, are prime real estate for their nests, too. Their nests can hold up to 75 wasps, and like you, wasps are very protective of their homes. European wasps are extremely aggressive, and need no provocation to attack. Remember, an angry wasp can sting you over and over, and it will!

Why So Many Wasps? 

You’ve probably noticed more wasps, and other stinging insects, in your yard this year. Wasp populations fluctuate from year to year–warmer winters mean less die-off of insect pests, like the wasp. No doubt you are seeing more of all the stinging pests, as well as other insects this season. They are everywhere!

 

Take The Sting Out of Summer With Holper’s! 

While it is impossible to guarantee stinging pests won’t stop by for a visit this summer, a professional inspection done by Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions provides results! We show you not only where wasps and other stinging insects are staking claim to your home or yard, but also where they are likely to take up residence with you! Nest removal, followed by regularly timed treatments for stinging insects, will help your family have a more enjoyable summer by reducing the chance of stinging insects building nests in or near your home. Want to take the sting out of summer? Let Holper’s show you how we take GREAT care of St. Louis area homes. Call 314-732-1413 today!

 

 

 

Pest Control Questions

St. Louis Pest Control Questions

Is there something bugging you? Well, we’ve got answers! Wherever we go, people see the Holper name on our trucks and uniforms and approach us with questions. These are some of the questions we’ve gotten recently. Maybe some of them are your St. Louis pest control questions, too!

Is there a brown recluse spider repellent?

Boy, do we ever wish we could say yes, but the answer is no. They live wherever they want without intervention from professionals. Brown recluse are very hard to get rid of, which is why Holper’s is so successful exterminating–we know the secret to success is treating the wall voids where the spiders hide. We are proud of our excellence in this area!

Do ants hate pepper?

While it is true that ants will avoid a lot of kitchen spices, the tradeoff is that the ants just move to other locations in your home. It may seem like pepper is repelling the ants, but ants can find lots of places in your house where there are not spices!

How do you kill bagworms?

Bagworms need to be treated with professional grade pesticides handles by trained technicians. The best time to book treatment is in the month of May before the worms hatch and make their bags. But you can reduce their numbers any time of the season by having a treatment done. It’s not too late!

When do wasps sleep?

While wasps do not actually sleep, they do return to their nests at night to rest.

Can you use a roach fogger for termites?

You can’t. Termites require specialized treatments to keep them from destroying your largest investment, your home.

Do moth balls get rid of squirrels?

We get asked a lot about moth balls being a remedy for different pests, and the answer is always a resounding no! They are dangerous to the pets and humans in your home, so help spread the word that moth balls are a big no-no for DIY pest control.

Who is the best in St. Louis pest control?

Thanks for asking–we sure think we are! We love to treat your home and yard with the same care as we treat our own, and we take real 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 314-732-1413 and learning more about Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions!

St. Louis Brown Recluse

Are There Poisonous Spiders in Missouri?

It’s bad enough to think about spiders in your house and yard, but have you wondered if they are dangerous, in addition to just having an extreme “ick” factor? Are there poisonous spiders in Missouri?

The simple answer is yes–there are two types of spiders in Missouri that people refer to as poisonous. But in truth only one has venom, and it is the extremely rare black widow spider. Luckily for those of us in the St. Louis area, this is not the part of the state one would usually find this rare spider.

That’s not to say that St. Louis gets away from the dangerous spider game unscathed–St. Louis is a virtual hotbed for the brown recluse spider. And they are at a peak right now. When a brown recluse bites you, it secretes a protein into the wound that many people have an extreme sensitivity to. This leads to the misnomer “poisonous” being attached to the brown recluse spider. Many people actually have no more reaction to a brown recluse bite than to any other spider bite–only 10% of brown recluse spider bites even require medical attention!

We have written many blogs about the brown recluse. If you want to learn more about how to identify a brown recluse spider, and how to get rid of an infestation, read: How Do I Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders?

What Common Ants Do We Have In St. Louis?

It’s officially summer in St. Louis, so there are three things you can count on…heat, humidity, and ants! Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions can’t help you with those first two, but we sure do know our ants–more importantly, we know how to get rid of them for you. So, what are these common ants?

Ants, Ants, & More Ants
There are four common types of ants here in STL:

Odorous house ants are the most plentiful ant. They are 1/16 to ⅛ of an inch long, brown or black in color, and primarily wingless. Another trait is that their antennae will be bent. They are particularly drawn to sweets, but any food with easy access is a draw.

Carpenter ants come in second for the most populous ant in St. Louis. Carpenter ants are ⅜  to ½ of an inch in length, and can be black or dark red in color. Some carpenter ants have wings, which leads people to confuse them with termites, but the wings of carpenter ants will only extend just past the end of the body. Like odorous house ants, the antennae are slightly bent. Carpenter ants eat outdoors, but they tunnel through moisture-damaged wood to build satellite nests indoors.

Pharaoh ants come next in line for most common ant in St. Louis. They are tiny ants, just slightly more than 1/16 of an inch long. Often light yellow in color, they can also be reddish-brown. (Their abdomens tend to be a little darker than the rest of them.) Their antennae are distinctive in that they possess a club-like structure at the tip. Like odorous house ants, they enjoy sweets, but will also eat other insects.

Acrobat ants round out the top four common ants in St. Louis. Acrobat ants vary in length from 1/16 to 1/8 inch. They have a very distinct abdomen, which is shaped like a heart. They can be seen indoors in kitchens, tunneling through foam insulation, and often times near other insects’ nests, as they are predators. 

Ant Control Experts

Seeing ants, many homeowners run to the store to grab a can of whatever spray looks deadly. But most OTC products merely serve as repellents, driving ants to other areas in your home, not exterminating them. This is to say nothing of the awful odor of OTC sprays!

The only way to rid your home of common ants, or any other insects/pests, is to have your home professionally treated. Holper’s, taking care of St. Louis homes since 1985, always uses low-impact materials for the safety of you and your pets. What sets Holper’s apart, and contributes to their success, is a three-pronged attack on your invaders: treating the home inside, treating the home outside, and using bait outside of your home.  

To set up your free inspection, please call 314-732-1413 today. You will find the cost of extermination saves you time and peace of mind in the end!

Why Aren’t DIY Mosquito Treatments Effective?

We’ve all heard of them—allegedly “foolproof” DIY methods of mosquito control that your brother, mom, neighbor, or Facebook friend swears by! There are only so many citronella candles a person can light, and only so many dryer sheets one can wear under a hat, yet many people will attempt these and more schemes every year before they wise up. All they do is waste time and money before turning to the real solution. So why aren’t DIY mosquito treatments effective?

Some Popular Mosquito Treatment Myths
While the methods are quite varied, see if you can figure out what they have in common:

  • Essential oils are very popular for a variety of uses, and some people utilize them as an all-natural mosquito repellant to replace chemical products and sprays for the skin. Time consuming to make a batch of homemade repellent, this is probably not a time-effective choice.
  • Plants and herbs, such as basil, lemon balm, catnip, marigolds, garlic, lavender, and citronella, are popular choices for gardens, as rumor has it that they can repel mosquitoes. In truth, achieving the maximum benefit necessitates crushing the leaves and rubbing your skin with them.
  • Bug control spray concentrates sprayed onto your lawn using a garden hose can repel mosquitoes for about 21 days, versus the 30 days of mosquito reduction supplied by a professional application. Fun fact: Applied monthly, professional mosquito treatments will reduce the mosquito population by 95 %! That’s amazing!
  • Bounce dryer sheets (the original version) are worn under the hats of professional golfers to keep gnats and mosquitoes away when making that all-important drive or putt. The online magazine of the American Society for Horticultural Science has published proof this will repel them.

Did you figure out what those four methods have in common? They merely REPEL mosquitoes. And there are many more DIY methods that can’t even do that—Listerine, Lemon Fresh Joy, baby oil, repellent coils, bug barriers, and bug shields, to name a few. DIY treatment methods for mosquitoes will at best repel mosquitoes temporarily, and at worst will waste your money and allow more mosquitoes to breed in your yard. 

The Real Mosquito Solution
A true mosquito solution does not simply repel mosquitoes for a brief period of time. The hallmark of the true mosquito solution is reducing and eliminating mosquitoes from your yard, freeing you to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family. Knowing our region tested positive for West Nile Virus last summer, and with Zika present in every state ,we can no longer just be worried about the itch and annoyance of a mosquito bite—our concern needs to encompass our health, as well.

Peace of Mind
If you’d like to reclaim your yard from mosquitoes and recapture some peace of mind, call the professionals at Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions today at 314-743-1413.  DIY mosquito treatments are simply not effective. Monthly sprays will give you back some peace of mind, as well as giving you back your yard!

yellow-jacket

Stinging Pests: What Just Stung Me?

OUCH! It’s a word heard a lot when families are out enjoying their yards in the summertime. Sometimes it is heard indoors, as well. The culprits? Stinging insects, some of those things we have to put up with when the warmer temperatures draw us outside. Or do we have to put up with them? Knowing a bit about some common stinging pests will help you know how to spot just where on your property they might want to make a nest. Knowledge is power, and with some good planning, a watchful eye, and great pest control technicians, you won’t need to be asking, “What just stung me?” Get ahead of stinging pests and keep your family as free from “‘ouch” as possible!

The Usual Suspects

Yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, bumblebees, and honeybees are all common stinging insects. While they can all be found in house walls, some easy physical identifiers and nest descriptions will help you figure out which stinging pests are hanging around your home.

● Yellow jackets:

Yellow and black striped, yellow jackets are about ¾” in length. Their pointed stinger is capable of stinging multiple times. Yellow jackets build nests in both walls and in the ground. Regardless of where the nest is, the activity surrounding the entrance will resemble an airport–many flying in and many flying out.

● Wasps:

A newer wasp in St. Louis is the European wasp. These wasps look similar in coloring to a yellow jacket, but they are about 1 ¼ inches in length. They, too, have a pointed stinger capable of multiple stings. These wasps build a conical paper nest, often found under overhangs of houses and inside the hollow fencing around pools. An aggressive insect, this wasp needs no provocation to attack.

● Hornets:

Bald-faced hornets are very aggressive. Black in color with a white stripe over each eye and on the thorax (rear segment), they are about one inch long. They also have a stinger capable of multiple stings. They are often easy to spot near their gray, swirled, paper nests, which vary from the size of a cantaloupe to the size of a trash can. This insect has attitude–it doesn’t need to be disturbed to attack.

● Bumblebees:

Bumblebees are large and black, with a yellow stripe. Their entire body is fuzzy in appearance. Bumblebees measure roughly ¾” long and ⅜” wide. Their stinger is pointed and can sting multiple times. Bumblebee nests looks like groups of small eggs stuck together. They can be found in pine needles under pine trees, and are usually above the ground. They can also be found in bird houses, lawn mower clipping bags, and compost piles. When a nest of any size is disturbed, the bees become very aggressive.

● Honey bees:

Honey bees are brownish to golden in color and are about ¾” in length. Their barbed stinger remains in the victim’s skin when stung, which obviously kills the bee. Honey bee nests are layers of honeycomb, usually found in wall voids and tree voids. If left untreated, a nest filled with honey can weigh up to 350 pounds! Honey bees are fairly harmless and usually only sting when provoked.

Can You Prevent Stinging Insects From Choosing Your Yard or House?

While there is no way to guarantee a stinging pest won’t pass your way, a thorough inspection by the helpful folks from Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions will show just where stinging insects have taken up residence, or are likely to take up residence. Nest removal, followed by regular sprays for stinging insects, will help you and your family have a more enjoyable summer by reducing the likelihood that stinging insects take up residence in or near your home. Want to reduce the “ouch” or “ick” factors for all pesky pests? Let Holper’s show you how we take GREAT care of St. Louis area homes. Call 314-732-1413 today!

What just stung me? Probably not one of the usual suspects,
because I called Holper’s!

Insect & Spider Control

Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse Spider: Are You Misidentifying The Dangerous One?

We have written many times in this blog about brown recluse spiders, as getting rid of them successfully is one of the things Holper’s is known for! We are seeing many types of spiders right now, but this stretch of heat makes it the prime time of year for brown recluse spiders. Yet, because of their relatively innocuous appearance (in relation to some others) many people are mistaken when identifying which spider they have. When it comes to wolf spider vs. brown recluse spider, are you misidentifying the dangerous one?

Wolf Spiders 

wolf spider

Wolf Spider (https://infowpb.com/wolf-spider/)

A wolf spider certainly has the creepy factor going for it! Up to two inches in size, these large, hairy spiders, with eight eyes in three rows, definitely look ominous. Luckily, these looks are generally deceiving, as wolf spiders typically only bite when threatened. Admittedly, it is hard to get past that menacing exterior, leading many people to misidentify the hairy, scary-looking wolf spider as the brown recluse, which is of much more concern at this time of the year.

Brown Recluse Spiders 

Brown Recluse

A brown recluse spider doesn’t have the fright factor that a hairy, wolf spider does.  Brown recluse spiders range from the size of a dime to the size of a dollar coin. They are light tan to gray in color, with thin, spindly legs. Their well-known identifier is the violin-shaped marking on the top of the head, which is why many people refer to it as a fiddleback spider. Many people fear the brown recluse, and the reason is the bite! The bite of a brown recluse injects the victim with a protein that affects different people in different ways. Some have no reaction at all. But for an unlucky person who does react, the bite can lead to necrosis, organ failure, and, in rare cases, death. Knowing this, it is easy to see why you don’t want to misidentify your spiders! If you want to read more about brown recluse spiders, see our recent blog, Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live? 

Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse Spider: Now What Do I Do?

Regardless of which spider you have identified, you’re going to need an expert who can attack your infestation problem with a multi-phased approach, particularly in the case of brown recluse spiders. Even if you have misidentified which spider you have (or prefer not to get close enough to even try to identify it!) our technicians know the difference and are ready to help rid your home of pests. More importantly, our team will help you keep it that way with ongoing pest control.

Call Holper’s Pest & Animal Solutions at 314-732-1413, and reclaim your home from those spiders, or any kind of pest that is bothering you. Your home really does deserve Holper’s!