What You Should Know about Subterranean Termites in Louisiana

Dugas Pest Control provides termite treatment and extermination service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana Subterranean termites are the most destructive pests in our country, and they cost homeowners and businesses billions of dollars each year. They are found in all states except for Alaska, and they are most common in the southern states. Louisiana is one of the top states for termites because of our warm, subtropical climate. Even though termites are known as pests to humans, they hold an important part in our ecosystem.

Termites are not pests by definition, as they break down cellulose into usable nutrients. The nutrients, otherwise known as biomass, are then recycled into the soil as humus. The problem is that when subterranean termites get into the home, they can attack the internal wooden structure. From sheds to warehouses to the frames of homes, termites can quickly eat away, causing severe, long-term damage.

It’s important for homeowners to know the signs of a termite infestation since these pests can live in the walls or baseboards of the home without anyone knowing until it’s too late. By understanding the appearance, life cycle and signs of an infestation, you can identify a problem earlier and minimize risk to your home.

What is a Subterranean Termite Colony Like?

Subterranean termites are social creatures that live in colonies underground. The colonies contain millions of termites, but they have a very specific working order. The social order includes reproductives, workers and soldiers. The reproductives are designed to reproduce and expand the colony, and they can be either winged or wingless.

The workers make up the bulk of the colony, and they are the ones that do all of the labor, as in chewing through the wood. The soldiers are the ones that defend the colony. They most commonly attack against ants and other termites, and although the soldiers are fierce, they rely on the workers to feed them.

How Can I Identify a Subterranean Termite?

Since you want to protect your Louisiana home to the greatest extent, it’s important to know what a subterranean termite looks like. There are various stages that these pests go through, including the following:

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Wingless Workers
  • Nymph
  • Soldiers
  • Adult Swarmers

The reproductives can be either winged or wingless, and the colors vary from dark black to pale brown. If they do have the wings, the wings are a smoky gray or brown color. There is even a social order within the reproductives, as some females lay eggs while others serve as a backup for the queen in case she is injured or dies. These termites have a creamy white color instead and are considered secondary reproductives. The workers are white or cream-colored and wingless. Soldiers have a similar look, with the exception being that they have brown heads with strong jaws.

Subterranean termites are approximately ¼” to 3/8” long and live in colonies. So, chances are likely that you’ll identify signs of an infestation rather than seeing a termite crawling around the home. These pests don’t wander from their colonies like that, unless they are swarming.

Signs of an Infestation in Your Louisiana Home

Hollow sounding wood – Termites don’t feed on the surface of the wood; instead, they feed on the inside of it. If the wood in your home sounds hollow, it could be because termites are eating away at the inside.

Mud tubes on exterior walls – Subterranean termites in Louisiana build mud tubes on surfaces in order to bring the colony moisture while searching for food. Mud tubes are always a sign of termite activity.

Swarmers – These reproductives can look a bit like flying ants, and they come out in the spring to mate. Swarmers can be found on windowsills or flying around the home, and they indicate that a colony lives nearby.

Wings – Finding discarded wings is another sign of a termite infestation. Look for wings in cobwebs, windowsills or other entry points.

Louisiana’s great climate has many advantages, but it also makes it prone to more pests such as our subterranean termite friends. Although termite damage can be difficult to suspect, being proactive is key. If you notice any signs of a possible infestation or start to see damage to wood, contact a professional exterminator immediately.

Why do Formosan Termites Swarm?

Formosan Termites When you think of the word “swarm,” the image of a group of insects flying together may come to mind. Yet when it comes to swarms in the termite world, the word means something very different.

What is a Termite Swarm?

A Formosan termite swarm is not aggressive or tightly grouped together. Instead, a swarm occurs when the environment triggers a large number of winged termites to leave the colony. What these swarmers do is mate and find new places to look for food. When a female becomes impregnated, she burrows into the ground with her mate, laying eggs and starting a new colony.

Since swarmers have two things on their mind – reproducing and survival – you can expect that these pests know exactly what they’re doing. You can just imagine how many Formosan termite colonies would burrow into the ground and start eating away at wood if they all survived, but Mother Nature plays her role here. Many swarmers are eaten by predators like birds and bats. Others die from natural causes before they’re able to find a mate. Only the strong survive.

Still, there is a good number of swarmers that live on and are able to find a mate and a place to start a new colony. These Formosan termite colonies don’t just emerge overnight, however. In favorable conditions, it can take 4 years for a new colony to produce swarmers. If the conditions are not favorable, it will take longer. It’s true that to humans, Formosan termites are certainly nuisances and damaging pests, but they are actually quite delicate in the chain of life.

What Triggers a Termite Swarm?

In many cases, it’s something in the environment that triggers a large number of termites to leave the nest. Swarmers are most common in the spring months, following suit with the natural swarm cycles. However, there are other factors that can trigger a swarm beyond the traditional cycles. Surprisingly, one of these factors can be a pesticide that is being used on the home.

If a Formosan termite colony has a lack of food or water, a swarm may be triggered. These circumstances can be brought on by using certain types of pesticides, so in order for the termites to survive, the termites will leave the nest. When Formosan termites are stressed, either in the soil or inside wood, they will leave their colony and seek food and water somewhere else. These termites depend on moisture, so they can’t go long without some type of water.

Where do Swarms Occur?

Swarms are very common in Louisiana, primarily in the spring and fall. Formosan swarmers prefer to fly in the warm evenings of the spring and summer, and they especially enjoy the climate after a light rain. Swarmers are attracted to lights, so it’s not uncommon to see Formosan termites flying around the lights of Baton Rouge in the evenings. Flying times for these termites is sundown to midnight, whereas other species of termite swarmers prefer the daylight hours. No matter where you are – home, work or out shopping – swarmers flying around is a sign that a termite colony is nearby.

What Should I do to Protect my Louisiana Home?

The best step is prevention. Turn off lights around the home or business at night in order to avoid attracting Formosan swarmers to your area. Make sure that windows and doors are screened and sealed, and look for other cracks or gaps around the home’s exterior. Formosan swarmers are very small, so they look for open areas to get underneath the home to start a new colony.

If you notice swarmers around your home, call a professional exterminator. There may be a colony nearby, but that doesn’t mean your home is infested. Still, it’s important to be proactive, and if the exterminator does think you have a problem, a product like Sentricon can be offered for control and elimination of Formosan termites.

What is Sentricon and How Does it Work?

The Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System was introduced in 1995 as the first smart alternative to traditional liquid barriers. This baiting system has been proven to be effective at reducing and eliminating termite numbers and colonies, and it takes the unique biology and behavior of termites into consideration. Sentricon specifically looks at termite tunnels and cellulose food sources.

Understanding Termite Behavior

Termites build tunnels that are up to 350 feet long, and they work for food continuously. They are a well-organized team that consists of workers, soldiers and the queen. When a source of food has been identified, termites will leave behind a scent so that other termites in their colony can follow after. The worker termites chew and digest the cellulose food sources and then share them with the colony.

While termites may sound to be nothing more than food scavengers, we know that they feast on wood and can cause severe structural damage over time. That is why it’s essential that bait systems are fast, effective and efficient at eradicating termite colonies. This is where Sentricon comes into play.

A Closer Look at Sentricon 

The Sentricon bait system is based on the behavior of termites, and it works by getting the termites to ingest the bait when crawling through their long, underground tunnels.

Bait systems are placed around the perimeter of a home by a professional pest control company. They are typically arranged 10 to 20 feet apart, and when the termites come into contact with the bait station, they eat the cellulose material and inadvertently ingest an insect growth inhibitor. The termites go on to share this “food” with their colony members that also ingest the bait. As the growth inhibitor takes over and prevents the termites from being able to molt, they die off.

Sentricon is not only beneficial for immediate treatment but also for long-term pest prevention. When the bait stations are placed around the home, they continue to work by distributing bait to termites to kill off the workers, soldiers and queen. That means that termites will never reach your home, preventing structural damage and preserving your peace of mind. Bait stations do need to be re-baited over time, but your pest control company will offer a warranty that makes these visits to your home low cost.

Is Sentricon Effective?

Sentricon has been proven to work, and it has many benefits to traditional liquid barriers. It is the most environmentally responsible form of termite treatment because there are no chemicals involved. Also, no drilling needs to be done as with liquid barriers that need to be injected into the foundation. The bait systems are only used where there are termite colonies detected, and the cost of Sentricon, at least initially, is less expensive than other options.

There are some things to think about with Sentricon that may affect your end decision. While Sentricon is effective, it does have its drawbacks. Because the bait stations are placed in the ground, they often disrupt the termite tunnels, and then the termite workers and soldiers choose to build new tunnels. Also, weather conditions like rain and snow can cause the stations to be disrupted. The goal is to go undetected by the termites, and Sentricon sometimes lacks in this department.

Also, Sentricon does require regular maintenance. A certified professional from Dugas Pest Control will come out to the home at regular intervals to re-bait the stations. You’ll want to consider these costs in addition to the initial cost of the system. The good news is that the Sentricon system is affordable and will most likely fit into your budget better than a traditional liquid system.

The best part about Sentricon is that it is environmentally friendly. Providing long-term protection, you don’t have to worry about chemicals or pesticides making their way into your home. And, there is nothing better than knowing that your home is termite free and your family and pets are not exposed to chemicals.

Liquid vs. Bait Termite Treatment

termite exterminator Homeowners in Baton Rouge fear termites because they have the ability to cause structural damage in the home. In many cases, the damage has already been started by the time that termites are discovered.

Since these pests are highly destructive, it’s important that the pest control methods used are both fast and effective.

There are two types of termite protection systems that we recommend: traditional liquid barriers and baiting systems. At Dugas Pest Control, we offer both types of protection options, better known as Termidor (liquid) and Sentricon (bait). Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each and which type of termite control will be best for your home if you are faced with a Baton Rouge termite infestation.

What is Liquid Barrier Protection Systems?

Termidor is a non-repellent liquid that cannot be detected by termites. The liquid is injected into the soil around the home so that it creates a barrier that keeps termites out. When the termites crawl through the soil, they come into contact with the liquid bait and then unknowingly bring it back to their colony. Through activities like grooming and eating, the insecticide is shared with the colony and begins building up in the gut of the termites, causing them to perish in little time.

Termidor is very effective, and because the insecticide is spread throughout the entire colony, it kills off the termites in six to eight weeks. This unique ‘Transfer Effect’ is what Termidor prides itself on, as other forms of termite control are more easily noticed by these pests and won’t be transferred to the colony. Other benefits to this type of barrier system are that it lasts up to 10 years and has cost-effective warranty renewals.

What are Bait Systems?

The second option that Baton Rouge homeowners have is Sentricon, which consists of termite bait stations. These stations are placed in the soil several feet apart from each other. They surround the home, and when termites crawl through the system, they come into contact with the slow-acting bait. Sentricon is not as effective as Termidor, but it will decrease termite numbers and possibly even eradicate the colony as a whole.

There are other advantages you will want to consider with this baiting system. Sentricon does not involve drilling around the home, and the bait systems are the most environmentally friendly option. For those concerned about the chemicals used in liquid bait, baiting systems may be the best option. However, there are drawbacks to consider with this type of system.

First, bait systems are much slower to act and can take six to eight months to take control of the problem. In the meantime, termites can be feasting on your home and causing a great deal of headache. Also, it’s easy for the bait stations to be disrupted due to weather changes, lawn maintenance and other outdoor activity. And, whenever these systems are moved, termites often detect this and will avoid the tunnel. They end up dodging the bait and building new tunnels, something that a liquid treatment would prevent.

Homeowners must also keep in mind that bait systems do cost a bit more in the long-run. They are less expensive initially, but there is more maintenance needed to keep the bait systems working properly.

Which Termite Defense Product is Most Recommended?

Since there are benefits to both liquid barrier and bait systems, Dugas Pest Control is pleased to offer both forms of termite treatment because each treatment system may be the best solution for any particular termite situation.  Our job as termite control specialists is to inspect your property, understand your concerns, and make a recommendation for eliminating the termite problem in a manner which makes each home or business owner comfortable with the solution.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Spring season is coming, and the termites will be soon be out in force here in Baton Rouge.  Subterranean termites become active as the weather gets warmer in March, April and May.  Then the Formosan termites will begin to swarm as we get into May, June and July.

Don’t wait until you start to see signs of damage to your home, contact us today for a free termite inspection and protect your home before the damage occurs.

A Closer Look at Armadillos in Baton Rouge

People often think of armadillos living primarily in places like South and Central America, but they are not completely exempt from residing in the states, particularly in Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina and Florida. The species that is found in our local Baton Rouge area is the nine-banded armadillo, and this particular species has traveled northward in recent years because of the lack of natural predators. In fact, the nine-banded armadillos are the only species found in the U.S. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for pest control companies to receive phone calls from local residents regarding Baton Rouge armadillos in or around their home.

What do Armadillos Look Like?

Armadillos are known for their hard, protective shells. There are approximately 30 species of armadillos, and they are characterized by the number of bands on their shells. On average, they are 30 inches in length; although the giant armadillo grows up to be 59 inches and 130 pounds. The smallest species, called the pink fairy armadillo, is only 5 inches in length. Armadillos may have short legs, but they do travel quickly. They have poor eyesight, which is why they use their other senses to hunt for food. Their sharp claws are perhaps their greatest asset.

What Types of Habitats do Armadillos Live In?

In the wild, armadillos prefer shady, forestry areas that are located next to rivers and lakes. Armadillos get their food from digging in the soil, so they also prefer areas that have loose, wet soil. They dig burrows to reside in and hide from predators, but sometimes, these animals make their homes in residential areas. They’ll burrow under homes, sheds, porches, decks, driveways, woodpiles and crawlspaces. They look for cracks in the foundation and use these as entry points to burrow underneath the structure. Since armadillos are great diggers with their claws, they make use out of small openings that may go unnoticed by humans.

Are Armadillos Dangerous to Humans and Pets?  

If you do have an armadillo that makes its way into your home, it’s important that you treat the problem. These nuisance pests do have sharp claws and will use them against dogs and cats if they feel threatened. They are also known carriers of the bacteria which causes leprosy. In Louisiana, 53 percent of armadillos tested positive for leprosy, which causes skin lesions, muscle weakness and nerve damage in the animals. Armadillos also carry rabies and are hosts for tapeworms and salmonella.

How Can Dugas Pest Control Help with Armadillo Problems?

While you may be tempted to capture the armadillo on your own, this is not advised. These animals do carry disease and have sharp claws that they will use if they feel threatened. Therefore, it’s best to leave this job up to the professionals.

Dugas Pest Control is trained in the proper methods for safely and humanely trapping and releasing armadillos. Using wildlife exclusion as the humane way of getting rid of these types of pests, we also go to extreme lengths to make sure that no other pests will be getting into your home in the future. We seal up all entry points and also have products that can be used to deter pests from coming onto your property.

Dugas Pest Control uses a variety of techniques to care for an armadillo problem in Baton Rouge, including live traps. We will relocate the animal as far away from your home as possible, while ensuring that they do not come back. And, if you’re unsure that it’s really an armadillo in the first place, let us come out and identify the animal for you. Sometimes, our clients think that it’s one type of pest invading their home, when really, it may be something else.

Remember, armadillos have unique personalities and carry disease, so you should always work with a professional to rid your home of these creatures to protect yourself and your family.

Opossum Removal in Baton Rouge

Dugas Pest Control provides humane wildlife trapping service in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana If something has been getting into your garbage, eating your pet’s food and creating strange, scratching noises in the attic, it may not be squirrels or raccoons that are invading your property. It may be opossums coming into your Baton Rouge home.

Opossums are especially skilled at identifying entry points that allow them to get into home to seek food and shelter. Although they prefer living by streams and swamps in the wild, burrowing in brush piles and tree cavities, they can fare quite well in the average south Louisiana home. Besides getting into the attic, opossums also live underneath sheds and decks, and they eat just about everything, from garbage to fruits to grains to pet food.

How to Identify an Opossum

Many people don’t know that there are more than 100 species of opossums, and that they are related to kangaroos! They are white or gray in color and feature a rat-like tail that lacks fur. Although these nuisance pests vary in size, they are generally the size of a household cat, with an average of 6 to 7 pounds for the males and 4 to 5 pounds for the females.

Other notable characterizations include their naked, rounded ears and monkey-looking hands. They leave behind little tracks that feature a bent thumb. Since opossums have a varied diet and flexible stature, they are able to move into attics and underneath structures, living off food scraps and pet food.

Why are Opossums Considered Nuisance Pests?

Fortunately, opossums are not generally dangerous to humans. In fact, if you were to approach one, it would most likely pretend that it was dead. Nevertheless, these Louisiana pests are bothersome in the home, and like any wild animal can be dangerous if cornered. They create mess by going through garbage, eating up pet food and being plain messy. They have large, smelly droppings, and they will harass your pets. Once they get into the home, they can shred insulation and wiring in an effort to create a comfortable spot to sleep during the day.

Opossums have strong odors and are hosts to a variety of parasites and diseases. Interestingly, they rarely attack people and do not carry rabies. Most people notice that they have an opossum problem when they hear scratching and scooting at night, notice that pet food and trash is getting ripped through and when they smell the awful odor of the feces. Generally, opossums don’t burrow in the ground, but they will still live in already-dug burrows. They also climb very well – in trees, on telephone wires and vines – so it’s important to look both high and low.

Opossums Have Gotten into the Home. What’s Next?

If you’ve identified that it’s opossums making all the noise in your home, it’s time to call in the professionals at Dugas Pest Control. We practice wildlife exclusion, which is the humane way to trap and relocate an animal into their natural habitat. Our ultimate goal is to remove the pests from the home without killing them, while sealing up all points of entry. We look for loose vents, tears in screens and holes in the siding.

Once we patch up these points, you won’t have to worry about pest problems in Baton Rouge anymore. If pests do come onto your property, they won’t stay long, as there won’t be any source of food or shelter to pursue.

In addition to sealing up your home’s entry points, we also encourage our clients to be smart about food sources around the home. Since opossums will eat just about anything, you should always keep trash cans tightly shut, remove pet food at night and perhaps even reconsider bird feeders. Opossums are nocturnal, so they will often come out and look for food when humans are sleeping. It’s never a good idea to tackle pest control in Louisiana on your own, so be sure to consult Dugas Pest Control as your first step. We have the necessary tools and trapping methods to safely remove pests from the home while protecting the health and safety of your family.

What Are Silverfish and Why Are They in My Baton Rouge Home?

Silverfish are eight-legged insects that have scales on their bodies, which allow them to move very fast. This swift movement makes them resemble a fish, hence the name silverfish. And yes, they are all over Baton Rouge in homes and commercial buildings!

They are silver or gray in color and approximately 0.5 to 1 inch in length, with long antennae. Silverfish are often found in wet, damp and moldy areas, but they’re also commonly drawn to moist areas in the home like bathrooms, crawl spaces and attics. They prefer dark areas and are nocturnal, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one trapped in your sink or bathtub first thing in the morning.

Some may also find it’s close cousin, the “Firebrat”, so called because they like to hang out near hot areas such as hot water heaters.  Thus the name “firebrat”!

 

Why Are There Silverfish in my Home?

Silverfish live behind baseboards, near plumbing and pipes or in small cracks. They may have been there all along because they lived in the existing foundation of the home. This is especially common in warm, tropical areas where silverfish were originally native to. Now however, silverfish can be found just about anywhere, including damp, cool areas of your home as well.

There is another way that silverfish can get into your home: you brought them there. It’s not uncommon for pests to be brought in from a cardboard box or secondhand item. Once the silverfish are in your home, they begin looking for a dark, moist area. They are drawn to bathrooms and attics, but they are also likely to find a home in your pantry where there is food and darkness.

Do Silverfish Carry Disease?

Whether you find a silverfish lurking around your pantry or crawling around your bathtub, the first thing you think is, “Is this pest dangerous to my family?” Fortunately, silverfish are not disease carriers, and they do less damage than ants, roaches or termites. Silverfish are often drawn to bookcases and shelving, so they may eat away at your books as they enjoy eating the book paste.

How Can I Prevent Silverfish?

Vacuum often, concentrating around baseboards, cracks and crevices. If you find silverfish, remove their sources of food and kill the eggs. You can also work with a pest control company such as Dugas Pest Control to lay silverfish traps where the insects have been seen.

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What Types of Pests Does TAP Insulation Control?

TAP insulation logo You definitely don’t want pests in your home; they scare the kids and some carry disease and bacteria! But even more than that, some pests can cause severe damage to the home.

By the time you see the effects of a pest infestation, it may be too late to prevent costly damage or illness. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and wonder if your home is being eaten away by annoying pests. TAP Insulation is the perfect product for eliminating pests in the home while at the same time offering noise reduction, energy conservation and money savings.

What is TAP Insulation?

TAP Insulation is a type of insulation that is made from recycled paper products and a borate-based solution that prevents pests from entering the home. Other insulation types do not provide this level of care, and TAP is the only pesticide that has earned itself the “Energy Star” certification. Since TAP can be applied directly over traditional insulation, it’s a smart investment for both new and existing homes.

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So what types of insects does TAP help control?

First consider how the insulation works. It contains a special, balanced formula of boric acid, which is toxic to pests. Self-grooming pests such as termites and cockroaches clean their bodies, ingesting the boric acid. They may be in the insulation passing through or nesting. When the boric acid builds up in the body, it causes the pests to die.

Since the borate product must be ingested, the insulation works best for self-grooming insects that will ingest the acid at some point during their stay in your walls. And, since borate cannot be detected, the pests will never know that they’re ingesting it. They also don’t build up a tolerance to it, so you can rely on TAP for a lifetime.

Below are the types of pests that TAP controls:

  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Termites
  • Silverfish
  • Fleas
  • Waterbugs
  • Palmetto bugs

TAP does not work on squirrels, rodents or mice, but it does not act as a food source either. Contact Dugas Pest Control to learn more about controlling household pests with TAP Insulation.

What is TAP Insulation and How Does it Work?

Dugas pest control provides Tap Insulation service for residents in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana TAP Insulation is a type of green insulation that is used in both new and existing homes and buildings. In addition to the standard functions of insulation, TAP also controls pests such as cockroaches, ants and termites. When you combine both the eco-friendliness of the insulation and its ability to ward off common household pests, TAP Insulation becomes an optimal choice for homes and buildings.

 

How Does TAP Insulation Work?

TAP is made from recycled paper, and a borate-based pest control product is embedded in the insulation, which allows the insulation to function as it does. Pests cannot build up a tolerance to the borate product, which means that once the insulation is installed, it never needs to be replaced. As long as the insulation remains in the structure, it will continue to repel pests.

What happens to these insects is that when they crawl through or nest in the insulation, they ingest the boric acid. Many household pests are self-grooming, so at some point, they groom themselves and end up ingesting the boric acid. Once in the body, the boric acid accumulates in the gut and leads to death through means of dehydration or malnutrition. Thankfully, boric acid is not toxic to humans, so you can enjoy a truly safe product that repels pests.

How Is the Installation Done?

If you choose to have TAP installed, it can be laid right over your existing insulation. The only time that you would need to replace the insulation is if it were already damaged from pests. Otherwise, TAP is very easy to install and typically takes one day. Consider that TAP Insulation can absorb odors, reduce noise and help your home to become fully insulated; approximately 65% of American homes are under-insulated.

Isn’t My Current Insulation Enough?

Probably not. First, your home may be under-insulated as it is, and installing TAP will reduce your energy bills, reduce noise and properly insulate the home to where it should be. More importantly, it takes a certain formula of borates to ward off household pests, and TAP is specifically designed to accomplish this, unlike traditional cellulose insulation that works to reduce fungus and act as a flame retardant. Only products like TAP can be sold as pest control products because they have been thoroughly tested in a lab.

To learn more about how TAP Insulation can prevent pest problems in your home, contact Dugas Pest Control.