4 Common Ant Species in the Philippines

4 Common Ant Species in the Philippines

What are the common ant species in the Philippines?

  1. Pharaoh Ant
  2. Weaver Ant
  3. Pavement Ant
  4. Black House Ant

 

Anywhere you may be in the world, the chances are high that you’ve been annoyed by all kinds of ants. Ants are small, vicious, and worst of all, ubiquitous. You’ll find them everywhere, in all kinds of habitats in any kind of weather. The Philippines is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot, with a wide range of ant species that makes its study more interesting. There are more than 12,000 known ant species worldwide, but here, we’ll talk about # of them.

The most common ant species in the Philippines are the ones we encounter in our homes because food sources are abundant there. They like to make colonies they have access to food that we discard or leave out in the open. As you read the list, you may recognize some of these ants as unwanted visitors to your home. Let’s get started with the first one:

 

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

The Pharaoh ant, sometimes mistakenly called the Pharaoh’s ant, is a common ant in the Philippines. They are considered an invasive species worldwide, and a major indoor pest in the United States.

Appearance: The Pharaoh ant is a tiny and slender ant of yellow-brown color. Males are slightly larger than the average worker, and they have a darker color with wings. The Queens are even larger than the males, are bright red, and winged.

Behavior: These ants like to make ground nests and are generally scavengers. Their habit of making nests in hard-to-reach places makes them difficult to control. Colonies can also have multiple queens that are interchangeable, allowing their colonies to have longer lifespans.

 

Weaver Ant (Oecophylla)

Weaver Ant

The weaver ant can be encountered even in urban areas of the Philippines. They are commonly known as the “hantik”.

Appearance: Weaver ants are large ants that are red and sometimes green. They are generally larger than other common ants in the Philippines so they can easily be spotted.

Behavior: Hantiks are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior. When people encounter them, they tend to steer clear because it is likely that they will get bitten. Weaver ants get their names because they like to weave mango leaves together and call it home. One colony can make several nests in different trees, and they are found mostly on canopies. Because they make their home in leaves, they have evolved to be averse to fair. If you light a matchstick near some weaver ants, they will attempt to put it out by secreting a liquid from their abdomens.

 

Pavement Ant (Tetramorium caespitum)

The pavement ant is another ant species that are considered invasive in the Philippines. They are typically found in agricultural and highly disturbed areas. You’ll find them under rocks and loose bark.

Appearance: Pavement ants come in dark brown and black, have two spines on the back and a groove on the head. These ants are relatively small, and the winged ones are often mistaken as termites.

Behavior: These ants are labeled as aggressive breeders, and they are not picky of the time of the year to swarm your household. They like to scavenge and are generalist predators. They’ll often be foraging on the ground and building nests in twigs, rocks, and bark. They don’t bite, but they can sting you. Thankfully, they’re not as aggressive as weaver ants and would most likely leave you alone.

 

 

Black House Ant (Ochetellus glaber)

Black House Ant

The black house ant is one of the most common ants in the Philippines, being present in households anywhere in the country. These ants are not dangerous, but they can be annoying at times.

Appearance: As the name suggests, these ants are small and black. They are small, just 2.5-3 mm long, and they are often described as shiny.

Behavior: Black house ants are arboreal when nesting outside, but they like to go ground-foraging. Indoors, their black bodies can be easily noticed, and they form very noticeable columns when traveling to and from the colony. They are fast-moving, but not aggressive and rarely bite humans. The only threat they can pose is unintentionally spreading disease-causing bacteria to food sources.

 

Key Takeaway

As mentioned earlier, there are way too many common ant species in the Philippines to be discussed on a single page. The ones you’ve read here are some of the most widespread in the archipelago, making them familiar problems in Filipino households. Even though biodiversity is good, having invasive species might be more damaging to both humans and the environment.

If you’re having an ant problem, then the best way to solve it is to call for professional pest control. We at Topbest have been the first choice of Filipinos when it comes to pest control solutions. Our experts have liberated over 5,000 homes in the Philippines from harmful pests of different kinds. Interested? Feel free to contact us anytime for a free consultation!

9 Natural Termite Predators

9 Natural Termite Predators

What are some natural termite predators?

  1. Ants
  2. Spiders
  3. Chickens
  4. Pigeons
  5. Sparrows
  6. Lizards
  7. Frogs
  8. Bats
  9. Monkeys and other primates

 

A continuing problem in households around the world, termite infestations spell trouble if left unchecked. These pests consume wood and if they start a colony on your house’s foundations, then it will weaken significantly. Despite how troublesome these insects can be; they’ve been cursed with the misfortune of being at the bottom of the food chain. There are plenty of natural termite predators no matter where you are in the world, which explains why they burrow underground or within the wood.

In this article, we will highlight the most common termite predators you may encounter. There are animals in this list from each of the major classifications of animals. Keep reading to find out which animals are silently helping you with your termite problem!

 

INSECTS AND SPIDERS

Because of their size, termites are often preyed on by some bigger insects and spiders. Some of these predators include beetles, wasps, and even some flies. Here are some of the most common you can find:

 

Ants

Ants and termites mix like oil and water. These two look-alikes don’t get along at all, and if their colonies ever meet, they turn hostile on each other. There are even some species of ants that actively hunt termites. This isn’t all good news because ants are also unwelcome in our homes, but at least we know the two pests won’t bug us at the same time.

 

Spiders

Spiders

Spiders are arachnids and are mostly predators. Their main diet consists of smaller insects like mosquitoes, flies, and yes, termites. Sometimes, flying termites get caught in a spider’s web and get turned into dinner. Other spiders who stay on the ground chow down on what termites they might find.

 

BIRDS

Like most of the other animals on this list, insects are a part of a bird’s main diet, along with seeds, nuts, and flowers. For most birds, termites are fair game. The following birds are the ones that may be around to help control the termite population:

 

Chickens

In the Philippines, chickens are everywhere. It always seems like chickens are pecking something of the ground, like seeds and worms. If they ever stumble upon termites, they’re certainly on the menu. Chickens aren’t picky with what they eat and having them around will certainly keep termites wary of them.

 

Pigeons

Pigeons

Many people like to collect and raise pigeons, and that’s a bad sign for termites. Free-flying pigeons can travel far and wide in search of food, and if some termites are caught in their sights, they won’t hesitate to devour them.

 

Sparrows

Unknown to many, there is a big population of sparrows in the Philippines that include termites in their diet. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, better known as the maya, inhabits both rural and urban areas of the country. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a lucky maya chancing on a free dinner of an unsuspecting termite colony in a tree or house somewhere.

 

REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS

Both reptiles and amphibians are also well-known to enjoy insects as delicacies. The ones that you’re most likely to meet in your house or backyard are:

 

Lizards

Lizards

A common sight on ceilings, lizards like to eat bugs like flies, mosquitoes, flying ants, and the occasional termite. These friendly reptilian roommates are great to have around because they aren’t harmful to humans and they prey on pests like termites. So say thank you, the next time you see that tuko that you’ve been trying to chase away!

 

Frogs

They may be a less welcoming sight in our homes, but frogs contribute to decreasing the termite population wherever they live. They like to munch on small insects, ants and termites included.

 

MAMMALS

Mammals also like to get in on the insect food craze that every other animal seems to like. Though their diets do not depend on insects, they would enjoy having them as meals every now and then.

 

Bats

Bats

Bats feast on a variety of foods like fruits, insects, and even blood. A termite colony showing themselves at night will likely fall victim to hungry bats, especially if it’s termite mating season. Bats are experts in the air and they can easily catch flying termites that happen to be in the way.

 

Monkeys and other primates

Primates are mostly omnivores, meaning they eat almost whatever they get their hands on. Unfortunately for termites, they qualify as food. Monkeys are not often seen near civilization, but there are some rural areas where monkeys are welcome in the town. These primates won’t hesitate to gobble up mounds of termites if it tickles their fancy.

 

Key Takeaway

The list of natural termite predators goes on and on even beyond those discussed in this article. Some of them can be found near our homes and inflict lots of casualties on the local pest population. Having these animals around can help us with our infestation problem.

Despite having so many natural enemies, termites continue to thrive and exist in homes everywhere. These animals are helpful, but they are not enough to stop an infestation. A good way to get rid of pests for good is to call professionals, like the country’s best: Topbest! If you need help with pest control, send us a message here for a free consultation!

6 Facts About Mothballs

6 Facts About Mothballs

What are some facts about mothballs?

  1. They contain toxic chemicals.
  2. They are more than just repellants.
  3. They are harmful to humans and pets.
  4. Children are especially vulnerable.
  5. They should be used in tight containers.
  6. They don’t repel all pests.

 

There’s a certain smell that most people associate with old clothes and old closets or cabinets. It’s that mothball smell that many parents used to repel moths or other fiber-eating pests. Though it evokes some feelings of nostalgia, it may not be a good sign if you’re familiar with that scent from your childhood.

Mothballs may be great pest-repellants, but they cause harm to humans, pets, and especially children. Here, we compiled some facts about mothballs that you should know about if you plan to use them. Read on to learn more!

 

They contain toxic chemicals

There’s a reason why mothballs are effective against moths, and that’s because they contain toxic chemicals. These repellants are made with paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene, which is why they are sometimes called naphthalene balls. Naphthalene comes from crude oil or coal tar and can also come from burning things. It can also be found in some glass and window cleaners.

Mothballs are basically these chemicals in solid form, slowly dissolving into gas and dispersing into the air. Because of their toxicity, moths are repelled and sometimes killed. Unsurprisingly, the chemicals are known to be harmful to humans and other animals.

 

They are more than just repellants

They are more than just repellants

Repellants are expected to keep pests away which, admittedly, mothballs do well. But their effect doesn’t stop there. The toxic gases they produce are enough to kill insects and could potentially cause harm and death to humans and other animals. They are marketed as pest repellants, but they are actually pesticides.

Naphthalene has been used as an insecticide and was even registered as a pesticide in the United States. Knowing these, make sure you follow the instructions in the container and treat it as you would other commercial pesticides.

 

They are harmful to humans and pets

Mothball vapors, if enough is inhaled, can cause substantial damage to humans and pets. While the most common way for the chemical to enter our body is through breathing, they can also be absorbed through the skin. Also, children and pets could mistake the little white balls for food or candy and consume them. Exposure may irritate the eyes and lungs and symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

When naphthalene gas is absorbed by our body, it is broken down into alpha-naphthol, a chemical that can cause hemolytic anemia. The condition causes the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells, making it difficult for oxygen to reach our organs and body parts. It can then damage our organs and cause even more complications.

Naphthalene is also labeled as possibly carcinogenic for humans based on trials done on animals. This means that though it’s not confirmed, there’s a chance that the chemical can cause cancer. The chemicals in mothballs can be spread by humans through blood, fat, and breast milk.

 

Children are especially vulnerable

Children are especially vulnerable

Children and babies are more vulnerable to the effects of not only mothballs but all pesticides. As mentioned earlier, they can mistake mothballs for candy and consume them, which would definitely be bad for them. Younger people, especially babies, have fewer capabilities to clear out the toxic naphthalene from their blood, so the effects are worse.

Approximately 4000 children are exposed to mothballs per year, and over 600 of those exposures warrant emergency medical attention. It is important to remember that babies can absorb naphthalene through blankets that were covered with mothballs in storage, so make sure to wash everything before using them.

 

They should be used in tight containers

The proper use of mothballs is to put them with clothes in a sealed container. As the mothball turns to vapors, it does not escape the container and keeps the clothes safe from moths.

Mothballs placed in cabinets and closets still release toxic vapors to the air in your household as those containers are not airtight. With naphthalene present in the air, it can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or get absorbed into the food we eat. To keep yourself and your family safe, read the label of any mothballs you plan to use and follow the instructions accordingly.

 

They don’t repel all pests

They don’t repel all pests

Some people use mothballs to repel all sorts of pests including rodents and snakes. The reason why they were named that way is because they were designed to keep moths away. It doesn’t have the same effect on other pests. While the smell itself might make a mouse avert its attention, it’s not effective enough to repel them. Snakes don’t get affected at all. If you want to keep pests other pests away, like termites and ants, there are other ways to do that.

 

Key Takeaway

Mothballs are generally toxic and should not be used carelessly. If you still want to use them, then at least keep these facts about mothballs in mind to help you be safe.

The naphthalene balls could repel moths for you, but it won’t help with other infestations you may have. If you’re having problems with pests such as termites, ants, and rodents, then we can help! Topbest provides pest control solutions in the Philippines, helping people terminate infestations of different degrees. Learn more about us here, and simply contact us here for a free consultation!

5 Common Types of Spiders in the Philippines

5 Common Types of Spiders in the Philippines

What are the common types of spiders in the Philippines?

  1. Huntsman Spider
  2. St. Andrew’s Cross Spider
  3. Hawaiian Garden Spider
  4. Batik Golden Web Spider
  5. Jumping Spiders

 

If you live in the Philippines, then you already know that there are plenty of spiders everywhere. Their scary appearance can easily scare people, but are they all actually dangerous? How many can you identify? To be more informed, you have to learn the common types of spiders in the Philippines.

Spiders can be found in any place you might be. They can be inside your house, in your garden, in your bathroom, and even in your shoe. If you can recognize them, you’ll easily figure out if they’re dangerous to you or not. Read on to know more about the common spiders in the Philippines!

 

Huntsman Spider

The Huntsman spider is a scary-looking arachnid from the family Sparassidae. These spiders are large and long-legged. Their bodies have a flat design to fit into small cracks or between rocks. In the Philippines, they have been terrifying homeowners by suddenly scurrying out from behind furniture or from inside dark, unused rooms. Sometimes, they can even be found hiding out in cars.

Their main habitat is outdoors, in between rocks or under logs and bark, so when you see one in your home, they probably just wandered there. Even though they look scary, they are generally not dangerous spiders. It is more likely that they would run away than bite when you startle them, but remember that they still do carry some venom.

These spiders mainly feed on insects and other invertebrates. They can serve as natural pest control if left alone. But beware, they will get bigger!

 

St. Andrew’s Cross Spider

St. Andrew’s Cross Spider

The St. Andrew’s Cross spider is from the genus Argiope. They are named after their web decorations that are bright and cross-shaped. They make zig-zag lines of silk that form a cross, making their webs highly distinguishable. This is also the reason why they are locally known in the Philippines as “gagambang ekis”.

These spiders also have colored abdomens that make them stand out even more. When threatened, these spiders either drop from their web or shake the web vigorously to confuse attackers.  They are generally not aggressive towards people and their bite is not toxic.

 

Hawaiian Garden Spider

Another spider from the Argiope genus, the Hawaiian Garden Spider can commonly be seen in gardens in the Philippines. Because they’re close cousins to the cross spider, their webs look alike and they also have colorful abdomens. Though these spiders grow large, their bites are not toxic to humans.

These spiders can live almost everywhere. They prey on insects that get caught in their web, so their presence in the garden can be quite beneficial. The females often grow larger and more colorful than the males. Most spiders prefer living in solitude, but these Hawaiian Garden spiders don’t mind living close to each other.

 

Batik Godden Web Spider

Batik Godden Web Spider

The Batik Golden Web Spider, with the scientific name Nephila antipodiana, is a large spider that can be found in fields, gardens, and even in the city and home areas. The spider gets its name from an Indonesian technique of cloth dyeing. This species’ females are significantly larger than the males. Its abdomen, measuring 3 cm alone, is adorned with distinguishable yellow markings. The males are so small that they can live on the female’s web and eat their food, and the female wouldn’t notice.

In the Philippines, these spiders have been seen with webs on electrical wires. It has earned them the local name of “gagambang kuryente”. Their webs can last several years, unlike other spiders who dismantle their webs every now and then.

 

Jumping Spiders

Adding to the list of spiders that have scared many people in the Philippines are the jumping spiders. These medium-sized spiders have very good eyesight and are a common presence in Filipino homes. They generally avoid direct contact with humans and are not aggressive, but they do like to hang around and observe us.

They hunt insects that are smaller than them so they are not a threat to humans. They don’t bite unless they feel they’re in mortal danger, and it rarely penetrates the skin. These spiders are a challenge to catch because they can jump from 6 to 50 times their body size!

 

Key Takeaway

If you’re in the country, then you’ll surely meet at least one of these common types of spiders in the Philippines. Recognizing them means the difference between saving yourself from a painful bite and losing a helpful pest control assistant.

The presence of spiders can also mean the abundance of their prey, which are also our pests. Thankfully, Topbest is the best pest control service in the Philippines! If you think you have an infestation problem, then just contact us here for a free consultation!

6 Facts About Orange Oil Termite Treatment

6 Facts About Orange Oil Termite Treatment

What are some facts about orange oil termite treatment?

  1. It has a low termite mortality rate
  2. It is not harmful to the environment
  3. It is flammable and should not be ingested
  4. Kills termites on contact only
  5. Larger treatments are more expensive
  6. It doesn’t have a long-lasting effect

 

The havoc that termites wreak on any of the wooden parts of your home needs to be controlled before causing too much damage. Sure, we have pesticides and such, but these products can be quite harmful to humans. But some people discovered the orange oil termite treatment that we know today.

Its fame quickly grew as an effective, easy-to-make, and easy-to-apply termite solution. Orange oil is easy to come by because it is an extract that comes from orange rinds. It is the D-limonene in orange oil treatments that is believed to kill termites. But how effective is it really? What do you need to know about this termite treatment? Keep reading to learn more!

 

It has a low termite mortality rate

For something considered a termite control option, orange oil has a surprisingly low mortality rate. A study showed that an orange oil treatment only has a 77% mortality rate among termites. Anyone who knows anything about termite control would know that this number is very low.

To put that number in context, it would kill only 770 in 1000 ants. Only 2 are needed to restart the colony. The average colony size is 60,000 to 1 million. It is safe to say that orange oil treatment is not enough to wipe out a termite colony.

 

It is not harmful to the environment

It is not harmful to the environment

The good thing about orange oil is that it isn’t harmful to the environment. Commercial aerosol pesticides are known to be toxic to people and animals. When applying the typical pesticide treatment, people should stay out of the room for some time. You should cover your things and remove all food. You don’t have to do this with orange oil.

The substance itself isn’t toxic to humans. You don’t need to stay away from the room where you apply the treatment. Your food, plant, and pets are all safe, and your tiles and walls will not be damaged at all. It also doesn’t contain CFCs that might be harmful to the environment itself.

 

It is flammable and should not be ingested

Orange oil is highly flammable. You should be wary of open flames when applying orange oil treatment inside the house. You should also avoid combusting the oil at all because its fumes are not good for your health. For this reason, you should also avoid ingesting orange oil all in all.

Being exposed for an extended time to either the oil or its fumes can cause the following symptoms: skin and eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, lung irritation, and others. So even though you don’t need to leave the room, try not to stay in contact with it or get too close to it for too long.

 

Kills termites on contact only

Kills termites on contact only

The effectiveness of this treatment depends on how well it kills termites. It works as a pesticide because orange oil itself is toxic to termites. It can break down the termites’ exoskeletons and also kill their eggs. But it needs to make direct contact with them.

This also means that they are only effective for spot-specific infestations. If you want to clear a certain spot of termites, then you can apply orange oil treatments to kill them. But if you want to get rid of whole dry wood infestations, or even some subterranean colonies, orange oil treatment would not work as well as other pesticides.

 

Larger treatments are more expensive

What makes orange oil treatments charming to many households is that it is easy to make. You can get an extract from orange rinds that you have around the house or from oranges you’ve eaten. But that small amount can’t cover larger areas of infestation.

Many termite infestations, especially if it has gotten more severe, can cover large areas of the wood foundation of the house. If you want to end this infestation with only orange oil treatments, you would have to acquire many more oranges and extract oil from all of them. All of the expense wasted on that could have gone to real pesticides or hiring professional pest control services.

 

It doesn’t have a long-lasting effect

It doesn’t have a long-lasting effect

Commercial pesticides can stay on the area where you sprayed them for longer times. The chemicals are absorbed by the soil or wood so that termites wouldn’t easily be able to return. Once they’ve been killed or moved away, the area is more or less free of infestation.

Orange oil treatments don’t linger in the area of application. They can simply kill termites that come in contact with them. This adds to the list of reasons why they can’t be used to exterminate severe infestations. How could orange oil prevent the threats of re-infestation, after all?

 

Key Takeaway

A termite infestation is more often than not a persistent problem. Like all animals, they try to survive no matter what we do. By using an orange oil termite treatment, you can kill a majority of termites and stop small spot infestations. But if you really want to get rid of these pests, the best thing to do is to contact professional pest control services near you.

Are you plagued by termites in your home? Are your DIY treatments not strong enough to fight the infestation? You’re in luck! Topbest is the best pest control solutions provider in the Philippines, and we offer FREE consultations! Just send us a message here and we’ll talk about clearing your house of pests!

7 Things That Attract Pests to Your Garden

7 Things That Attract Pests to Your Garden

What are things that attract pests to your garden?

  1. Stagnant Water
  2. Birdseed and Pet Food
  3. Trash Bins
  4. Dirty Grills
  5. Open Compost
  6. Outdoor Lights
  7. Overripe Fruits

 

Are you having a pest problem in your garden? Though this is a common problem among gardeners, there are ways to fight this. The best method is to avoid making your garden attractive to pests. That means you need to avoid all the things that attract pests to your garden. You may not know it, but some of these are most likely present in your garden.

Getting rid of these pest attractors will quickly lessen the number of pests that come to your garden, but it shouldn’t stop there. If you want to avoid garden pests, read on to learn what things you should keep an eye out for in your garden!

 

Stagnant Water

Stagnant Water

You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ll hear it here again. Stagnant water will attract pests. Standing water is a prime breeding spot for mosquitoes and other insects attracted to water. Try to eliminate stagnant water from buckets, birdbaths, bowls, or other places in your garden where water can gather. Make sure to also check if you have a clogged gutter, which is a common spot for standing water.

 

Birdseed and Pet Food

A bird feeder in your garden might attract beautiful birds, but it can also attract pests. Birdseed would be an easy meal for any pests that might be attracted to grains such as rodents. Even the birdseed bags themselves, if not properly sealed, might attract moths and other bugs. If you wish to avoid attracting pests into your garden, then consider removing the birdseed from out in the open.

Another thing to watch out for is pet food in your garden. Sometimes, our pets don’t finish the food we give them and some are left in their bowls. These would also get the attention of insects and rodents alike.

 

Trash Bins

Trash Bins

There are plenty of trash-loving pests out there, and if your garden is near any area with buildups of trash, then it is likely that pests will get attracted to your garden too. Of course, food scraps in the trash are also attractors for many pests, but even the odor itself could get some insects coming. That’s why aside from taking out the trash and not letting it build up, you should keep the trash bins as clean and odor-free as possible.

 

Dirty Grills

Having a garden party with a grill is something that most people enjoy. If you recently had an outdoor cooking thing in your garden, make sure to properly clean your grills after the party. The smell of food itself from the cooking would have already attracted some pests. Leaving the grills uncleaned in your garden is not good because the residue of food and oils in your grill will attract all kinds of bugs and rats.

Also, don’t spill soda on your garden because the sugar will attract ants for sure.

 

Open Compost

Open Compost

Many gardeners do compost to improve their soil’s health. While this is a good way to dispose of organic wastes, this is also a huge neon sign for free meals for bugs and other pests. An open compost pile will almost certainly catch the attention of hungry pests, so switching to a more enclosed system of composting would be better. You could also mix garden wastes, such as leaves and grass, to undercut the smell of the food scraps in there. Avoiding fats, meats, and dairy products in your compost pile would make it less attractive to pests.

 

Outdoor Lights

Having some lights in our garden can give it an ambient feel, or even just illuminate the lovely flowers and plants there. But many species of insects are attracted to light sources, especially at night. This means that although it makes your garden look better, outdoor lighting can actually increase the pest population in the area. You might want to consider taking them down or use light bulbs with less attractive rays if you really need the light.

 

Overripe Fruits

Overripe Fruits

If your garden produces fruit, then you already know that they are prime pest attractors. Fruit flies love fruits, and other insects get attracted by their aroma as well. If you don’t pick those fruits and store them properly though, they might just turn overripe. Overripe fruits produce that yummy ethylene gas, which is what gives off that overripe smell we all know, that will make them bigger targets for fruit-loving pests.

 

Key Takeaway

Keeping your garden pest-free is definitely a challenge that can have many different solutions. But simply avoiding these things that attract pests to your garden would already lower the local pest population significantly. By making your garden less attractive to possible pests, they would see no reason to visit your garden.

Avoiding attractors can help with pest control, but it is not enough to eliminate the pest problem entirely. If you want to get rid of the pest problem, then getting professional pest control services is the way to go. We at Topbest ofter the best pest control services in the country. Simply contact us here for a free consultation and we can talk about eliminating your pest problems!

5 Facts About the Life Cycle of an Ant

5 Facts About the Life Cycle of an Ant

What are some facts about the ant’s life cycle?

  1. Some eggs hatch, some get eaten
  2. Larvae feeding is crucial
  3. Ants metamorphose
  4. Colonies have castes
  5. Timelines differ per species

 

Where do ants come from? Have you ever wondered what goes on underneath those ant mounds you see outside? Their tunnels are filled with thousands of ants for one queen, and yet we almost never see what happens to their growth. The ant life cycle might be mostly hidden from our eyes, but it’s no longer a secret.

Ants go through four stages in their lives: as eggs, as larvae, as pupae, and as adults. Keep on reading to learn some more facts about the lives of ants!

 

Some eggs hatch, some get eaten

All ants start as eggs. They are white, oval, and roughly 1 mm in length each. I’m sure you could imagine just how small the eggs of insects as small as ants must be. But ant eggs are more than just amazingly small.

Queen ants can lay up to 800 eggs on average each day. When an egg is fertilized, it will hatch into a female. Unfertilized eggs produce males. You could understand how ant colonies grow so populous, but not all eggs become adults.

Some eggs get eaten before they even hatch. While the colony is just starting, the queen may eat some of the eggs for sustenance. Workers would also feed some eggs to the larvae. Tough luck for them!

 

Larvae feeding is crucial

Larvae feeding is crucial

Ant larvae emerge from the eggs after about 3-4 weeks. These larvae look like worms with no eyes. During this stage, the larvae do nothing but eat and grow. They get fed by the workers and they rapidly molt and grow. These larvae would shed their skin again and again during this 1-2-week stage of their lives.

How is this crucial? Larvae that get fed more grow bigger. And eventually, they grow into queens. The other less-fed larvae grow into simple workers. Future queens are determined by the amount that larvae eat.

 

Ants metamorphose

Metamorphosis isn’t exclusive to butterflies. When larvae get big enough, they pupate or become pupa. This is the transition period when they metamorphose (transform) into full-fledged adults.

They start to look more like adults in this stage, except with legs and antennae tucked close to their bodies. Some species of ants even form a silk cocoon and attach themselves to walls as they pupate. After 9-30 days, the transformation will be complete.

 

Colonies have castes

Colonies have castes

Adult ants arise from pupae, and then the direction of the life cycle branches out. As fully formed mature ants, they stay the same size for the entirety of their lives. However, adults are separated into different castes and play different roles for the colony.

Adult ants can become queens, workers, or males. The biggest of them are the queens. These ants have wings that let them fly off, mate, and start their own colonies, completing the ant life cycle. The queens tear off their wings before burrowing into the ground and laying the first eggs of the colony.

Workers are smaller females than queens, and they are the backbone of the colony. Workers do everything; they gather food, take care of the young, build and maintain the colony, and everything in between! Larger workers are the ones that defend the colony, sometimes called soldiers.

Males, or drones, are winged and fertile. They can fly and they can mate with queens. Other than that, they don’t really do anything. They don’t help with any of the chores of the colony, and they die after a few weeks.

 

Timelines differ per species

The life cycle lasts around 6-10 weeks on average, from egg to adult. The timeline becomes a lot different when they become adults in their own castes, and it’s also different for each species.

Drones only last for a few weeks. They’re the quickest to die in a colony, and since they don’t help anyway, that’s one less mouth to feed.

Workers can live for a few months at a time, but they have high mortality rates. After all, they’re the ones who venture out of the nest. Good thing the queen can produce hundreds in a day!

Ant queens are tough. In the right conditions, they can live for over a decade. They keep the colony alive, so if you wanted to get rid of them, the queen should be a prime target.

The lives of ants differ largely on the species and conditions that they are in, so it is difficult to give a single estimation for all ants.

 

Key Takeaway

Ants live life very differently from us. Understanding how they live and how they develop gives us more insight into how they function. This deeper understanding can help us study them better, or learn how to counter them.

Ant problems are very common, and we know that very well. If you have an invasive ant problem, then you’re in the right place to be! Just send us a message here and we can talk about shortening the lifespan of the ants in your home!

What Does a Termite King Do? 5 Facts About Termite Kings

What Does a Termite King Do 5 Facts About Termite Kings

What are some facts about termite kings?

  1. They look different from other members of the colony.
  2. They have functioning eyes.
  3. They keep the population of the colony growing.
  4. They maintain the status quo.
  5. They spend their lives underground.

 

Termites are common pests that can be found almost anywhere in the world. They damage almost anything that came from wood: furniture, books, and even clothes. Everyone knows about the termite queen, the uncontested monarch of the termite colony. But have you ever heard of her partner? What does a termite king do? How does he function within the colony? And why is he not as well-known as the queen?

Listed below are some interesting facts about the termite king and their secret lives. Read on to find out more!

 

They look different from other members of the colony

Most people would describe termites as brown ants who eat wood. We make this comparison because most termites really do look very similar to ants, other than their color. What we don’t see underground is the appearance of other colony members.

As would be expected of royalty, the termite king has a different appearance from other members of the colony.  Both the king and the queen gain a darker color as they become monarchs of their own colony. Other than that, they also both have no wings. The queen then increases in size as she continues to lay eggs for the colony, but the king stays in his normal size. You could say that he is a shorter and darker version of his queen. This makes it easier for them to distinguish from other colony members if you ever have the fortune of seeing one.

 

They have functioning eyes

They have functioning eyes

Termites have notoriously bad eyesight. In fact, most termites are even born without them. They rely mainly on pheromones to interact with the world and do their respective jobs. However, while workers and soldiers are completely blind, termite kings and queens develop better eyesight. The reproductives of the colony also have eyesight to help them navigate the world better through flying.

The termite king, on the other hand, enjoys the privilege of having better eyesight despite only having to mate and release pheromones underground for the majority of his life. This can be traced back to when he needed his eyes as a young alate looking for a mate. But the reason why their eyesight gets better as they move underground is not clear.

 

They keep the population of the colony growing

The reproductive termites of the colony are called alates. These are the members of the colony who have wings. They fly out, pair with each other, and become new kings and queens of their colonies. As they start their underground lives, it becomes the king’s duty to mate with the queen and keep the population growing.

Different species of termites may vary in reproductive cycles, but the queen can lay around 0 to 22 eggs in the first year of their colony. This means that in the early stages, the presence of a colony cannot be easily detected as they are few in number and do not cause as much damage as when they have finally matured. While they are still few, the termite king becomes a caring father while no workers are mature enough to do their roles. The king cleans, carries, and generally takes care of the eggs until workers can take over.

 

They maintain the status quo

They maintain the status quo

As the top monarchs of the colony, the kings and queens also keep every termite in line. Each termite has their own roles, and the termite king and queen do their job to keep them in their place.

Termite kings are the only ones who can mate with their queens, and that is because they also release a special pheromone that keeps other termites within their roles. This pheromone stops other termites from growing reproductive organs, and they get sorted into soldiers and workers afterward. Reproducing with the queen and producing pheromones to keep everyone in line are the two main jobs of the termite king.

If a termite king dies, some workers replace him as temporary reproductives.

 

They spend their lives underground

Once a pair of alates decide to move underground, they cut off their wings, become a king and a queen and they stay underground for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s uncommon for people to know what termite queens and kings look like.

The flying termites, or alates, are the ones that we usually see. Seeing alates fly around could mean that they are looking to pair off and start a new colony. That could be a sign of an existing colony nearby, or of a new colony developing in the area. Either way, it’s best to contact pest control professionals to avoid any more termite problems in the future.

 

Key Takeaways

Termite kings are important members of any termite colony. Without them, the colony might not function or grow as well as it potentially can. The facts about termite royalty above are the reasons why one would do what a termite king does.

Fortunately, there are professionals who are good at controlling these termites and the damage they can do. If you ever find yourself with a termite infestation in your home, feel free to contact us to help you with the problem!

Why Do Ants Keep Coming Back?

Why Do Ants Keep Coming Back

Why do ants keep coming back?

  1. Presence of an ant colony nearby
  2. Access to their survival needs
  3. Remaining ant pheromones
  4. Accessible entry points
  5. Ineffective home remedies

 

It might be tempting to squish ants and be done with it, but their family and friends will keep coming back. If this occurs to you often, there might be some things that you’re overlooking or doing wrong. If that’s the case, you might need pest control services soon. If you’re wondering why ants keep coming back, keep on reading!

 

Presence of an Ant Colony Nearby

Although some species of ants typically travel, others prefer to build a nest. That’s why killing a few ants won’t be enough if there is an ant colony nearby. This could be built in trees, underground, or inside ant plants. Some colonies have even survived for hundreds of years, so as long as it’s there, the ants will keep coming back. Aside from nesting outdoors, they can also live inside your home or establishment. You could find them inside walls or behind the baseboard.

Although some ant colonies have only a few dozen ants, the average nest has thousands of ants. This is why a pest control professional is needed if the colony is still alive. They can help find the roots of an infestation and prevent it from causing further problems.

 

Access to Their Survival Needs

Access to Their Survival Needs

Just like other pests, ants need food, water, and shelter to survive. If you have a messy kitchen, then that’s another reason why they keep coming back. Store food in airtight containers, clean up the mess as soon as possible and take the trash out regularly. Check the pet bowl for leftovers too, as this can attract them.

Other than that, ants also need moisture. Check your pipes for leaks and drips to keep them away. Keeping your place clean and hygienic can help stop them from coming back. It will also keep other pests away.

 

Remaining Ant Pheromones

They might look small and unintelligent, but ants use special navigational methods to find their way back to your home. As ants move, they produce a special pheromone and deposits it along a route. This acts as a guide to the other ants on how to find specific food sources in your home. That’s why you will see a line of ants going through the same trail.

If you only kill the ants and forget to clean the area where they have gone through, you can’t get rid of the pheromone trail that they made. This might be the reason why other ants keep coming back. One way to solve the problem is to use a mixture of vinegar-water spray. The strong scent will mask the scent and pheromones on the trail.

 

Accessible Entry Points

 

Accessible Entry Points

If you provide ants an entry point into your home or establishment, they will keep coming back. And this just doesn’t mean closing doors and windows. Any cracks and crevices in the wall, door frame, or ground are a means of entry.

To stop ants from coming back, it’s a good idea to perform some repairs and renovations. Patch up holes, fix the caulking around doors, and replace the screens on the window. Inspect the foundation for entry points too because there might be some loose mortar in there. Other than that, be mindful of trees and shrubs as these can acts as bridges into your home.

 

Ineffective Home Remedies

If you ignore an ant problem with the hope that it will resolve eventually, the problem will worsen. Queen ants can produce multiple eggs per day, so an infestation could grow in no time. But it’s also important to do your research if you’re trying home remedies.

For example, spraying your entire home with ant repellent might not be the wisest choice. Instead of getting rid of the problem for good, you’re contaminating your living space with harsh chemicals. Often, this is only a short-term solution and you’ll see ants again soon. If you have a severe infestation, the best option is to hire a pest control professional.

 

Key Takeaway

Ants are a persistent problem for many homes and business owners. Unfortunately, they will keep coming back as long as the colony survives, they can access their necessities, detect pheromones from other ants, and find holes they can enter through. Spraying them with an ant repellant might not be the best solution too.

If you’re wondering why ants keep coming back, Topbest can help you! As a professional pest control company, we have methods to detect and treat an ant problem in your home or establishment. It comes with a free inspection too. To get started, you can contact us here.

5 Pest Control Mistakes You Need to Stop Doing

5 Pest Control Mistakes You Need to Stop Doing

What are the pest control mistakes you need to stop doing?

  1. Using DIY remedies for everything
  2. Getting rid of the pests and not the cause
  3. Looking for instant solutions
  4. Forgetting to be proactive
  5. Lacking in research

 

Most of you have probably experienced a pest infestation before. Whether it was rats, ants, cockroaches, or termites, it could become a big problem if not solved immediately.  But if you’re not seeing good results, there might be a few things that you’re doing wrong. Keep on reading for the pest control mistakes you need to stop doing.

 

Using DIY Remedies for Everything

There are a few things that you can do at home to prevent or help treat a pest infestation. Here are some examples:

  • Vacuuming your home regularly for bed bugs
  • Using diatomaceous earth to kill cockroaches
  • Throwing away the water where mosquitos laid their eggs
  • Capturing a few mice with baits

But if you have a serious pest infestation, home remedies might not be able to help you much. This might be because not all tips you find can be beneficial for your situation. In some cases, you need to find the root cause and solve it from there. If you have a serious infestation, a pest control professional can help you tackle the root problem.

 

Getting Rid of Pests and Not the Cause

Getting Rid of Pests and Not the Cause

When you see a rat run across the room or ants crawling in your kitchen, what is your first instinct? Most homeowners would proceed to eliminate the pests. But if you want to solve the problem for good, it’s recommended to find the cause of the problem. This can help you from encountering the same issue in the future.

For instance, ants are able to get into your home through small cracks. If you check their trail, it can lead to gaps in the door or holes in the window. If you fix these, you can lessen the problem. Know the pests you’re dealing with and address the issue by finding the cause.

 

Looking for Instant Solutions

Plenty of homeowners are quick to use pesticides when they spot early signs of infestation. But spraying these chemicals in your home might be just a way for you to overcome your panic. When pesticides are not used properly, they might be harmful to you too. That’s why it’s recommended to hire a professional pest control team to handle the pesticides for you.

It’s also important to remember that pest control requires patience. A professional can help you see a significant change within days, but it requires proper inspection of your home and the right pest control methods. Other than that, you should also follow up once the problem is fixed to prevent it from happening again.

 

Forgetting to Be Proactive

Forgetting to Be Proactive

Most homeowners either neglect their pest problem or focus on reactive methods—such as spraying pesticides and the like. The idea of hiring a pest control professional only occurs when there is a serious infestation. But pest control should be a part of your housekeeping process.

For example, a messy home is one of the common reasons that you attract pests. Having exposed garbage cans, uncleaned pet waste, or leaky pipes signal flies, cockroaches, rats, and other pests to invade your home. Do you have untreated wood just lying around? You might also attract termites.

 

Lacking in Research

If you do try home remedies to solve the early signs of an infestation, be sure to follow the instructions and do your research. For example, you can’t expect the rats to take the bait if you don’t acclimate them to it first. Remember that these pests are neophobic, which means that they’re wary around new objects in the environment.

Another problem is using bug spray for everything. Not all pests will respond the same way to pesticides. Instead of helping, you might be worsening the problem and putting your housemates at risk. Fortunately, a pest control team can help you overcome this problem.

 

Key Takeaway

Pest control requires patience and consistency. You need to be proactive, do your research, find out the root cause, look for long-term solutions, and follow up. This way, you can get rid of the problem for good.

Now that you know the pest control mistakes you need to stop doing, you can contact Topbest for professional help! We can help you address the root problem whether you have a termite, rodent, cockroach, mosquito, or other pest problem.