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Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Cicada Killers…Among Other Stinging Insects

The stinging season is upon us! While there are many bees, wasps, hornets and even some ants which can sting us and our pets, several of them command our attention by virtue of their numbers, size or aggressiveness. Two of them which immediately come to mind are the cicada killer and the yellow jacket. Both are wasps; the first is a solitary wasp and the other is a social wasp. Bear in mind that only the females of each species can sting. The males emerge first, mate with the females and often die shortly thereafter.

While cicada killers are not aggressive, they may sting if handled, trapped under foot or in clothing. Cicada Killers, because of their relatively large size (1 ½” to 2” in length), often cause an unwarranted amount of anxiety in people when they begin showing up in late June and throughout the rest of the summer.  Each female cicada killer drills several nests in the soil, wherein she deposits a single paralyzed cicada upon which a single egg has been placed and then covers the cell.  There may be many females operating in a given area and, due to their numbers and size, they may cause considerable concern and damage.

Yellow jackets, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. The females, being social wasps, will create large nests. The more common species in this area create underground nests which can house several hundred workers and brood.  One species creates above ground, or aerial nests. Regardless of the species, some nests may be as large as a basketball.  Regardless of the species, they will vigorously and aggressively defend them.

The best and safest control of any of the above wasps is conducted at night. During the day, carefully mark the location(s) and then perform the control at night. Do not, as one hapless technician attempted, stick a twig in an active hole during the day. You will be angrily greeted by a number of very aggressive wasps – faster than you can get away. Dusting in and around the hole, after dark, is the best and safest way to eliminate them.

Just remember, such work should not be considered a do-it yourself project!  It is best left to a carefully trained Augustine professional.  Contact Augustine Exterminators at 913 362-4399 today!

Oak Leaf Itch Mite

The oak leaf itch mite, which first made its appearance in the Kansas City area in 2014, has since commanded the attention of anyone who spends time out-of-doors engaging in gardening, sports or other leisurely activities.

Be aware of pest control operators, going door-to-door with claims that they have the cure for this problem. At this time, there is no sure-fire and safe method for controlling the mites and their prey. Spraying lawns and tree trunks will help reduce, but not eliminate the problem!  Efforts may be made to spray the tree, but when dealing with a stately 75 to 80 foot tall tree, spray drift often creates a greater hazard!

This mite infests oak trees, primarily pin oaks, but also red and black oaks, while searching for and feeding on larval midges (the true pest of the tree) which create galls on the leaves. It is unknown where they overwinter, but in late Spring and early Summer they begin making their appearance known through their incidental biting. Their complete life cycle is quite short – 7 days from egg to biting adult – and results in numbers estimated to be well over 300,000 per tree.

The problem unfolds as they fall or are blown from the trees on to you, lawns, gardens and structures where, due to their extremely small size (0.2mm. or 1/125th inch), they readily enter through screens. Unlike chiggers, which attack from the ground up, affecting areas of tight clothing such as belts, underwear and socks, the oak mite affects areas from above where clothing is loose, such as neck, shoulders, chest and back.  Sitting or lying on lawns beneath the trees will also cause an attack.

One solution may be to apply a soil drench around the trees to eliminate the gall-making midge, which is the root cause of the problem. This would best be applied at bud break or shortly thereafter to be effective. Obviously, it is too late this year for such an approach to be effective, but our entomologist is exploring this option for future use.  Augustine Exterminator’s can treat trees (to a safe height), lawns and foliage around your property with a backpack mister which is very effective in eliminating mosquitoes, fleas and chiggers however, as previously mentioned, the effectiveness of this type of service on the Oak Leak Itch Mite will be limited.

 

In the meantime, protect yourself by wearing hats and long-sleeved shirts treated with insect repellents. While there are many repellent products on the market, not all deliver the desired relief. Consumers Reports lists several which produce excellent results. They are: 1. Sawyer Picaridin (contains 20% picaridin}; 2. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (contains 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus); 3. Natrapel 8 Hour (contains 20% picaridin); 4. Off Deep Woods VIII (contains 25% DEET).

Let Kansas City Mosquito Treatment and Control Specialists Provide the Protection You Need This Summer

Ahhhhh summer in Kansas City. Warm weather, lazy pool days, the smell of barbecue on the grill. What more could you ask for especially after our extra rainy spring.

Speaking of rain, did you know that wet and damp conditions are the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes? As we welcome summer back to the Midwest and enjoy outdoor vacations and activities, it’s also a good time to address those pesky invaders that enjoy this time of year as well. April through October are prime breeding months for mosquitoes in KC and the surrounding areas. Besides the painful and annoying bites they deliver, mosquitoes can also carry harmful diseases such as West Nile and Zika virus. Let the mosquito control experts at Augustine Services help create a stress-free outdoor space that you can enjoy all season long.

Augustine Services offers the best mosquito treatment and control services for residential and commercial property in Kansas City, Overland Park and throughout the metro area in both Missouri and Kansas. The best opportunity for control of mosquito populations around your home or business is while they are in the larval and pupal stages! The most effective means of mosquito control is to manage or eliminate their breeding sites. Unless this is done, management of the problem is temporary, at best.

Our technicians will perform an onsite evaluation of your home or business, showing you how to eliminate breeding sites and recommending an appropriate treatment program suited to your needs.

What type of treatments do we use? Augustine Services treats mosquitoes with prevention programs developed by Syngenta, a global leader in mosquito control. As a leader in the fight against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases, Syngenta works with its global partners to improve the quality of health and life for people around the world.

By hiring our experienced professionals, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that our mosquito control specialists will take care of your problem in a safe and effective manner. Augustine has long been a respected local business serving Kansas City, Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs and beyond. Let Augustine Services be your choice when choosing effective mosquito treatment for your home or business. Contact Augustine Services today at 913-362-4399 or click here to schedule an appointment.

If you sign up today, receive a 10% discount on an annual program!

Bothered by other insects or pests besides mosquitoes? Learn more about Augustine’s Pest Control and Extermination Services or Augustine’s Termite Control and Extermination Services.

Termites Swarming in the Kansas City Area

The termite swarming season is upon us in Kansas City.  Subterranean Termites typically swarm in the Spring and early Summer months.  Often swarming activity is preceded by significant rain followed by warm humid conditions—exactly the type of weather we have recently experienced in the Kansas City area.

Termite swarmers are the mature reproductive termites emerging, often in very large quantities, from the colony looking to pair up with a mate with the intent of starting a new colony.  The swarmers are black, winged termites that can sometime be mistaken for winged ants (which also demonstrate similar swarming behaviors).  The swarmers are not strong fliers and most of them fail in their attempt to reproduce and eventually die or become food for natural predators.  The few that succeed in pairing up shed their wings, mate and find a new location to start a termite colony.

Often a termite swarming event happens outdoors and goes unnoticed.  However, when a termite swarm occurs inside a house or office building it can be a traumatic and at the very least, messy and an annoying issue for the homeowner or building tenants.  As a homeowner, the worst thing you can do is ignore the issue and hope it goes away.  The fact is, the swarming event will go away relatively quickly.  However, the existing termite infestation isn’t going anywhere.  Also, avoid home remedies.  It isn’t helpful to spray a swarm with over-the-counter pesticides.  You may be successful in killing a few hundred swarmers but you haven’t done anything to kill the tens of thousands of termites still in the soil and you’ve only succeeded in delaying the swarming event and forced the termite colony to branch out causing a deeper infestation and greater potential termite damage to the structure they are infesting.

At the first sign of termite swarmers your best option is to contact Augustine Services, Inc. for a professional, thorough termite inspection to assess the extent of the infestation and prepare a logical treatment plan that will eliminate the entire termite colony with minimal disruption to your property.  Our termite treatments are guaranteed and warrantied for up to five years.  Our certified technicians have years of training and experience in handling termite issues and will provide you with prompt, friendly service and assurance that your biggest investment is protected from future damage.  Also, be sure to ask us about Termidor HP—the latest, most advanced termite treatment system available and exclusive to Augustine Services, Inc.

Dealing with termites, especially a swarming situation, is frustrating and can cause a lot of unwanted anxiety but, rest assured, the experts at Augustine Services, Inc. are here to provide a quick and lasting solution to your problem.  Click here or call Augustine Services, Inc. at 913-362-4399 and speak with one of our attentive staff members to schedule your free termite inspection.