Wasps are chasing me around!
1 of 1
Stinging waspsWe do-it-yourselfers
seem to have more
wasp appeal than “normal”
folks, what with exterior painting,
gutter repair and yard work. Try to
get the nest in the spring before it gets big. Keep an
eye on the wasps for a while to see where they go—either to a nest or to a hole in the ground. Use an
aerosol wasp and hornet killer; it will shoot a
stream of non-staining, quick-acting insecticide
directly on the nest—up to 30 ft. away. Caution: The stream is powerful—but also toxic.
I'm getting buried alive by box elder bugs
1 of 1
Box elder bug swarm
When box elder bugs swarm in the fall, you may
think they're taking over your house—maybe
even the world! Even though they're harmless, here's
a solution. Look for major congregations of bugs
outdoors and spray them with a strong solution of
soapy water. Keep the spray bottle handy, and
spray wherever they recongregate.
Help! Ants are eating us out of house and home!
1 of 1
Ants on the march
Before you start whacking away at
invading ants, figure out where
they're coming from. Look for a trail,
or a pattern in their appearance. The
best way to control them in the house is
to kill them in their nest. If you find the
nest outdoors, apply an ant insecticide
directly to it. If it's inside a wall, drill a
1/8-in. hole and squirt an insecticide or
boric acid dust into the cavity.
If you can't find the nest, use ant bait.
The containers look like tiny flying
saucers with holes in the sides. They do
work, but you may not think so at first; it can take
weeks to kill
eating. Some brands of bait work for sweet-feeding ants;
others (like ant traps) attract
protein feeders. If one type of bait
doesn't work, try the other, or put out
both at the same time.
- Don't use bait or traps
where kids or pets can get at them.
- Federal law requires insecticides
to be labeled with at least
one of three words: Danger,
Warning or Caution. Try to
avoid using products labeled
with the word “Danger.”
- In general, avoid insecticides
that are effective only if sprayed
over a wide area. They provide
minimal contact for bugs and
maximum contact for people.
- If you use an insecticide
indoors, make sure it's explicitly
labeled for indoor use.
Carpenter bees are hammering me
1 of 1
Tunneling carpenter bees
Don't worry. They're mostly harmless.
Carpenter bees are huge—like
a bumblebee—and they look ferocious,
and they can be very defensive about their
territory. But they rarely sting, and even
though their tunnel-like nests inside deck
wood and under eaves look destructive, the
nests are usually small, and control is easy.
After dark, squirt an insecticide, labeled for
carpenter bees, in the entrance hole and caulk
it closed a few days later.
Yellow jackets are dive-bombing me
Look, we won't kid you. Yellow jackets, a type of wasp, have the
human race beat. Those big hummers that try to take away your
hamburger when you eat outside are almost invincible. You can kill their
underground nests by pouring lots of soapy water down the hole, if you're
lucky enough to find it. And you can eliminate outdoor sources of food
and water—uncovered garbage cans, pet dishes, drippy faucets. For
above-ground nests, try an aerosol wasp and hornet insecticide.
1 of 1
The first step in controlling them is eliminating all food and water sources.
that for every
see, there are 100
to 600 more hiding
in cracks and under
your dishwasher and
refrigerator. Now don't
you feel better already?
Getting rid of their food is the
first step in getting rid of them.
Clean up every speck and crumb—from shelves, drawers, pantry,
under appliances, under the sink.
Store any accessible food in plastic
containers. Equally important:
Remove the roaches' water supply.
Fix leaky sink traps and drippy faucets. Elevate Rover's water
dish. Eliminate damp dish
towels, sponges and
Sealed bait containers
like Roach Motel are
most effective. Boric
Just sprinkle it
lightly into all cracks
and crevices. It's long-lasting
and relatively nontoxic.
Look for it at hardware stores and
We don't recommend spray insecticides;
they're quite toxic for use
around a kitchen, and not very effective.
Many roaches are immune
Meal moths are making me sick!
1 of 1
No, probably not. Meal moths,
also known as pantry moths,
get into dry food like flour, cornmeal,
beans and dried fruit. Also food-based
decorations and Christmas
ornaments, birdseed and dog food.
Either toss out the affected stuff or
put it in the freezer for at least four
days. Or heat it in a 130-degree oven
for 30 minutes. Meal moths don't
carry disease, so after picking the
dead bodies and larvae out of the
food, you can eat it. (Arrgh! Not me!)
Next time, store your food in glass
or sturdy plastic containers with
sealed lids. And would you believe
this? High-IQ meal moth larvae can
penetrate unopened plastic-wrapped
food and then hatch.
Could these things be termites? Eating my house?
1 of 3
Carpenter ants tunnel through wood, but don't eat it. Reproductive carpenter ants are winged, and when you see them they're leaving the nest.
2 of 3
Figure A: Mud tubes
Termites build mud tubes to get from the ground to the food source in your house.
3 of 3
Reproductive and worker termites
Flying termites can leave piles of wings behind. Worker termites stay hidden in the safety of tunnels and nests.
You find a swarm of
ant-like bugs with
wings inside your house
or on the siding. You
think it could mean trouble,
and you may be
might be carpenter
or they might
Both will eat your
house. And in
the ones you
nest. You can
tell the species
apart this way: Carpenter
ants have a pronounced “waist” and
back wings that are shorter than the
front wings (not shown).
You can usually deal with carpenter
ants yourself: Find the working ants.
They're large and black. Find the nest
and use insecticide directly on it, or
use bait. Be sure either product is
specifically labeled for carpenter ants.
Then fix the moisture problem that
gave them their cozy habitat; it's the
wet wood that attracts them.
But if you do have termites...
don't mess with them. Call a state-certified
pest management professional—even if you're just guessing
that they're termites. A termite
inspection will cost a little,
but repairing termite damage
could cost you thousands. A pest professional's
work is usually guaranteed
and normally includes a reinspection
every year after treatment.
Termite signs: Here's what to
- Mud tubes, which many
types of termites use to travel across
house foundations. They move
from the soil where they nest to the
wood in the house where they dine.
- Swarms of flying termites, or piles
of wings, especially on windowsills.
- Hollowed wood near the ground that you
can poke a
into. You may
find it riddled with
even though you may not see the
termites. Check decks, fences and
other outdoor structures, firewood,
wood shingles, and around pipes,
cracks and joints in the foundation.
- Piles of fecal pellets from drywood
termites (if you live in Arizona,
Southern California or on the Gulf
Coast). Pellets, less than 1/16 in.
long, look like small seeds.
Reduce the risk of termites
by eliminating all
around the house.
Oh, no! My dog has fleas!
Any outdoor pet can pick up fleas
from chipmunks, squirrels or
rabbits. But you don't want them on
you. Adult fleas may target your pet,
but they live in your space too—on
the floor, ground or bedding material—wherever your pet hangs out.
That's why it's essential to treat those
areas as well as the animal.
First, thoroughly vacuum the carpet.
Wash bedding in hot water. You
might need to steam-clean carpeting.
Outdoors you can use insecticide.
Treat your pet with one of the various
flea killers available at pet stores,
or better, ask your vet about one of the flea killers given
orally. These products get into your pet's bloodstream, and when fleas bite,
they become infertile. Eventually the
whole population dies. Unlike other
flea-killer powders, the oral treatments
are completely harmless to mammals.
What on earth is this critter?
What do you do if you've got a
swarm or colony of bugs that
you can't identify, and they're a
nuisance, or you suspect they
may be harmful? Your local
county extension service may be
able to help. Or try the National
Pest Management Association's
“discussion forum” at
. You can
also check with a pest management