Venice Pest Blog

The Official Blog of Venice Pest Control
Venice Pest Control

Diseases Caused By Mosquitoes

Nobody likes having mosquitoes in their backyard, but most people feel like there is little they can do about it. However, mosquitoes spread a wide variety of dangerous diseases that make it imperative that you get them out of your yard as soon as possible. Some of these diseases include: Malaria - The parasite that causes malaria is often found in mosquitoes, though usually most prevalent in Europe. That said, over one million deaths a year are caused by mosquito-borne malaria, making this a dangerous concern. Dog Heartworm - Even your pets are not safe from mosquito bites. Heartworm is one of the most dangerous parasites a dog can have, as it clogs up their blood and cause serious and fatal heart problems. That's why heartworm medicine is such a necessity for dogs. Dengue - Though few people know about this disease, it heavily impacts warmer areas of the country, such as Hawaii, Florida,...
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Do You Have White Grubs?

Few homeowners really know the danger that white grubs create for their yard. Unfortunately, these pests lurk underground and can be hard to spot. Utilize the following signs and symptoms to know when they've arrived: Persistent brown patches - Although your lawn isn't likely to mature all at the same time, persistent brown patches almost always indicate white grubs. These spots are where they are focused and centered, giving you a nice little "heads-up" on where to find them. Sudden appearance of dead spots - During the middle of summer, you might suddenly see dead spots appearing throughout your lawn. This usually indicates a hatching of white grubs, especially if you've noticed an excess of flies in your yard. Invading lawn pests - A sudden increase of skunks, birds, racoons, and moles in your yard is a good sign they have found something yummy to eat. And what do these annoying...
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Spider Control Spotlight: The Southern House Spider

Commonly found throughout Florida and other southern states in densely-populated urban areas, the Southern House Spider has several distinguishing characteristics. They are relatively large, build easy-to-spot tangled webs, and prefer hiding in crevices.  Southern House Spiders come from the Genus Kukulcania. The genus name, erected in 1967 by Pekka T. Lehtinen, is after the Mayan god Kukulcan (Cameron 2005). It translates to “plumed serpent,” similar to the Aztec’s Quetzalcoatl. In Latin, hibernalis translates to “wintry (pertaining to winter)” (Spiders) The most important detail about Southern House Spiders, however, is that it is easy to confuse them with the deadly Brown Recluse Spider. Because the bite of the Brown Recluse is so toxic, it is important that you know how to spot the difference between the two. According to experts at North Carolina State University, there are seven basic qualifying characteristics of Brown Recluse Spiders. Because Southern House Spiders share several of those characteristics (relative size, coloring, a violin shape, and hiding...
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Let Florida Lawn Care Pros Keep Pocket Gophers on the Run

Insects are not the only creatures who prompt calls to Florida lawn care professionals. The Sunshine State is also home to several, small mammals that have a tendency to destroy lawns. Among them are Geomys pinetis. They are also not-so-affectionately known as pocket gophers and you’ll find them wreaking havoc in a number of Florida counties. How do people distinguish these underground pests from mole crickets or other culprits? For one, the tunnel systems tend to be longer and the openings differ. For instance, mole cricket tunnels typically do not go beyond 50 feet in length and are rather narrow when compared to that of pocket gophers. Plus, they tend to leave the tunnel openings exposed. Pocket gophers, on the other hand, tend to be more cautious. Their tunnels typically reflect their body sizes and sheer muscle power. As such, the creatures worry about same size or smaller predators wriggling into...
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Termites Can Destroy Home Foundations

Is your home suffering from severe foundational damage that you can't figure out? Foundation damage is a serious problem: it can cause your home to shift, causing cracks in walls, an inability to close doors, and any number of other problems. What does this have to do with termites? Plenty: termites have been known to attack the wooden support structures in a home's foundation. The damage is often severe enough to cause cracks in the cement foundation, shifting the foundation and causing your home to shift. How does this happen? Well, termites actually prefer cool, damp, and dark places to make their nests. That's why you're not as likely to see termites lurking your living areas: that's much too bright (not to mention too populated) for most termites to handle. As a result, you'll find most of them lurking in the basement. And what kind of wood are they going to find...
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The Truth about Lawn Pests and Cold Weather

We always seem more aware of lawn pests during the summer months. There are several reasons for this. First, most of us spend more time outside during the summer. Second, without freezing temperatures and a layer of frost or snow on the ground, insects are more actively visible. That doesn't mean that winter is a time to ignore pest control, however, because most insects have strategies to combat cold weather. Red fire ants, for example, can burrow down so deeply into the soil that they're largely unaffected by cold weather.  “They tend to be quite ‘insulated’, if you will, from the extreme temperature changes — unless there’s a very long sustained cold, which may slowly make its way down into the depths,” said [Erfan Vafaie, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist] (Texas A&M University). Other insects winter in the ground as larvae or grubs, thus reducing their water content while simultaneously raising...
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Why You Need to Destroy White Grubs

Have you ever dug in your lawn in the summer and seen the squirming, disgusting presence of white grubs? Hopefully not: these annoying pests can be highly destructive to your yard. Yes, they make great fishing bait, but that just isn't worth keeping them around. White grubs, which are the larva of multiple types of insects, root their way into your lawn and feed in order to grow into adulthood. Unfortunately, they like to feed on grass and grass-roots and are especially damaging if they are present in high levels in your lawn. For example, they can devastate grass-roots and cause the soil around it to become soft and "spongy." The sod in these infested areas can then be peeled away like a banana, a major problem for a person trying to keep their lawn healthy and beautiful. Grubs also attract a wide range of annoying and destructive lawn pests, such...
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Year Round Mosquito Control: Why It's So Important

Your mosquito control treatments can't be applied just once a year to be effective. In fact, they can't even be applied just in the spring and summer months: for maximum effectiveness, nearly year-around mosquito control may be essential for keeping your yard free of these pests. Winter probably seems like the least season to start with mosquito control, but it isn't. In fact, certain species of mosquitoes can actually survive through the winter, either by sheer hardiness, hiding out in warm areas, or even hibernating. Spraying suspected breeding grounds in the winter eliminates that risk. Naturally, you are also going to have to expand those control techniques into the spring. During this time, mosquitoes will be hatching and looking for blood to grow. Early pesticide application can help kill these buggers before they hatch and keep your yard relatively free of mosquitoes. Summer is usually the prime time for mosquito activity:...
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One New Florida Lawn Care Concern and How to Handle It

If you're a Floridian, then the recent invasion of non-native Bufo toads is no doubt already on your radar. As they have swept in from Central and South America over the past few years, these lawn pests have already managed to make quite a nuisance of themselves. Clocking in between four and six inches in length and tipping the scales at up to two pounds, these massive toads have a claim to fame far more troubling than their ability to frighten unwitting homeowners.  Of top concern to Florida residents is fact that Bufo toads bring danger and the possibility of death to area pets. According to the University of Florida's Wildlife Extension, these amphibians secrete a "highly toxic milky substance from its large parotoid glands at the back of its head." Although only a mild irritant to humans, this substance is toxic to other animals. Because Bufo toads are non-native, they upset the delicate ecosystem and do not have many natural predators. Normally Florida's snake...
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Nematodes: Disease or Lawn Pest?

Although often profiled along with other lawn and garden diseases, nematodes are actually very small worms. Apparently they are not very well understood, but that is not because they are rare. They are actually everywhere. Nematodes are the most numerous multi-cellular animals on earth. A handful of soil will contain thousands of the microscopic worms, many of them parasites of insects, plants or animals. Free-living species are abundant, including nematodes that feed on bacteria, fungi, and other nematodes, yet the vast majority of species encountered are poorly understood biologically (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Although organic gardeners may occasionally try to use nematodes as a sort of non-toxic DIY pest-control system, there are several distinct problems with this approach. First, many varieties of nematodes feed on plant roots, making them dangerous to introduce into a healthy lawn and garden environment. One example is the root knot nematode, which feeds on many common fruit and vegetable types. Second, nematodes are...
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Roach Control Company Can Keep Unwanted, Holiday Guests at Bay

It is great to see relatives show up over the holidays but unfortunately, they don’t always arrive alone. Sometimes they have freeloaders with them and we’re not talking about the two-legged kind. The extra guests we’re thinking of are roaches. They have an uncanny way of laying their eggs on, and inside of, travel bags. Plus, the babies and adults are known to scurry inside of open suitcases too. So which roach control measures will keep unwanted hitchhikers at bay? First off, it can be hard to have a conversation with family members about roaches. As such, there are generally not a lot of preventive measures that can be taken without having “the talk.” However, if you are the one doing the visiting, there are ways to keep bugs out of your bags. For example, you could keep the bags closed when they’re not in use and put them in quarantine...
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Lone Star Ticks a Focus for Florida Lawn Care Providers

According to the CDC, a disease called the Heartland Virus, known to be spreading through South Florida since 2009, continues to be a growing concern among Florida residents. Heartland Virus is spread by the Lone Star Tick, easily-recognizable by the light-colored dot on the backs of the females. The Heartland Virus carried by Lone Star ticks joins a growing list of diseases passed along by ticks in general, including ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Lyme's Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other fever illnesses.  Because symptoms of tick-related illnesses usually do not strike until approximately two weeks after the original bite, some people do not associate their symptoms with ticks, which is unfortunate, considering how important immediate treatment is in staving off long-term symptoms associated with some of the diseases spread by ticks (particularly Lyme's Disease).  According to experts, the best tactic to avoid tick bites is to prevent contact with ticks. This would include wearing long sleeves and pant legs...
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Gators Not the #1 Killers in Florida Yet? Bee and Wasp Control Could Change That

If you're looking for ways to die at the hands of the animal kingdom, South Florida is happy to oblige you with plenty of options. Gator attacks, bear attacks, spider attacks, scorpion attacks, python attacks, shark attacks, and face-chewing bath-salt zombie attacks are just the tip of the iceberg. The deadliest things in Florida, however, are not mammals or reptiles. They're bees. According to experts, bees and wasps cause more human deaths each year than any other member of the animal kingdom; and although many Floridians cheered earlier in 2015 when the government officially legalized the killing of bears, they might want to turn their concerns a bit closer to home. ...this [is] the perfect time to point out that in a study done on animal-caused fatalities in the U.S. from 2001-2013, buzzing little bees, wasps and hornets proved to be the deadliest animals, killing on average 58 people per year, according to The Washington Post. The anaphylactic...
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Florida Lawn Care: Special Focus on Turfgrass Issues

For residents of Florida, lawn care issues are slightly different from those who live in other states. This isn't just because of exotic wildlife or interesting pests, but because most Florida lawns are one of the many varieties of turfgrass. Used on sports fields and golf courses around the nation, turfgrassea are uniquely suited to Florida's semi-tropical environment and therefore are the most common variety of lawn grass in the state.  Turfgrasses are so common to Florida that the University of Florida even offers a special program of study based on turfgrass. The produce the Florida Lawn Handbook, along with dozens of classes focusing on the special needs of turfgrass lawns. Although there are 20+ types of turfgrasses, the most common ones in Florida are Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, Carpetgrass, Centipedegrass, Seashore Paspalum, St. Augustinegrass, and Zoysiagrass. These grasses vary in turf density and maintenance levels, and those considering what type to put in their lawn would do well to consider all...
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Take Care of Lawn Pests like Chinch Bugs with Professional Help
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Take Care of Lawn Pests like Chinch Bugs with Professional Help

As a homeowner, one of your top priorities should be maintaining your home. While maintenance and most repairs come fairly simple, landscaping problems are not always the easiest to resolve. If you had a beautiful lawn, but recently started to see your lawn suffer, you might have an issue with lawn pests. While these pests come in many shapes, sizes, and species, you should be able to detect certain pests by the difficulties that they cause, such as chinch bugs and the problems listed below. Drought Suffering If you have been watering your lawn on a regular basis, but your lawn is suffering from drought-related symptoms, chinch bugs could be the cause. It is not a pretty sight to see, and by the time you realize that the problem is not related to an actual starvation of water, patches of grass could already be dead. Tough to See When you think...
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Lawn Care Hazards that Only Florida Natives Understand
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Lawn Care Hazards that Only Florida Natives Understand

No matter what state you live in, you are going to have your own set of lawn care woes. Only Florida residents, however, have a special understanding of the following lawn-care dangers. Lawn Care Hazards that Only Florida Natives Understand Snakes A total of six venomous snakes call Florida home: the Southern Copperhead, the Florida Cottonmouth, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Canebrake Rattlesnake, the Pygmy Rattler, and the Eastern Coral Snake. While mowing the grass, trimming your hedges, cleaning gutters, and mulching the garden, be careful to learn to distinguish these six from the other 50+ species of Florida snakes. The life you save might be your own. Falling Hazards Living in Florida, it's important that you keep your trees trimmed back in order to prepare your yard for Hurricane Season. But according to OSHA, tree-trimming and other tree-care work can lead to dangerous falling hazards. Those trimming the trees might fall, and those working beneath could be...
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Count on Florida Lawn Care Pros to Triumph Over Tropical Sod Webworms

It’s summer in the Sunshine State and that means tropical sod webworms are at the top of our Florida lawn care list. Unlike traditional earthworms, they cause a lot of property damage and eventually turn into moths. As such, they are more closely related to caterpillars than the worms often found in gardens and compost bins. These hungry Crambidae start their lives as tiny, flat piles of eggs. The inconspicuous piles are often found on blades of grass and underneath of healthy leaves that are low to the ground. In general, the eggs will change color and eventually reveal little larvae within one to two weeks. This most often occurs during the height of summer, when healthy turf grass is plentiful. Once free of their egg casings, they’ll generally eat all of the vegetation that they can find until fall. Afterward, Florida lawn care professionals expect to see them pupate and...
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Aggressive Ant Colonies Pose Threat to Human Health
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Aggressive Ant Colonies Pose Threat to Human Health

Ants are one of the most prevalent insects on the planet, outnumbering all other individual animals combined. Ants live in underground colonies (formacaries) and are extremely social, working in teams to forage for food to feed the colony queen and her immature offspring. Many species create single nests with one or more queens. Other species create multiple nests connected by underground passages. “Supercolonies” of millions of nests and billions of ants have been discovered in Japan, southern Europe and Australia. Florida is home to billions of ants, nests of which occur in all areas of the state. Ant colonies bring environmental benefits to their neighborhoods. Their colonies are a puzzle of underground tunnels and voids that allow air and water to infiltrate beneath the soil surface. The vegetation brought into the nest for food decomposes into plant nutrients. Ants prey on insects that invade lawn and plant systems, and their activities above and below...
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Spotting a Termite Queen
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Spotting a Termite Queen

Termites are destructive little creatures that have one major fatal weakness: they are entirely dependent on their queen for survival. After all, the queen produces the eggs that gives their colony life. While you should never try to deal with a termite infestation on your own, spotting the queen can help you streamline your exterminator's job. First of all, you need to know what the termite queen looks like. They are very hard to miss: they are easily the largest termite in a colony. While most termites are less than an inch long, the queen can be up to six inches long and two to three inches in diameter. They look a little like a sock filled with sand and range in color from pale yellow to black. Unfortunately, the queen will likely be hidden somewhere deep within the colony. The easiest way to find her is look for her reproductives:...
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Spider Control: Get a Jump on Trapdoor Arachnids Before They Get One on You
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Spider Control: Get a Jump on Trapdoor Arachnids Before They Get One on You

Imaging walking around your home and having something that looks like a tarantula jump out of a hidden hole in the ground and attach itself to your pants leg. Scary thought isn’t it? Well, that is exactly what may happen if North America’s trapdoor spiders decide to share your outdoor living space.  And unfortunately, they’re so good at subterfuge; you may not know that they’re around it is too late. Once they’ve revealed themselves though, you’ll be able to count on trapdoor spider control pros to make them permanently disappear. Until then, it is important to know that trapdoor spiders love to nest near permanent structures. This is especially true in areas where the soil has recently been disturbed. They tend to gravitate towards those areas of a property because the loose dirt makes the job of excavating their trapdoor-enabled homes less strenuous. Plus, living so close to humans is their...
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