Category Archives: General

General Discussion

Have Holly, Jolly Pest Free Holidays!

christmas-wreath-and-candles-2Christmas trees, natural garlands, wreaths and firewood make for a festive and fragrant atmospherechristmas-tree-clipart but can also bring pests (ants, spiders, ticks, termites, mice etc.) inside your home.

Here is how to “deck the halls” without bringing pests inside.

  • Inspect: Check out trees, garland and firewood for potential hitchhikers, and holiday decoration boxes, too, before you bring them inside. Look carefully for insects, nests or eggs. If insect eggs hatch inside the home, a major infestation can happen quickly.
  • Shake it out: dislodge bugs and loose material outside.
  • Vacuum: Indoors, use your most effective pest control tool, your vacuum, to suck up pests you see in and around the tree, garland or firewood pile. Always dispose of the vacuum bag or clean out the canister when you are finished. Never leave the used bag or uncleaned canister in the house. Insect pests are talented escape artists!do-not-spray-sign-3
  • Do Not Spray! Never use over-the-counter pesticides to spray a Christmas tree, garland or firewood. They can be dangerous to your health and can also be flammable.
  • Call a Professional: Do-It-Yourself tips are very helpful but when pest related situations get out of hand it’s time to call in the experts.  You may be experiencing infestations that are unrelated to the decorations and the pest control professional can take care of them fast and safely, giving you time to get back to enjoying the festivities in a pest free home.

Perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent pests during the holidays comes at the end of each season, when it’s time to take storing-holiday-decorationsdown the tree and pack up the decorations. Store holiday decor in hard, plastic bins with tightly sealed lids instead of cardboard boxes or bags that can easily be chewed through. This will save you money in the long run, you won’t be throwing out broken and soiled decorations and you will be preserving those family heirlooms for future generations.

If you are having trouble finding the perfect gift, for that person on your list that has everything, consider giving them the gift of a pest free home. Call in the professionals of Corky’s Pest Control, and pests will  be a problem, no more.

red-nose-reindeer-4620133_640Happy Holidays                                                                                     from all of us at Corky’s Pest Control!

A Frankenstein Bug – Just in time for Halloween!

Scientists have recently discovered a mysterious, 100-million-year-old insect trapped in amber — and as far as anyone knows, it is unlike any other insect that has ever lived on Earth.

This strangely pieced together bug, looks like a composite of several grasshopper-284339_640different insects.                                                        It has the face and stingewasp-face-5409835_640r of a wasp, the legs of a grasshopper, the antenna of an ant and the body of a cockroach. But oddly , it has no wings.cockroach-blattella-germanica-5261853_640ant-face-with-antennae-564615_640

 

frankenstein-3733267_640-1

Scientists at the University of Oregon, had a hard time figuring out which insect family, this patched together bug, belonged in.  So, they created a name and a new family of insects just for her. She is now called, Aptenoperissus burmanicus, and her new family classification is, Aptenoperissidae, within the order Hymenoptera. This places her distantly related to bees and wasps.

According to researchers, this unique specimen, probably crawled along the ground prehistoric-bugsat the base of trees looking for prey, using its’ long legs to leap distances and to pull itself out of crevices into which it burrowed. Its’ long jagged, stinger may have been used as a weapon against other insects or as a means of immobilizing prey. Its’ ant like antenna, has a cleaning mechanism on the tip just like its’ modern-day descendants.

The amazsap-drippingingly, preserved female was found in the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar, encased in amber.  Amber is our looking glass into the ants-in-amber-fightingdistant past and a viewport into a long lost world of amazing creatures.

 

As Halloween approaches, monster bugs and rats are among the perfect fear inducing creatures. Giant Ants and Spiders take over the earth, Rats take revenge on humankind, Wasps swarm helpless humans and Gigantic, sentient cockroaches invade Earth. And……Space is full of Bugs!

Books,cockroach_by_hokunin-d6foi8v Movies, TV shows and costumes abound with scary creatures.  Our imaginations are on overdrive and a Frankenstein Bug is a perfect addition to the scare-fest!bad-bug-costume-party-cartoon-2

 

Coming back to  reality, controlling insects, keeping them out our homes and away from our properties is a full-time job.  Insects are marvelous creations and are instrumental in keeping our world healthy and fed, but they are most unwelcome in our living spaces. So, if you have real-life scary bugs in your home, call a professional pest control company today.

  corkysant  CORKY’S PEST CONTROL, IS AN INNOVATIVE LEADER IN QUALITY PEST CONTROL AND INFORMATION TO RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES SINCE 1967.

Spiders – Very Hungry Hunters!

Spiders are a very successful group of arthropods that are found everywhere from deserts to grasslands to forests to Arctic tundra.  There are more than 45,000 species identified worldwide and that number is growing with new discoveries. It has been estimated that there are around 130 spiders occupying every 10 square feet of land on the earth and the combined weight of all spiders is around 30 million tons.

Collectively, spiders kill between 400 million to 800 million tons of prey annually. Their prespider-eating-insects-3479732_1280y consists of insects and springtails (small insect like arthropods), with larger spider species consuming birds, fish, frogs, lizards, and small mammals.

Compare this to what humans consume, which is estimated at 400 million tons of meat and fish yearly.

According to researchers, spiders are not only important predators, but also find themselves on the menu of thousands of other animals. frogs-eating-spider-4951306_1280Between 8,000 and 10,000 other predators,wasp-eating-spider parasitoids and parasites feed only on spiders, while spiders at the same time make up an important part of the diet of an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 bird species.

While it’s a bit creepy to think about so many spiders eating so many creatures, year-in and year-out, it’s important to realize that this is just part of the world’s natural food chain .

The only other group of arthropods that can compete with spiders, pound-for-pound, are ants, but spider-tarantula-eating-4362987_1280ants are not overwhelmingly carnivorous like spiders.

Even though spiders may be out there eating their weight in gold, or insects. They are still not welcome in our homes and businesses.  In fact, they’re persona non grata, just about everywhere people live, play or congregate.  This may have something to do with their creepy, eyes, eight to be exact, and their ability to crawl, run and jump on eight multi-jointed legs. Oh, and they’re hairy, they bite and inject venom, and they build spider-in-web-with-food-4631652_1280sticky webs.

Keeping spiders out of our living spaces is a never-ending battle for most of us.  So, when we get tired of swatting at, stomping on, or hunting for spiders, calling a professional pest control company is next on the agenda.

woman-in-spider-web-corky-cartoon-2Spider control is best left to the experts.  They know where they live, they know why they’re there, and they know how to get rid of them.  Corky’s Pest Control has been successfully controlling spiders on customers properties for over 50 years in Southern California.  Their Ultimate Pest Control Service is a uniquely developed system that combines, physically removing webs, using state approved materials for the elimination of spiders and consistently applying these measures in a timely manner. Most important, is a consistenraining-spiderst, and sustainable, treatment plan, for without one, spiders are sure to re-infest, since they crawl and float in (known as ballooning), from neighboring properties.

 

Fun Fact: spider-clipart-arachnid-155533_640

Spiders consume approximately 10 percent of their body weight in food per day. That’s equivalent to a 200-pound man eating 20 pounds of meat each day or, 2000 pounds of spiders consuming a 200-pound man, in 1 day.

Very Hungry Hunters, Indeed!

Gophers Survive Exploding Volcanos!

Well, we have it from the experts that even a volcanic eruption can’t discourage gophers from their daily tasks of digging hvolcano-mount-st-helens-exploding-b-woles and burrow systems and eating whatever vegetation they fancy.

The May 8th, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens ripped the top off the volcano, obliterated 235 square miles of forests, killgopher-in-lawn-2020ed 57 people,  and blanketed much of the      Pacific   Northwest in ash. What it didn’t do was take out the resident gopher population.   Pocket gophers survived underground, under the volcanic deposits, and later went on to burrow in the old forest soil.

Suddenly, Pocket Gophers became ECO Heroes, helping plants thrive again by turning up soil as they were feeding, encouraging plants to start growing, and restoring the mountain wilderness.

As much as we would like to honor these little burrowing machines, their hole digging and burrowing antics, plus voracious appetites, wreck-havoc, in our lush lawns and beautiful gardens, not to mention the ankle twisting hazards they create and their ability to destroy whole farms.

Needless-to-say, gophers are not welcome here!

Can yards and gardens be successfully saved from these hungry, destructive, digging machines?  The answer is, yes! You can try doing it yourself or you can gopher-central-2get it done hassle free by a professional.  Do-it-yourself Gopher control is a time consuming and often expensive undertaking when homeowners, property managers or anyone else, tries to face off with these subterranean nightmares.  Home remedies; smelly repellents, noise makers, Juicy Fruit gum, gas and smoke bombs, traps and the ever unsuccessful water in the hole method are mostly ineffective, take time and persistence, can pose a danger to the gopher hunter and with the price of water these days, can break the bank. gopher-reserected-2
Even when you think you have gotten rid of gophers, one will pop up as though there has been a miraculous resurrection, but it is no such thing, just a neighborhood gopher looking for new digs and finding an empty burrow in your yard.  He’s hit the jack pot!

Persistence and Professionals are the two P’s of gopher control. When you hire professionals, you save a lot of your precious, personal time and they are equipped and committed to taking on gophers with expertise and total diligence.  Gopher Control demands consistent, persistent, and timely attention and nothing less than total commitment.

Even professionals will differ in their methods of control. In Southern California, Corky’s Pest Control is a major player in the Gopher Control Business.

gopher-x-machine-and-gopher-for-blogUsing their secret weapon, Corky’s Gopher X Machine, in combination with a proven repellent and a fantastically efficient service schedule, gophers don’t have a chance.

Ants Stop Epidemics and Keep the Colony Healthy!

Whether it’s people, living in jam-packed cities or groups of social insects, ants to be crowd-of-people-1488213_640-1exact, living in teaming colonies, ants-in-a-colony-2019-3961_640disease can spread quickly among these severely dense populations.

Fighting disease seems to require the same efforts no matter what organism is being challenged.

Ant colonies are rarely stricken by epidemics and new research is explaining why. Researchers have found the secrets behind the ants’ effective disease control.

Secret number one, is keeping it clean.  Cleaning themselves, each other and their nest means that ants have a greater chance of survival. ants-on-a-branch-1230467_960_720-2 This frequent communal cleansing removes disease organisms therefore reducing exposure to deadly pathogens.

Secret number two, is some ant species use home-crafted “antibiotics” called Antimicrobials— chemical compounds that kill pathogens and boost their immunity. Ants apply these compounds to their own bodies, to their nest mates and to their nests.   Sharing these antimicrobials among the colony is an important part of the insects’ communal life.

Why don't Ants get sick? Because thay have Anti-bodies! Ha! Ha!
Why don’t Ants get sick? Because they have Anti-bodies!                                                      Ha! Ha!

An individual’s health is dependent upon the health of the colony and vice versa.

The ants’ strategy when it comes to fighting disease is reminiscent of how we humans prevent outbreaks: early action is often decisive when it comes to successfully containing epidemics.

If, however, the ants fail to cure a nest-mate, more drastic (inhumane in our view) measures are used to protect the colony. They throw the sick individuals out of the nest, preventing the spread of disease. Scientists have observed that, in most cases, only the young are forced into exile.  Adult workers seem to accept their fate and leave on their own for the good of the colony. This is an extreme form of “social distancing”.

Research indicates that the most potent antimicrobials are produced by one of the smallest ants— Solenopsis molesta,

thief-ant also known as the thief ant (which lives in some of the smallest colonies)southern-fire-ant-2 and also by the desert fire ant,, Solenopsis xyloni , whose colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of individuals.

It is crucial for any successful society to develop a means, beyond individual resistance, of controlling the spread of disease. Some of our largest cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco need to take advice from the insect world (excluding forced exile of course) and clean up the mess, take care of the masses of humanity living on the streets and reduce sickness and the spread of disease.  If ants can do it so can we!

ants-in-their-pants

If ants in their pants are in your plants, or house, or anywhere else, here is a link to get help fast. https://www.corkyspest.com/ultimate-pest-control.html

 

 

Welcome to Mosquito Season!

Spring has come and gone, now welcome to mosquito season. As you pack your bags for the beach house or the mountain campground don’t forget to pack light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and a bucket load or two of insect repellent.bestbuffettoonbyjoesanchez

How much we enjoy summer in North America depends a lot on how many mosquitoes there are waiting for us outside. Their bites are itchy and their buzzing annoying, but there’s also reason for concern; mosquitoes carrying dangerous diseases are lying in wait to use us as their next meal.

What causes mosquito populations to explode and shrink? Truthfully, it’s a combination of weather and climate — mosquitoes are very sensitive to their environment. Temperature and rainfall are two major predictors of mosquito populations, and this is for a good reason: These two factors have the greatest effect on their survival and ability to reproduce.

Mosquitoes like it warm and wet. Like most insects, mosquitoes are cold-blooded, or ectothermic.  Their body temperature closely matches the temperature of the environment (air or water) around them. If it is cold outside, they are cold. freezing-bugsIf it is warm outside, they are warm. Any time spent beyond their comfort zone can slow down or stop their development or even cause them to be injured and die.

There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes buzzing around on our planet, and a small handful of those actively feed from humans. And even then, only female mosquitoes feed on blood (required for egg production). The less intimidating males drink flower nectar.

Some mosquito species are far from being just bothersome, they carry dangerous diseases.  In North America, West Nile virus is carried by the Culex mosquito culex mosquitoand can cause serious health issues, including coma and paralysis. In tropical regions, mosquitoes are vectors of malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses.  These debilitating diseases cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.  Two of the major offenders include the, Yellow fever mosquito or Aedes aegypti and the Asian tiger mosquito known as Ades albopictus

Aedes-egyepti        Aedes-egyepti

Aedes-Albopictus

Aedes- albopictus

The most effective mosquito repellent to date, is Deet.  A repellant that contains 5 to 7 percent Deet will ward off the hungriest of mosquitoes.  Why is it so effective?  Because it tastes bad!  Researchers have found that Deet doesn’t leave a bad taste in a mosquitoes’ mouth, but on the tongue-like cells on their feet.

mosquito repellant spray

Now, when you’re outside, coated in DEET, realize this: You still smell good enough to eat. Mosquitoes still want to drink your warm, red blood.mosquito-in-red-sneekers-clipart-k5770244 But your skin tastes really, really gross…… to their feet.

UPTICK IN TICK SIGHTINGS!

Now that the parks, hiking trails, and camping areas are open, more people are hitting the back country for much needed fresh air and exercise.  What they are most likely not expecting are the denizens of the bush waiting in anticipation of breakfast, lunch, or dinner.   hiking-1811970_960_720-2

Since people haven’t been outdoors as much, and recreational areas haven’t been cleared or mowed in a while, tick habitat has increased. There has also been an increase in wildlife (the tick’s favorite mode of transportation) coming into some urban areas more during these periods while people have been staying indoors.

Ticks are something people need to be aware of year-round but especially from April through September, although as the weather ticks-on-plant-sheep-tick-4858989_960_720warms their populations swell, peaking in the summer and declining in the fall.

Ticks find their hosts or prey by hanging on to a blade of grass or leaf, with their hind legs and holding their front legs up waving in the air, waiting for something or someone to brush by so they can grab on. This behavior is known as “questing”.

Common ticks of Southern California and Diseases they may carry, include:

ticks on fingerThings to do to keep you safe from ticks:

  • Wear light-colored clothing. Light colors make ticks easier to spot.
  • Tuck your pants inside your socks. This will create a physical barrier against ticks.
  • Use insect repellent. Chemicals that repel other insects are somewhat effective against ticks, although a heavier concentration of DEET — between 30% and 40% —may be needed. Permethrin is a stronger chemical that kills and repels ticks. Products containing permethrin should be sprayed on clothes, not on the skin.mosquito repellant spray
  • When hiking, biking or just walking the dog, stay in the middle of the path (or fairway). Ticks can’t fly or jump, so they can only get on you if you come into contact with the kind of environment they live in: moist, often shady, wooded areas, with leaves, low-lying plants, and shrubs.
  • The Sun is your friend. Ticks don’t do well in dry, open areas. Lawn furniture and playground equipment should be set back from the edge of wooded, shady areas. If you’re picnicking, pick a spot on well-tended lawn or open ground.
  • Inspect yourself and your children (and your pets), especially the legs and groin. Ticks usually get picked up on the lower legs and then climb upward in search of a meal. The likelihood of contracting tick-borne diseases decreases if a tick is removed immediately, and there’s no risk if it’s still crawling around.
  • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)
  • Remove tick friendly conditions in your yard by eliminating tall grass and weeds, trimming shrubs and low branches, as well as raking and removing leaves. Thin out thick vegetation, let the sun in. Ticks love moist shady areas. Avoid over-watering.
  • Prevent ticks on animals by using tick control products to prevent tick-on-dog-paw-animal-4907434_960_720family pets from bringing ticks onto the property and into the home. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.
  • Consider using a chemical control agent in your yard. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks.

Would you like to know how to safely remove a tick? Here is a link to detailed instructions for tick removal.  tick-after-feeding-482613_960_720-2https://globallymealliance.org/about-lyme/prevention/tick- removal/

IT’S NOT JUST PEOPLE CROSSING OUR BORDERS!

 

Border Crossings are happening every day, and it’s not just people looking for a better life.

Humans, animals, fish, insects, plants and diseases (bacteria and viruses) cross our borders on a regular basis and have been since borders were established.  Non-native species have been making themselves at home and making short work of available resources putting native species at risk.

Human activity such as trade and tourism has provided the means and opportunities for the unwanted establishment of new species into California and the whole of the United States.

travel-3685042_640-1Planes, Trains, Boats, Trucks, Automobiles and People are being used as convenient vessels for the smuggling of non-native species.

New organisms may be accidental hitch hikers in cargo, or they may be deliberately smuggled into California. Rapid transportation, especially air travel (i.e., hours on a plane as opposed to days, weeks, or months on a boat), makes it likely many hitch hikers will survive long distance journeys.rat-in-rain-with-suitcase

Invasive species are non-native animals, microbes, or plants that cause economic, environmental and, or health problems.

These are a few of the invaders that have crossed our borders:

Red-eared Slider
Red-eared Slider

Pathogens are crossing from animals to humans, and many are now able to spread quickly to new places, crossing all borders. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that three-quarters of “new or emerging” diseases that infect humans originate in nonhuman animals. A few, like COVID-19, which emerged last year in Wuhan, China,  MERS, which is linked to camels in the Middle East, and H1N1 or Swine flu, that had it’s initial outbreak in central Mexico are new to humans and spreading globally. They do not recognize borders.

Prevention and early detection are the most effective and cheapest methods of dealing with invasive species. Early detection and response are necessary to prevent infestations and control costs from reaching unmanageable levels.

You, might just be the biggest weapon mankind has against the spread of invasive species.  Here’s what you can do.  

  • Verify that the plants you are buying for your yard or garden are not invasive.
  • When boating, clean your boat thoroughly before transporting it to a different body of waterClean your boots!
  • Clean your boots before you hike in a new area to get rid of hitchhiking weed seeds and pathogens.our boots!
  • Don’t “pack a pest” when traveling. Fruits and vegetables, plants, insects and animals can carry pests or become invasive themselves.
  • Don’t move wood-pilefirewood (it can harbor forest pests), clean your bags and boots after each hike, and throw out food before you travel from place to place.
  • Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild.
  • Practice good hygiene
    Washing Hands
    Washing Hands

    and the safe handling of food, animals and other materials.

  •  You can even volunteer with The Nature Conservancy. Volunteer at your local park, refuge   or other wildlife area to help remove invasive species.
  • Help educate others about the threat.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Rat Infestations. Now What!

A perfect storm of residential rat invasions has been created by the coronavirus-4914028_960_720Covid-19 pandemic.  People are producing more food waste at home, now that restaurant trash generation has decreased. Streets are emptier, so normally skittish rats are more likely to go exploring. According to experts rats can cover two to three (or more if they are really hungry) city blocks easily in one night. They are able to travel out of the city  or business districts and into people’s yards and homes.

No neighborhood is safe. Contrary to popular thought,rats-2-cute rats are not just an urban problem or a companion to poverty. Rats do not discriminate. Their hunting grounds include: residential homes, mansions, estates, apartments, businesses, hotels, just about everywhere a human being lives.

Instituting an anti-rat program is essential to keeping rats and the destruction they cause and the diseases (salmonella, rat-bite fever, Murine Typhus, Leptospirosis, etc.)  they carry, away from your home. Seal gaps under doors or other entrance points into your home. Make sure your trash stays in tightly sealed, lirat-in-trash-bag-2dded bins.  Avoid keeping yard debris, like leaf piles or construction materials around the house.  Clutter is a rats best friend.  It gives them a safe place to live and raise their young.

Know the signs of rat infestation. Look for droppings and gnaw marks. Check around dense vegetation or shrubs, (rats like to dig burrows in areas with heavy ground cover). Keep your eye out at night, that’s when  rats are most likely to be active.

closed-restaurantIf our challenges now aren’t enough, rodent experts worry about what will happen when the country starts to reopen. Biologists warn that people could face nasty surprises when they return to workplaces where rats have had months to flourish unmolested. Especially worrisome are closed restaurants, which, even if they were rodent-free in February, might not pass rat inspections when the businesses are opened later in the year.

The coronavirus pandemic has everyone worried.  Raising awareness and sharing expert tips can help keep rats at bay.

If you have a current concern about a rat infestation, don’t wait.  Contact a pest control professional.  They are open for business and ready to help get rid of rats.  Don’t worry, pest control is a non-contact, essential business.  Call now.

Ride-em Cowgirl! Welcome to the Rodeo of the Queens!

As industrious and hard working as the ant has been lauded to be, it has it’s own freeloaders and lazy, opportunistic individuals.lazy-ant-in-color-on-hamock

Introducing the “Rodeo Ant”. This shiny, little reddish ant belongs to the species, Solenopsis, and is appropriately named, because it rides on the back of larger individuals (different ant species) and steals food and leaves it’s offspring (eggs) to be tended by it’s larger rides workers.

Two new rodeo ant species, recently described by University of Texas at Austin entomologists appear to be parasites, stealing food from their mounts and tricking them into babysitting the rider’s eggs.  These lazy cowgirls just hang on, by their teeth, until their ride wanders back to the established nest, then hops off, makes itself at home and begins steeling food and depositing eggs where the colony’s workers will tend and raise up the young. It is thought that these rodeo rider ants are accepted by the invqueen-ant-and-her-courtaded colony’s workers because they match their hosts in hairiness, textures and smell, blending in and going undetected.

These female rustlers are not your typical ant.  They are solitary queens living a solitary life, unlike the majority of ant queens, that hold dominion over a large colony of workers, that forage for food, guard their home and tend to her royal highness’s eggs.

red-ant-head-and-open-mandibles-2The little riders hang on with mouthparts that have evolved a tight fit around the waist of a larger species’ queen. The smaller hangers-on are queens themselves, and workers and males of this species have yet to be discovered.

So Queen-on-Queen rodeos let this tinier parasitic queen skip all the costs of creating her own “Queendom” and just live off food scammed from the bigger queen’s colony.