All About Ants: Common Ant Habitats, Lifespan, and Control Tips

ants on a tree stumpIt has been estimated that there are around one quadrillion ants living on our planet today, and there are over 12,000 different ant species here as well. Ants live in diverse habitats all over the world, and Northern New Jersey is certainly no exception.

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about ants to help you better understand these insects and what to do if they start invading your home or yard.

Where Do Ants Live?

Ants are a resilient type of insect and can live nearly anywhere – both outside and inside. Ants are often found living in trees, cracks in the sidewalks, and in kitchens with open containers of food. Kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, behind baseboards, and inside walls are all common ant habitats inside a home. Ants can eat a wide variety of foods and thrive on food scraps left behind, dead animals or insects, and trash.

One particularly troublesome type of ant that we encounter in our area is the fire ant. These ants build large mounds near rotting logs and tree stumps. You’ll often find these ants underneath your home, shed, and other structures on your property.

How Long Do Ants Live?

Different ant species live for different lengths of time. An ant’s location, access to food and shelter, and role in the ant colony also impact how long an ant lives. This is pretty fascinating because it means that ants can live anywhere from a few days to even a few decades!

Male ants generally have the shortest lifespans and only live a few days after mating. Worker ants are nonreproductive female ants that maintain the ant colony and typically live up to a few months. Queen ants can live for several years or even longer under the right conditions.

Those fire ants we mentioned earlier often live for a little over a month. If an ant of any kind has access to food and water, it will live longer and thrive in the environment. Ants that live in warm climates remain active throughout the year, while cool-weather ants can become dormant during the winter to survive the harsh conditions.

Ant Control in New Jersey

We hope this helps satisfy your curiosity about the common questions of “Where do ants live?” and “How long do ants live?” Ants are certainly interesting to learn about, but they aren’t something that you want to deal with on your property or especially inside your home. Precise Termite & Pest Control offers the best ant control and removal services in Northern New Jersey to help you identify, address, and exterminate an ant problem right away.

Ant removal is very tricky, and a DIY approach rarely gets the job done right or for the long-term. Call our team of ant control specialists at the first signs of ant activity or unexplained insect damage and we’ll be happy to come out for a free inspection. Fortunately, ant issues are easily controllable with the right tools and expertise, so don’t delay getting in touch with us online or by phone at 866-971-2847.

Do Termites Bite or Pose Other Dangers to Humans?

dozens of termites on woodTermites outnumber humans at a ten-to-one ratio and affect homeowners all around the world. Yet people still have many questions about these troublesome pests, such as “Do termites bite?” and “Are termites dangerous?”

In this article, we’ll answer these common questions about termites and also address the most effective ways to prevent and eliminate them from your property.

Do Termites Bite?  

Although termites are notorious for biting through wood, they very rarely ever bite humans. Certain types of termites, such as soldier termites, are able to bite, but even these termites have very small jaws and wouldn’t likely leave a mark on your skin. But to avoid potential bites, never touch termites with your bare hands. However, termites are known to bite other insects in addition to wood.

Are Termites Dangerous to Humans?

Termites are not a direct threat to humans because unlike some pests, they do not commonly transmit diseases, bite, or sting. However, it is still very concerning to have termites on your property because of the damage they cause.

Termites cause a unique type of damage compared to carpenter ants because they consume wood and leave behind destroyed floors, walls, and ceilings. With weakened wood, homes are more susceptible to collapsing and potentially harming humans in this way.

How to Prevent Termites

To reduce your home’s chances of attracting termites, create a barrier to stand between the wood around your foundation and soil on the ground. Only concrete should touch the soil, if possible. Ensure that plants aren’t growing too close to your foundation, and also make sure that storm drains empty out away from the foundation and not right next to it.

Termites love damp areas, so you can also help prevent them by fixing leaks in outside faucets that are attached to the house. It’s also a smart idea to schedule a yearly termite inspection with your local pest control company to make sure that termites aren’t hiding where you can’t see them.

Other Things to Know About Termites

There are different types of termites, and each one affects your home in a unique way. For example, subterranean termites live in colonies ad leave dark-colored blisters in wood flooring. Drywood termites often damage walls, poles, and furniture in a home. Dampwood termites love moist environments, as their name suggests. Meanwhile, Formosan termites target structural components of homes and are often found when doing renovations.

How to Get Rid of Termites

No matter what type of termites you have and even though they don’t pose direct risks to human health, it is important to rid your home of termites at the first signs of these pests. Your best bet in New Jersey is to call Precise Termite & Pest Control for a free inspection as soon as you notice damage in wooden structures.

Call us today at 866-972-2847 for our professional extermination services and prevention assistance to keep them away from your home for good.

Where Carpenter Bees Nest and How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Nests

carpenter bee hole nest in wood

There are thousands of species that exist in our world, including carpenter bees that are common in New Jersey. Carpenter bees have unique nesting habits and can cause significant damage to your home if an infestation is not promptly addressed.

Here is some information about carpenter bees’ nests and what you can do to prevent and get rid of them around your yard.

Common Places for Carpenter Bees’ Nests

As their name suggests, carpenter bees nest in wood to store pollen and survive the winter season. House frames and eaves are common places for carpenter bee nests, especially if these areas have bare wood rather than stained wood. Outdoor patio furniture made of wood, rafters, decks, and siding are also common places for carpenter bees to nest.

Nesting and Mating Habits of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are unique in that they are solitary insects and do not live in colonies like other types of bees. These bees find mates when they emerge into the spring season and then burrow into wooden structures to create nests for females to lay their eggs. Meanwhile, the male carpenter bees guard the nests to protect the females and offspring from predators. Once the offspring is born, the parent carpenter bees will often die naturally in in these nests.

Damage Caused by Carpenter Bees Nest in Wood

Carpenter bees cause damage similar to termites because of their wood-boring nature. This is problematic because wood that has been compromised by a carpenter bee nest is prone to moisture damage and decay over time. This can make the structure of your home less secure and result in costly home repairs in the future. Holes in wood caused by carpenter bees can also attract woodpeckers and fungi growth.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of a Carpenter Bees Nest

To prevent carpenter bee infestations, inspect your home on a regular basis for holes and cracks. Seal up any gaps you find, and also make a point to repair screens on windows and doors that have tears in them.

When it comes to carpenter bee removal, it is best to trust trained professionals who know how to handle these troublesome pests. Precise Termite and Pest Control has been keeping Northern New Jersey pest-free for over 30 years and is offering 10 percent off new annual contracts for pest control services.

At the first sign of unusual bee activity or wood damage around your home, call us at 866-971-2847 and we’ll send an expert exterminator out for a free inspection.

Why Gutter Cleaning is Important and How to Do It Right

dirt and weeds in a gutter

As part of routine house maintenance, it is recommended that you clean out the gutters of your house every spring and fall. Yet often out of sight and out of mind, many homeowners neglect gutter cleaning or simply don’t think about it each year.

Here is an overview of why gutter cleaning is important and where to get professional help for your gutter cleaning needs.

The Importance of Gutter Cleaning

Clean gutters do much more than just give your home a greater aesthetic appeal. In fact, there are many reasons to keep your gutters clean, including preventing water damage, protecting your roof, and keeping pests away that can cause infestations and damage. When discussing the importance of gutter cleaning, it is also worth mentioning that clean gutters reduce the risk of a cracked foundation and save you money by avoiding costly repairs in the future.

Damage Caused by Unclean Gutters

If you do not clean out your gutters at least once or twice per year, you run the risk of damaging your roof, foundation, and other parts of your home. You might have a leaky roof due to sticks and other types of debris in the gutters or accidently create perfect nesting habitats for rodents, bees, and other pests. This could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair if the gutters aren’t cleaned out in a timely way.

Precise Termite and Pest Control for Your Gutter Cleaning Needs

Although you can certainly clean your home’s gutters yourself as a DIY project throughout the year, it is best to have them professionally cleaned at least annually. An expert cleaner can access those hard-to-reach spots and focus on often-missed areas, such as downspouts that make it difficult for rainwater to pass through.

If you live in an area with many trees that shed leaves and twigs, you may need to clean your gutters more frequently than a homeowner with a barer yard. Amateur gutter cleaning can be dangerous and result in falls off of ladders and hospital emergency room visits, so make sure to weigh the pros and cons of doing this tedious task yourself versus calling for help.

At Precise Pest Control, we do much more than just exterminate pests and provide preventative pest services. Our versatile team of professionals also offer gutter cleaning services to help you preserve the value of your home and keep its structural integrity in top condition. We have all the tools and professional equipment required for a thorough gutter cleaning, as well as the expertise to advise you about where potential gutter problems could arise in the future.

For a free gutter inspection, call us at 866-971-2847 or fill out our online contact form.

What Do Termites Look Like and How to Identify Termite Damage

Termite Damage To Wood Panel HouseHere in New Jersey, we have many types of insects that find their way into our backyards and homes. However, one of the most destructive insects is the termite, which is our professional specialty at Precise Termite & Pest Control.

Here’s what termites look like and how to get help when you suspect a termite problem.

Understanding What Termites Look Like

There are actually dozens of different types of termite species, but they all have similarities in their appearance. Termites are usually between a quarter-inch and a half-inch long in size. They have straight antennae, white or light brown coloring, and soft bodies. Termites have a straight waist and vary in appearance based on if they are in the role of soldier, worker, or swarmer.

Other Bugs That Look Like Termites

Ants are commonly mistaken for termites because of their size, especially carpenter ants, flying ants, and fire ants. However, ants have bent antennae, pinched waists, and wings of different lengths. These are all characteristics that set them apart from termites. With regard to noticeable damage caused, homeowners may believe they have a termite problem when the insects are really powderpost beetles or carpenter bees.

Property Damage Caused by Termites

Termites are very destructive pest insects that chew through the wood of your home, including support beams and ceiling joists. When they get inside your home, they can chew through favorite pieces of furniture that you love. Termite damage also goes beyond just wood because these insects feast upon insulation, metal siding, and other parts of your home that ensure its structural integrity.

Identifying Termite Damage

Termite damage often looks like water damage because it causes swollen floors and buckling wood. You may notice cracks due to termite tunnels under the surface or mud tubes that look like clumpy lines in the soil. If you notice strange damage around your home and aren’t sure what caused it, it’s always best to call in a professional to take a look for you and best assess the situation.

Local Help with Your Termite Problem

At Precise Termite & Pest Control, we know what it takes to tackle a termite problem because we’ve been keeping Northern New Jersey pest-free for over three decades. By the time you notice damage, a termite infestation is often more widespread than you think, so it’s important to do a full inspection of your home to address all problem areas.

If think termites could be to blame for damage you’ve noticed around the house, don’t wait another day to call us at 866-971-2847 or contact us online. We are proud to serve Bergen and Passaic counties with fast responses, emergency treatments, simple call-backs, and preventative advice to keep your home free of pests.

How Bird Nest Removal Works and Why It’s Important

bird nest resting in a wooden houseBirds can be beautiful and beneficial creatures with soothing songs, colorful features, and fascinating habits. You might be initially pleased to see a bird nest in your backyard because it means birds will continue coming back to your area day after day. But bird nests also create damage and disease concerns, ultimately requiring removal.

That’s why we at Precise Termite and Pest Control offer bird control services to help you manage nuisance birds and enjoy every part of your home’s backyard.

Birds That Create Backyard Nests

There are many different birds that create nests in the Eastern U.S., including the American Goldfinch, American Kestrel, Barn Swallow, Brown Thrasher, and Eastern Bluebird. Birds make nests to provide safe places for their eggs and to raise their young. Nests provide habitats to lay, incubate, and care for eggs. These nests are commonly made of leaves, grass, and mud. However, plastics and paper that you leave out in your backyard can also be used as bird nesting materials.

Other Common Nest Locations

In addition to backyards, birds also build nests on balconies, awnings, and building overhangs. Nooks of houses are popular bird nesting spots because they provide shelter from the elements of nature. Depending on the type of bird, you might find nests high up in trees, along steep cliffs, in shallow water, or even in underground burrows.

Dangers of Bird Nests

Certain birds are classified as pests because of the damage and diseases they cause, such as starlings, sparrows, swallows, and pigeons. If pest birds build nests in your backyard, chances are that you will have an even bigger pest problem soon when the eggs in those nests hatch and become fully grown birds.

Nests can clog the pipes and gutters of your home, which interferes with drainage and can cause structural damage over time. Bird nests can also be harboring places for diseases, such as E. coli and salmonellosis. If you are not sure what type of bird has built a nest on your property, it is recommended to have it checked by a professional to see if bird nest removal is your best option.

How to Remove a Birds Nest

Because birds are unpredictable and can carry diseases, it is best to leave bird nest removal to the professionals. At Precise Termite and Pest Control, we offer free consultations to come out and check your nest situation and give you our recommendations about how to proceed. We will safely and humanely remove your nuisance bird nest to help you prevent damage to your home and the spread of disease.

If you are located in Bergen County or Passaic County and have a bird nest concern, please call us at 866-971-2847 or fill out our online contact form.

How to Remove a Raccoon from a Chimney and When to Call Help

raccoon showing teethRaccoons take up residence in many different habitats, such as hollow trees, attics, crawl spaces, and sheds. However, another place you might find raccoon pests living on your property is inside your home’s chimney. This article discusses the dangers of a raccoon in chimney problems and the best strategy for how to remove a raccoon from a chimney in the safest way possible.

How and Why Raccoons Get in Chimneys

Like many wildlife pests, raccoons need a safe and dry place to live, and they are also excellent climbers. This makes your chimney an ideal habitat for raccoons to live, nest, and give birth to baby raccoons.

Raccoons can easily climb onto the roof of a house and then scamper down the chimney if there is no chimney cap to block the entry point. When you have a racoon in the chimney, you may hear sounds coming from your roof or the chimney itself, see tracks in nearby mud, or notice unexplained holes in the yard.

The Dangers of a Raccoon in Chimney

Having a raccoon in any part of your home, including the chimney, can be very dangerous and hazardous to your health. Raccoons are known disease carriers and can become aggressive when threatened.

This is especially true for mother raccoons protecting the babies they just gave birth to in your chimney. Raccoons commonly carry and can spread diseases to people and pets, such as rabies, giardia, leptospirosis, and roundworm. They spread diseases by biting and scratching, which requires immediate medical attention.

The Issues with DIY Raccoon in Chimney Removal

DIY removal techniques are not recommended because of these high-risk health dangers and because of the extreme level of difficulty of trying to get a raccoon out of a chimney. Homeowners can become severely injured and infected by trying to set their own traps, removing the baby raccoons to drive the mother away, or turning on the fireplace to smoke them out. These strategies are often inhumane, provoke raccoon attacks, and do not prevent raccoons from reentering your home again later.

Precise Termite and Pest Control’s Raccoon Removal Services

A much better way to handle a raccoon in the chimney problem is to contact Precise Termite and Pest Control for a free inspection and raccoon removal consultation. Our talented team of exterminators specialize in safe, humane, and effective raccoon removal from chimneys using professional traps that mount on top of the chimney flue and perhaps utilize a pole and trap system to move the raccoon upwards into the trap. Once we’ve addressed your concern of how to remove a raccoon from the chimney, we will take preventative measures to ensure that the same raccoons or different ones don’t go back into your chimney.

If you suspect raccoon activity in your chimney or anywhere else on your property, call us today at 866-971-2847.

What Homeowners Should Know About Professional Rat Removal Services

two rats eating crumbs on the floorThere are few things more unsettling than knowing that you are sharing your beautiful home with rats. Rats are among the most common pests that take up residence in New Jersey households, yet many homeowners don’t fully understand what it means to have a rat problem.

From the experts at Precise Termite and Pest Control, here are the most important things to know about rats and rat removal.

Where Do Rats Settle in a Home?

Because of rats’ size and ability to squeeze through tight spaces, these pests can live in many different parts of your home. They are commonly found behind walls, in attics, in crawl spaces, and behind appliances. They seek shelter in the winter to escape the cold and find reliable sources of food, such as your kitchen pantry. With just one phone call, we can handle your rats in attic removal needs.

Diseases Rats Can Carry

Like mice, rats can carry and spread numerous diseases that put your family and pets at risk. These diseases are most commonly spread by direct contact with the rodent, which is why pest control is best left to the professionals at Precise Termite and Pest Control. Disease risks include hantavirus, leptospirosis, plague, salmonellosis, tularemia, and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome.

How Rats Put Your Home at Risk

In addition to the health risks, rats can also compromise the structure and safety of your home and cause significant damage. They can chew through wires, wood, and furniture to get to places they want to nest and live. They destroy insulation by tunneling through it inside walls and in attics, and they can cause electrical appliances to short-circuit and create fires because of damaged wiring.

Differences Between Mice and Rats

Mice and rats may resemble each other, but there are distinct differences between the two pests and how they behave. Mice are typically smaller, have furry tails, and weigh less than rats. Rats are larger, produce fewer fecal droppings per day, and leave grease marks on surfaces they touch.

Rat Removal Techniques

Fortunately, Precise Termite and Pest Control specializes in both mice and rat removal to reduce your risks and help you feel safe and comfortable in your own home. Depending on the location of the rats in your home and the severity of the infestation, we may use professional traps or set up bait stations to draw rats away from your home.

Proactive Rat Prevention

Just as important as rat removal is rat prevention, which is why we make it a priority to rid your home of what rats would need to survive in the future. Effective prevention strategies include storing food (including pet food) in sealed containers, removing clutter from unused spaces of your home, and trimming shrubs and bushes around your home.

How to Find Rat Removal Near Me

If you’ve been looking for professional and affordable rat removal near me, then search no more, because Precise Termite and Pest Control has been keeping Northern New Jersey pest-free for over 30 years. We offer free inspections to learn more about your rat removal needs, so contact us at the first signs of rat activity at 866-971-2847.

How to Remove Squirrels from Attic Spaces and Squirrel Prevention Tips

squirells entering attic from hole outsideWhen most people in New Jersey think of where squirrels live, images of grassy parks and forests filled with trees probably come to mind. However, squirrels also have a pesky habit of taking up residence in household attics, which can be a major headache for homeowners.

Here are some tips for how to remove squirrels from attic spaces and where to turn to for help with your squirrel removal problem.

Why Squirrels Nest in Attics

Especially during our cold winter months in New Jersey, attics become perfect nesting places for squirrels. Inside a home’s attics, squirrels can stay warm and dry all winter long, while also being high enough to remain unbothered by other animals and humans.

Squirrels have very strong teeth that allow them to chew through wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials to gain access to your attic. They are also skilled climbers, who retreat to attic spaces to raise their young after giving birth to baby squirrels.

When Do Squirrels Nest in Attics

Squirrels typically give birth to babies twice per year – between March and May and again between July and August. Female squirrels will look to build nests in attics to raise their young around these time periods of the year.

Signs that you may have squirrels in your attic include scratching or chewing sounds, visual evidence of fecal droppings, chewed-through wires, and increased squirrel activity in other areas on your property.

Dangers of Squirrels in the Attic

Squirrels may look harmless enough, but they can actually cause major damage in your home. They often leave nest debris in attics, and they regularly chew on wood to shave down their constantly growing teeth. In attics, you may find squirrel fecal droppings that pose disease risks, chewed up wooden boards, and wires that have been gnawed through by squirrels. This can cause exposed wires that cause dangerous electrical issues and potential fires in your home.

Preventing Squirrels in Attic Spaces

To prevent squirrel activity in your attic, trim back tree branches at least six to eight feet from your house so squirrels can’t gain easy access to your home. Regularly inspect your house for potential squirrel entry points and use wire hardware cloth to seal attic vents and any holes. Secured hardware cloth can prevent squirrels from gnawing through vents and entering your attic. Another prevention tip is to use squirrel repellants sold at garden and hardware stores to deter squirrel activity.

How Precise Termite & Pest Control Can Help with Squirrel Removal from Attic

Our licensed and professional specialists have years of experience handling squirrel removal from attics and ensuring that these pests stay out of attics for many years to come. At the first signs of a squirrel problem, call us at 866-971-2847 for a free home inspection. We will gladly schedule with you to come inspect your attic for squirrels and address any other pest concerns you may have while we’re onsite.

Squirrels belong out in nature, not in your attic, and we’re committed to keeping it that way!

How to Remove Mice from Garage and When to Call a Professional for Garage Mice Removal

mouse on a brown surfaceEspecially when our weather turns cold and snowy here in New Jersey, mice love to migrate from the outdoors to inside our homes. However, it’s not just houses that are susceptible to mice problems because garages are particularly attractive to mice as well.

Here are some expert tips for how to remove mice from a garage and when it’s time to call a professional for help with this type of mice infestation.

Signs of Mice in Your Garage

Signs that you may have mice in your garage include seeing mice fecal droppings, especially in corners and under workbenches and cabinets where mice like to hide. You may also smell the musky odor of mice urine in your garage and notice gnawed holes that are about the size of a dime.

A pest control expert is able to tell the difference between mice and rats based on a rodent’s size and appearance. Mice are smaller, have large floppy ears, and leave between 40 and 100 droppings per day. On the other hand, rats are larger, weigh about twice as much as mice, produce fewer droppings per day, and often leave grease marks on surfaces they touch.

What Is Considered to Be an Infestation?

If your mice problem seems minor at first, you might wonder if the number of mice you have in your garage is really a big deal or would even be considered an infestation. If only one or two mice have entered your garage, this isn’t necessarily called an infestation, but a small mice problem can quickly escalate into a large one.

Mice often build nests in garages to give birth and take care of their babies. Keep in mind that mice typically have about five to 12 babies per litter. Mice also begin breeding as young as eight weeks old, so you could quickly have an infestation on your hands if you don’t address the signs of mice in your garage as early as possible.

Preventing Mice in Your Garage

Many homeowners are quick to set mousetraps all around their garage and hope they deter mice from taking up residence here. However, this is not an effective preventative strategy because mice will continue to come back despite the traps, causing damage and leaving their diseased droppings behind.

Instead, focus your attention on potential access points in your garage to determine where mice are coming in from and seal up those places properly. Also, don’t leave food or trash in your garage that could attract mice and keep them coming back for more sustenance during the winter.

When to Call a Pest Control Company for a Mice Problem

Since mice can reproduce and create an infestation situation so quickly, it is recommended to call your local pest control company at the first signs of mouse presence in your garage. We will perform a free inspection of your garage and surrounding areas to identify problem areas and come up with a solution to get rid of your mice and keep them away.

Precise Termite & Pest Control is just a phone call away, so contact us at 866-971-2847 for a mice-free garage.