Lady Bugs – Should You Love Them




lady bug

Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed.

Ladybugs are also called lady beetles or, in Europe, ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.

Ladybugs appear as half-spheres, tiny, spotted, round or oval-shaped domes. They have short legs and antennae.

Their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste. Their coloring is likely a reminder to any animals that have tried to eat their kind before: “I taste awful.” A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.

Does Cold Winters Kill Pests

cold winters


For much of the United States and parts of Canada, the last few cold winters have been the coldest of the 21st Century and, for some, in more than 30 years.

The polar vortices and arctic blasts that have brought subzero temperatures to the eastern half of the continent has made a lot of people uncomfortable – and led to some high heating bills during a difficult economic time.

Many people trying to find a bright side to the punishing cold, have commented that at least the cold will mean fewer bugs in the summer. But is that really true?

The answer is mixed, but entomologists who study invasive insects, such as the Japanese beetle and emerald ash borer, are optimistic that this winter’s extreme cold could deal a devastating blow to these pests, whose numbers have been exploding in recent years.

All insects have some ability to withstand cold weather. One of the most common strategies is to bury themselves underground, beneath leaf litter, or to burrow under tree bark for protection and hibernate for the season. These protective maneuvers work pretty well most winters, allowing insect populations to remain relatively stable.

A recent spate of warmer than average winters over the last few decades, however, has allowed the populations of some types of creepy crawlies to explode. When winter temperatures never reach a truly deep freeze, bugs make it through to spring unscathed and ready to multiply.

For instance, Lyme disease carrying deer ticks – which are not actually insects, but eight-legged arachnids, like spiders – are now seen in larger quantities and have spread farther to the north than they once roamed.

When temperatures drop well below 0° F, though, as they have this year, many individual insects die. The colder the temperature becomes, the fewer survive.

The actual temperature required to kill off pests varies across species. The emerald ash borer, for instance, can generally withstand temperatures as low as -20° F. Any colder than that, and about half of their population dies off. At -30° F, even more of the invasive pests are wiped out.

Some will inevitably survive, but the reduced numbers could be beneficial to other species. For instance, a substantial reduction in the number of emerald ash borers could slow the predicted extinction of American ash trees. Likewise, gardeners and homeowners aren’t likely to mourn if Japanese beetles or brown marmorated stink bugs were less abundant this summer.

Fortunately, beneficial insects, such as honey bees, which are already threatened by a combination of commercial pesticides and widespread infection by a parasitic mite, are not likely to be impacted by this year’s cold winter. Bees hibernate in their hives for the winter and huddle together for warmth, emerging in the spring to resume their annual flower feast.

Keep Warm This Winter

From Your Friends at Southern Pest Control

Amazing Animal Stories

amazing animals

A yellow lab named Rocky is being hailed as a hero for leading his owner to safety after he suffered heart problems while hiking in a remote California canyon.

The Lassen County Animal Shelter recently took in an abused dog after spending days trying to catch him. Rocky had been hanging around the shelter, but the timid stray would not let anyone approach him. When he was finally captured, shelter staff found that he was riddled with buckshot. Someone had shot Rocky and left him for dead.

Scarred by the experience, the frightened dog was not a good candidate for adoption, so as a last resort, the shelter enrolled him in a remarkable program that pairs prison inmates with homeless dogs to help both build confidence. Rocky’s participation in Pups on Parole program was life changing: the timid dog came to the program frightened and unsure of himself, and emerged confident and relaxed.

Humane Society employee Mary Morphis said Rocky would have been euthanized were it not for his rehabilitation. “He wouldn’t have made it out of that shelter if it he hadn’t been in that program,” she said.

The next challenge was finding a home for Rocky. By chance, a prison employee heard his story and decided he would be the ideal companion for her husband, Floyd.

Dawn Tibbets said her husband Floyd could use the company on his frequent rock hunting trips in area canyons, but in truth, she fell for Rocky herself.

“I looked at him and he looked at me and he just looked like he wanted to go home with me that day,” remembers Dawn, “and I just couldn’t leave him.”

So she didn’t. Rocky was adopted and settled into his new home perfectly. A month after he was adopted, he and Floyd were in a remote canyon hunting for rocks when Floyd suffered heart problems. An irregular heart beat caused him to collapse and become disoriented.

“I looked like I had been in a cat fight,” says Floyd. “Lost my glasses. Of course, I lost my hat, so I had no protection from the sun.”

Tibbets stumbled to his feet and fell, coming to and passing out repeatedly. Every time he lost consciousness, Rocky stayed by his side and licked his hand until he woke.

“That would wake me up and if it didn’t, he’d just lay down beside me,” said Floyd.

Frightened and confused, Floyd said he tried to find his way back to the car, but ended up heading in the wrong direction. Rocky somehow sensed this, and insisted that Floyd follow him in the opposite direction.

“The only time he wandered off was when I started going the wrong way. He started going the other way and finally I gave in to him.”

Rocky carefully guided Floyd back to their car after a long, harrowing day in the wilderness. The once frightened dog, relieved from a life if suffering, had proven himself a hero to the family who saved him. Dawn Tibbets said adopting Rocky was one of the best decisions she’s ever made, and that her husband owes his life to the faithful canine.

“I don’t think we would have found him in time,” she said. “I don’t think he would have made it.

Amazing Animal Stories



amazing animals

A Clever Kitty

Here is an amazing animal story. Most hours of the day, Winnie, 14, can be found curled up on a windowsill in the Keesling master bedroom, fast asleep. One March night, her favorite tradition proved to be a saving grace.

Earlier that day, the New Castle, Indiana, family borrowed a gas-powered water pump for the basement of their ranch home to suction out water after a flood. By nightfall, outside temperatures were below freezing, so every window in the house was closed except for Winnie’s.

Cathy Keesling turned off the gas pump, and by the time she went to bed, around midnight, her husband, Eric, was already asleep. The couple’s 14-year-old son, Michael, was in his bedroom down the hall. None of them could know that carbon monoxide from the pump had built up in their basement—and that when the home’s hot-air heating system switched on, it would begin pushing the toxic gas throughout the house.

The family slept on. “But Winnie jumped from her window perch right onto me, meowing like crazy and scratching at my hair and face,” says Cathy. “She’d never acted like this. I thought, There is something wrong with this cat. I tried to get out of bed, but the moment I sat up, I felt like I’d been hit with a two-by-four. Then I got dizzy.” After Cathy fell back onto the bed, the cat “started carrying on again. She would not leave me alone.”

Fighting grogginess, Cathy unsuccessfully tried to rouse Eric. Weak and nauseated, she grabbed the bedroom phone and staggered into the hallway, where she found her son sprawled on the floor, facedown.

“I don’t know how, but I dialed 911,” she says. “It seemed like just seconds later that people were pounding on the door.” Emergency workers carried her out onto the front porch and went back in for the others, not a moment too soon.

All three were hospitalized overnight for severe carbon monoxide poisoning. “One of our rescuers, a deputy sheriff, said that we could have been dead in five more minutes,” Cathy says.

Winnie was an abandoned farm kitten, only a few days old, when Cathy found her. “We fed her with an eyedropper. Now she’s a wonder cat.”

Should You Be Concerned About Termites In The Winter?


There are four species of termites: They are subterranean, dry wood, moist wood, and Formosan.

Subterranean  will build nests in the ground. So as the temperature begins to fall these termites will dig deeper in the soil to find warmer temperatures. Termites have been found over 40 inches below their nest in the winter. Even though they are not as active in winter months as in the summer, they still can remain a threat during the winter.

The dry wood ones will locate a home in dry wood above the ground. Likewise the moist wood termite will build a nest in a wood with a higher moisture level. These two will stay close to their nests in winter months and will normally be active during the winter in warmer climates.

Formosans are another type of subterranean termite. This means like subterranean’s colonies, Formosans also live in the ground. They are distinguishable from subterraneans by the size of their bodies and the size of their colonies. Due to the very large size of their colony they are the known to cause the most damage out of all the species. Because they also nest in the ground, Formosans will dig deeper as the subterranean termites do during the cold winter months.

Even though Termites are normally dormant during winter months there is still a possibility of there being an infestation. There are 3 basic elements that termites need for survival Water, Wood, and Heat. In a warm heated home they could find all three of these elements.


This message is being brought to you by your friends at Southern Pest Control. Please give us a call  at 800 527-9832 when termites or any pest problems arise.

Traveling for the Holidays – Beware of Bed Bugs


When Traveling be on the look out for Bed Bugs that could be in your hotel room

  • Inspect any room where you will be staying for the presence of bed bugs. You generally can do this with a flashlight to spot any signs of them.
    • Check the mattress and headboard before going to bed.
    • Inspect luggage racks before placing your luggage on them.
  • In hotel rooms, you should use the luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or even the  floor.
  • Upon returning home, quickly unpack your garments directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully. The time in a dryer at high temperatures kills the bed bugs (just washing will generally not kill bed bugs).
  • Store suitcases away from your bedroom, such as in the basement or garage. You should never store suitcases under your bed.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season from your Friends at Southern Pest Control

Palmetto Bugs A.K.A. The Flying Roach


palmetto bugs



Palmetto Bugs A.K.A. The Flying Roach

The ‘palmetto bug’ is actually another name for the cockroach. But it’s not the shy, brown-colored little guy that scurries under your desk. Palmetto bugs live in the Deep South, from South Carolina to Louisiana. Palmetto bugs are significantly larger than their northern brethren, blacker in color, and bolder. They won’t hesitate to drop on your head or run across your toes. Also, Palmetto bugs can fly. They are also better armored than cockroaches.

They can carry germs such as salmonella, spike allergic reactions with their shed skin and droppings, or just horrify the invited household guests. An infestation doesn’t necessarily mean poor housekeeping. They show up for the same reasons you do: food, water and shelter. And it’s that time of year: As summer turns to fall, cockroaches turn to cover. American cockroaches (aka the Palmetto bug) definitely move indoors in the winter, or at least closer to structures.

How to Solve Your Palmetto Bug Problem

The best way to control palmetto bugs is to eliminate situations that would attract insects. This includes keeping kitchens, bathrooms and storage areas as clean as possible. Also, never leave food out overnight and regularly vacuum or sweep floors to remove any fallen food crumbs. Furthermore, seal cracks and holes round your home, repair damaged screens and install weather stripping around doors and windows. This will help prevent palmetto bugs from entering your home.

Boric Acid

Also known as orthoboric acid, boric acid contains boron, which is a naturally-occurring mineral with a low-toxicity that can be used to control a wide array of insects. Even though boric acid can pose a health risk if not properly used, it is still considered safer than other chemical insecticides. Boric acid was registered in 1983 to control various insects including ants, weevils, beetles and cockroaches, and is also used as a fungicide and fire retardant. When used as an insecticide, boric acid works acts as a stomach poison and abrasive material that cuts through the insects’ exoskeleton.

My Encounter with a Palmetto Bug

Once, while in New Orleans, I saw a cockroach on a kitchen counter. I think it saw me, too. I’m pretty sure of this, because the cockroach stood up on its back legs, making the terrifyingly large bug appear even bigger, and it hissed at me. I now know that Madagascar hissing cockroaches aren’t the only species of roaches that can audibly alert you to their discontent. Next, there was a kind of showdown. The cockroach spread its wings. It seemed to be gauging my reaction to determine if I would have the courage to confront it with the shoe I had taken off of my foot for the purpose of squashing it. Sensing that I was indeed planning on making a move, the cockroach leapt into the air with a flurry of beating wings and flew straight towards my face, sending me ducking for cover. The battle ended with me grabbing a can of Raid so I could kill the roach from a distance. I would have to say the Palmetto bug won that showdown.  I now have PBTSD: Palmetto Bug Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Call Southern Pest Control so this don’t happen to you.

By: RAMP | Your Real Advertising and Marketing Partner

Keep Unwanted Christmas Pests Out

Christmas Tree Pests

Keep Unwanted Christmas Pests Out

In rare circumstances, the Christmas tree that you bought on the lot can come with holiday pests. There are a couple types of Christmas tree pests: those that actually feed on the tree and that are pests from the tree growers, and those that are just hitchhiking on the tree.

The two most common grower pests are spruce spider mites and aphids. The white pine aphid is a black insect that can be found on pine trees. These grower pests are usually killed by treatment before the trees are cut for sale. Growers say that only about one in 100,000 cut trees are accidentally shipped with pests. If you cut your own tree or greens, you’re much more likely to be bringing home some harmless Christmas tree pests.

Christmas Trees Can Hide Hitchhikers

The second group of pests is those that have crawled into the tree looking for shelter. These include spiders, sowbugs, ants, and beetles. These pests may have been hiding in the tree when cut or may have moved in during transport, storage on the lot, or even while the tree sat in your yard for a couple of days. A evergreen tree provides winter shelter for all kinds of pests. Once the tree is moved indoors, the insects become active again. Sometimes a praying mantis will lay an egg case on a branch. It looks like a beige chunk of Styrofoam. Simply cut it out and dispose of it.

This makes it sound like all Christmas trees are infested with pests.  Most of the time, the tree won’t have any pests. None of the Christmas tree pests can cause any damage to your home, they don’t bite or sting, they are simply nuisance pests. Remove the pests by hand or vacuum up those that have left the tree. They won’t reproduce in your home either since most will die quickly once they are in a drier indoor environment.

Inspect Before You Buy or Cut Your Tree

Look for aphids or other small insects along the branches ,where the branches meet the trunk. Look for spider webs and look at the bottom of the branches, too. Look for powder-like sawdust and tiny holes on the trunk that are an indication of bark beetles. Bring a flashlight if you’re shopping at night.

When You Get the Tree Home

Before you bring your tree inside, shake the tree and pound the base of the trunk on the ground to remove any insects or spiders. Cut out any egg cases. Remove dead needles and debris. You can even hose down the tree if temperatures are above freezing.

By: RAMP | Your Real Advertising and Marketing Partner