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Ear Mites in Dogs – Symptoms & Treatments

There are a number of pests that can live in your home, and these pests can not only be a bother to you, but also to your family dog.  One such pest is the ear mite.

Most Common Type of Ear Mite

There are a number of different types of mites that can live in your pup’s ears.  However, the most common type of ear mite is the Otodectes cynotis.  This tiny has parasite eight legs and it actually feeds on the wax and oils in your dog’s ear canal. These parasites are so tiny they can rarely be seen by the naked eye. Typically, your veterinarian will have to do a scraping for them; he or she will then put this scraping under a microscope to see if your dog has mites: That is how small these mites are!

Life Cycle

The individual ear mite only has a three-week life cycle; however, they breed, so you will get more and more mites as time goes on.

Checking For Mites at Home

If you can’t wait until you see the vet, you can check for mites at home.  Try this easy trick:

  1. First, take a cotton ball and gently swab the area of your dog’s ear, making sure not to get too deep.
  2. Next, examine this with a magnifying glass. If you can see little white specks, your dog has ear mites.

Now that you have determined the problem, you can start to treat your dog.  It is imperative that you get rid of the ear mites right away, because they will only get worse.  When your dog scratches his ears vigorously, he is allowing yeast and bacteria to be rubbed into his skin. This can lead to the development of secondary bacterial infections.

But you can prevent this!  Now that you know your dog has ear mites, you can treat them.

Symptoms of Ear Mites

Here are some symptoms of ear mites that you should not ignore:

If your dog begins shaking his head a lot, it could be ear mites. If he is favoring one side of his head (one side is listing a bit, one ear is down more than the other) you need to check it out.

If your dog is scratching around his ears, vigorously, it could be ear mites.

Additionally, check inside your dog’s ear for a buildup that looks like coffee grounds (it will be dark brown or black in color). This is a first indicator of ear mites.

If you notice any blood inside of his ear canal, this is a sign of an advanced infestation, and you should immediately see your vet.

Your dog’s ear flaps can become red and inflamed, as well as crusted and scabbed

Ear mites can also cause skin infections and permanent loss of hearing, so it is very important to check your dog’s ears regularly.

These parasites can also cause a strong odor in the ears, and this can be an early warning side.

Puppies

Ear mites are common in dogs of any age, but most often occur in puppies.  This is because puppies have not yet built up a strong immunity. So, if you have a puppy, it is important that you check his or her ears often, and be on the lookout for signs of ear mites.

At Home Treatment for Ear Mites

Ear mites are easy to detect at home, and easy to treat at home! Which is great for owners; it gives you a sense of peace, because you can help your pup easily, and you can do it inexpensively.

Mineral oil is the best and easiest treatment for ear mites. It will get rid of them quickly and painlessly!

  1. First, you will need a bottle of plain mineral oil (Only use mineral oil–not olive oil or any other kind of oil!  Not only will another type not work, it could make the infestation worse.) and an eye dropper.
  2. Now, clean dog’s ears in order to get rid of any ear wax and dirt. This will ensure that there is nowhere for the ear mites to hide (and nothing for them to want to eat!).
  3. Once they are clean, use the eye dropper and drop two drops of mineral oil inside each of your dog’s ears.  Then massage the oil into your dog’s ear canals.
  4. Next, soak a cotton ball in mineral oil and use it to thoroughly wipe the insides of your dog’s ears.
  5. Your last step is to give your dog’s ears a good massage to make sure that the mineral oil has been fully distributed (and he or she will really appreciate the ear rub, too!).

You will want to repeat this treatment twice a week for a month to make sure that any remaining mites are killed off. This will also prevent any new generations of mites from hatching.

Pest Control

Keeping your home free of all pests is a good way to keep your pups free from ear mites!  Having year round pest control will keep your home healthy, and your pets healthy.

Further Resources for Ear Mites in Dogs:

Ear Analysis for Pets

Do Dust Mites Bite People or Pets?NeverPest.com

White Cockroaches or Albino Roaches? – The Difference is Crucial.

Picture this: You suspect nothing, go to the kitchen, flick the light on, get the coffee maker ready and out from under it scuttles one of nature’s many great wonders. A rare and beautiful sight. There, in all its glory, is the super elusive albino cockroach, making a break for the sink. If you’re quick enough, you might catch it under a glass to show off to the family when they wake up.

That’s a beautiful story, but the reality is a lot different. By the time you can show off your catch, that roach you trapped is as brown as any other in the colony. You’ve been robbed of you great display. What happened?

The myth of the Albino Cockroach

Albinism or achromia is a congenital condition affecting enzymes that control pigmentation in the skin, hair and eye of affected animals. Albinism is caused by an inherited recessive gene and is present in all vertebrate species, including humans. The condition can present in different levels of severity, of which the absence of skin pigments is the most noticeable, but not necessarily the most troublesome. Animals afflicted with albinism suffer from other congenital defects, such as partial to full deafness, blindness, a heightened sensitivity to light and a propensity to develop rare forms of skin cancer in advanced years.

Scientists have extensively studied cockroaches for decades and have found zero evidence for the presence of the recessive gene that causes albinism. Cockroaches are perfect replicants of their parents and the colony is quite socially aware. Any individual with a congenital defect as severe as albinism would not survive.

Why are some roaches white?

Cockroaches are insects and as such, they have an exoskeleton. The outer hull of insects is made up of chitin, a proteinaceous substance akin to keratin which makes up our hair and fingernails. The exoskeleton is extremely sturdy and rigid by necessity. Unlike the bones in fish and mammals, exoskeletons do not grow with the animal. This is why all insects have to shed their skin at some point if they are to grow larger.

From egg to adulthood cockroaches go through 4 – 5 molting stages. The number of molts depend on the species of cockroach you’re dealing with. At each stage they shed their skin and emerge as a white roach. The animals appear white because the pigment in the new skin has not developed yet. This is a chemical process that can take several hours. The skin takes a few minutes to harden enough for the roach to be able to move. This is because the outer shell is so soft that the muscles inside pull them out of shape instead of moving them as intended. If you find a white roach, you may notice it less responsive or slower to run than its buddies. That’s because they might not be able to.  For more information on a typical cockroach life cycle you can check out this article. In order to get rid of the old exoskeleton, a new one has to grow under the skin. It needs to be larger than the previous version. It also has to be soft and flexible, to allow the animal and its new skin to be crammed into the increasingly tight space. After a certain period of time, the insect goes into molt, a process where the old skin splits open and the newly formed insect emerges. The roach swallows air to inflate its new skin into the right proportions. This is when the roach is most vulnerable. The new skin is soft and the animal can’t move as well with a soft body, thus leaving it at the mercy of predators and other various dangers. Cockroaches tend to molt in their harbour areas, hidden away from danger and in the safety of numbers. It’s for this reason white cockroaches are a rare sight out in the open, not because they are actually rare. If you do see a white roach, something has disturbed their haven and these animals have been prematurely stirred from their hiding place. If you’re seeing a white roach, you already made acquaintance with many of its brown friends. Where there is one, there are usually hundreds left in the walls and chances are good that a portion of them are in molt as well.

Call an expert

Pest control specialists encounter white cockroaches much more frequently than you normally would because the job entails delivering the pesticides right to the lair of the roaches. Cockroaches are a serious infestation that’s difficult to get rid of with over the counter insecticides. If you encounter any large quantity of roaches in all life stages, your home is overrun. This is especially true if some of the bugs you see are white or a lighter tan color than their buddies. Since cockroaches like to hide within walls and other difficult to access areas around the home, it is important to opt for an extermination method that addresses them right in their hiding places.

Additional Articles Related to Albino Cockroaches:

Learn the Differences Between Flying Ants & Flying Termites

Flying ants and flying termites can look very much alike, but knowing the difference between flying ants and flying termites is important. When you correctly identify the pest that you have, you will be one step closer to getting rid of your problem.

Looks

Look closely at the pest you have on hand; While the two have similar wings, flying ants actually have a larger pair of wings in the front than they do in the back. The wings on the termite are actually longer than their bodies. Flying ants have wings that are more proportionate to their body size. This type of ant will actually shed its wings once they swarm.

 

When checking out their antennae, notice that termites have antennae that are straight. Flying ants have antennae that are bent.

Flying ants have a thin waist (making them appear segmented) but termites have a broad waist, making their entire bodies uniform.

Termite Swarming vs. Ant Swarming

Flying termites tend to swarm in the early spring; they like weather that is warm and rainy. Flying ants, on the other hand, can swarm at different times of the year: they have no set pattern. Again, after they have swarmed, they lose their wings.

Preventing Termites

To really protect your home from termites, start with some prevention tips. Get rid of moisture: repair leaky pipes and faucets. If your air condition leaks, fix it! Make sure to divert water away from the foundation of your home.

Keep your gutters clean of debris and don’t use wood mulch in your yard or garden if you can help it. If you have a fireplace, do not keep a stockpile of firewood near your home’s foundation. You know termites love wood, so why entice them? And if you have dead shrubs or trees on your property, remove them immediately.

Eliminating Termites

If you do end up with termites, those awful things that can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, you can call a professional to get rid of them, or you can try some do-it-yourself tricks.

When you first see flying termites outside your home, invest in a bug zapper. Flying insecticide spray works, too.

If you see an active colony on your property, you have to attack the colony. Simply getting them in the air won’t do it. Sprays and traps that are dedicated to termites are your best bet. Once you see the colony, use insecticide spray all the way around your home’s foundation. A baiting system will starve the colony, so you can place baiting stations all around your home, spacing them out about a foot.

Preventing Flying Ants

Flying ants love food! To prevent them, simply get rid of food waste. Don’t leave food lying around; deal with leftovers immediately, keep your counters free of crumbs, lock your food up tightly, and take out the garbage right away if you have food waste in it (or find a secure garbage can).

Eliminating Flying Ants

If you have seen flying ants in or around your home, you must first locate the nest. They may be coming in from the outside, and you will most likely find their nest outdoors. Once you find it, pour boiling water down it or use a spray that is designed for flying ants. If the nest is indoors, bait is the perfect solution. Place bait stations around your home.

If there is no nest in your house, make sure to seal up all cracks and crevices around windows and doors, as this is probably how they are entering.

 

Additional Resources for Ant & Termite Identification:

  1. Swarming Indoor Insects – Texas A&M
  2. Differences Between Ants & Termites – Never Pest
  3. Winged Ants & Termites in Houses – Kansas State University Department of Entomology

Cockroach Dropping Identification – Dangerous Feces Cause Allergies, Asthma & More.

Cockroaches are insects that have been around since ancient times. The insects are dirty pests that invade any kind of area and tolerate any kind of climate well. In fact, you can find cockroaches in arctic areas as well as tropical ones. Other types of cockroaches love hanging out in swamp lands where they can skip across the water’s surface, and even in rain forest in decaying matter.

Trying to kill these insects can become a daunting task since not many methods work for killing them. The annoying bugs have the ability to survive extremely hot temperatures as well as below freezing ones.

What are the reasons for people wanting to repel the bugs away?

The reasons for why people want to repel these creatures are countless, but one of the main reasons is because they leave their fecal matter behind. Their fecal matter can cause illness and other serious health issues, which is why it is important to learn methods to keep the insects away. Other reasons people want to keep them away are:

  • They contaminate food and water sources
  • Love building their home inside of peoples homes or businesses
  • They can reproduce quickly leading to a huge infestation fast
  • Cockroaches love dinning on pet food
  • The insects leave an offensive odor behind that is hard to rid

What are some of the types of cockroaches that tend to cause such issues for people?

What are some of the types of health issues the insect’s fecal matter causes people?

  1. Allergic Reactions
  2. Asthma and Respiratory Infections and Diseases
  3. Bacterial Infections
  4. Food Poisoning
  5. Conjunctivitis
  6. Urinary Tract Infections
  7. Skin Infections
  8. Stomach Disorders
  9. Inflammation throughout the Body
  10. Leprosy
  11. Septic Arthritis
  12. Viral Infections
  13. Parasite Infections
  14. Fungal Infections
  15. Eczema
  16. Tumor Progression
  17. Blindness with Serious Eye Infections

What are some of the methods that are most useful for keeping cockroaches away?

Below freezing and extreme hot temperatures may not kill off cockroaches, but there are some remedies and methods that do work for repelling cockroaches away. Some of those remedies and methods involve household cleaners, garden herbs, and pesticides such as:

  • Baking Soda
  • Mothballs
  • Bay Leaves
  • Garlic
  • Cucumbers and Peels
  • Mints
  • Poison Baits such as Hydramethylon, Fipronil, Boric Acid Powder
  • Insecticides such as Deltamethrin, Pyrethrin, or Pandan Leaves
  • Parasitoidal Wasps
  • Create Soda Bottle Traps (involves putting water in a soda bottle and placing it where the insects are entering)

Some of the ways you can prevent yourself from ever having a cockroach infestation involves keeping your house and place of business extremely clean. This means:

  1. Washing down surfaces that cockroaches have been hanging out in with bleach or dawn dish soap
  2. Keeping food of all kinds put away in the refrigerator or store containers
  3. Sweeping up and cleaning up all crumbs of food in any place you eat within your home or place of business
  4. Remove all water sources that are easy for cockroaches to drink from when thirsty
  5. Seal up cracks, crevices, vents, sewers and drain pipes that need fixing to prevent cockroaches from sneaking inside
  6. Clean up outside your home removing all debris, decaying matter and trimming trees, grasses and tall bushes
  7. Placing all garbage bags in sealed up containers in sheds or garages until dump day
  8. Always stack firewood in woodsheds or dry places since cockroaches love nesting in warm damp wood piles
  9. On farms, remove all straw, hay and green clippings animals eat inside dry areas
  10. Sprinkle caulk dust around areas you wish too keep the cockroaches away from
  11. Place steel wool in areas cockroaches are entering
  12. Spray a simple dish soap and water solution around the foundation of your home or business

What are some of the ways you can tell you have a cockroach infestation?

Some of the ways you can tell you have a cockroach infestation is by spotting tiny fecal matter around your home or business that appears to look like gritty coffee grinds. You may even find the two inch-long creatures with six legs, two antennas and wings crawling or flying around in your home. Finding dead cockroaches around your space can also mean you have an infestation, or even in your bags of

What should happen if a roach infestation is identified?

If an infestation of cockroaches is spotted you need to find out where the infestation is and then figure out ways to clean up the nest. One of the best ways to handle an infestation is by calling pest control. Pest control services can help rid the infestation away and help you prevent another one from occurring. If you find a cockroach nest you can always suck it up with a vacuum cleaner, but you will want to dump out the vacuum cleaner bag or bucket far away from your home or place of business. Once the infestation is gone, it is important you wash down the areas the infestation was found it to prevent cockroaches from coming back and to rid the horrible odor they leave behind away.

Keep Cockroaches Away Unless You Are a Scientist

With all that being said about cockroaches, surprisingly these insects do serve a positive purpose too. In fact, scientists can use these insects in the laboratory for all kinds of studying purposes such as reproductive physiology, neurobiology, social behavior, learning about sex pheromones, spatial orientation, aggressive behaviors, the biological clock of life and ecology.

So, if you do find these insects in your home and you want to get rid of them as soon as possible, consider packing them up and taking them to a place that uses these insects for studying purposes. However, if scooping these insects up and placing them into a container for scientific purposes scares the heck out of you, you can always just use the methods above to rid them away and keep them away instead. After all, these creepy crawling insect’s fecal matter is truly horrible for human health, and preventing the insects from invading human space should be on the to-do list of any home or business owner.

Argentine Ant Infestation Control & Prevention Tips

Not all ant species are the same. The small, black ants that march along your kitchen counter in early spring may be easily remedied with a few traps and natural pesticides. But look closely at the ant problem in your home or garden. You could be dealing with one of the most stubborn and annoying pest problems in the world: argentine ants.

Are the ants all about the same size (about 1.5 to 3 mm in length), dark or light brown in color, and have a single section of body in their middle? You can check out pictures from sources like Clemson Univeristy to be sure, but chances are you have an infestation of argentine ants. If this is the case, know controlling argentine ants requires a different strategy than defeating other ant species.

What Are Argentine Ants?

Argentine ants are a kind of ant originating in Brazil; they are now found all over the world, including the US. They favor consistently warm climates and as a result have become a particular problem in areas like southern California. They prefer nesting in damp and covered places. Argentine ants can easily find places to live in around your house like near the foundation or in the basement, and their need for water attracts them to dark, damp places in your kitchen.

Unlike some ants who have a particular food preference, argentine ants will eat almost anything from animal products to all manner of vegetation. This puts you at risk for sickness since the ants can carry contaminants from one food source to another (i.e. they bring along bacteria from the rotten meat they fed on into your fruit bowl).

Why Are They An Especially Difficult Pest?

The behavior patterns of argentine ants makes them particularly difficult to get rid of once they invade your space. Other ant populations tend to keep each other under control when one colony fights for territory with another. Argentine ants are much more cooperative – they do not discriminate between colony members and merge their populations instead of squeezing each other out. This results in massive supercolonies of argentine ants.

The news for gardeners is even worse. Aphids are a persistent problem in most gardens, and the argentine ant actually protects and cultivates aphid populations because they eat what the aphids leave behind. If you have argentine ants in your home or garden, expect the problem to worsen from March to October since these ants continue to breed through the warm weather.

How Can I Control Argentine Ants?

You have a number of options for controlling and eliminating the argentine ant population in your home. Once you are sure you are dealing with argentine ants and not another ant species, lay out your plan of action. An integrated pest control plan that includes several strategies is usually more effective than a single approach, and understanding the habits and behaviors of the pests you are experiencing problems with will increase your chances of effectively eradicating them.

Your first step toward eliminating argentine ants: make environmental changes.

See if you can follow the ants back to their nest and locate where they are living. Then you can work to make conditions less favorable by reducing moisture or uncovering areas where they are nesting. Remove potential food sources by sealing garbage cans, keeping spoiled food out of the kitchen, and thoroughly and frequently cleaning areas where food debris tends to collect.

Next, you can set out bait for the argentine ants. The University of California recommends homemade traps made with sugar and boric acid. Mix 8 teaspoons sugar with 1 teaspoon boric acid, dissolve in hot tap water, pour into a jar with cotton balls, and cover with a lid poked with a few holes. The argentine ants crawl in to eat the bait and cannot escape. You can also purchase ant bait traps— just make sure argentine ants are among the species that particular trap can lure in and poison.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension recommends pesticide sprays for argentine ant infestations in your yard. You can keep the ants off trees and out of your house by spraying pesticides containing ingredients like bifenthrin, permethrin, and carbaryl. This should act as a barrier around the area you are trying to keep ant-free.

Since you cannot spray these pesticides inside your home, gel insecticide is a common solution for stubborn, indoor argentine ant issues. Again, make sure the product you use is designed to control argentine ants in particular. Always use these products carefully and keep out of reach from children and pets.

What If I Still Can’t Manage an Argentine Ant Problem?

Sometimes an argentine ant problem is so persistent you cannot handle it even with all of these measures and methods combined. In that case, you may need to contact a pest control professional. An exterminator who has treated argentine ant infestations in the past will be able to locate their nests, apply all necessary pesticides, lay out the right traps in strategic locations, and let you know what kind of environmental changes you can make in your house or on your property. Your local extension office may also be able to guide you on how to manage argentine ants.

Hopefully, you are now a step closer to confronting the argentine ant problem in your house or garden, not to mention reducing any aphid problems and cross-contamination in your kitchen along with them. Even though they are a stubborn and dreaded pest problem, argentine ants can be eradicated from your living area with a little know-how, the right pest control methods, and perhaps the assistance of a trained professional.