Category Archives for "Bugs"

How To Get Rid Of Scorpions: Prevention and Removal

What are scorpions?

Scorpions are arachnids that are considered predatory animals. In the United States, they mostly live in the southern part of the country, in desert areas. All over the world, there are more than 2000 different species. Even if they are creatures of the desert, they can often be found in inhabited areas. These animals have eight legs and a segmented tail that can make them easy to be recognized. Being nocturnal creatures, scorpions prefer to stay hidden in dark areas during the day and they come out at night for finding water and food. There are different ways for people to get rid of them, as they are considered common household pests.

What do scorpions eat and how do they behave?

Being close relatives of ticks and spiders, scorpions are carnivores. They are fierce hunters, so they can sting their victims and inject venom to kill their prey. The prey is ambushed before it is killed. The sting is very painful, but to humans, it is usually harmless. When a scorpion stings you, you need to call your local poison center or go to the hospital for getting treatment. Their victims are usually insects, arthropods, and small invertebrates. Because they can slow down their metabolism as an adaptation to living in harsh environments, some species can live with just one insect eaten throughout the year.

What is their habitat?

Scorpions can be found all over the world in all types of habitats, but they are commonly found in deserts, grasslands, and rainforests. While there are species that are rare, scorpions, in general, are not endangered. These creatures use the soil as a cover, so they like to burrow into the soil, rocks and sand to avoid the sight of predators. They require loose soil for surviving and thriving and they avoid hard and dense soil.

The appearance of scorpions

Scorpions don’t have a nice appearance. They look threatening and repulsive. Just like all arachnids, scorpions have eight legs, two large pincers and one segmented tail that is long and venomous. Many people think about scorpions as black creatures, but they can also have other colors. The external part is an exoskeleton that can have different colors: black, blue, brown, green and yellow.  The smallest scorpion size is of half an inch and the largest can even have eight inches. Between these two extremes, there are a variety of sizes.

What is the immediate action for getting rid of scorpions?

The first thing that you can do is to remove any food source from your yard, seal your house and eliminate excess moisture. Scorpions are often looking for water so make sure you don’t have any leaks around the home. Then, you should try to get rid of any bugs that you may have in your house like ants and roaches. The next step is to make sure there are no places that the creatures may use as shelter. They usually look for dark places, cardboard boxes, under the bed, closets and places in bathrooms that have a lot of stuff together. Outside they can hide in bushes.

What is the next step for getting rid of scorpions?

You should look for scorpions during the night and hunt them like their hunt their pray so to speak. They can be killed one at a time and you shouldn’t use this method if you are too scared of them. There are special tools used for killing these creatures, but you must first find them. This can be done by using ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light will allow you to make the animals glow in the dark and they will be easy to spot. One of the weapons used for killing scorpions is the long-handled tweezer, as it can break the exoskeleton of the creatures. Look in all the places that are considered hiding places for these animals, including your house and its attic. You can also kill these creatures with a knife or your boots. Cockroach spray can also be used for killing scorpions.

Traps, repellents, and insecticides

Sticky traps that are usually good for insects can work for scorpions too. These traps can be placed near water sources, or in the dark corners of your house. Cats and chickens can hunt scorpions, so you can use their help. As a repellent, you can use cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon in dark areas and any other areas where the creatures can be found. There are insecticides that are specifically meant for scorpions. You can use them to spread an area of about two yards around your house. The foundation walls and areas where there are stacked materials can also be sprayed. Other substances to use can be synthetic pesticide and wettable powder. The best approach would be to call a professional to deal with these pests.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in an Apartment Building & Appartment Units

Roaches can vary; they can be large, small, alone or in groups. They are all incredibly quick and sneaky making them difficult to get rid of. They are one of the most adaptable and efficient insects and breed very fast. One huge problem of having a roach problem in an apartment complex is that you are the mercy of the other tenants. Others living habits will affect the success of you getting rid of the ones in your apartment. There are some measures you can take to get rid of them and do your best to prevent more from coming.

Locate Where the Cockroaches are In Your Apartment

Setting traps will identify how large of a problem you have with roaches. It will also show you where they are gathering. There are inexpensive sticky roach traps you can purchase from local hardware stores to set out to capture them. You can also make your own traps with petroleum jelly and bread. By coating the jar in the jelly and placing the bread inside, the roach will go in for the bread and the jelly will prevent it from escaping.

Put the traps randomly around your apartment; in corners, under furniture, and inside cabinets. The roach normally travels along the edges of floors and furniture avoiding being out in the middle of rooms. Leave the traps out for a good day and see where the most have been trapped. Dispose of the traps you’ve purchased and if you’ve used the jar and bread, kill those roaches by filling the jar with warm soapy water.

Get rid of the Cockroaches

Now that you’ve located where most of the roaches are residing in your apartment; you can start the process of eliminating them. Begin with a natural insecticidal dust. The most effective are:

These contain a natural killer of insects but will not harm mammals and will be safe to use if you have a pet.

Pour the dust you’ve chosen lightly on surfaces where the roaches are the heaviest. The borax works well because it poisons the roach and the diatomaceous dust will actually work more quickly as it gets in the insects shell at the joints and pores. The roach cannot develop a resistance to either of these products.

Here is a boric acid recipe one frustrated roach hater came up with that worked well:

  1. Boric acid powder
  2. Karo syrup (or other sweetener such as peanut butter, honey etc.)
  3. Rice Flour (any kind will actually work)
  4. One Popsicle stick
  5. One mixing bowl

To make the recipe you put two parts of the boric acid with one part flour and enough Karo syrup or other sweetener of choice and mix until a thickish consistency. The roach will find the disguised boric acid and with the sweetener added; eat it and get poisoned. If you have pets it should be inside a trap that your pet cannot get into because just as the sweetener fools the roach; it will fool your pet too.

You can also set up more traps to begin eliminating the roaches that are sold in most hardware stores. Two brand names that have been effective are Combat and Maxforce. Change the locations of the traps often and replace them frequently as the bait will be consumed quickly if you are dealing with a lot of roaches. Traps that contain Hydramethylnon are the most effective as it will kill the roaches within three days after they eat it.

Another option is hiring a professional to come in to exterminate your apartment. A professional insect control company will have access to chemicals not available to the public.

Prevent the roaches from returning

You will not be able to completely eliminate your problem if the rest of the building is not treated. You will need to talk to the manager of the apartment complex to help in ridding the rest of the apartments of roaches.

Cockroaches love carbohydrates and sugars found in our food, plants, and even soaps. Make sure you keep all your food in plastic containers with tight seals. Do not leave any products in bags or boxes as the roach can easily get inside them. Do not use bar soaps, instead start using soap dispensers and if you have house plants, spread petroleum jelly on the plant holders so the roach cannot reach the plant.

Keep all surfaces where food is prepared wiped down so no remaining crumbs are left behind. Roaches will seek out any small particle of food or residue from spills you leave behind and consider your areas a good food source.

Keeping your floors vacuumed or swept daily will also cut down on food scraps or crumbs they will be able to find. Scrubbing often will increase your success to discourage the roaches from crawling across your kitchen.

Roaches can travel from apartment to apartment through cracks and gaps in the walls. They will also come in through doors and windows. Check all doors and windows to make sure there are no small gaps in any of them and also check that there are no cracks or gaps in any wall areas of your apartment. Silicone caulk is a good product to use for sealing any cracks or gaps you might find.

Problems that come with Cockroaches

Cockroach Bites

Besides just being creepy, the roach can cause other problems if they are not gotten rid of. They are omnivores which mean they will eat plants and meat. Does that mean they can bite? They have been recorded to have eaten human flesh both dead and alive although tend to feast mainly on fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands. If bitten, you will form lesions, swelling and the bite marks will itch. The cockroach is not a clean insect in its search for food, so it is possible the bite can also cause infections.

Humans are not the first choice of food for the roach. They are not entering your apartment with you as their target for the next meal. It will begin to happen more frequently though in areas where their population has not been monitored and controlled. When their food source starts to become limited, cockroaches will forage on things they don’t normally consume. Hopefully, you will have taken control of the infestation before it reaches this level.

Cockroach Feces

The roach feces or droppings are easy to identify. They are small and resemble coffee or black pepper in appearance. If the roach is large the feces will be cylindrical in shape with ridges down the side. Their feces contain proteins and allergens which have been known to cause asthma attacks. Studies have been done showing roach feces worsen asthma symptoms more than any other trigger. If you find the feces; vacuum and clean the area immediately with warm water and soap.

There is no question about it; you cannot share your apartment with a roach. Talk to your landlord to see about extermination and then follow these tips to get any remaining out of your apartment and keep them out.

7 Fast Ways to Remove Cockroaches from Cars

Cockroaches are perhaps the most resilient bugs on the planet.They run fast, hide in the tiniest of crevices and seem to be unaffected by most attempts to get rid of them.What makes them so hard to get rid of is the fact that no matter how clean you keep the area, they can survive on the smallest spec of food. Getting them in the car is not unheard of due to the fact that many people eat on the go these days. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of roaches in your car.

What Doesn’t Work

Citrus sprays or vinegar don’t get rid of these pesky bugs. Most insects do not like the smell of citrus or strong smells such as cinnamon or cloves, but that is not enough to deter them. Another substance people often use is boric acid. In the home this is fine, but in the car, it is too messy and in such a confined area it may have some adverse affects on people or pets if absorbed into the mucous membranes of the nose or throat. Foggers and bug bombs are also not a good idea to use in such a small space.

How to Effectively Get Rid of Them

1. Remove mats and rugs or anything else that is removable. The more bare, the better. It may seem like a shame to take out those decorator floor mats you just bought, but they will prove to be a hindrance when it comes to consistent cleaning.

2. Vacuum the whole car front to back every week. The easiest way to do this is to take it to a hand car wash and use their attachments to get into those tight corners.

3. Make a “No Eating in the Car” Rule.  Allowing yourself or guests to eat in your car will invariably guarantee that crumbs fall to the floor no matter how careful you are.  If you do not vacuum these up immedeately, the cockroaches will continue to have food to keep them alive and if they remain alive they will keep breeding and the their infestation in your automobile will continue to grow.  Obviously we do not want this, so it is simple to enact a “Not eating in the Car” rule.

This is a tough one because a lot of people eat in the car on the way to work, to after-school activities and school events. Busy schedules make it a necessity to eat on the run and that means a lot of empty sandwich wrappers and crumbs that are often left behind in haste. Try to eat before getting into the car, or if you have to, bring a lunch box to eat in and throw away trash immediately.

4. Bait and Traps

A safe way to use roach bait in a confined area is to set them out at night. People often think that the heat from a car being parked in the sun all day would kill them, but roaches are actually nocturnal and sleep during the day. Also by setting them out in areas such as in the trunk, under the seats and on floorboards you will have a better chance of trapping or baiting them when they are the least likely to be disturbed. Glue traps are quite effective for capturing them. For safety, simply remove the traps and bait in the morning before anyone gets in.

5. Prevent Re-infestation

Keeping roaches away is a lot easier than getting rid of them again and again. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to avoid a re-infestation is to be diligent about keeping the car clean. Remove trash immediately and vacuum frequently.

To avoid having these little critters come back again you’ll need to keep the car in pristine condition. Besides implementing a “no eating in the car” rule, make sure everyone takes their backpacks and bags with them when leaving the car. These guys like to travel back and forth from place to place and hitch a ride in whatever they can. Now that you know how to get rid of roaches in your car, you’ll be better equipped at dealing with them in the future in other areas.

Insects Commonly Mistaken for Cockroaches

Cockroaches are often misidentified by homeowners. I think nearly everyone would agree that cockroaches are disgusting and quite a nuisance in the home. They come in many different variations, sizes, colors and quantities. They even have different appearances at different stages in their life cycle and these stages even vary from species to species amongst cockroaches. How do you know then, if the bug you just saw scurrying across the bathroom floor is a cockroach or possibly some other uninvited guest in your home?

Well, unless you take a little time to learn other bugs that look like cockroaches, you may think another species of insect in your home is actually a cockroach.  As with all types of pest control, an inaccurate prognosis of the type of pest you are dealing with will set you down the path toward an ineffective pest management strategy.  As Sun Tzu famously stated in the art of war “understand your enemy.”   Perhaps the most common insects encountered in peoples’ homes and apartments that are mistaken for cockroaches are water bugs and bed bugs.  At first glance the look similar, but keep reading and you will never make this mistake.

Water Bugs

Water bugs are actually a species related to cockroaches but there are some marked differences in appearance, habitat and behavior. Where a common cockroach likes to congregate and happily thrives on leftover food, whatever the dog or cat dropped or what falls behind the stove or fridge, the water bug is an active hunter that lives in and around water bodies such as ponds or small creeks. Water bugs will generally live on tadpoles, insect larvae, small fish and the occasional dead animal that washes up. Some species of water bug have been known to bite and in some areas, they’re known as toe biters instead. Cockroaches don’t go out of their way to take a nip at you, but water bugs do and their bite can be quite painful.


At first glance crickets and grasshoppers can look like cockroaches. These harmless visitors can wander in from outside sometimes and disrupt a good night’s sleep with incessant chirping. Aside from the noise they are essentially harmless. Crickets eat mainly plant matter and are not in your home because of leftover food. You can tell the difference between a cricket and a cockroach by checking for the telltale cricket legs. They are very distinct hind legs designed for long distance jumps. Crickets, like cockroaches, come in ranges of browns and black, making it at times difficult to identify them correctly at a quick glance.


There are about 2000 species of ground beetles in North America and sometimes they wander into the house. They are sometimes mistaken for oriental cockroaches due to their shiny skin. There are so many different kinds of beetles that it can be difficult to make a positive identification. Some of the most common beetles found indoors are June bugs. They range in color from reddish-brown to almost black and their carapace is more rounded. June bugs are beetles that are not interested in your leftovers and live on strictly vegetarian diets.

Asian Longhorn Beetles are newcomers to North America and a threat to our local trees. If you see one in your home, chances are good your trees outside are infested with their larva. These beetles are not generally known to dwell in houses, but they may end up there in search of trees to inhabit. You can check your trees for round exit holes in the bark, a dead give away that you have a Longhorn infestation in your garden. These beetles are mostly black in coloration with whitish grey splotches.


Not to say they’re any more welcome in your home, bedbugs can sometimes be mistaken for immature roaches or nymphs. It’s important to know the difference to effectively fight either infestation. Bedbugs tend to hide during the day, but they do so in your bedding, mattresses, and any crevices near your sleeping areas. They live on blood and attack at night, resting during the day. Bedbugs are hard to find unless you search for them or you just happen to see one wander across your pillow. If you wake up covered in itchy swollen and red bite marks, you are probably dealing with bedbugs. Roaches are not largely known for attacking people in their sleep.


Another unwelcome visitor to your home can be the earwig. Though its coloration can be similar to that of the cockroach, you can always tell an earwig from a roach by the prominent set of pincers at the tail end of its abdomen. These pincers are present on both males and females throughout most of their molting stages, becoming more pronounced as they advance in age. Earwigs live mostly on plant matter and you will usually find them hiding in dark crevices around the house.


Cicadas are winged blackish brown insects and responsible for the rhythmic ear shattering buzz you can hear outside during late summer. They are big, some species can be about 2 inches long. Cicadas swarm periodically and tend to remain outside in the cover of trees and bushes. Occasionally one of them can wander into your home, but don’t be alarmed, they are completely harmless. They feed on plant matter and they don’t have a bite or sting harmful to humans.

A roach by any other name…

In different parts of the country, bugs that are, in fact, cockroaches are known by other names, such as palmetto bug, croton bug or even foreign names, like cucaracha. There are many different types of cockroaches, the American cockroach being the most prolific. They range in color and size as well as behavior and life cycle, so it can be difficult to discern if you are having an infestation or just a harmless outdoor visitor that strayed into your home.

You can always use roach traps as a precaution and when in doubt, call an expert. This most definitely holds true if you see more than one bug or if the visits are recurring and increase in frequency. The longer you wait on a cockroach infestation the bigger it gets and the more difficult it becomes to eradicate.

Further Resources:



Pest Dropping Identification Guide – The Real Scoop on Poop!

You’ve been hearing a squeaking sound in the walls, a crunching noise from the attic, or the scuttling of tiny feet whenever you flick on the lights in the basement. So you get a flashlight and work up your nerve to see what has made its way into your home. There is no sign of the culprit itself, of course, but your heart sinks as you see the telltale sign of a pest problem: a fresh pile of poop.

Finding pest droppings in or around your home is never a good sign. The presence of pest feces means some creature has taken up residence around your living area and is making itself at home. The good news about such a discovery is it gives you the ability to potentially identify who, exactly, has been rattling around in your walls or getting into the garbage can in the garage. Knowing what kind of pest you are confronting means much better chances of eliminating them from your property.

Not Sure About Those Droppings in Your Home? Have a PRO Come Take a Look… Free Quotes Below!

What Can You Find Out From Pest Poop?

The first step to identifying pests by droppings is understanding what kind of insect, rodent, or larger animal you might be up against. There are three general categories of pests who leave poop behind:

  • Small to medium sized rodents: mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.
  • Larger animals: raccoons, possums, skunks, groundhogs, woodchucks, etc.
  • Insects: cockroaches, termites, and bed bugs
  • Bats: Many different species of bats
  • Reptiles: snakes and lizards

Narrowing down what kind of animal is invading your home by identifying what it leaves behind could mean the difference between restoring the creature-free status of your home and making a nest of mice (or a den of snakes or a colony of bats) your new roommates. So before you scoop that poop and toss it, see if you can use it to hone in on the kind of animal you’re trying to eliminate.

A word of caution: all pest poop carries toxins. Extreme care should be used when identifying or cleaning up animal feces of any kind from anywhere, especially in enclosed spaces. Cleaning up particular kinds of dung, like bat guano, always requires safety gear like masks as does addressing any large quantity of feces. These scenarios are risky enough you may want to defer the problem to a professional pest remover. See a cleanup site like Professional Wildlife Removal for more information on how to safely remove droppings from your living area if you decide to undertake the cleanup yourself.

Mouse, Rat, and Squirrel Droppings

Mouse Droppings

One of the most commonly found and identified kinds of pest poop is mouse droppings. Mice leave behind their feces wherever they go and many have come across these small, oblong-shaped pellets in their kitchens, basements, and garages. Mouse poop is dark in color and found in a scattered pattern in places where mice have been lurking or running.

Rat Droppings

Rat droppings, in contrast, are thicker and sometimes shorter in length than mouse poop. Roof rat excrement is longer and fatter than mouse poop but similar in shape, color, and distribution pattern. Norway rats tend to leave droppings that are a bit shorter but even thicker than mouse and roof rat pellets.

Squirrel Droppings

Squirrel feces may be confused for rat poop because it is thick and oblong. Squirrels leave behind pellets that are rounded at the ends, unlike the more pointed poop left by rats, and the color of their dung will lighten with time. This means droppings of this size and shape that retain their dark color over time are likely from rats; if they are becoming white, they are more likely from squirrels.

Chipmunk Droppings

Chipmunk feces looks quite a bit like mouse feces and also similar to many mouse dropping, chipmunk droppings can be very toxic and dangerous to humans. Chipmunk droppings are usually the same shape as mouse droppings but up to a quarter of an inch larger and chipmunk droppings are usually hardened. Even the air around chipmunk poop can contain spores that can contaminate the area with bacteria or transferable diseases so take care when attempting to clean chipmunk droppings from a home, barn, or shed. You will want to wear protective clothing and glove and a dust mask at a minimum or contact a professional.

Raccoon, Possum, and Skunk Droppings

Hopefully, you have not found feces of this size inside your house, but these pests can be quite a problem if they choose to inhabit your attic, garage, or outbuildings. Because of their size, these animal feces are easier to spot and identify even if found on the ground outside. Remnants of their meals seen in the poop may help you learn more about the habits of your pests and whether they are breaking into your pantry, garden, bird seed, etc.

Raccoons leave piles of dung similar to dog poop. Each piece is fat and may contain visible specks of what the raccoon is eating, like corn or seeds from fruit. Possum excrement is also comparable to dog poop, though it may be more curled than a raccoon’s. It is also more likely to be left in a trail than found in a single pile. Like raccoons, possums should be on your suspect list if you are trying to identify a larger animal living in your attic, under your porch, or in your garage.

Skunks typically make themselves known with the distinctive smell of their spray, but the first sign of a skunk skulking around your property may be its droppings. Skunk poop is close in size to a cat’s but it is shaped differently. Their droppings are somewhat mushy and vary in color depending on what the skunk is currently feeding on. Bits of insects or berries in droppings might indicate a skunk.

Cockroach, Bed Bug, and Termite Droppings

Cockroaches are hard to miss when they have taken up residence in your house. Identifying cockroach poop, however, may be helpful for understanding where they are living in your home and the best location for traps or spray. Cockroach poop is small and granular, looking something like coarsely ground pepper when scattered on the floor. Droppings are sticky enough to cling to walls. Unfortunately, cockroach droppings are fairly toxic when dry and can trigger a number of illnesses in humans from asthma attacks to gastrointestinal problems.

Bed bug poop is even smaller than cockroach feces and is found, most likely, in your bed or other any soft surfaces they are infesting. It is comprised of tiny specks, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Their leavings are either rust colored or black, made up of dried blood. Sometimes picking out bed bug poop is the confirmation you have these terrible little pests in your living area rather than another biting creature like fleas or spiders.

Termite droppings, also known as frass, have a color matching the wooden they have been chowing down on. Frass is found in piles and each piece is six-sided, making termite poop easy to distinguish from other kinds of dung. You can find out more about identifying insect droppings in particular by looking at pest profiles with a quick Google search.

Bat Droppings

Bat droppings should be treated with extreme caution because of the diseases and toxins they carry. You don’t even need to touch guano for it to become a health hazard– just breathing the air where bats have taken up residence is enough to make you seriously ill. Most sources recommend using gloves, a HEPA filter mask, and protective clothing for inspecting an area potentially inhabited by bats.

You can tell bat poop from other kinds of pest poop by its look and location. Bat guano tends to pile up beneath the place where bats roost. It is pellet-like but rougher in texture than mouse and rat poop since it contains the exoskeletons of undigested bugs. Each piece of guano is about the size of mouse poop pellets.

Snake and Lizard Droppings

Snake poop is easily misidentified as bird poop. Like bird droppings, snake dung has a wet, mushy appearance when fresh and dries to a chalky white after a time. Location may help you determine if you are looking at snake or bird droppings since snakes have access to many low, closed spaces a bird could not reach. Lizard feces looks something like a cross between rat and bird droppings. Although oblong and dark in color like rat droppings, what lizards leave behind typically has white incorporated in it like bird guano. Lizard droppings are often confused for the poop of other reptile and amphibians, like frogs, so poop alone may not be the best way to know if a lizard is your culprit.

Because they are difficult to identify, you might want to look up pictures of reptile feces online if you suspect something scaly and slithery is hiding in your house. Better yet, call an experienced exterminator who can knowingly and safely look for the invader.

Using Pest Droppings to Your Advantage

Here is a quick rundown of what to look for when identifying pests by their droppings:

  • Location. The place where you find droppings can help distinguish between kinds of pests. Under or in your kitchen cabinets? You are probably looking at mouse poop or rat feces. In the bottom rafters of your attic? Most likely bat guano.
  • Size and shape. The precise look of droppings can distinguish one animal from another when factors like location are no help. The more you know about your pest problem, like whether a Norway rat or roof rat is living in your walls, the better you can locate and eradicate their population.
  • Color. Typically determined by what an animal is eating, the color of pest poop can help you identify a squirrel vs. a rat problem in your attic, for instance.
  • Distribution. Even the placement of feces in an area, like whether it is scattered in a line or found in a single pile, can mean the difference between hunting for a possum or a raccoon.

Consider this a first step in ridding yourself of pests. Take advantage of whatever online resources you can. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, for instance, features a detailed droppings identification guide and article on how to control pest populations once you identify them. Don’t hesitate to call a professional if you suspect a pest problem in your home– an experienced exterminator can expertly identify droppings in addition to the other signs invasive creatures leave behind. Hopefully you are a little closer to solving the mystery of which creatures have been living, and pooping, in your house and on your property.