Pest Control News

Pest Control News
Pest Control News
George Richardson, Technical Director

Here is the latest Pest Control News from Peninsular Pest Control for Jacksonville, FL and the surrounding area:

What’s eating my lawn?

Rich Jones, Host of WOKV’s Morning Show, asks the question and George Richardson responds. George Richardson, Technical Director for Peninsular Pest Control, shows you how to determine if you have chinch bugs or mole crickets in your lawn.

Bold City Best Winner AGAIN in 2021

Peninsular Pest Control won FIRST PLACE in two categories of the 2021 Bold City Best Contest. This makes the 7th consecutive year in a row that Peninsular has placed first in these two categories: BEST PEST CONTROL and BEST LAWN SERVICE.

BOLD CITY BEST is “The Official Community Choice Awards” contest held in Jacksonville, Florida, each year. The 2021 contest consisted of two phases of voting. The winners had to be nominated to make it to the finals and only one company out of the three finalist is able to claim the title of BOLD CITY BEST.

2021 Bold City Best Logo Winner Color

There were an overall 132 winners in a wide range of categories:

  • BEAUTY & HEALTH
  • DINING
  • ENTERTAINMENT & LEISURE
  • HOME, HOME SERVICES & FINANCE
  • KIDS & EDUCATION
  • PEOPLE & PLACES
  • SERVICES
  • SHOPPING
  • SPIRITS
  • VEHICLES, DEALERS & SERVICES

Peninsular Pest Control won their two awards in the “Services” category.

Thanks to all of our loyal customers for taking time to vote!

Carpenter Ant Nest AFTER Treatment

Carpenter Ant Nests are often hard to find but, once treated, all of the member of the colony will be disrupted and eventually die. Watch this video of a treated nest found in a rotten fence post. You will see the winged reproductives as well as adult ants carrying pupae.

Carpenter ants are one of the most common indoor insect pests. According to The University of Florida IFAS/Extension, carpenter ants will nest in wood structures and can be found nesting throughout a homeowner’s home in wooden support pillars, window frames, and in attics. 

Homeowners often see these ants foraging inside their home at night. An experienced pest management professional, or a determined homeowner, can usually follow a trail of ants back to the ants’ nesting site and treat it. Carpenter ant complaints are numerous during the spring swarm season, usually between April and June, when winged reproductives are often found in homes, mainly along window ledges and near sliding glass doors.

Carpenter Ants AFTER Treatment
Carpenter Ants nesting in a rotten fence post

Florida carpenter ants seek either existing voids in which to nest or excavate only soft materials such as rotten or pithy wood and Styrofoam. The main nests for the black carpenter ant are usually found outside, with satellite nests found indoors within voids or under insulation. Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal in their foraging behavior. Carpenter ants do not sting but they do bite and can spray formic acid into the fresh wound if the ant is not removed quickly.

The ants form very loosely defined trails, or individual ants wander alone. These ants have a fondness for sweets and can be found in campgrounds near soda machines and other areas where sweets are readily accessible. Similarly, they are fond of sweet floral nectars and honeydews produced by sucking insects, especially aphids, scales and mealybugs. 

Chinch Bug Video

Rich Jones from Jacksonville, FL, and The WOKV Morning Show will explain more in the Chinch Bug Video.

Chinch Bug Video
Rich Jones on Chinch Bugs

Early Chinch bug treatment in Jacksonville FL is important because these destructive insects affect all types of turf grasses and are extremely devastating. They can take out an entire lawn in a week.

Test for Chinch Bug

To test your lawn for chinch bugs, simply rake your fingers across the dead grass onto a white paper (or your driveway) and you will see them, if they are present.

These bugs naturally exist in our environment and there are some natural diseases that will keep them at bay. They prefer the moist grass but when the grass dries out, these natural diseases go away and the chinch bug population spikes.

Homeowners sometimes mistake Chinch Bugs for Mole Crickets so visit our Mole Cricket page to see the difference in our Chinch Bug Video. Treatment for Chinch bugs is described in this Chinch Bug video below:

To you, it looks like your lawn is drying out but, watering it won’t help at this point. When it’s hot, mowing your grass too short and improper irrigation will dry your lawn out, creating the perfect environment for chinch bugs to begin their damage.

There are products that will keep the bugs from spreading but it’s important that you begin Chinch Bug Treatment just as soon as you discover them in your lawn as shown in our Chinch Bug Video.

According to the University of Florida IFAS/Extension:

Early damage appears as patchy areas of yellowing grass that rapidly browns and dies if the pest is left uncontrolled. The turf may initially appear to be drought stressed, which is a common misdiagnosis and allows damage to progress, often beyond repair. These patchily damaged areas are generally circular in shape and expand outward as the insects move from dying grass into healthier grass.

Turf in open sunny areas or under drought stress is often the first attacked and most severely damaged by southern chinch bug. This pest also prefers areas that have thick thatch layers because the thatch provides the insect with a place to feed and seek refuge from natural enemies and environmental conditions.

Peninsular Pest Control is the Largest, Family and Locally owned Pest Control and Lawn Service company in the Jacksonville area.

Spittlebugs in Florida

The adult population of Spittlebugs are beginning to appear in the Jacksonville FL area.  These colorful bugs love to munch on centipede grass and the damage is usually what causes a homeowner to notice them.

Les Harrison is the County Extension Director at the UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County Office and he has compiled some helpful information for North Florida residents:

Spittlebugs hide themselves, deceiving the casual observer, by excreting a frothy substance from their abdomen. This insect usually passes unobserved until the damage is noticed and they are sought to account.

Spittlebugs are present throughout the entire state and are most abundant in northern and northwestern Florida. 

Their propensity to attack turfgrass species is what commonly calls attention to their presence. Centipede grass is most susceptible to their damage, and this turf is commonly under stress due to soil conditions in coastal Florida not being favorable to this popular species of grass.

Adult two-lined spittlebugs are easy to identify if seen. They are about 1/4 inch long with black bodies, red eyes and legs, and have two orange stripes across their wings.

Spittlebug insect

The mature spittlebugs are commonly active during early morning, but hide near the soil surface during the heat of the day. They are capable of a split second hop when a threatening situation is perceived.

The nymphs are yellow or creamy-white in color with a distinct brown head, but are rarely seen. They are cloaked by a mass of white frothy foam which they excrete for protection.

The foam has the appearance, at least to humans, of a projected expectoration or spittle from some uncouth trespasser. The opaque mass is not inviting and covers this insects hidden agenda.

During the nymph stage, this native pest is feeding on its plant host. Most spittle masses occur near the soil surface or in thatch making them observable, but only to those who are looking.

Some dried spittle masses may appear high on the host plant during adult’s emergence. High moisture and humid conditions favor their development and flourishing populations.

Spittlebug foam
Spittlebug foam used for protection

There are usually two to three generations per year, depending on weather conditions. The life cycle requires about two and a half months. Eggs are laid in hollow grass stems or behind the leaf sheaths. The late season eggs overwinter and hatch the following spring, typically from late March to late April.

First generation adults are most abundant in June, with the adult population peaking again in August or September.

Chinch Bugs or Mole Crickets?

How do you know whether your lawn is being damaged by mole crickets or chinch bugs? It’s actually easy to test for both.

Chinch Bug test

Chinch Bug Treatment

To test your lawn for chinch bugs, simply rake your fingers across the dead grass onto a white paper (or your driveway) and you will see them, if they are present.

These bugs naturally exist in our environment and there are some natural diseases that will keep them at bay. They prefer the moist grass but when the grass dries out, these natural diseases go away and the chinch bug population spikes.

If you don’t see any chinch bugs, it’s easy to do a soap flush test for Mole Crickets.

Mole Cricket test

Just mix 1.5 ounces of liquid dishwashing soap. like Dawn, into 2 gallons of water and sprinkle the mixture over 4 square feet of turf. If two to four crickets appear within three minutes of application, corrective action is justified.

Here’s a quick video to show you how to do it:

Once you have determined what type of insect has invaded your lawn, it’s important to begin treatment immediately. Both insects require a liquid application of insecticide which is applied evenly and thoroughly across the lawn. Mole Crickets require a larger volume of material than the chinch bug but both are treated virtually the same.

Hiring a professional pest control company like Peninsular is usually preferred due to the large amount of product needed, not to mention the time it takes to thoroughly treat the lawn.

Different Ant Treatments

Different Ant Treatments

It’s important to control ants with a treatment that works specfically for each type. Some ants respond to baiting, other are controlled with liquid insecticide. Many ants come into the home by way of pheromone trails. Locating that trail from outside, into the home, is often difficult to do and may require the help of a professional pest control company like Peninsular.

Learn how you can treat Carpenter Ants, Fire Ants and Ghost Ants effectively.

Different types of Ant Treatment
How to treat for all types of ants

Carpenter Ants respond best to liquid insecticide while fire ants are best controlled with a granular product. Ghost Ants are most often seen in the kitchen or bathroom area of the home. Locating their nest and baiting it requires patience. These ants follow a pheromone trail from outside into the home. Treating that trail is equally important.

Learn more from George Richardson, Technical Director for Peninsular Pest Control:

Treatment for all types of ants

According to The University of Florida IFAS/Extension, ants in northeast Florida:

Ants are nuisance pests around the home because they feed on and contaminate human foods, infest structures by nesting in wall voids and/or underneath kitchen sinks and other places, and build unsightly mounds in lawns and other landscapes. In some cases, ants are able to inflict painful bites or can have venomous stings. Ants do not attack or eat fabrics, leather or wood in houses. However, some species can establish nests in decaying wood, including wood in human structures.

Several species of ants are found in or around houses in Florida. In general, the most common ants can be grouped as house-infesting ants, yard-infesting ants, and carpenter ants. The most commonly encountered pest ants are pharaoh, white footed, Argentine, ghost, pyramid, carpenter, rover, native fire, imported fire, crazy, thief, Caribbean, acrobat, and big-headed ants.

Sod Webworm Damage

Lawn damaging caterpillars have already been spotted this year in large numbers.  We have received many more calls about Sod Webworm Damage this year than in seasons past. You may notice small moths, which are uncontrollable, flying in your lawn. These Migratory Moths randomly lay eggs, producing caterpillars. The sod webworm damage from these caterpillars make the lawn appear like it was mowed too short. It is important to note that damage from these insects will generally recover within 2 -3 weeks during the growing season. Also, please understand the adult moths itself does not eat the grass, and when in numbers are just a simple nuisance.

Sod webworm larvae or caterpillars are grayish tan with brown heads. They have tiny dark spots on their body. They reach 3/4 to 1 inch when fully grown. Sod webworms hibernate in the thatch and soil as partially developed larvae.  According to The University of Florida IFAS/Extension, these worms reside in silk lined tunnels in the thatch and soil.  Larval activity usually resumes in April or early May.

Tropical sod webworm larvae are destructive pests of warm season turfgrasses in our area.  The first sign of sod webworm damage is often caused by differences in grass height in areas where larvae are feeding.

The sod webworm damage usually occurs at night when the worms feed, their counterpart, the army worm feeds during the day and are a little larger than the sod webworm.

You can find sod webworms by parting the grass and looking for a small C-shaped worm curled up in a green pile of their excrement at the thatch level.  What you will have found is the larval stage of the sod webworm moth.  It’s the larval stage that will crawl through the grass and chew the blades down to the root zone.

Treatment requires two treatments in order to break the life cycle of the insect.  As the eggs hatch out, that next cycle of worms will need to be treated.  The reason it’s best to call a professional exterminator is due to the volume of material that is needed to control the sod webworms.

Sod webworm Treatment

The Peninsular technician will inspect the lawn to determine where the sod webworm has started to eat the lawn.  This is usually a brown color that is shorter than the rest of the lawn, almost as if a weed eater has attacked that area of the lawn.

During the application we start at the far corner of the lawn and treat in a back and forth pattern almost as if we are mowing. This will thoroughly treat the entire lawn with insecticide.

Jadera Bugs

Jadera Bug Infestation

This is the season in which you will see Jadera Bugs if you have a Golden Rain Tree in your yard, or your neighbor happens to have one. This is a bug that many Florida residents have probably never seen, or even heard about.

Jadera Bug
Jadera Bugs appear in Spring

In early summer, during the midday hours are peak times for Jadera bug activity. These red and black insects can be found swarming in yards where golden rain trees are present. The insects don’t actually cause any damage to the tree or structures. They don’t bite or sting either. But, they will stain your clothes and carpet if you happen to squash them accidentally.

They can also become a nuisance due to their population. It only takes one large golden rain tree to create a Jadera Bug Infestation.

Jadera bugs will crawl into houses, onto cars, through carports, across shoes, and pretty much every other place in the immediate vicinity of the golden rain tree – even further, if wind scatters the seed pods further.

We have had many calls recently from customers inquiring about this red and black bug because it often occurs in huge numbers in yards a golden rain tree is growing.  This bug is even referred to as “The Golden Raintree” bug because of their association with this particular tree.

The Jadera Bug doesn’t have a scent and there are no particular peak times from month to month but, in our area, they usually appear in spring with the Golden Rain Tree is dropping seeds.

These insects are more of a nuisance than a true pest problem. Controlling them is not always necessary unless the numbers are overwhelming.

As mentioned above, the Jadera bug does not sting or bite people or cause structural damage but it will stain your clothes and carpet. So, if you can…try to ignore them and simply enjoy this natural phenomenon that occurs once a year.

Bed Bug Infestation

Bed Bug Infestation

Beware of bed bugs when you travel

Bed bugs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Just looking at bed bugs is enough to get your skin crawling, but these creepy bugs can hitch a ride to your home faster than you can imagine.

George Richardson, Technical Director for Peninsular Pest Control, suggests that travelers keep all of their items in their luggage. Keep the luggage off the floor and in the bathroom, if at all reasonable.

He suggest that you check sheets and mattresses for small brown spots because that’s the trail bed bugs tend to leave.

“Any crack that the bed bugs can get in, they will do so in your home.” Richardson says. “One female can lay up to 12 eggs a day.” Richardson says that “bed bugs aren’t just attracted to furniture or other belongings, they’re also attracted to people. In fact, bed bugs like to be within eight feet of people.”

So if you come across a bed bug infestation, Richardson suggests putting all of your items in a clear plastic bag like so you can see the bugs.

He recommends that you wash clothes in hot water and place them in the dryer. It takes temperatures over 110 degrees to kill the bed bugs. And if you’re bitten, use an anti-itch cream If you have any questions about bed bugs and how to dispose of them, contact a professional.

Bed Bugs and Insects and Weeds, well they aren’t nice… but WE ARE!

At Peninsular our well trained Critter Gitters kill ‘em with kindness. Meaning we take care of your unwelcomed guests and lawn troubles, and always do it with a smile and with pride. If we can help with the extras, we will. If we get the chance to say hello, we will. We guarantee our services and we’ve been doing it this way in Northeast Florida and the Jacksonville FL area since 1954.