How Do You Know If You Have Lice?

Lice are tiny insects that live in the hair and skin of humans. Although they are very small, lice are visible with the naked eye. Lice have several variations including head and pubic. Head lice are the most common variety. This type of lice is easily transmittable from human to human. Lice can live on the human scalp and hair up to 30 days, and their eggs, or nits, can live upwards of 2 weeks. In order to protect yourself against lice, there are steps you can take to avoid lice infestation.

Head lice are spread by being in close proximity with other people who have lice. Lice are not an indicator of poor hygiene or social status as anyone is susceptible to an infestation once contact has been made. School age children are the group with the highest incidence of lice reports. To avoid getting lice, do not share hats, hair brushes, combs or hair accessories with others who may have lice. Also, avoid contact with sheets, bedding or towels of someone who has lice.

Signs You Have Lice

Common symptoms of being infected with lice include intense itching of the hair and scalp, small red bumps on the scalp, neck and back, and pearly white specks on the hair shaft or scalp that are difficult to remove. Any one, or all, of these symptoms signifies that lice may be to blame. In order to be certain, part the hair and look for physical signs of lice, namely, their eggs.

If you suspect that you have a problem, there are a few ways to get rid of lice. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of lice is by shaving the hair completely and thoroughly cleaning any items that may have come in contact with the lice. Secondly, rinsing the hair with a shampoo containing 1% permethrin will kill the lice. However, the eggs must still be removed. This special shampoo is available over the counter at any drug store.

Lice are easily treatable despite the temporary discomfort they cause. However, if caught early, lice can be eradicated with minimal disruption to everyday life. By following the simple steps above, lice are preventable.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels

Squirrels are cute in the wild, but if one or more gets into your house, their cuteness factor tends to decrease exponentially. If squirrels set up home in your house – generally in places such as attics – just the noise that they make while running around making their nests is enough to drive people to insanity, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of their nuisance factor.

Squirrels also have a tendency to chew through electrical cables, often resulting in their own electrocution, which can cause a potential fire risk, or at the very least then leaves you with the cost of hiring an electrician to fix the damage they have caused, as well as clearing up fried squirrel. Squirrels can also carry fleas and ticks which, if you have pets, can be easily transferred to them also.

Worst of all, squirrels are prone to urinating and defecating everywhere and anywhere they please, resulting in unpleasant smells in the home and even potential health risks to you and your family. In other words, once squirrels get into your home, the first thing you want to do is get rid of them. Quickly.


Several Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels

Fortunately, there are various ways to safely and quickly get rid of squirrel problems.

The best ways to get rid of these unwanted visitors are generally considered to be:

  • Trapping
  • Repellants
  • Exclusion
  • Prevention


Trapping squirrels is one of your best options.  There are small steel cages specifically designed for the purposes of trapping squirrels within.  You set them out with some bait, and you are sure to attract the critters.

When you trap them they are still safe and healthy and then you can let them go elsewhere. This is certainly one of the more humane ways to deal with a squirrel problem.


Repellants are commonly used to chase squirrels away and put them off returning to your property.  They tend to be simple to implement and are effective.

There are several custom squirrel repellants on the market. Many use hot peppers – ground white, black and red – as ingredients, while others rely on predator urine to scare the squirrels away. Spray, sprinkle or hang these repellants around your home, in flower beds, etc. You can usually find a decent selection at gardening and hardware shops. Take a trip around your local area and see what you can find.

These days, with all the talk surrounding green and organic products, you can even find squirrel repellant products that are completely natural. Check the label and make sure all the ingredients listed are natural. Basically if there are words you can’t pronounce, you can pretty much guarantee they are not natural.


The goal of exclusion is to find and close all possible entry points to your home.  This can include the chimney, window wells, attic access pointes, etc.  Anywhere or anything that would give them access to your home.   Pay particular attention to attic vents and roof based access points you may not usually consider.  For a squirrel, it’s not problem to get up there.


If you start to find squirrels poking around your yard, you need to take a second to look around and see what they are after.  Squirrels are going to be attracted by easy access to food.  Bird feeders, outside pet food, etc. Easy access to food around your house (and sometimes even inside your house) are going to attract them and keep them coming back for more.  Take the time to remove any tempting treats you may have inadvertently left out.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that squirrels are most active during the day. In other words, it is best to set up any traps or repellants you plan to use during the nighttime.

And if all else fails and you find you are in over your head, you may need to call in a professional company. They have the heavy duty equipment and proper supplies to take care of the problem.  This is especially true if you’ve had a large infestation, and they’ve left a huge mess.  A professional company will have the cleanup equipment and proper chemicals to deodorize and sanitize the excrement left behind from squirrels.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are sneaky. They come out at night, and sneak away during the day, leaving people wondering if they could be dealing with a bedbug infestation or another pest. They are plenty of other warning signs but but none as definate as tracking down the actual bug. If you are wondering what bedbugs actually look like then read on.

Physical Characteristics of Bed Bugs

Adult bedbugs are flattened, and reddish brown in color. They are oval in shape and do not have any wings. They have a banded appearance and they have hair on there bodies that are not visible to the naked eye, but is noticeable through a microscope.

Bed bugs that are newly hatched are lighter in color and as they age and molt, they get browner and bigger.

Female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Bed bug eggs appear milky white in color.

How Big Are Bed Bugs?

Adult bedbugs can grow to be 4-5mm in length and 1.5-3mm wide.

Sometimes that get mistaken for carpet beetles, or booklice. Bedbugs are not that hard to spot to the naked eye, you just have to look closely.

Myth: It’s commonly believed that bed bugs can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Fact: Bed bugs are small, but not that small. They and their eggs can be clearly seen without needing any magnification equipment.

Where to Find Bed Bugs

Bedbugs are only active when you go to bed, so usually night time. They are attracted to carbon dioxide and warmth. You cannot feel the bite of a bedbug once you are bitten. In fact, you cannot feel nothing at all. One feeding can last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. After feeding they return to where they came from to digest their meal.

They like out of the way places, like along floor boards, between couch cussins and along seams. If you are getting bitten, check around your bed and mattress closely. Even if you don’t find them, they tend to leave behind signs of bed bug activity. They are small in size but the reddish brown color makes them more noticeable on light colored bedding and carpet. And after feeding

Hobo Spiders 101

Scientific Name: Tegenaria agrestis

Why call them hobos? Because they hitched a ride some time ago and settled in America. Hobo spiders are native in Europe. They didn’t come to America through Ellis Island or the Port of New York. They landed in Seattle.

Maybe hobo spiders came to Seattle as eggs; maybe just one sac of eggs attached to one pallet. More likely, thousands of egg sacs on hundreds of pallets. Or maybe, a nest of the spiders. In any event they have spread from the Port of Seattle through almost all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and into Utah. These partially documented aliens can’t be deported and they appear to have social security.

Where Hobo Spiders Live

In Europe hobo spiders are found in the fields, seldom in houses. In America they have become urban dwellers, an interesting adaptation. However, the American experience is not fully indoors. Here hobo spiders commonly are found in gardens and yards, as well as near house foundations and basements.

What do Hobo Spiders Look Like?

Hobo spiders are large. The body, thorax and abdomen, may be one half inch or more. The long legs extend so that the spider would encompass a silver dollar. The legs have a light color and the body is a little darker.

How Big are Hobo Spiders?

The average size of a mature Hobo Spider is approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, with a leg span of 1.5 inches.

Hobo Spider Webs

Classified as funnel web weavers, hobo spiders weave a layered web which has a funnel-like lair at the rear where the spider waits for its prey. The web is not sticky, but is a “trip web” which traps the insect prey that is unable cope with the surface. The funnel web weavers, including the hobo spider are noted for rapid movement. When the web shakes, they get to the prey quickly.

Hobo Spider Bites and Effects

Why Hobo Spiders Bite

The eyesight of hobo spiders may not be keen. The spider won’t be able to distinguish among humans well enough to know they may not need to be on the defensive. In other words, the hobo spider will assume he is being attacked and he will fight back with the only weapon he has, venom. About half of the bites of hobo spiders on humans will be “dry” bites which are harmless.

The Effects of a Hobo Spider Bite

The venom of hobo spiders will have local effects, a large area of redness around the site of the bite. This usually disappears a few hours after the bite, much like a mosquito bite. However, within 24 to 48 hours from the bite, there may develop some blistering at the bite site. In another 24 hours such a blister may burst to give an open ulceration. Within a few days a scab will appear over the lesion. After about three weeks the scab will slough off and the lesion generally heals, leaving a scar. When the bite is delivered to fatty tissue, the local lesion may be deep and extensive and may not completely heal for two or three years.

People bitten by a hobo spider often have reason for concern. In the past few years hobo spider bites have become the number one spider-inflicted medical problem in America. This, even though their range is only in the Northwest part of the country. For this reason, care should be taken by people working in such places as a dark basement or the crawl space under a dwelling. Be especially cautious during the late Summer.

Protecting Yourself Against Bites

Good practice includes full body coverage whenever entering the hobo spider might consider their own domain. Tuck the pants into the stockings. Wear gloves with long sleeves tucked into the gloves. Leave few, if any, crevices where a spider can invade the area between the body and the clothing. A trapped hobo spider might inflict numerous bites as it tries desperately to escape from a threatening entrapment.

The Hobo Spider Life Cycle

The Hobo spider life cycle may be one year; it may be two; this is subject to argument among the experts.

When a Hobo spider reaches its full adult size in June the males and females spend the Summer preparing for egg laying and fertilization in the Fall. The eggs from a female will be deposited in one to four egg cases in late September or October. These egg cases are layers of silk intermingled with layers of soil and debris. They are usually attached to the undersides of rocks or other items found in yards or gardens. Each case may contain 100 or more eggs. Usually, they are not in human living quarters, although they may be in the crawl space under a house. By the time the eggs are secured, there are very few males around, indicating that they die soon after fertilizing the eggs. Who knows, they may be eaten by the females, like the black widow spiders, but this has never been observed.

The eggs hatch early the following June. Since colonies studied in the summer include full grown adults mixed with juveniles, it has been assumed that there is a two year life cycle. During the last half of a summer season many of the mature males will be exploring everywhere they can to mate. This is when most of the encounters with humans take place. At such times there may be large numbers of male hobo spiders entering houses, crawl spaces and basements. There they are seen and come close to people, who are surprised by such large spiders in large numbers.

The male hobo spider will present two protuberances that vaguely resemble boxing gloves. These are not fangs or poison sacs, they are the male genitalia. The female will not have these protuberances, they will have large abdomens where the eggs are being developed. The females seldom wander into human houses.

The Signs of Bedbug Problems

The return of the dreaded Bedbug, or Cimex lectulariushas, has hit Americans by storm once again. The nasty little bug, once thought to have been an eradicated pest, finds the same comfort in our beds as we do. Identifying a potential bed bug problem is sometimes a difficult process, but the nasty little Bed Bug leaves a few clues behind to help you solve this troublesome mystery.

The First Sign: Bedbug Bites

You and your beloved family have noticed small red bumps on your bodies when you wake up in the morning and fear that you may have been feasted on by the blood sucking Bed Bug. This is a good indicator that you may have a Bed Bug problem, but you cannot rely only on these presumed Bed Bug bites, as many other environmental factors could have caused them. The first step in identifying the red marks is to examine yourself before bed, for any marks that may be there. When you awake in the morning, check for new marks. If there are any new marks, they very well could be Bed Bug bites.

Where to Look for Bedbugs

So now you really think you have Bedbugs and you are thinking about calling a professional exterminator. You don’t want to spend all of your money on one quite yet, so now you search your bedrooms and under the mattresses to find the pesky little parasites. The only problem now is that you can’t find them!

The Second Sign: Feces

Bed Bugs are very sneaky and nearly impossible to locate by sight, so you need to locate the traces they leave behind, and anything that eats, poops! Bedbugs leave traces of feces in the places they inhabit which may leave your beds and boxsprings speckled a rusty brown. Taking a damp rag to the fabric can help identify this speckling as the fecal droppings of the filthy Cimex. If it is indeed Bedbug feces speckling the bed, it will smear with a quick swipe of your rag. Now would be a good time to call the exterminator, but beware the Bed Bug isn’t as easily eradicated as their predecessors and have become immune to several pest control chemicals, so finding an exterminator that specializes in Bed Bug removal, is very important.

Silverfish Life Cycle

Silverfish don’t reproduce particularly quickly, but they live a long time, between two and eight years, so over time an infestation can grow to be significant. In this article we’re going to examine the reproductive cycle of the silverfish.

The Mating Ritual

Silverfish have an elaborate mating ritual that involves three steps. In the first step the male and female silverfish stand head to head, facing each other, their wiggling antennae touching. During this time the two silverfish repeatedly retreat from each other and then return to their former position. Once this first stage is the over the male runs away and the female chases after. The third stage occurs when the female catches the male. Once the female has caught the male, the two silverfish stand head to tail, side by side, while the male vibrates his tail against the female.

This mating ritual can last for up to 30 minutes.

Silverfish Reproduction

Once the mating ritual is complete the male lays his spermatophore next to the female. The female then takes the spermatophore into her ovipositior and fertilizes the eggs. Once the eggs have been fertilized the female deposits the eggs into the protection of a small crevice. The female can lay up to 50 eggs at one time. The eggs are whitish, oval shaped, and about 0.8 millimeters in length. It takes the eggs between two weeks and two months for them to hatch.

Silverfish Nymph Physical Characteristics

When insects are first hatched, they are referred to as nymphs. Nymphs are the immature form of the adult species. Silverfish nymphs look much like adult silverfish except they are whitish in color. As the silverfish under molts, their exoskeleton begins to change color. They gradually shift from whitish to a darker grey with a metallic shine. It takes silverfish nymphs anywhere from three months to three years to become an adult silverfish. During their lifetime silverfish can undergo 17 to 66 molts. Silverfish are unusual in that they continue to molt even after they have first mated.

Adult Silverfish Physical Characteristics

Silverfish are small carrot or tear shaped insects. They are gray-brown to silver-blue colored, and are completely wingless. The reason this insects are called silverfish is because of their coloring as well as the fish like shape of their bodies and their fishlike movement. Silverfish are extremely quick runners for short distances and their swift, fluid like movement is reminiscent of swimming fish. Adult silverfish range in size from a half an inch to about one inch in length. They have one set of compound eyes and one set of long wiggling antennae.

What do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bedbugs are small insects that, along with the rest of their insect family, live by feeding on blood from warm-blooded animals. They have been infesting humans for thousands of years but were, for the most part, wiped out. Starting in the mid 1990’s they began showing up in increasing numbers again and may be due to less careful measures of prevention. They were for the most part eradicated in the 1940’s and in the following 50 years people thought less and less about them. They are active at night for the most part and are able to feed without being noticed by their host.

Many people deal with bedbugs in their home or apartment on a constant basis. These tiny insects are actually attracted to the upholstery in a home and will multiply and reproduce very quickly. In simple terms, a small infestation can turn into a large problem within just a matter of days or weeks. It is thought that bedbugs are attracted to dirty environments, however, it’s not uncommon for an apartment to get bedbugs because their neighboring tenant has them. Bedbugs are often an annoying and widespread problem in apartment complexes.

Physical Characteristics of Bed Bugs

They are flat with an oval body in a light to reddish brown. They do not have wings and almost appear to have stripes across their backs and this is caused by rowes of tiny hairs. The mouthparts consist of two tubes, on to inject saliva that aids in keeping the blood from clotting, and the other used to suck up blood. They can feed in five minutes and will then return to their hiding place. They do not have to eat every day and have been known to survive a year without food. It can have nesting and hiding places almost anywhere and are sometimes called the wall louse.

What Bedbug Bites Look Like

The bites cause different problems for different people and can show up as rashes, blisters, or just a red blotchy look. In some cases, the person fed on shows no signs at all and in others their could be allergic reactions. The only way to treat this is to get rid of the Bedbugs and this is not easy. They can survive without food for a year in some cases and also enter a hibernation phase when the tempature drops too far. Dogs are now used in some cases to detect bedbugs and have a great success rate. In the end, it will take determination to put these guys out of our minds for a second time

Bedbugs are not Invisible

The common myth about bedbugs is the fact that they are invisible to the naked eye and that you need a microscope to see them. The truth of the matter is that an adult bedbug can actually be seen crawling about mattresses and furniture and this can especially be true if you have a large infestation of bedbugs. Large infestations of bedbugs can be seen very easily on the floors, upholstery, and even walls of your house and apartment. The bugs themselves are flattened and brown or red in color. They do not have wings but instead have a series of black bands on their back. Nymphs, which is the term for newly hatched bedbugs, are completely translucent and will more than likely not be seen by the naked eye because they are very small.

Where to See Bedbugs

The bedbugs themselves can often be found in the crevices of mattresses and walls because their flattened bodies allow them to squeeze into tight spots. They will often be found away from sunlight. These small but harmful bugs can be extremely hazardous to have within the home. Bedbug bites will often look like small pimples and if you have a large infestation, you may find that you can not sleep at night because the bugs are biting at all areas of your body and face. Because bedbugs multiply quickly, it’s a good idea to have a professional exterminating service come into the home in order to have the problem completely eradicated. Depending on the size of the infestation, the home or apartment may need several exterminations in order to get rid of the bedbugs completely.

Bedbugs 101

What is a Bedbug?

Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. The bedbug (Cimex lectularius) is a member of the family Cimicidae, all insects in this family feed exclusively on the blood of warm blooded animals. The name bedbug comes from the fact that this insect is mainly nocturnal and prefers to live in cracks in mattresses, box springs, bedframes, and other furniture, walls, and baseboards near places where people sleep.

Bedbugs have many other names including wall louse, mahogany flat, crimson rambler, heavy dragoon and redcoat. Many of these names come from the reddish-brown coloring and flattened oval shape of these insects. These wingless insects grow to be 5-7 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide.

Feeding Habits

Bedbugs are attracted to their targets by three things: carbon dioxide, warmth, and certain chemicals. Bedbugs have two hollow feeding tubes. One tube injects the victim with its saliva that contains anticoagulants, which keep the blood from clotting, and anesthetics, which causes numbness, while the second tube extracts the blood. Because of the anesthetics the actual bite is not felt. Bedbugs feed for about five minutes before retreating back to its hiding place. Although bedbugs like to feed approximately every five days, they can survive for a year or longer without feeding.

Resurgence of Bedbugs

Bedbugs have been largely eliminated in the developed world since the 1940’s and 1950 with the use of DDT’s but these pests made a big comeback in 1980’s and 1990’s.

The resurgence of bedbugs in developed countries has been attributed to the rise in foreign travel and immigration, the increase of second hand furniture, as well as greater resistance to pesticides.

Bedbugs can be found in both dirty and clean environments, meaning any bed, no matter how sanitary, is not immune to an infestation of bedbugs. Crowded living quarters with a high rate of guest turnover makes motels, hostels, and even high end hotels particularly susceptible to bedbug infestation. Just one bedbug hitching a ride on a piece of clothing or in a suitcase can create an infestation.