Black Widow Spider Pictures

The while it isn’t aggressive, the black widow spider still makes people uneasy.  It’s powerful venom is enough to give most people pause.

The following are pictures of the black widow spider.  They show the distinct black body shape and the red hourglass shape on the bottom of the spider.  These black widow spider pictures include male and female spiders and should help you identify them correctly.

Click on any of the pictures below to get a larger view.

Pictures of the Female Black Widow Spider

The female black widow spiders cary the distinctly black body with the red markings underneath.  Note: coloration and markings vary slightly by region.  The black widow images below are for the North American spider.

female-black-widow-top female-black-widow-bottom black-widow-bottom-hourglass black-widow-spider

Pictures of the Male Black Widow Spider

As the images below show, the male black widow spider tends to be lighter colored and smaller then the female.

Male Black Widow Male Black Widow (underside) Light Colored Male Black Widow

Common Sense Termite Prevention Tips

Purchasing a home is a big step in life, and when a new home is purchased this becomes a way for you and your family to express one another. As with anything else that’s good, there are a number of things that can ruin your home and a termite infestation is a big one. Termites can slowly take over the control of a home, and it can take up to five years before the damaged caused by termites is even noticed and that is often too late to save a home.

Watching for Signs of Termite Activity

The first way to prevent termites is to inspect inside and around your home for the evidence that termites are there. Termites can be difficult to find so it’s best to patient when starting your search. The best place to start looking is in the basement. Take the butt end of a screw driver and begin to tap any wood that you see in that area such as walls, floors, and ceiling joists. If you notice that some of the wood you are tapping on is hollow, this could possible indicate a problem, and definitely needs further looking into.

Sealing Holes and Using Termite Screens

If you have looked further into what you discovered in the basement and turns out that you have termites here are a few tricks to keeping new ones out and getting rid of the old ones. The first step is to begin by caulking the outside of your home if you notice any cracks or holes where termites can possibly get in. Use termite screens around holes located around sinks and faucets where piping is coming into your home, termites love water so these are primarily places where they enter the home.

Get Rid of Loose Wood Debris

Next get rid of any wood or debris lying around your home or yard. Termites feed on wood and letting this lay around will keep them in your yard. If you have a fire place and keep a wood pile close to your home, just elevate it off the ground a couple of inches in order to keep termites from getting into the firewood that you will be bringing into your home.

Keep the Area Around Your Home Dry

Also keep things as dry as possible. Termites like to hang out in dark, damp places and need moisture to survive. Keep a check for leaks underneath faucets and around water spickets because leaks can attract termites to your home. When watering plants around the home, make sure you aren’t spraying water onto anything that is wood or anything a termite would consider a tasty meal. Always keep your gutters clean. Water and debris often collecting these and can be a huge feeding ground for termites.

What to Do If You Find Termites

There are also a number of different sprays and fertilizers that you can put in your yard to keep termites out of your yard if you notice that your termite infestation isn’t diminishing with all of these tricks. Always keep an eye on the place termites can enter the home, and check around your home for the possible invasion of termites before they do serious damage to your home and cost you and your family lots of money.

Termite Detection and Control with Termite Stakes

In areas that are susceptible to termite activity, proactive measures need to be taken so you can identify termite activity quickly and early.  Before you experience difficulty with termites or even an infestation, termite stakes should be considered as an early warning detection and control method.

How Do Termite Stakes Help You Find Termite Activity?

A Termite StakeTermite stakes are hollow plastic stakes that are placed at intervals around the perimeter of a home and around the yard.  When termite stakes are first placed, they are filled with a removable wood block core. This wood helps monitor for the presence of termites.  As termites dig along, they will run into one or more the termite stakes.  You will have to place a number of them around the yard to make sure the termites find them.

WA Termite Stakehen they termite encounter a termite stake, they will start eating the wood inside.

And that’s how you find them!  You monitor the stakes for any wood that has been partially eaten away. And that will help you notice related termite activity.

It should be noted, that to be effective the stakes have to be monitored and checkered regularly to see if there has been any termite activity.

Termite Stake Placement

Termite Stake PlacementThe stakes are placed around the home to form a type of perimeter.

Usually, 10 to 20 will be needed around most homes.  Larger homes will obviously need more and smaller homes may be able to get a way with fewer (although that’s not really recommended).

After you have a good perimeter, extra stakes can also be placed strategically around the yard to help give additional range to your termite detection.

How Do Termite Stakes Kill Termites?

Once you find any termite damage to the wood in your termite stakes, you move from detection to elimination mode.  The wood in the termite stake is replaced with a wood block treated with termiticides or insect growth regulators.  These are slow acting pesticides that do not kill a termite immediately.  A termite worker will gather the chemicals in the stake will take them back to their colony, just like they wood any other wood.  As the worker feeds the wood to the other colony members, they too become infected with the chemicals and eventually the entire colony will be killed. If insect growth regulators are used inside the stakes, this will cause abnormal development within the termites which will kill them over time.

The benefit to this method of termite control, is that it can kill the entire colony.  The slow acting poisons make sure that the termicides spread to all the members of the colony, most importantly the queen termite.

When Will Termite Stakes NOT Help?

If you already have a termite infestation in your home, termite stakes won’t help you.  Termite stakes are designed to help you deal with termites finding their way into your home, but once they are already there, placing stakes won’t kill them.  Termites that have already found a major source of food won’t be building as many exploratory tunnels, so they are less likely to find the stakes.

Continuing Use After the Problem

Many times when you have had a termite problem in the past and already taken care of them, termite stakes can still be used afterward as an ongoing preventative measure. You will want to keep you termite stakes in place to help detect any future termite activity.  This lets you know it is time to deal with termites again of if you need to employ more effective methods of controlling the termites.  Installing termite stakes is more cost effective in preventing termites than when finding serious damage later.

Termite Stake Kits

Termite Stake KitTermite stakes can be installed by a pest control company or you can buy and install them yourself with a handy Termite Stake Kit. One popular kind is The Termite Home Defense System made by Terminate and sold under the brand Spectracide within lawn and garden insecticides. This is sold in boxes with 20, 40 or 60 stakes in each box. What type boxes you need will depend on the square footage being treated. Termite stakes are easy and cheap to buy online.

Some termite stake kits are rather fancy and include a ground drill and alert of termite activity with a popup indicator if there is termite activity.

Termite bait systems generally run around $75, for a kit with 20 stakes in it.

The success of termite baiting and stakes requires careful installing, monitoring and replenishment of bait. Ongoing monitoring will also be needed of the entire structure. With proper and efficient preventative measures, termites can be stopped with termite stakes before they are able to do any damage.

Terminate Termite Stake Kit

The stakes have to be monitored and checkered regularly to see if there has been any termite activity.

Termite Mud Tubes

Termite mud tubes are a clear sign that subterranean termites have established an infestation. Termite mud tubes are often found under crawl spaces and in basements of infested homes. These tubes are protective tunnels termites use to travel from below ground into the wooden structure they have begun to infest. This tubing usually starts from the ground as a single tunnel and branches outward into multiple tubes as it climbs the basement wall. This hollow tube is built by the termites out of mud, feces and saliva. Subterranean termites maintain their colonies underground and use these tubes as access points to reach the wood they are using as a food source.

A Termite Mud TubeA tube can be broken to determine if there is an active termite presence in the tubing. Inactive tubes are dry, brittle, and break easily. Termites will also repair the broken sections of tubing if it is actively used. Mud tubing indicates an active infestation; however, the absence of mud tubes is not an accurate determination of whether a structure is infested. Tubes can be hidden from view in cracks or behind siding. Structures should always be inspected regularly, but if a mud tube is located, immediate professional inspection is highly recommended.

What are Termite Inspections?

Termite inspections are carried out for residences and businesses to insure that there are no termites present on the property. The inspections are carried out on a regular basis so that the termite damage can be caught as early as possible. The inspection is a complete inspection of the entire property around where termites like to reside the most.

What do inspectors check?

Inspectors check for termite damage on all wood surfaces under and above the house. Basements are popular places for termites to reside, so they are checked as well. All walls of the exterior of the house are checked as well as underneath a house. Pier and beam foundation houses are some of the most susceptible houses to termites because of all the wood foundations.

How often should a termite inspection occur?

Depending on the area, inspections should occur anywhere between once and year and once every five years. It is important to have frequent inspections so that the damage done to the house and foundation is minimal so that the cost of repair, if necessary, will not be extreme. If you have had termites before, and treated them, it might be a good idea to get an inspection six months after the treatment to make sure everything worked properly.

How much do they cost?

Termite inspection cost varies with the size of the property and where the home is located. The average cost for an inspection is anywhere between $100 and $200. This fee covers the inspection, the report, the cost of labor, transportation, and any other fees associated with the inspection. Of course if termites are found, then the cost to get rid of them is much higher. A termite treatment program often costs over $4000. This is why it is a good idea to have frequent inspections to avoid even larger treatment costs.

Is there a time of year that is better than others?

Termites are more active during temperatures that are above 50 degrees. Usually they move to new places during the spring. The best time to get a termite inspection is late spring or early summer. This is the time that the termites are likely to be the most active. If you live in a termite prone area, then having a termite inspection in the fall and having another in the spring is the best way to stay clean.

What are Body Lice

Besides just living in your hair, lice can  also find ways to inhabit the clothing you wear.

Body Lice Live in ClothesIf the clothing is worn repeatedly without washing, it might be the ideal place for nits to hatch and the louse larvae to mature. If a living human, ready to furnish blood, is putting on the same clothes day after day, the louse has a built-in life of ease.

So dealing with body lice is really just an issue of hygiene.  Simply washing your clothing and bedding regularly you can completely avoid the problem.

The Head Lice Life Cycle

The life cycle of lice have 3 distinct stages: egg, nymph and adult.

Lice Eggs (Nits)

Lice eggs are called nits (hence the term, nit picking). The are small (0.8mm by 0.3mm), oval shaped and ussually a yellowish white.  Their small size makes them hard to see, and many times they are confused for dandruff.

When the nits are laid by the female louse they are ‘cemented’ to the base of a shaft of hair.  This securely holds the egg in place. Nits are usually found attached within 6mm of the scalp.

The nits take about a week to hatch (between 6 and 9 days).

Nymphs

When a nit hatches it releases a nymph.  The remaining egg shell becomes easier to see as it turns a dull yellow.  It still remains attached to the hair shaft.

Nymphs look very similar to adult lice, just smaller.  They are about the size of a pinhead.

Over a 7 day period after hatching the nymphs will mature and molt 3 times, after which time they are considered adults.

Adults

An adult louse is about the same size as a sesame seed.  Each of their 6 legs has claws that are specialty adapted to grab and hold hairs.  Adult lice will be a tan to grayish-white color.  Interestingly, in individuals with darker hair, the adult louse will appear darker.  Female lice tend to be larger then the males and can lay up to 8 nits a day.

Adult lice live for up to 30 days.

Information Source: US Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The Head Lice Lifecycle

Having lice problems?  Check out our handy guide to get rid of lice.

How to Get Rid of Lice

A Nit Lice Egg attached to a HairGetting rid of lice requires determination, equipment, and concerted effort. You probably will need some help, at least for the hair lice. Find some sympathetic soul who has the time to do a thorough job in helping you.

First get rid of the nits. If you soak the scalp with dish detergent it will loosen the cement that holds the nits to the hair.

Then with a metal nit brush, obtainable at the pharmacy, carefully go over all the hair next to the scalp, thoroughly removing all the nits. Expect that you do not see them all and cover all the scalp. If the hair is thick, repeat the whole procedure.

Nit CombThen, use a preparation that will kill all of the living lice left behind in the nit cleaning process. Clean up all the places where you have put your head and hair such as pillows and other bedding, hats and scarves and regular clothing. Thoroughly launder all such items. Use the louse-killing preparation in all of these places. It is hard to be too thorough.

A week later, repeat the entire procedure. This may do the job, but don’t be too sure. Keep careful watch for tell-tell signs that you didn’t get all the lice. If they show up again, repeat the two week treatment.

Closeup Lice Pictures

Lice PicturesThe following are closeup lice pictures.

While no one really likes to look at pictures of lice, these should help you identify lice eggs (called nits) and the actual louse itself so you can better deal with them.

A Nit (a lice egg)

This picture shows a nit attached to a hair.

A Nit (a lice egg)

Adult Lice

The following picture of lice shows an adult louse in someones hair.

Pictures of Lice

And another picture showing lice at different stages of age.

Lice Closeup

Lice: Questions and Answers

What do the Lice Eat?

Lice feed off small quantities of the blood of their host.  This feeding causes the itching sensation.  Adult lice need to feed several times a day.

If a louse gets separated (falls off, gets knocked off) from their host they can only survive a day or two before they die.

So Where do You Find Lice?

Pretty much anywhere.  Head lice infestations are common and can occur anywhere in the world.  Lice are a particular problem among preschool and elementary aged children (age 3 – 11).