Pest library

Find out More about the Insects that are bothering you

Please explore the tabs below to learn more about pests common to our service area.

Bed bugs like to travel and are “hitchhikers” extraordinaire!  They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures, and can hide behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, even wall paper. They typically come out at night for a blood meal.

Bed Bugs feed only on blood, usually from mammals or birds. Their life cycle, under good conditions, takes 4-5 weeks. They attach their small pearly-whitish eggs to surfaces, usually in crevices (harborages) where the bugs hide in loose groups or clusters. A female may lay 200 – 500 eggs in her lifetime. These bugs will often produce a series of bites in “rows,” or fairly straight lines, usually along an edge beside an item of clothing or a bed sheet which was lying against their human host’s skin at the time the bugs fed. Bed bugs give off a distinctive, “musty, sweetish” odor, which may be obvious to many humans’ sense of smell, where a number of bugs have congregated in a shared harborage. Fewer than 50 adult bugs (based on actual collected specimens), along with their offspring, present for no more than a few weeks, have been observed to produce such a detectable odor. They routinely deposit partially digested remnants of prior blood meals in their hiding places, as a “rusty” or tarry residue.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions recommends traditional spray treatments to our customers for bed bug infestations. It represents the  best value as it is more affordable compared to alternative heat treatments and “super sniffer” dog services and eliminates the bed bugs.

There is a lot that goes into a successful series of treatments (3) so please call our office for a free consultation and preparation information.

Prevention:

Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots. When traveling, remember to vacuum suitcases after returning home. Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control services to address an infestation.

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Size ranges from one-fourth inch for a worker ant to up to three-fourths inch for a queen in the most common species.

Carpenter ants range from red to black in color and build nests in deteriorating, moist wood; often the colony will extend its nest into adjacent, sound wood.  They are commonly found in porch pillars and roofs, window sills, telephone poles, live and dead trees, rotting logs and stumps and wood in contact with soil. Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.

All species of carpenter ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. Ants will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.

Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions carpenter ant treatments come with a full 6 month warranty. Our exterminators will perform an exterior perimeter treatment along with an interior treatment focused on common carpenter ant entry points and suspect areas with moisture issues. We ask that you be out of your home for a four hour period from the time we arrive. This allows the treatment to dry completely before your return. Remove items from your kitchen and bathroom lower cabinets. Additionally, access to the bedroom and living area room perimeters is important. With the exception of furniture, please move stored items away from the walls. Contact our office for full preparation details.

Prevention:

Because carpenter ants require a water source, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house.

Blood feeding arthropods like the Common Flea are of great concern to the public not only because of their [BO1] annoying and often painful bites, but more importantly because many are vectors of pathogens.

 
  • More than 2,400 species exist worldwide
  • Attracted to animals by body heat, movement and the carbon dioxide that animals exhale
  • Adults feed on blood; larvae feed on organic debris
  • Found on cats and dogs year-round, but most common during warm and humid weather
  • Life span on dogs is typically more than 100 days, enough time for a pair of fleas and their descendants to produce millions of offspring. Under ideal conditions, assuming no mortality, a pair of fleas has the potential to produce more than 20 trillion descendants in one year
  • Found on opossums, rats, other rodents and humans
  • Can transmit tapeworms from dogs and rodents to other animals and humans
  • Can jump up to 150 times the length of their body
  • Transmit several major human diseases including plague, murine typhus, Bartonellosis and tape worms

Fleas’ smooth, round eggs are laid directly in the host’s fur or hair. They are not sticky, so they tend to fall down to the host’s bedding or onto nearby surfaces as soon as that host moves or shakes very much at all. That causes the eggs to accumulate wherever their hosts rest or along paths those hosts routinely travel.

Common flea eggs can often be found in cracks or crevices in  floors or near the base of the fibers of any rug-like material.  Multiple bacteria/pathogens – Allergic reactions and co-conspirator in plague transmission.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions flea treatments come with a full 90 day conditional warranty.

The conditional qualifier represents the necessary customer assistance for a successful treatment. We ask that you pick personal items up off the floor and give our Graduate tech full access to treat all the carpets and floor areas, including under furniture and beds. This can be a tall order in many homes, but is worth the effort. Once clear, floors and carpets should be vacuumed, and continued to be vacuumed every other day after treatment until the fleas are gone. Additionally, the pets need to have the appropriate topical flea product applied to them. Please speak with your veterinarian for the right choice for your pet(s). Contact our office for full preparation details. Please note that it is not unusual to need multiple treatments to rid your home of fleas. Proper preparation and pet treatment are the key to success!

Prevention:

To help prevent a Common Flea infestation, we recommend a regimen of cleaning animal areas, washing bedding in hot water, thorough sanitation improvements, along with application of  a flea & tick topical liquids or treated collar. Commonly, floors should be vacuumed and the vacuum bag discarded.

House flies and other nuisance flies are usually associated with some source of decomposing organic matter which is a nice way of saying filth. Hence, this group of flies is commonly known as “filth flies” in our industry.  Commonly associated flies in the group include: house flies, blow flies, fruit flies, drain flies and fungus gnats. If you are experiencing a problem with one of these flies, it doesn’t necessarily mean your housekeeping is suspect.  Common hidden breeding site for flies usually include behind refrigerators and stoves, leaky pipe areas, forgotten trash in garages, and recycling areas.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Residentially, most of the services Graduate Pest Solutions offers are consultative in nature.  There are some situations that require a pesticide application to eliminate a large number of flies within a structure, but most situations only need a fly identification and help finding the breeding source (filth).  Once found and sanitized, the flies usually die off and the problem will be abated.  If you are experiencing a nuisance fly problem, please contact us for a free consultation.
Commercial kitchens, restaurants and bars present special challenges due to the sheer volume of food materials and organic matter that can accumulate in various locations.  Graduate offers consultative and corrective services specially designed to manage fly populations in these facilities.  Please contact us for a free consultation.

Prevention

Good housekeeping and sanitation is your primary defense from these occasional invaders.

Ah, mice! These little invaders are one of New England’s perennial favorites. They can enter through the smallest opening and once inside, no cabinet is safe. They are able to live varied environments and as such, are fruitful and capable of multiplying exponentially. At this time in history, after man, they are the most numerous mammal on earth. So, if you battle the fall evasion each year, take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Should you find yourself in need of help this year, consider giving Graduate Pest Solutions a call and we’ll offer some helpful hints and perhaps a service.

House mice have an adult body length (nose to base of tail) of 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in) and a tail length of 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in). The weight is typically 10–25 g (0.4–0.9 oz.)  They vary in color from white to grey and light brown to black. They have short hair and a light belly. The ears and tail have little hair.

The normal gait is a run with a stride of about 4.5 cm (1.8 in), though they can jump vertically up to 45 cm (18 in).  The voice is a high-pitched squeak. House mice thrive under a variety of conditions: they are found in and around homes and commercial structures as well as in open fields and agricultural lands.

House mice can breed throughout the year and can share nests.  They prefer to live in structures, but they can live outdoors. They carry multiple bacteria and pathogens that can cause allergic reactions, particularly in children.

Prevention:

To keep mice and other rodents out, make sure all holes of larger diameter than a pencil are sealed. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a nickel.  Seal any cracks and voids. Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate will inspect the interior and exterior of your home for evidence of mice activity and their possible entry points.  We’ll make recommendations for corrective actions and treat your home to abate your mice infestation.  Graduate’s service relies on proper placement of rodenticide baits and traps.  The combination of properly placed baits and traps  will eliminate the interior nesting of mice and minimize the chance of odor problems from mice dying in the walls.

No preparation is necessary for a mice treatment.  Please give our office a call if you’d like to schedule a service.

Pavement ants get their name because they typically make their nests in or under cracks in pavement, however, they occasionally infest structures. If you are seeing small ants inside your home or business, take a look outside and check to see if there are a lot of ants adjacent to the foundation.

If so, this is usually the source of the infestation. An exterior treatment, coupled with either baiting or spraying inside, will usually rid you of these small pest ants.
These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. They are not aggressive, but can bite and sting. Pavement ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions pavement ant treatments come with a full 90 day warranty.

Preparing for a pavement ant treatment requires minimal effort. A good cleaning to remove any food attractants is always a good idea when dealing with small ants. If they are infesting your kitchen, emptying and cleaning cabinets is necessary. Don’t forget to pull out the refrigerator and stove! Once cleanup is complete, all we need is access to the infested area. We use a combination of ant bait materials and sprays to treat the interior and exterior areas as necessary. You’ll need to stay out of the spray treatment areas for up to 4 hours while the product dries. Contact our office for full preparation details.

Prevention:

This slow moving ant enters buildings through cracks in the foundation and similar openings in search of food, with greasy and sweet materials preferred. Sanitation and good home maintenance are the key to preventing pavement ants.

These little pests are most likely encountered by homeowners during the purchase and sale of their homes.  Like termites, they can do a lot of damage without ever being noticed, until one day a professional inspection is necessary and their presence is discovered.  Small holes in a wood beam along with a  fine powder appearing on the floor or in a crawlspace below are common indicators that they are at work in your home or business.  If either of  these indicators are present in your home or business, call for a free consultation and estimate.

Powder post beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood and the larvae tunnel into the surface, filling it with a very fine powder-like dust. Powder post beetles have long, narrow, flat bodies that allow them to easily attack wood surfaces. These beetles are reddish-brown in color.  There are several hundred species of powder post beetles, but fewer than 20 are widespread.

Powder post beetles can emerge from wood used in construction from one to 10 years after a structure has been built, usually in the spring. They are most likely to be found in softwoods (pine, spruce, fir) or certain hardwoods (oak, maple) frequently used for construction, including wood used in log homes, conventional homes and furniture. These beetles are attracted to lights or to windows.

Where they may burrow small, one-eighth inch round holes in wood, and larvae create channels where they have chewed their way through. There is usually a fine sawdust-like powder streaming from exit holes.

Their life expectancy is between one and two years.

Some researchers believe that powder post beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

Adult powder post beetles are very active at night, enjoy flying and are attracted to the light.

Powder post beetles often attack hardwoods, and can be found in hardwood floors, timbers and crates, antiques and other objects made of hardwood materials.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate recommends treating the infested wood with a borate material that easily penetrates the surface and is absorbed into the wood where the destructive beetle larvae are feeding.  The product kills the larvae and prevents the re-infestation of the wood.

Preparation will vary depending on the areas affected. Therefore, necessary preparation will be determined at the time of quote inspection.

Prevention:

Powder post beetles prefer wood with a high moisture content of 20% or more.  They are most commonly encountered in the basement and/or crawlspace areas of a structure.  They can be prevented with proper ventilation and/or dehumidification of these areas.  If an area of your home/building is susceptible to infestation, then vigilant inspection of wood sources may be necessary.

Norway rats are primarily nocturnal and have physical capabilities that enable them to gain entry to structures by gnawing, climbing, jumping, swimming, and other tactics. They usually become active about dusk, when they begin to seek food and water. Some individuals may be active during daylight hours when rat populations are high. Rats have poor eyesight, relying more on their hearing and their excellent senses of smell, taste, and touch. Rats use their keen sense of smell to locate food items and to recognize other rats.

Adult Norway rats weigh an average of 1 pound. Their fur is coarse and usually brownish or reddish gray on top, and whitish gray on the belly. Rats can chew through wiring, causing fires. They also spread numerous diseases.  Norway rats usually construct nests in below-ground burrows or at ground level. Nests may be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous material.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions will inspect the interior and exterior of your home for evidence of rat activity and their possible entry points. We’ll make recommendations for corrective actions and treat your home to abate your rat infestation. Graduate’s service relies on proper placement of rodenticide baits and traps. The combination of properly placed baits and traps will eliminate the interior nesting of rats and minimize the chance of odor problems from rats dying in the walls.

No preparation is necessary for treatment. Please give our office a call if you’d like to schedule a service.

The German cockroach is by far the most important and usually the most common of the cockroaches. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage, and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. German cockroaches have the potential to transmit disease, associated pathogens, and may potentially trigger allergic reactions.

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Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies, and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air. Medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions, especially in children. They were even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.

German cockroaches can be found throughout structures, but show a preference for warm and humid places. They are usually found in kitchens and secondarily in bathrooms, but infestations often occur in rooms where people eat and drink.

German cockroaches prefer to live close to sources of food and water, hence their affinity for residential and commercial kitchen environments.  These roaches prefer to live in cracks and crevices near food sources and spend 75% of their time in such harborages.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions cockroach treatments come with a full 90-day warranty when a complete building is treated. We recommend the use of insect bait materials for the treatment of cockroaches. They have a number of advantages over the traditional spray materials when applied by an experienced, certified professional. These non-repellent, odorless materials attract cockroaches rather than scatter them to other areas.   The delayed action of the active ingredient allows the foraging adults to bring the material back to nesting areas, and the immature cockroaches’ will also be affected and die.

Preparing for a treatment requires emptying the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and being prepared to leave for 4 hours. Graduate Pest Solutions will apply the bait to the cracks, crevices and cockroach nesting spaces of infested areas. Contact our office for full preparation details.

Prevention:

Good sanitation and habitat reduction, along with vacuuming, surveillance, and baiting program, and some sealing of cracks can usually help with a cockroach problem. The reduction of moisture sources, such as leaking pipes, is also helpful.

House spiders and other miscellaneous New England spiders are mostly nuisance pests that are relatively harmless.  However, the “creeps me out” effect is high!  You can make a strong case for why your home is better off with them but, nay-nay – action is required!!

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Please prepare for your Graduate Pest Solutions spider treatment by providing our service technician with access to the basement, bedroom and living area room perimeters. With the exception of furniture, please move stored items away from the walls. Contact our office for full preparation details.

Prevention

Good housekeeping is always helpful when dealing with any insect pest and so too, it is helpful with spiders. Keep boxes, old equipment and other items neatly stored on shelves, particularly in garages and basements. Clean up and dispose of trash, debris, old equipment, etc. Repair screens and maintain the weather-stripping around doors and windows. Inside the house, spiders and their webs can be eliminated by using a broom or vacuum cleaner.

Subterranean termites are small, creamy white to dark brown insects about an 1/8 inch long. They cause BILLIONS of dollars of damage to homes and commercial property in the USA every year! Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two million members. Their lifestyle is much like that of an ant, except they do it all underneath the soil’s surface. They tunnel along randomly looking for a wood to consume. Your concrete foundation is nothing more than a rock and the wood frame of your home is a fallen log in the forest. Hence, the best way to discourage termites from “picnicking” on your home is to keep the wood as far away as possible from the soil they travel in.

Once they hit a rock, i.e. your foundation, they build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They use their scissor-like jaws to eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like other termite species, subterranean termites also feed on products containing cellulose like paper and cardboard. Mature colonies of subterranean termites swarm in the spring, and these darker colored winged reproductive termites fly off to start new colonies.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

Graduate Pest Solutions offers both Liquid Termicide Treatment and the Advanced Termite Baiting System.

Graduate recommends traditional liquid treatments to our customers as long as their property, construction of the home, and customer preferences are appropriate. These treatments represent the majority of termite services we perform. They are also the best value as it is more affordable compared to a termite baiting system. It is a much better value from a long-term ownership perspective. This is because liquid treatments, when correctly done by a professional, remain effective long after the application has been completed and services have ended. The effectiveness of the baiting system ends when the service is no long being performed. Baiting systems require ongoing attention in order to be effective. Call Graduate to inspect your home and determine which service is best for you and your home.

Prevention

There are a number of ways to help prevent termites from invading your home or building:

  • Remove wood debris from crawl spaces and from under porches and decks.
  • Avoid water accumulation near your home or building’’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.
  • Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard.
  • Correct any wood-to-soil contact. The closer the wood is to the soil (6 inches or less), the more likely the termites will wander into it.  The most vulnerable areas for attack are:

• the garage door frame base
• hatchway door frame base
• wooden  basement window frames
• cellar stairs at their base, and entryways with steps that come up over the sill plate of your home

Yellow jackets receive their common name from their typical black and yellow color pattern. They are worldwide in distribution, with about 16 species occurring in the United States. Bees, hornets, and wasps are, for the most part, a very beneficial group of insects, being the major pollinators of flowering plants, helping to reduce the numbers of many insect pest species, etc. However, of the 54 reported deaths each year from arthropod bites or stings, bees, hornets, and wasps account for 30 percent.

Yellow jackets are not usually aggressive unless the nest is threatened. These insects can sting repeatedly and are also a potential health hazard. Populations can soar towards the end of summer and these insects are common pests at picnics and outside functions, seeking residual sugars left in sweetened and fermented drinks, such as soft drinks and beer.

Most of the pest species of yellow jackets are ground nesting, where their soccer ball to basketball-sized paper nests are usually suspended from overlying plant roots, logs, or landscape timbers. Yellow jackets are very slow to sting unless the nest entrance is approached and then they are quite aggressive. Each can sting a number of times, inflicting much pain. Those nesting in or on buildings are only a problem when the nest or nest entrance is disturbed.

Generally, yellow jacket nests can be in the soil or above ground. Nests have a paper coating similar to bald-faced  hornets, but the nest is not bulbous in shape and flows between voids, for example in an eave area.

Prevention:

Late spring and early summer are the best times to check for exposed nests around your property/home. They will be large enough to see and still small enough to treat or remove easily. Nests that get established in wall and ceiling voids will be harder to see/find but still easier to treat than when they are larger and have expended deep into the wall and ceiling voids. Late season wall and ceiling void nests usually require some specialized equipment and a bee suit. Sealing openings around the foundation, window frames and soffit areas of your home/property with caulking or other suitable material will help prevent void nesting by yellow jackets.

Treatment and Customer Preparation

There is no preparation necessary other than access to the nest area. Aerosols and dusts are common control materials, depending on the nest location; Graduate Pest Solutions will choose the best material for treatment.

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