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Pest Protection For Your Home As Low As $34/Month!

Chasing pests around your home can become tiring very quickly. Here at F&W Pest Control, we offer pest control plans starting at just $34/month that offer quick relief and long-term protection for your home. Call us today to learn more about our Massachusetts pest control services!

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Pest Control in Massachusetts

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Pests want to be comfortable too – and your home could be just the location they had in mind. Pests can enter homes by squeezing through small holes, crawling in through the bulkhead, or flying in through attic vents. Steps such as detecting moisture problems, screening landscape issues, and identifying possible pest entry points are your first line of defense in securing your building against a pest infestation. At F&W Pest Control, our exterminators in Massachusetts offer this service and more. Here are a few of the pests we will eradicate for you:

  • Ants
  • Wasps
  • Mice
  • Stink bugs
  • Roaches
  • Moths
  • Spider
  • Boxelder bugs
  • And more!

Compare Our Program Options

PestGuard

Most Popular

Our basic recurring pest program, protecting your home from more than 30 common pests including ants, spiders, cockroaches, rodents, and more.

$34

*Initial Fee Applies

PestGuard Plus

Most Popular

We regularly treat and protect your home against common pests PLUS complete protection from subterranean termites using the SentriconTM System with Always Active Technology.

$50

*Initial Fee Applies

PestGuard Signature

Most Popular

Our most popular package, offering protection from pests like ants, spiders, and roaches, as well as mosquito & flea coverage!

$69

*Initial Fee Applies

PestGuard Elite

Most Popular

Our most comprehensive pest package, offering complete protection from common pests, fleas, mosquitoes, and subterranean termites, using the SentriconTM System with AlwaysActive Technology.

$85

*Initial Fee Applies

$100 off Our Pest Guard Program

Our pest control in Massachusetts is a reliable source to help you maintain or regain the comfort of your property. Our Pest Guard Program covers the most commonly encountered household pests and includes regular inspections for pests not covered. No matter the situation, our expert exterminators can help by creating treatments special to your home and its conditions. Here’s what else you can expect when investing in our Massachusetts pest control:

  • A free inspection of your property provided by one of our professionals to determine the severity and type of infestation.
  • Quarterly exterior treatments that include inspections for rodent entry points, termite monitors, and more.
  • Annual interior treatments that include inspecting the attic, basement, garage, kitchen, and other areas of your home.
  • Complete transparency throughout the service. Our team will always take the time to inform you about the pest issues and how our treatments work.
  • Free call-back services for ongoing issues covered under your pest control package.

You can currently save up to $100 on our Pest Guard program! There's no need to break the bank just to feel safe in your own home.

Save $100 on pest control now!

Effective Treatment for A Variety of Pests

If you have a pest in your home, there's a good chance we've got you covered when it comes to extermination. Learn more about some of the pests we run into when treating your homes! 

Ants

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants’ common name is descriptive of these ants’ habit of raising the abdomen over the thorax and head, especially when disturbed. Various species are found throughout the United States, a few of which are common in Massachusetts.

Acrobat ant workers are1/8 inch long and the queens range up to 3/8 inch long. They are light brown to black and some species are multicolored. The thorax has 1 pair of dorsal spines. The waist (pedicel) has 2 segments (nodes) and is attached to the upper side of the gaster (large, main portion of the abdomen). The gaster is heart-shaped from above. A stinger is present but is rarely used. Workers of many species emit a repulsive odor when alarmed.

Inside structures, acrobat ants typically nest in wood which has been subjected to high moisture and fungal decay, the same wood conditions favored by carpenter ants and termites. Similarly, they will nest in rigid foam board insulation panels and in wall voids. Outside, most species nest under rocks, in logs, firewood, or trees where decay enables them to tunnel under the bark and/or into the wood. They occasionally will nest in abandoned termite and carpenter ant galleries as well as old wood borer and powderpost beetles tunnels in structural wood.

The workers readily enter structures by trailing along tree lines and utility lines as well as along the rails of connected fences and decks. They enter via cracks and utility penetrations, window frames, soffits, etc. Workers also will trail across the ground and enter via door thresholds, weep holes, and other openings or cracks. They have been found to trail over 100 feet.

Acrobat ants feed on honeydew from aphids and mealybugs which they usually tend or “herd”. They also feed on live and dead insects, including termite swarmers. Indoors they show a slight preference for sweets and high-protein foods such as meats.

When disturbed or alarmed, workers of all but the smallest colonies tend to be quite aggressive. They are quick to bite, and give off a repulsive odor.

Inspection is the key to successful control and the inspection methods are similar to those used for carpenter ants. When worker ants are found indoors, the first place to inspect is the structure’s exterior; one should look for:

  • trailing ants on the foundation
  • bits of foam board insulation which would indicate a nest behind the exterior sheathing or siding
  • trailing ants on all wires, utility lines and pipes coming into the walls
  • trailing ants on tree and shrub branches in contact with the wall
  • signs of excessive moisture such as peeling paint on wood thresholds, soffits, window frames, trim and molding

Acrobat ants that are foraging from the outside can be kept out by filling obvious cracks and crevices using silicone sealer, builder’s putty, mortar patch, etc. Tree and shrub branches should be trimmed away from the roof and walls to prevent bridging contact points.

In the yard, one should inspect logs, stumps, firewood, tree cavities, dead tree limbs, and loose bark for ant nests. Also, one should look under rocks and debris lying on the ground for ant nests. Indoors, it is important to investigate current and past areas of excessive moisture and consider past water leaks, plumbing problems, etc. A moisture meter is useful to detect areas of high moisture. Areas of old termite and carpenter ant damaged wood, if recognizable, should be checked for ant activity.

Outside, a full perimeter treatment will be applied by an F&W technician using a residual liquid insecticide. Acrobat ant nests located in structural wood will be treated by injection with residual insecticide, aerosol or dust formulations. Nests in wall voids will be treated by gaining access via electrical outlet and plumbing penetration holes and injecting a dust or aerosol insecticide. Nests located in wallboard behind siding and in structural voids will be treated using high pressure aerosol injections with non-residual and residual insecticides. If ornamental plants and shrubs are infested with aphids, scale insects or mealybugs, the customer should have these treated by an arborist or landscape care professional to discourage acrobat ants from foraging thereon.

Odorous House Ant

The pungent, rotten coconut-like odor given off when this ant is crushed gives it its name. It is a native species and is found throughout the United States.

Odorous house ant workers are 1/8 inch long and are brown to black in color. The thorax profile is unevenly rounded. The waist (pedicel) portion of the abdomen is 1-segmented (one node) and cannot be seen from above because it attaches beneath the front of the gaster. These ants do not sting or bite; however, the workers emit a disagreeable, rotten coconut-like odor when crushed.

Colonies may be comprised of several hundred to 10,000 ants. There are usually many queens in a colony. Development time (egg to adult) is 34-83 days, varying with temperature during summer months, and up to 6-7 months during the winter. Colonies typically produce 4 to 5 generations a year. Although they probably mate both inside and outside the nest, the first swarmers appear from May to mid-July. The workers and queens live for several years. Individuals from different colonies are not hostile to one another and workers normally move along trails.

Inside, these ants usually construct their nests behind siding, brick veneer and stucco, in wall voids, especially around hot water pipes and heaters, in crevices around sinks, cupboards, etc. These ants prefer sweets but also eat foods with high protein content and grease such as meats and cheese.

Outside, they are often found in the nest of larger ants, in exposed soil, but mostly under objects. Workers feed on insects, seek honeydew and plant secretions, and even feed on seeds. They are extremely fond of honeydew and attend such honeydew-excreting insects as aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs, etc. They are most likely to enter buildings when their honeydew supply is reduced such as during rainy weather or with leaf fall in the autumn.

Quickly clean up food (including pet food) and beverage spills from floors, counters, porches and decks to discourage foraging by these ants indoors and near residences/buildings. Food items should be stored in airtight containers, if possible.

Location of the nest(s) is crucial; therefore an F&W technician will strive to accomplish this by following the trail of foraging workers back from the food source. Insecticide baits and dusts will be strategically placed into the voids of outside ground-floor walls and infested interior walls.

A residual insecticide perimeter (barrier) treatment will be applied along the foundation exterior. Additional Insecticide baiting may be performed among landscaping features on the premises.

Pavement Ant

This ant gets its name from commonly locating its nest in or under cracks in pavement. The early colonist introduced pavement ants from Europe. They are found in most of the eastern half of the United States.

Pavement ant workers measure 1/8 inch long. The queens are about 3/8 inch long. Their body color is brown to black with paler legs and antennae. The head and thorax is grooved with parallel lines. The thorax has a pair of small spines facing backward from the rear portion.

The thorax profile is unevenly rounded. The waist (pedicel) of the abdomen is 2-segmented (two nodes). This ant has a stinger but seldom uses it.

Swarmer’s (winged females/queens and males) can be distinguished from other ant swarmer’s by the presence of fine furrows/grooves on the head and thorax, similar to those of the workers.

Similar ants: Acrobat ants (Crematogaster species) have the pedicel attached to the upper front surface of the gaster (plump portion of the abdomen) instead of the bottom front area of the gaster (which is the usual configuration among ants). Also, the gaster is heart-shaped. Other small dark ants (e.g. small honey ants, odorous house ants and small black carpenter ants) have only one node / segment in the pedicel (waist).

Colonies are moderately large to large (comprised of several hundred to several thousand individuals). Developmental time varies from 36-63 days. Winged reproductives appear indoors from February into early June and outside primarily in June and July.

Inside, pavement ants will occasionally nest in walls, in insulation, and under floors. The most likely place is in ground-level masonry walls of the foundation and especially near some heat source in the winter. They often follow pipes, which come through slabs for access to upper floors of buildings.

Outside, these ants typically nest under stones, in cracks in pavement, and next to buildings. They enter buildings through cracks in the slab and walls, slab expansion joints, utility and heat duct penetrations and the natural openings of buildings. Although not aggressive, workers can bite and sting.

These ants feed on almost anything including insects, honeydew, seeds, plant sap, and household foods such as meats, nuts, cheese, honey, and bread, but show a preference for meats and grease. They forage in trails, and for distances of up to 30 feet.

Quickly clean up food (including pet food) and beverage spills from floors, counters, porches and decks to discourage foraging by these ants indoors and near residences/buildings. Food items should be stored in airtight containers, if possible. Food should not be kept in workspaces, if that can be avoided.

An F&W technician will try to trace worker ants to the nest locations. A variety of residual and non-residual insecticide formulations, including baits, dusts, liquids, aerosols and granules may be employed to contaminate worker ants and reach colony sites in the ground, below slabs and inside walls. An exterior foundation perimeter (barrier) treatment will help prevent future infestation.

Comparison of winged (swarmer) ant and termite; both insects may swarm indoors in springtime (February – May) and may alarm and confuse property owners/residents.

Citronella Ants

The citronella ants get their name from the lemon verbena or citronella odor they emit when threatened. It is most noticeable when the ants are crushed. They are subterranean insects that feed on the honeydew (excretions) of aphids and mealybugs feeding on the roots of shrubs.

Both the larger and the smaller yellow ant are found throughout much of the continental United States. They are very common in the eastern United States and are frequently confused with termites when they swarm into the living areas of homes. In both species, the swarmers (winged ants) may vary in color from the more common light yellow to a dark reddish-yellow or light brown. The workers are typically yellow with less color variation than the swarmers.

Of the two species, the larger yellow ant (L. interjectus) is the most commonly encountered in Massachusetts homes (Fig. 1). The workers are 4 to 4.5 mm long and have 12-segmented antennae, with the scape (first antennal segment) just reaching the top of the head. They have a single node to the pedicel connecting the thorax and abdomen, with sparse, erect hairs on the head, thorax, and abdomen.

The swarmers are approximately twice the size of the workers and have dark, smoke-colored wings. Like the workers, they can also vary in color from a light yellow to light reddish-brown.

Other than its size (workers are 3 to 4 mm), the smaller yellow ant looks similar to the larger yellow ant.

Citronella ants should be considered only as a nuisance pest species. Normally, they go unnoticed unless the swarmers enter through expansion cracks in slabs or around door openings. Although these intrusions may alarm homeowners, the ants will not reproduce within the home nor will they attack stored goods or structures.

In some cases, swarms may occur repeatedly and attempts should be made to locate the colony or colonies. Colonies typically have mounds of soil around the openings where excavated soil is deposited. These mounds can be treated by injecting an insecticide into the holes. Although numerous insecticides are labeled for ant control, many of these can only be used by licensed individuals. Therefore, a professional from F&W Pest Control should be contacted because we can use materials not available to the general public and have access to specialized application equipment and training.

Pharaoh Ant

This ant’s common name resulted from the mistaken belief that it was one of the plagues of Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Pharaoh ants are thought to be native to the African region. Pharaoh ants are found throughout the United States and have been strongly implicated in the spread of various disease pathogens in hospital settings.

The workers are 1/16 inch long and the body is yellowish to orange, with a dark tip at the rear of the gaster (enlarged part of the abdomen). Under magnification, the antenna is 12-segmented, with a 3- segmented club. The thorax profile is unevenly rounded. The waist (abdominal pedicel) is 2-segmented (two nodes) and a stinger is present but seldom used. Queens are about 1/8 inch long and slightly darker in color than workers. Queens are produced with wings but the wings are removed soon after mating, Males are about 1/16 inch long, winged, black in color, and possess straight antenna straight, not elbowed. The males are very gnat-like in appearance.

Similar Ants: Thief ants (Solenopsis molesta) are tiny and yellow-orange like pharaoh ants but have antennae that are 10-segmented with a 2-segmented club.

The colonies tend to be large with workers numbering in the thousands to several hundred thousand. There are usually several hundred reproductive females present in such a colony. Although winged reproductives are produced, there are no flights of swarmer’s. Rather, mating takes place within the nest. New nests can be formed by “budding” with as few as 5 workers, 10 pre-adults (larvae and pupae), and one queen migrating from the original colony. Developmental time (egg to adult) for workers is about 38 days at 80° F.

Workers live about 9 to 10 weeks, with only up to 10% out foraging at any given time. Queens live 4 to 12 months, and males die about 3 to 5 weeks after mating.

These ants are of particular importance in hospitals where they will enter wounds, enter in-use IV bottles, seek moisture from the mouths of sleeping infants, etc. More than a dozen pathogenic bacteria have been found on pharaoh ants collected in hospitals.

Inside, Pharaoh ants nest in warm, humid areas near sources of food and or water. Nests are usually located in inaccessible areas such as wall voids, behind baseboards, in furniture, under floors, and between linens. Also pharaoh ants will nest in debris collected on flat roofs and those nesting inside will venture outside onto flat roofs in warm weather for water and food (dead insects). They typically enter and exit via poorly caulked and defective windows, under the flashing, and through weep holes in brick veneer.

The workers forage widely from the nest in search of food and water, and establish trails to food and water sources. They commonly use electrical and telephone wires as a highway system to travel through walls and between floors. Pharaoh ants are common problems in commercial food handling establishments such as hotels, grocery stores, hospitals, and in apartment complexes.

Outside, these ants seem to be of little importance as pests. In the temperate northern areas of the United States, they usually cannot survive outdoors year round. They have a wide preference in food, ranging from syrups to fruits, pies, meats and dead insects. They use carbohydrates primarily for maintenance; whereas protein is primarily required for larval development and egg production by the queens.

A thorough initial inspection is crucial to determine ant locations. Pre-baiting with non-toxic mint-apple jelly can help to locate ants. Outside, an inspection of the building perimeter, including thresholds and window ledges, for possible ant activity is helpful as well.

Quickly clean up food (including pet food) and beverage spills from floors, counters, porches and decks to discourage foraging by these ants indoors and near residences/buildings. Food items should be stored in airtight containers, if possible.

Do not attempt to control pharaoh ants using over the counter insecticide products because this may make the problem worse, as mentioned above. Nor should one disturb or contaminate the foraging ants or the bait stations that have been installed by the technician.

The typical use of repellent liquid or dust insecticides (versus non-repellent baits) actually makes the situation worse by causing the colony to fracture (“bud”) into several colonies. Immediately after such an application, a false sense of control is perceived during the 7 to 10 days it takes for the colonies to relocate and reorganize, because ants are not seen. Then the ants resume their foraging activity and again become visible. This cycle can be repeated many times.

Baiting is usually the only method of effective control. For this reason, F&W Pest Control technicians employ multiple strategic placements of bait stations known to be attractive and effective against pharaoh ants. Baits are located as close as possible to where the ants are entering/exiting from walls, ceiling, appliances, etc., but such that the likelihood of bait station disturbance is minimal. Technicians place baits as close to foraging lines of ants as possible without disturbing them.

If the Pharaoh ant infestation is in a multifamily building, the only way such an infestation can be eliminated is inspection and treatment of the entire building. Otherwise, ants will move from non-treated units into ant-free units.

If the ants are nesting in the ground on the outside, a perimeter barrier application utilizing a fine granular insecticide bait or residual insecticide formulation is made. Windowsills have proven to be strategic baiting zones as well. 

Field Ants

The common name of field ant probably comes from their abundance in outdoor situations. This is the largest genus of ants in America north of Mexico, containing about one-sixth of our entire ant fauna. Some species are commonly called thatching ants because of their habit of constructing a mound or thatch of plant material, often grass. They are found throughout the United States.

Field ant workers measure about 1/4 inch long and may be brown, black, reddish or a combination of these colors. The thorax profile is not evenly rounded on upper side. There is a distinct notch halfway or so along the top surface of the thorax. The waist (pedicel) of the abdomen is 1-segmented (single node). Although no stinger is present, these ants will bite and spray pungent-smelling formic acid onto the persons or animals provoking them.

Similar Ants: Carpenter ants (Camponotus species) have the upper surface of the thorax evenly rounded as observed from a side (profile) view.

Because of the size and diversity of this genus, few generalizations can be made. They exhibit such behavior as slave-making and temporary social parasitism of various kinds, and several different methods of nest construction. Colony founding is usually by a single mated female (queen). Colony size varies considerably, for example, colonies of some species have nests of about 20,000-94,000 ants.

The habits are diverse within this genus. However, most species causing problems around structures are either one of those species called thatching ants or are associated with masonry walls, concrete sidewalks, etc.

Thatching ant species construct their mound of plant materials, often grass but also twigs, leaves, and/or pine needles. Such nests are often located around small trees, shrubs, or rocks. Other Formica typically construct their nest in the cracks of sidewalks, along foundation walls, at the base of trees, etc. Field ants rarely nest in homes but occasionally enter in search of sweets.

Field and thatching ants feed primarily on honeydew from aphids (plant lice), mealy bugs, scale insects, etc. found on trees and shrubs. However, some are also general scavengers-predators and are attracted to meats.

One should quickly clean up food and beverage spills from floors, porches and decks (including pet food) to discourage foraging by these ants indoors and near residences / buildings. Field ants that occasionally enter buildings can be removed with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a hose attachment.

Trees that are infested with honeydew-producing insects can be made less attractive to foraging ants by periodically spraying the trunks with a 1 or 2% detergent solution in a 2 to 3 foot high band pattern at the base.

An F&W technician will apply a perimeter treatment with a residual insecticide to discourage structural entrance by field ants. Spot treatments using residual or bait insecticides will be made to obvious mound nests located in the ground.

Cockroaches

German Cockroach

German cockroach adults measure 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long. About half the length of the American Cockroach. They are colored tan through brown. They have wings but unlike the American Cockroach, they cannot fly.

The German Cockroach reproduces faster than any other cockroach. Development time from egg to adult is 4 months.  15 to 50 nymphs are birthed in a single reproductive cycle.

German Cockroaches prefer closed spaces. There smaller size lets them hide easily. They prefer human habitats to keep warm. 
Exercising good sanitation practices and performing thorough pest-proofing/exclusion in and around buildings will help make survival difficult for American cockroaches.

Items stored in cardboard boxes that had been kept in a building infested by American cockroaches should be removed from potentially-infested boxes, examined and replaced in clean boxes before transferal to a new site.

F&W Pest Control pest management specialists readily control American cockroaches by:

  • seeking out their harborages in buildings, tunnels and sewers and
  • removing them using pest vacuum cleaners
  • trapping them using food lure sticky monitors and
  • making strategic placements of insecticide baits and dusts

American Cockroach

American cockroach adults measure 1 3/8 to 2 inches long and are colored reddish-brown except for a sub marginal pale mask-like pattern on the pronotal shield (on the back, just behind the head). Both sexes are fully winged. These cockroaches fly only short distances in the North but are moderately good fliers in the South.

Early instar nymphs are uniformly grayish-brown on top and underneath. Later instars are reddish-brown. The kidney bean-shaped egg capsule (ootheca) is brown to black and is about 3/8 inch long.

Similar Cockroaches:
1. The adult brown cockroach (Periplaneta brunnea) is nearly identical but has shorter spike-like appendages (cerci) protruding from the backward tip of the abdomen. Brown cockroaches are much less common in buildings.
2. The Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) has pale yellow margins on the forewings and a more distinct mask-like pattern on the pronotal shield behind the head. Australian cockroaches hide in palm trees and other tropical plants trucked in from Florida to conservatories, shopping malls, zoos and other indoor plantscapes in the North.

The female American cockroach deposits or glues her egg capsule to a suitable surface, usually in a crack or crevice of high relative humidity near a food source. On the average, the female will produce about 9 to 10 egg capsules with each containing 14 to 16 eggs.

Developmental time (egg to adult) is greatly influenced by temperature, varying from less than 6 months to over 2 years. During this time, they molt 10 to 13 times. Adult American cockroaches may live from 3 months to 2 ½ years, depending on habitat.

Although American cockroaches are found in residences, they are much more common in larger commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, hospitals, etc., where they usually infest food-storage and food-preparation areas, basements, and steam tunnels. During summer months, they can be found outdoors in yards and alleys. In the United States this is the most common species found in city sewer systems.

They can enter structures by being brought in, coming up from the sewer systems via drains, or occasional mass migration from other structures, dumps, etc., during warm weather. Although they feed on many kinds of food, they show a particular fondness for fermenting and starchy foods.

Exercising good sanitation practices and performing thorough pest-proofing/exclusion in and around buildings will help make survival difficult for American cockroaches.

Items stored in cardboard boxes that had been kept in a building infested by American cockroaches should be removed from potentially-infested boxes, examined and replaced in clean boxes before transferal to a new site.

F&W Pest Control pest management specialists readily control American cockroaches by:

  • seeking out their harborages in buildings, tunnels and sewers and
  • removing them using pest vacuum cleaners
  • trapping them using food lure sticky monitors and
  • making strategic placements of insecticide baits and dusts

Spiders

Spiders are generally good to have around, as they help minimize the population of harmful insects. The problem arises, however, when they negatively affect humans. The mere sight of a spider can be a real scare for some people. Aside from that, many spiders do bite humans and are poisonous, so it is a good idea to have a pest control company address your spider infestation.

Several spiders pose a serious threat to humans. The two that are the deadliest to humans in the United States are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Since a few people die each year from the bite of either of these two spiders, it's extremely important for any person who is bitten by one of these spiders to seek treatment immediately. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

The Black Widow spider can be easily recognized because she is black with a red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen. The male is considerably smaller than the female, and he has a body up to half an inch long. The Black Widow typically remains outdoors. 

The Brown Recluse spider has a darker brown hourglass on its back. The Brown Recluse loves to be indoors and generally stays out of sight. It may never be seen until you startle it by reaching into a dark spot where it is hiding. Then it will bite.

There are plenty of other spiders in the United States, such as the Grass Spider, Wolf Spider, Hobo Spider, and the Saint Andrew's Cross Spider, just to name a few. These spiders do not have the same strong venom in their bite, but all are painful and treatment may be required.

If you have noticed spiders in your home, contact a pest management company. They will know the most effective, safest way to eliminate the spider problem, and make recommendations about keeping them away in the future.

Ticks

Preventing Ticks

Personal protection: Keep trouser legs tucked into socks or boots, shirts tucked in, and clothes buttoned. Avoid sitting on logs, stumps, or the ground in brushy areas. Periodically inspect clothing and the body for ticks to remove them before they become attached. If a tick is found attached, remove it with a slow, steady pull that will not break off the mouth parts and leave them in the skin. It is best to use fine-tip forceps whose tips are placed on or just behind the mouth parts. If a scraping device (e.g., clean putty knife, ruler, etc.) is used, draw the device firmly over the skin and against the head of the tick until it is removed. Do not put pressure on the tick’s abdomen or liquids from the tick’s body may be forced into the wound. Be sure to clean the attachment area with rubbing alcohol or other disinfectant. Liberal use of proven tick repellents is helpful, including application to clothing. Yard Prevention: Keep the grass cut to 3 inches or less; this also reduces rodent habitat. Trim back vegetation along trails, paths, and yard edges. Remove debris and ground cover to discourage rodents.

Professional Measures

Rid Your Yard Of Ticks: In heavily infested areas a F&W pest management specialist can make an application of an appropriately labeled residual pesticide. The technician will concentrate on the areas most likely to harbor ticks such as along paths, trails, property lines, fence rows and the yard- woods interface. The first application should be in the early spring to reduce the larvae and nymphs that overwintered. Removal of hosts: The reduction or elimination of rodents in the area immediately surrounding the house is helpful. This can be accomplished with the use of rodenticides and/or rodent traps placed in tamper-resistant stations and secure areas inaccessible to children and pets.

American Dog Tick

Common Name: American Dog Tick
Scientific Name: Dermacentor variabilis

This tick’s common name comes from the fact that it is only found In North America and that domestic dogs are the favorite host of the adults. Although not a structural pest, it is commonly found on dogs and readily attacks humans. It is of medical importance because it vectors the causal organisms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and also causes tick paralysis. It is found throughout the United States except for the area of the Rocky Mountains, and in Canada and Mexico.

Unengorged adult females are about 3/16 inch long, while males are slightly smaller – about 1/8 inch long. Engorged females are about 5/8 inch long, and 3/8 inch wide. American dog ticks have oval, flat bodies and are colored brown with whitish to grayish markings. Female ticks have a marbled cape-like pattern on the upper front part of the body while males have a marbled pattern over the entire upper body surface.

Similar Ticks: The brown dog tick or so-called kennel tick (Thipicephalus sanguineus) is brown with black markings and is less commonly encountered than the American dog tick. Occasionally, dogs become infested with brown dog ticks while boarding in kennels with previously infested dogs.

The engorged female tick drops off the host animal and seeks a sheltered place to lay her eggs. Over 14 to 32 days she lays egg masses totaling 4,000 to 6,500 yellowish-brown eggs, and then dies. Egg hatch usually occurs in 36 to 57 days. Unfed 6-legged larvae actively crawl about seeking a host. They can survive for up to 540 days unfed. Larvae require about 4 days (range 3 to 13 days) to become engorged, then drop off the host and seek shelter for molting purposes. Usually 10+ days (range 6 to 247 days) are required from drop to nymphal emergence. Unfed nymphs (8-legged) actively crawl about seeking a host. Engorgement usually requires about 6 days (range 3 to 12) but they can survive for up to 584 days unfed. After feeding, they drop off the host and seek shelter in which to molt. Molting usually requires about 24 days (range 24 to 291). Adults crawl up on grass or other low vegetation and wait for a host to pass. After both sexes have fed, females are completely engorged in about 11 days (range 5 to 27 days), mating occurs on the host. Males continue to feed but females drop off to lay their eggs. Females require a 3 to 58 day preovipostion or waiting period before egg laying begins. Unfed adults can survive for about 2 to 3 years (up to 1,053 days). The entire life cycle (egg to egg) requires from 3 months to more than one year, and both larvae and nymphs can overwinter. In the northern states, a 2-year life cycle may be more common.

American dog ticks are the primary vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the eastern United States, which they transmit from small animals. This is a severe, acute, infectious disease of the small peripheral blood vessels caused by a rickettsial organism whose characteristic symptom is a rash which develops in 2 to 5 days, starting with the wrists and ankles, and then spreads all over the body. Mortality in humans is 20% or more. Fortunately, attachment for 2 hours or more is required for transmission. 

These ticks also transmit tularemia which is caused by a bacillus and is transmitted from rabbits, meadow voles, ground squirrels, sheep, beavers, coyotes, and various game birds. Symptoms include chills and fever, prostration, an ulcer at the tick-bit site, and tender, swollen lymph nodes. 

In addition, American dog ticks can cause tick paralysis when they attach on the back of the neck or at the base of the skull and feed for at least 5 to 6 days. Paralytic symptoms usually start in the extremities and become evident as unsteadiness and loss of reflex actions. If the tick is not removed, death may result from respiratory failure; children are particularly susceptible. If the tick is removed, recovery is rapid and usually within 24 to 72 hours. 

De-ticking dogs is an important way that Rocky Mountain spotted fever is spread. Handpicking is dangerous because infected tick secretions on the hands can be transmitted via contact with eyes, mucous membranes, etc. Use forceps or a scraping device for removal. 

The American dog tick does not survive well indoors. If found indoors, It was probably carried in on a dog and dropped off when fully engorged to seek a suitable place for egg laying.

This is a 3-host tick, with each stage requiring a different host. Both larvae and nymphs actively crawl about seeking a small mammalian host, primarily rodents. Hosts include the deer mouse, meadow vole, cottontail rabbit, muskrat, Norway rat, squirrel, and cat.

Adults crawl up grass or other low vegetation, cling to it with their 3rd pair of legs, and wave their other legs about ready to grasp onto any passing host. This is called their “waiting position.” They prefer larger mammals as hosts and these include the preferred dog and others such as man, cattle, opossum, coyote, hog, horse, raccoon, wild cat, squirrel, sheep, skunk, deer, fox, domestic cat, mule, rabbit, Norway rat, ground squirrel, donkey/burro, weasel, and groundhog. 

American dog ticks are attracted by the scent of animals and are therefore, most numerous along roads, paths and trails. The concentration is further increased along such travel routes by the dropping of engorged ticks from their host animal.

Larval and nymphal activity usually starts about the end of March, representing those which overwintered, and continues to mid-July. Nymphal activity predominates from June to early September. Adults become active about mid-April, peak in June, and decline until mid-September.

Reducing the likelihood of being fed upon by American dog ticks can be separated into two recommendations to the public and two steps best left to a F&W pest management professional

Flies

Flies, typically considered a nuisance, exist in all regions of the United States. There are more than 240,000 different species of flies in the world. Approximately one third of them, including mosquitoes and gnats, can be found in the United States.

A true fly has only one set of wings. All flies are known disease carriers, many of which can be transmitted to humans. Flies typically breed in garbage, excrement of animals and humans, sewers, compost piles, and any other place where matter is decaying. This enables them to pick up various kinds of diseases which can be transmitted to people by biting or by landing on food, where the bacteria and viruses are released. Since flies are able to transmit disease so easily, it is necessary to seek insect control quickly. The diseases that they can carry include malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, and more.

All flies have a rapid rate of growth and go from egg to adult in about seven days. Maggots are just one stage in the early development of a fly. Maggots of some fly varieties, such as the Carrot Rust fly, can be a problem because they eat the roots of some vegetables. The most common flies are the Fruit fly, the House fly (which have four stripes on their abdomen), the Cluster fly (which is dark gray in color), and the Garbage fly (which has a metallic color that is either green or blue). Another kind of fly, the Stable fly, typically exists around livestock. The Horse fly and a few other varieties of flies actually have mouth parts and can bite humans. Most other flies have a sponge-like mouth and can only drink up their food.

One benefit of flies is that they help reduce the population of other pests. They also help to break down carcasses and other decaying matter faster by preparing it to reenter the ground. Properly controlling flies includes not only killing the adults, but also destroying their eggs and larvae. Call a pest professional to manage any fly problems you encounter.

Bees & Wasps

Yellow Jackets and Hornets are the most aggressive of all wasps and bees. They are distinguished from bees by their thin waist and lack of fuzz. They are black and yellow and approximately 5/8 to 1 inch in length.

How To Identify Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets nest outside mostly in the ground or in railroad ties. Inside they will nest in wall and ceiling voids and occasionally in the attic. We recommend that sanitation measures be taken to insure that all food sources are eliminated. All food trash should be in tightly closed plastic bags in closed trash containers. Barbecues and the area around the barbecue should be cleaned thoroughly to insure that there is no food debris that will attract Yellow Jackets.

Our trained technicians will identify the location of the nest and eliminate the problems to protect your health and safety.
Hornets

Baldfaced Hornets are a type of Yellow Jacket. They get there name from their mostly black color and white face. They are the most aggressive if their nest is disturbed. The nest usually contains thousands of wasps. They live in aerial nests that resemble an inverted tear drop that is attached to a tree, a bush, a utility pole, a shed, an overhang or on the side of a building. The pregnant females will overwinter in protective places.

Nests will grow as time passes if not eliminated. A nest might only be the size of a softball early in the season but if left can grow much larger. If the pregnant females, who overwinter in a protective place, are able to overwinter in the current nest, these nests can grow to be the size of watermelons or larger.

Honey Bees

Appearance Of Honey Bees

The honey bee has a light brown color and is about 15 mm in length. They are often seen with light brown bands alternating with golden bands. There are some bees that are darker in color than others. With an oval shape, the bee looks like a teardrop. The bee has six legs and a thorax that includes the wings and legs.

How To Avoid Honey Bees

One of the ways to keep honey bees away from close proximity to the home is to remove plants that are brightly colored. Plug any holes along the exterior of the home so that bees can't get inside. The honey bee can sting a person who gets close enough to the insect's home or if the insect feels threatened. The sting can be painful, and it can cause a severe reaction if the person is allergic.

Are They Common?

The bee is commonly found in all areas of the world with more sightings in the United States and Europe. They are often seen in the spring when flowers begin to bloom and in the summer when they are hunting for food and water. It takes about 24 hours for a swarm of honey bees to move from one location to another to make a new nest.

Moths

By the time you notice moths in your home, they have usually already found something they like to eat. Fortunately, their feeding choices are rather limited, and you can usually find where they are feeding rather quickly.

Moths that are found in the home are generally one of two basic kinds; either a food-eating moth or a fabric-eating moth. A food-eating moth, which is the most common, will most likely be found in your pantry. A fabric-eating moth will most likely be found in your closet.

Food-eating moths come in a variety of types, but are usually frequenting your pantry or kitchen cabinets, pet food, or garbage can. They especially like to eat grains, cereals, flour, pastas, powdered milk, bird seed, and other similar foods. These foods are less likely to attract moths if they are stored in air-tight containers.

Moth eggs are laid in or near these foods. The eggs will develop into larvae, which will start eating the food. In their immature stages, you are unlikely to see them because they will be close to the same color as the food they are in.

The most common type of food moth is the Indian Meal Moth, which is also sometimes referred to as the North American High-Flyer. It is also the most destructive. The larvae are often referred to as "waxworms." These moths are also known as flour moths or pantry moths. A female Indian Meal Moth can lay up to 300 eggs at one time. As adults, they grow to be about half an inch long.

Fabric moths include species like the Webbing Moth and the Casemaking Moth. Both of these moths are only about one fourth of an inch long, and do not like to be seen, and rarely are. Generally, the only way you will know that these moths are present is when you see holes in your fabric.

Lady Bugs

Large numbers of lady beetles (ladybugs) infesting homes and buildings in the United States were first reported in the early 1990s. Ladybugs normally are considered beneficial since they live outdoors and feed on plant pests.

One species of lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, can be a nuisance however, when they fly to buildings in search of overwintering sites and end up indoors. Once inside they crawl about on windows, walls, attics, etc., often emitting a noxious odor and yellowish staining fluid before dying.

In many areas of the U.S., these autumn invasions are such a nuisance that they affect quality of life.

How To Get Rid Of An Infestation

The Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), is relatively new to this country. The beetle is native to Asia (e.g., China, Russia, Korea, Japan), where it dwells in trees and fields, preying on aphids and scale insects. The first field populations in the United States were found in Louisiana in 1988. Since then the beetle has expanded its range to include much of the U.S. and parts of Canada.

During the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to establish the Asian lady beetle to control agricultural pests, especially of pecans and apples. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Some scientists believe that current infestations in the U.S. originated not from these intentional releases, but from beetles accidentally transported into New Orleans on a freighter from Japan.

Vacuuming

Once the beetles are indoors, the easiest way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner. If you later wish to release the beetles outdoors, place a handkerchief between the vacuum hose and the dust collection bag to act as a trap. A broom can also be used, but is more likely to result in staining when beetles emit their yellowish defensive secretion.

Sealing Entry Points

Sealing cracks and openings is the most permanent way of preventing lady beetles from entering buildings. The time to do this is in late spring or summer, before the adults begin flying to buildings in search of overwintering sites. Cracks should be sealed around windows, doors, soffits, fascia boards, utility pipes and wires, etc. with caulk or other suitable sealant.

Larger holes can be plugged with cement, urethane foam or copper mesh. Repair damaged window screens and install screening behind attic vents, which are common entry points for the beetles. Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/8" or less will permit entry of lady beetles and other insects. Gaps under sliding glass doors can be sealed with foam weather stripping. These practices will also help prevent entry of flies, wasps, crickets, spiders and other pests. Some householders may find it more practical to hire a pest control firm, building contractor or painter to perform these services.

Insecticides

Indoor Treatment - Insecticide foggers, "bug bombs" or sprays are generally not recommended for eliminating beetles indoors. Insecticides applied indoors for lady beetles tend to be ineffective and may stain or leave unwanted residues on walls, countertops and other surfaces. A vacuum is more sanitary and effective. Attempting to kill beetles hibernating in wall cavities and other protected locations is seldom effective. A better approach is to take preventive measures to reduce beetle entry in subsequent years.

Exterior Barrier Treatment - While sealing cracks and openings is a more permanent way to limit beetle entry, the approach is time-consuming and sometimes impractical. There can be countless cracks associated with eaves, siding, vents, etc. where insects can enter. On multi-story buildings, sealing becomes even more difficult.

If lady beetles are a perennial problem, owners may want to hire a professional pest control firm. Many companies apply insecticides to building exteriors in the fall, which helps prevent pest entry. Fast-acting residual insecticides can be sprayed in a targeted band around windows, doors, eaves, soffits, attic vents, and other likely points of entry.

To be effective, barrier treatments should be applied before the beetles enter buildings to overwinter. In Massachusetts, the proper timing for such treatments is typically late-September to early October although this will vary with seasonal conditions. During late winter or early spring, barrier treatments are ineffective since the beetles gained entry the previous autumn.

Other Approaches

Other approaches have been suggested to alleviate problems with Asian lady beetles. Ladybug "houses" sold in garden supply catalogs will have no effect in keeping the beetles out of your home. Light traps can be useful for capturing flies and lady beetles in dark confined spaces such as attics, but will capture relatively few beetles entering living spaces in the fall or emerging from hidden locations the following spring.

Unfortunately, there is no "quick fix" or easy answer to annual lady beetle invasions. Vacuuming, pest proofing and properly timed exterior insecticide treatments can provide relief but will not prevent entry of every single beetle.

Centipedes

Millipedes and centipedes are similar pests. Though they may be unusually repulsive, they are not a major threat to people or animals.
Centipedes in the south tend to be the largest. They can grow up to six inches in length. A centipede can be easily distinguished from a millipede because it has fewer legs; specifically, one set for every segment of its body. Millipedes have two sets of legs for every segment, and when they move, their legs appear to be moving in a wave-like motion. A millipede's legs are also shorter and, in general, a millipede cannot move very fast. A centipede, with its fewer legs, can travel considerably faster. 

Both centipedes and millipedes are generally hatched from eggs, but some varieties are born live. Some centipedes may live as long as six years. 

Centipedes actually have the ability to bite, and are poisonous. The poison from their fangs, located behind the head, is used to kill insects, which are their primary food. To a human, a bite feels like that of a bee sting, and can be dangerous,especially if there is an allergic reaction in response to the bite. Children will be more sensitive to a centipede's bite. 

Millipedes are not poisonous and do not have fangs, but they can emit an obnoxious fluid to defend themselves. Some varieties can spray this fluid several inches. The fluid can cause irritation to the skin in some people and should be removed right away. Additionally, it may take some scrubbing to get rid of the odor. 

Millipedes feed on decaying plant matter and sometimes living plant roots. Millipedes can damage those roots if there are too many of the pests in the soil. Some varieties are known to be especially bothersome to greenhouse plants. If this occurs, you may need to contact a pest control agency to eliminate your millipede infestation. 

House centipedes are an indoor variety. They can move quickly and do not require the moisture that the other varieties need. Centipedes are beneficial to the control of other insects, which may be a good reason to keep them around. The most likely time of year to see centipedes in your home is in the spring or fall.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are looking for a warm place to spend the winter — perhaps inside your house.

You've probably seen them crawling on your screens or fluttering around your house. If you crush them, they expel a musty scent, a defensive technique that has earned them their name—stink bugs.

Stink bugs, which have a brown, shield-like body, were first discovered in Allentown PA in 2001, according to a University of Maryland entomology bulletin. They feed on fruit trees, ornamental plants, vegetables and legumes, and are common throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, especially in the fall, according to the bulletin.

Although stink bugs are not known to present any harm to humans, according to UMD, they are a major nuisance.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of them:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the bugs.
  • Cut the top of a half gallon or gallon jug, fill it with soapy water and use a piece of cardboard or a napkin to whisk the bugs into the water, which will drown them.
  • Seal up cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Take out window-unit air conditioners; stink bugs can easily get through these.
  • Plant or move fruit trees and vegetable gardens, especially tomato plants, away from your home to prevent stink bugs from landing on the exterior of your home.
  • Squish stink bugs outdoors--the odor warns other stink bugs to flee.
  • Hang a stink bug trap outside your house to catch them.
  • Hang a damp towel outside your home overnight. In the morning, stink bugs will blanket the towel, and you can use a vacuum or knock them into a jug of soapy water to kill them.
  • Although most insecticides are ineffective against stink bugs, some do work, but the bug must be clearly on the label.
  • Check your attic for holes or gaps and close them up. Stinkbugs often enter through attics.

Boxelder Bugs

The common name reflects the fact that this species is a major pest of boxelder trees, Acer negundo. Boxelder bugs are primarily nuisance pests because they enter structures to overwinter. This species is found from eastern Canada, throughout the eastern United States, and west to eastern Nevada wherever boxelder trees are found.

Recognition

Boxelder bug adults are about 1/2 inch long and elongate-oval in shape. They are black with reddish edge lines on the body and wings. The mouthparts are piercing-sucking and form a beak that is held beneath body when not in use. Nymphs are similar to adults but lack wings; although wing pads may be present, and are bright red in color.

Similar Insects

Small eastern milkweed bugs (Lygaeus kalmii) have small white spots/markings on the outer portions of the front wings (visible on the rear upper surface when the wings are folded). Also, the thorax lacks a median red stripe and the head has a red mark between the eyes. These insects are associated with milkweed seed pods.

Biology

The overwintering boxelder bug adults emerge from hibernation and the females lay clusters of straw-yellow eggs on stones, leaves, grass, shrubs, and trees, especially in the bark crevices of boxelder and maple trees. These eggs turn red as the embryos develop and hatch in about 2 weeks. These nymphs feed on fallen boxelder and maple seeds and later on newly developing leaves, going through 5 instars (growth stages). In the warmer regions of the United States, there are 2 generations per year.

Habits

The overwintering adults emerge from hibernation when the boxelder and maple buds open and fly back to their host trees, typically in late April to early May. The primary host plant is the seed-bearing (female) boxelder tree, but they also occur on seed-bearing silver maple trees, Acer saccharinum. Occasionally, they will feed on the fruits of plum and apple trees.

In the autumn, boxelder bugs become gregarious and congregate on the south side of rocks, trees, and buildings having direct sun exposure. After large masses congregate, they may fly to nearby buildings to hibernate for the winter. Inside, box elder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest. However, their fecal material may cause a red stain, resulting in discoloration on curtains, drapes, clothing, and other resting places. When crushed or handled roughly, they produce a strong, disagreeable odor. They occasionally “bite” people, causing a skin irritation and producing a red spot similar to a mosquito bite.

Cultural Control & Preventative Measures

Control begins outside. Reducing the outside population can be achieved by calling upon an arborist or landscaping professional in the spring to spray all boxelder trees and maple trees on the property with an appropriately labeled residual insecticide. However, if the host trees are on an adjacent property, a cooperative arrangement must be sought with that property owner.

The use of preventative physical barriers involves exclusion. Although total exclusion is probably not possible, all vents (roof, gable, soffit / eave) should be screened with at least #16-mesh screening. Weep holes should be stuffed with copper gauze or steel wool. Silicone sealer should be applied around cable and utility penetrations, windows, doors, and overhangs. These steps should be taken before late August.

Temporary but immediate indoor relief from boxelder bugs can achieved by removal with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a hose attachment. To prevent entry of more bugs, it is important to seal the possible routes of entry using silicone caulk and similar materials. Entry points include around window pulleys window frames, doorframes, and baseboards. For electrical outlets and switch boxes and heating duct and air return vents, it is recommended to remove the cover plates, seal, and replace. For light fixtures and ceiling fans, one should remove the fixture to its base plate, seal, and replace.

If boxelder bugs are in a false ceiling area, the population can be reduced by installing an insect light trap; if used, it is important to periodically empty the catch tray or replace the sticky panels. An alternative is to install a continuously burning 60-watt fluorescent bulb, which attracts flying and crawling insects and causes them to exhaust their food (fat), and die near the light. The dead insects ought to be removed with a vacuum cleaner. To speed the process, adhesive fly strips or sticky traps can be suspended near the light in the ceiling void.

Sticky-capture devices should be replaced when filled or covered with insects. To reduce the number of boxelder bugs coming into a room from a false ceiling, all cracks through which light enters should be sealed using duct tape or caulk. In elevator shafts, a continuously burning 60-watt bulb can be installed just above the pit floor. Again dead insects should be removed periodically using a vacuum cleaner.

Professional Control

F&W Pest Control technicians prefer to apply treatments for boxelder bugs on strategic exterior surfaces of buildings in August and September. Preventative chemical barriers involve applying a long-lasting residual liquid insecticide (1) beneath the lowest course of siding at the foundation, (2) into structural junctures (e.g. molding, trim, seams and weep holes), and (3) on strategic, sun-lit vertical walls and the adjacent overhang. This application is made just before the late season search for overwintering sites begins. One application is required. If boxelder bugs have already begun to congregate and attempt entry into buildings, it may be too late for preventative action. Once buildings are entered, the best solution is physical removal with a good shop-type vacuum cleaner.

F&W Pest Control technicians prefer not to inject insecticides into the overwintering sites of boxelder bugs in buildings because the bodies of dead insects in wall voids attract dermestid beetles (e.g., larder beetles, carpet beetles and cabinet beetles). Dermestid larvae wander and will readily enter the living space, causing numerous complaints. However, temporary relief is possible by using a vacuum cleaner and sealing interior entrances.

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Same-Day Pest Control Services

We understand that when you find pests in your home you want to get rid of them as fast as possible. Pests can linger in your home if you don’t take action fast. At F&W Pest control, we offer same-day and emergency services to help you quickly restore peace back into your home! Just give us a call before noon and our trustworthy team of exterminators will do their best to provide you pest control services before the end of the day. Call now if you have spotted signs of a pest infestation!

Areas We Service in MA

As a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company, we are committed to building relationships with our customers based on professionalism and integrity. For nearly 75 years, our exterminators have been serving clients in Massachusetts to eradicate pest problems and protect homes from future pest invasions. We put communication and education at a high priority because we believe that you should always be in the know about what products and methods we utilize, and how to better avoid a future infestation. With a trusting team backed with hard work, your family and home will always be in good hands.

We are proud to service these areas in Massachusetts: 

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