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General Pest Control

Tried and True provides a complete set of general pest control solutions for residential and commercial clients in the Greater Hunstville, Alabama area. We provide pest extermination services for most insects, rats, and mice. The pests listed on this page represent only some of the more common ones in our area. Please contact us for information about any pest problem you have.

 

Ants

Argentine Ants

Close-up of an argentine ant ready to grab a small piece of cereal

Linepithema humile
Size: Workers are about 1/8" in length.
Color: Dark brown to black

Argentine ants are primarily an outdoor specie, but they commonly enter homes to forage for food, like the ant in this picture is doing.

Argentine ants are also among the most difficult of all ant species to control, with colonies and super colonies that can span hundreds of square miles.

Primarily an outdoor specie, Argentine ants establish shallow nests under stones, boards, debris, or other items that provide protection. Their nests can grow quite large, often numbering in the thousands. They also establish subcolonies in suitable voids, under mulch, in walls, behind brick veneer, and in other suitable areas close to food and water

Argentine ants commonly invade interior areas when foraging for food. Primarily sugar feeders, they will quickly establish trails to any drop of spilled juice or other sugary liquids.

 

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants escavating galleries in a tree

Camponotus spp.
Size: Variable, 3/8" to one inch.
Color: Dark brown to black, variations possible.

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying insects that can cause significant damage to wooden structures over time.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't actually eat wood, meaning that they don't derive any nutritional benefit from it. But they still can cause significant damage that can require costly repairs.

Carpenter ants excavate galleries in wood in which they lay their eggs and raise their young. They prefer wood that has already been damaged by moisture and commonly infest moisture-prone areas like kitchens, bathrooms, sill plates, roof soffits, and attics.

Carpenter ant control can be difficult and may include structural repairs to correct moisture problems and replace damaged wood, as well as chemical treatment. Depending upon the situation, dusts, sprays, baits, or some combination of these methods may be used for control.

 

Fire Ants

Fire ants crawling on a wooden board

Solenopsis invicta
Size: Variable, 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch
Color: Yellowish or reddish brown

Fire ants are important public health pests because of their huge colonies and their ability to deliver painful stings.

In nature, fire ants live in mounds in the soil; but they'll also infest man-made voids such as generators and other electrical devices, abandoned cars, storage buildings and containers, and utility chases.

Fire ants are very aggressive and will readily attack anyone who accidentally stumbles across their nests, delivering dozens, or even hundreds of painful stings. Their stings can be fatal to individuals who are allergic to them, and may require even people who aren't allergic to insect stings to seek medical treatment.

Control of fire ants may be accomplished using baits, sprays, or granular products, depending on the exact situation. Because of the hazard involved in working near fire ant colonies, it's recommended that fire ant control be performed by pest management professionals.

 

Longhorn Crazy Ants

Dead longhorn crazy ants on a ceramic floor tile

Paratrechina longicornis
Size: About 1/8 inch with extremely long legs.
Color: Dark brown to bluish black.

Longhorn crazy ants are named for their long antennae and their rapid, erratic, seemingly random movements, which make them appear "crazy."

In nature, longhorn crazy ants build shallow nests in the ground under rocks, mulch, and debris. They may also build nests in or under buildings, especially those with stone or rubble foundations. They are omnivorous, surviving on other insects, carrion, fruit juices, nectar, carrion, and food stored or spilled by humans.

Their nests may grow quite large and often include scattered subcolonies that will continue to survive even if the main colony is treated. This makes them particularly difficult to control.

Treatment is difficult and may involve finding and directly treating all colonies and subcolonies, as well as applying residual insecticides around the perimeters of buildings.

 

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ant pushing a grain of sugar around like a boulder

Monomorium pharaonis
Size: Very small, 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch
Color: Yellow to reddish yellow

Pharaoh ants may be very tiny, but they are among the most difficult ants to control. Improper control methods usually just make the problem worse.

Pharaoh ants typically build their nests in wall voids, electrical boxes, behind insulation, and in almost any other protected void of a building. They typically travel through the building's electrical system and plumbing, and small infestations can get large very quickly.

Attempts to treat pharaoh ant infestations with localized residual insecticides or dusts are usually disastrous, resulting in the colony "fracturing" into multiple colonies and spreading throughout the building.

Proper treatment of Pharaoh ants is usually accomplished through precision application of baits and non-repellant insecticides — a tedious and time-consuming process.

 

Cockroaches

American Cockroach

American cockroaches in a plastic laboratory tray

Periplaneta americana
Size: Up to 2 inches in length
Color: Reddish brown

American cockroaches are the largest roaches commonly encountered as pests in Alabama. They are often incorrectly called "waterbugs" or "Palmetto bugs."

These large roaches tend to prefer dark, warm, somewhat damp environments such as unfinished basements, crawl spaces, utility chases, sump rooms, boiler rooms, trash rooms, etc. When the lights are turned on, they quickly scatter. They also occasionally nest outdoors during the warmer months in places like woodpiles or unheated sheds.

American cockroaches may be controlled with baits, sprays, or dusts, depending on the environment. Glue traps are sometimes used to quickly reduce populations.

Long-term control usually requires exclusion (sealing the insects out), improved sanitation practices, and correction of conducive conditions like moisture problems.

 

German Cockroach

Three German cockroaches on a white background

Blatella germanica
Size: 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch in length
Color: Reddish brown

The German cockroach is one of the most common cockroaches infesting homes and businesses in Alabama and throughout the world.

German Cockroaches can be recognized by the two longitudinal stripes in the pronotum (the shield on the dorsal side of the head). Adults have full wings that extend over their abdomens, but cannot take off and fly. They'll sometimes use their wings to slow their fall from high areas, but even that's unusual.

Of all cockroaches, German cockroaches are among the most prolific breeders, reaching maturity in as little as 45 days and producing as many as 40 eggs per brood. Eggs are carried in an ootheca or "egg sac," which is dropped near a source of food, water, and harborage when the eggs inside are about ready to hatch. Beyond this one act, adult roaches do not participate in raising their young.

German cockroaches require high levels of warmth and moisture. They also exhibit a behavior known as thigmotaxis, meaning that they like to have a surface touching both their feet and their backs or sides. They commonly nest in cracks and crevices in kitchens and bathrooms.

Control of German cockroaches may involve the use of baits, dusts, sprays, and insect growth regulators (IGRs); as well as improved sanitation, exclusion, and trapping.

 

Smoky Brown Cockroach

Smoky brown cockroach on a wooden surface
Periplaneta filiginosa
Size: About 1/2 inch in length.
Color: Dark, smoky brown

The smoky brown cockroach is about the same size as the German cockroach, but lacks the longitudinal markings on its pronotum. They're also strong fliers and frequently enter homes by flying in from the outdoors.

In nature, smoky brown cockroaches usually inhabit hollow trees. When they enter homes, they usually nest in secluded areas like attics and crawl spaces. As their populations grow, however, they may enter into the living area of the home.

Control of existing smoky brown cockroach infestations usually involves sanitation improvement, as well as direct treatment of nesting areas with baits, sprays, dusts, or IGRs. Glue traps are sometimes used for rapid population reduction. Sealing of exterior cracks and crevices and/or periodic exterior insecticide treatments helps prevent reinfestation by roaches living outdoors.

 

Fleas

Magnified side view of a cat flea

Ctenocephalides spp.
Size: Tiny, barely visible to the naked eye.
Color: Reddish-brown

Fleas are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects whose adults feed on the blood of their hosts. Their bodies are laterally flattened (meaning that they're much taller than they are wide).

There are many species of fleas, usually named after their preferred hosts (dog fleas, cat fleas, human fleas, etc.). But most fleas species aren't very picky: In a pinch, they'll feed upon any warm-blooded animal if their preferred hosts aren't around.

Despite their tiny size, fleas are among the most notorious disease vectors. They're involved in the transmission of plague, typhus, and tapeworms, among other diseases. Their bites can also cause a painful rash, especially in individuals who are sensitive to insect bites and stings in general.

Flea control is challenging, even for professionals. Treatment usually involves thorough vacuuming and (if possible) shampooing of all carpets, followed by insecticide and IGR sprays on all carpeting, flooring, pet bedding, and sometimes upholstered furniture. Any pets in the home should also be treated at the same time by a veterinarian or animal groomer as closely as possible to the time the home is treated.