Ants and Aphids have a special relationship

Have you ever noticed that during the summer months, which is our major growing season, whenever you see a trail of ants going up a tree you almost certainly will find aphids in the tree? There’s a great reason for it. Some ants actually farm aphids for their sweet “honeydew” that is excreted after they eat plant material. The ants will often go as far as eating the wings off of the aphids so they can’t get away. Ants also have been found to have a chemical on their feet that tranquilizes the aphids as another way of keeping them close by for their very important honeydew. The ants in turn will protect aphids from their natural predators such as the ladybug or lady beetle. Ants have also been observed physically moving aphids to a part of the plant that is more healthy so it could produce more honeydew. It’s an odd symbiotic relationship that keeps both species alive and thriving.

Ants 'herding' aphids

Chemicals on ants’ feet tranquilize and subdue colonies of aphids, keeping them close-by as a ready source of food, says new research.

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Since we’re on the subject of ants, those of you in the Bakersfield local area have probably noticed that summer is truly here. We’ve already experienced a few triple digit days (over 100º F) and that kind of heat really drives ants crazy. It also drives them indoors where they try to escape the heat. While it’s hard to blame them for trying, we will do whatever it takes to keep them out. If you have or have ever experienced ants invading your home, it is very frustrating. At Oxley Pest Control, we have a specific method of treating your home for ants. Many times, we can treat by putting special material around the base of the house. This material is picked up by the ants and brought back and transferred to the colony. Within a short period of time, the colony suffers major loss and is eventually destroyed. Once your yard is free of ants, you are able to enjoy your backyard without having to deal with this common pest. We can also help you get rid of aphids too.

Give Oxley Pest a call at 661-325-ANTS or visit our website for more information

Oxley Pest in the news… again

Our fearless leader, Dave Oxley was recently interviewed by our local ABC station about bed bugs in an East Bakersfield apartment. Check out the video


 

Like the link says, landlords are not required to disclose infestations to potential tenants. You need to make sure you know how to check for bed bugs so you don’t fall into the same trap. Once they infest your home, it is difficult to get rid of them, but of course we are experts in treating for bed bugs. If you do become infested, make sure you give us a call.

What happened to our winter?

100320806For those of us in Southern California, the Central Valley, and particularly in Bakersfield, you have probably noticed that we kind of aren’t really getting a real winter this year. Sure, some of you out there may not like the cold are are enjoying the mild temperatures, but guess what? Most bugs don’t like winter either. Lots of them die off when the weather gets cold. What does this mean for homeowners?

As exciting as it is for those of us in the Pest Control business, it is somewhat of a frightening thought for those of you out there that are afraid of bugs, or just don’t like them. When we have an unusually warm winter, the bugs that normally die off are able to survive and thrive. It’s almost a guarantee that this will happen again this year. More ants, termites, etc., than you are used to seeing. They will be out looking for new food sources and expanding their nests. If you treat your property correctly, you can get through that initial spring invasion easily.  If you see any undesirable pests already, we suggest you call us immediately before they really establish themselves.

Interestingly enough, there are also some beneficial insects that do not benefit from the warm climate. Take Honeybees for example. When spring comes early, the bees spend the winter eating their food supply instead of hibernating. They quickly run out of food and at the same time, start reproducing because of the warm weather. They go out to search for more food, and since it’s not really spring yet, there aren’t any or enough flowers around for the bees to feed on. Since they can’t run down to the 7-11, or to Taco Bell, they are simply out of luck. Wild bees are especially devastated by this phenomenon.  With all the mysterious hive die offs we’ve been seeing, this makes things even worse. As I’ve said before, we love bees so much, we even keep some of the bees that we rescue from our customers.

This year, we are expecting a large increase in the number of calls for termites and ants, aphids, spider mites, spiders and ticks (which are also arachnids like spiders). Since we are well aware of what is going on with the environment and how it effects different species, we are prepared to handle the increase. Our technicians are highly trained to treat your home or office for any pest problem you might have, so you can have confidence that we will get the job done. If you or anyone you know has a pest problem, give Oxley Pest a call.