No-see-ums vs Mosquitoes vs Gnat Bites—What’s the Difference?

What mosquitoes look like in Eastern & Central Virginia - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlBug bites come in all shapes and sizes. Some pests will attack you in broad daylight, others sneak up on you while you’re sleeping. Some specialize in air travel, others have to crawl up your leg.

Flying pests can be the hardest to avoid when it comes to bites. They can approach you at any angle and with many kinds of strategies. Here in Eastern & Central Virginia, no-see-ums, gnats, and mosquitoes are some of the most common biting pests. Read on for Loyal Termite & Pest Control’s expert advice on identifying these pests and telling apart their bites.

No-See-Ums vs Gnats vs Mosquitoes

These three pests are some of the most annoying insects in the region. We’ve all probably run into them at some point—here’s how to tell them apart next time you do:

  • Gnats: Coming out in throngs every spring and summer, gnats are tiny flies that are often seen in clouds of hundreds or thousands of individuals. Their body color ranges from gray to black. They are often found around damp soil, fruit left out, or plumbing fixtures.
  • No-see-ums: These pests are a specific kind of gnat. They are very small, at only about 1/16” long, and as such are able to fly through many window screens and similarly small screens.
  • Mosquitoes: Much larger than the other two, mosquitoes are more easily recognizable. They have long wings and a long proboscis that protrudes from the front of their face and allows them to draw blood.

Some Differences Between Bug Bites

A helpful way to tell apart what kinds of pests you’re dealing with in Eastern & Central Virginia is by learning how to identify their bites. Mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ums all operate in different ways, and this is reflected in the symptoms that we feel when they bite us. Here are the main differences between the bites of these three pests:

  1. Gnat bites: Gnats leave us with small, bright red bites that look quite similar to mosquito bites.
  2. Mosquito bites: Mosquito bites differ from gnat bites in a few ways. Their bites are often lighter in color and are less likely to take place around your face.
  3. No-see-um bites: No-see-um bites last for longer than mosquito bites and are often found in small, dark red clusters, as opposed to spaced-out mosquito bites. They slice into our skin with sharp parts of their mouth, so the pain tends to be worse and the bites take longer to heal.

In a nutshell, you can compare gnat bites and mosquito bites to each other by how close together they are, how dark the color is, and how long they stick around.

Avoiding Bug Bites in Eastern & Central Virginia

Applying bug sprays containing up to 20% DEET is one of the best ways to avoid bug bites in the spring and summer. However, if you can’t catch a break from biting insects on your property, a professional pest control company can help you get rid of whatever they are. At Loyal Termite & Pest Control, we have the necessary tools to get rid of no-see-ums, gnats, and mosquitoes, ensuring that they don’t come back any time soon. Contact us today for a free quote!

10 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Pest Control Company

Pest control services in Eastern & Central Virginia - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlPeople often wait until it is too late to look into professional pest control services. No matter what pest you’re dealing with, trying to take care of an infestation on your own can be tricky. If you don’t approach it the right way, you could end up allowing the pests to multiply without any signs of slowing down. Many DIY strategies fall far short of a long-term solution, and improper use of professional pest control products by untrained individuals can lead to serious health risks.

If you’ve been thinking about hiring an exterminator recently, read on for ten reasons to follow through. Our technicians at Loyal Termite & Pest Control have seen great success servicing homes and businesses around Eastern & Central Virginia and home to help you, too!

Pest Control and Health Concerns

Hiring certified pest control technicians can eliminate many health concerns that you might expose yourself to without their help. Our first three reasons to hire professional pest control are in the interest of your health:

  • One: Controlled pesticide use. A professional will only use pesticides as a last resort, and when they do, they will use them safely. Improper or untrained application of pesticides can expose you and your family to harmful toxins.
  • Two: Decreased chance of illness. Many pests in Eastern & Central Virginia can pass on serious diseases through their bites or droppings. Technicians can help you avoid pest-related illnesses.
  • Three: Less itching and scratching. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, spiders, bed bugs, and more pests in the area can leave you with itchy bite marks. You don’t have to endure the bites every year!

Save Time with Pest Control

Hiring professional pest control can eliminate extra tasks from your life in a more efficient manner. Our next three reasons have to do with saving you time:

  • Four: Efficient solutions. Licensed technicians have the necessary experience to resolve pest problems quickly and efficiently, much more so than the average homeowner.
  • Five: Less cleaning. Having pests in your home means constantly cleaning up pest-related debris. Getting rid of them altogether will greatly reduce the time you have to spend cleaning!
  • Six: Safer structures. If you have rodents, termites, or carpenter ants living in your home, you’re likely inspecting your home constantly for new damage. Take that task off of your plate by hiring professionals to remove the pests.

How Pest Control Helps You Stress Less

Being aware of a pest problem in your home comes with lots of stress. Our last four reasons pertain to your mental well-being:

  • Seven: Better sleep. Having a fear of bed bugs or spiders in your home can cause you to lose sleep. Get rid of this worry by finally getting rid of the pests themselves!
  • Eight: Save money. Sticking to DIY remedies can add up after a few unsuccessful attempts. A professional pest control company can come remove your pests in just one session in the right circumstances!
  • Nine: Learn about the process. Our technicians at Loyal Termite & Pest Control not only eliminate pests from your home, but teach you about how they did it each step of the way. We aim to give you the knowledge to avoid pests on your own going forward.
  • Ten: Peace of mind. Once your pest infestation has been dealt with, it feels like you can finally breathe again! Don’t hesitate to get rid of your problems—you don’t have to deal with them!

If you’re ready to take the first step towards a pest-free home, contact your local pest control company. Our expert technicians at Loyal Termite & Pest Control have helped people all across Eastern & Central Virginia live pest-free since 1960. For a free quote, contact us today!

Moisture: A Bug’s Best Friend

Ants that detected moisture in Richmond VA - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlAll of the rainy days that come with the winter and spring lay out the perfect conditions for insects to thrive. Many pests seek out moisture for different reasons, so you have to look out for accumulations of moisture in areas all over your property. This could mean in your yard, your gutters, the foundation and walls of your house, your kitchen, and anywhere else that might be getting wet. So where do you even start?

Are Bugs Attracted to Moisture?

To take the right steps to control pests properly, it is important to anticipate what kinds of bugs you’ll be dealing with. Moisture attracts all kinds of insects, including:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Crickets
  • Beetles
  • Mites
  • Earwigs, and many more

Some of these insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, are more active in the spring, but others, like termites and beetles, can be active all year long. Make sure to stay cognizant of moisture problems throughout the year!

Common Moisture Problems

There are a variety of places on your property that can accumulate unwanted moisture, and all of these places can attract pests. Some common moisture issues can be found:

  1. In your yard. When you allow rainwater to build up in clogged gutters, planters, or buckets in your yard, it can create a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. These opportunistic insects will use even the smallest pool of standing water to lay their eggs on, and they will continue to hang out in your yard maintaining their reproductive cycle. Moist soil in your yard can also attract termites.
  2. In your walls and foundation. If termites find your yard suitable to nest in, they’ll soon be after the wood in your home. To prevent them from colonizing your house, make sure all downspouts and splashes are pointing away from your foundation, and check around for leaky pipes. Also, pull any mulch away from the house by at least one foot, and allow it to dry before reapplying.
  3. In your kitchen and bathroom. These are the most common living spaces that see moisture buildup, and they often attract ants, or worse, cockroaches. Making sure you keep your bathroom and kitchen as clean and dry as possible will lessen the chances of an infestation. Be sure to clean up your spills and keep your food sealed, too!
  4. In your crawl space. Many homeowners have let moisture buildup go undetected in their crawl spaces, only to discover a thriving pest population. Noticing a musty smell or mildew on your walls and ceiling probably means that you have excess moisture in your crawl spaces. If you notice a problem or want to stay ahead of one, ask our team about our crawl space moisture control protocol. We train our specialists to properly dehumidify crawl spaces, stopping pest problems before they start.

Moisture Control Services to Prevent Pests

If you’ve noticed a moisture issue in your home that might be out of your control, count on your local pest control experts to help. At Loyal Termite & Pest Control, we train our employees to exterminate and prevent all kinds of pests here in Richmond VA. Reach out today for a free quote, and learn more about how we can help you keep pests away from your home!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Loyal termite and pest controlEntomologists from Loyal’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

Follow These Tips for a Pest-Free Patio

Tips for a pest-free patio in your Henrico VA property - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlIt’s likely you are spending more time outdoors than ever this year. You’d also likely enjoy your outdoor living space more if you didn’t have to deal with pest problems! Pests may enjoy the Virginia summertime weather as much as you do, but that doesn’t mean you have to share your space with them.

At Loyal, we know how frustrating pests can be—especially when they ruin your backyard barbecue or gardening session. Following our commitment to keep our customers pest-free, our experts are here to share top tips for a pest-free patio and outdoor living area.

What Pests are Common in Your Backyard

The warm weather and longer days invite all types of insects to be out in full-force. Some pests are more of a nuisance than others, and some insects are more dangerous for you and your family! Here in Virginia, the most common pests you’ll see in your yard are mosquitoes, stinging insects (bees, wasps, and hornets), ants, spiders, ticks, fleas, and flies. Ticks and mosquitoes are especially concerning for their ability to transmit dangerous diseases to humans. For that reason alone, it’s crucial to learn how to keep pests away from your property.

Top Tips to Achieve a Pest-Free Patio

Everyone wants to be able to enjoy their time spent outside to be pest-free. This is harder than it sounds, especially this time of year. There are a few ways you can make your property less appealing to pests. Our best tips for a pest-free patio are:

  1. Remove any standing water. Stagnant water is one of the biggest attractants for mosquitoes.
  2. Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed. Ticks and mosquitoes will shelter in overgrown vegetation or tall grass.
  3. Be on the lookout for ant hills. Even a tiny mound can contain thousands of ants inside.
  4. Inspect all wood structures. Wood-destroying pests (carpenter ants and termites) will damage your wooden decks or porches.
  5. Use an insect repellent. Most store-bought repellent containing DEET will help repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  6. Clean your patio or space regularly. Spills or leftover food will surely bring ants around.

Need Help With Outdoor Pest Control?

Pests and insects are to be expected when you’re outdoors. However, there’s no reason to let them ruin your time spent in your own backyard! The exterminators at Loyal are committed to keeping customers pest-free not just inside their homes, but outside as well. Call our team today to learn more about our residential pest control services.

Look Out for These Mosquito Breeding Grounds

Empty pots containing water will attract mosquitoes to your Henrico VA home - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlMosquitoes are the biggest nuisance pest in the summertime. Especially here in Virginia, it can seem like mosquitoes will flock to you every time you leave your home at dawn or dusk. If that’s the case, you may be unknowingly harboring mosquito breeding grounds right in your backyard. Female mosquitoes need just a half inch of water to lay their eggs in, making any container collecting water in your property fair game. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can reduce the number of mosquito breeding grounds around your property. The team at Loyal is here to help.

Where do Mosquitoes Breed?

After breeding, the female mosquitoes will lay their eggs in stagnant or still water. From there, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will become adult mosquitoes in just two week’s time. Due to this rapid rate of reproduction, it’s crucial to stay on top of eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes will target any spot that contains standing water. They are frequently found in or around birdbaths, gutters, pools, mud pots, tree stumps and wood piles, tarps, children’s play sets, trash cans, old tires, and more. To avoid mosquito breeding grounds, routinely dump out standing water or consider placing covers on items.

Mosquito prevention around your Henrico VA home - Loyal Termite & Pest ControlHow to Avoid Mosquito Problems

In addition to getting rid of standing water in the above items, there are a number of ways you can prevent mosquitoes:

  • Install screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes outside
  • Avoid going outdoors at dawn and dusk
  • Fix water leaks or drainage issues promptly
  • Keep your lawn and shrubs trimmed and neat

Keep Mosquitoes Away For Good

Bottom line: mosquitoes are a nuisance in the summertime. The last thing you want to deal with is a mosquito infestation every time you want to spend time outside of your home. If you’ve done everything you can to get rid of common breed grounds for mosquitoes and still are dealing with them, contact the mosquito exterminators at Loyal today. Our team has what it takes to keep mosquitoes away from your property.

Mosquito Prevention 101

Remove standing water from bird baths to help prevent mosquitoes in Henrico and Richmond VA - Loyal Termite & Pest Control.It’s National Pest Month and officially the start of the pest season. In the coming months, homeowners are more vulnerable than ever to pest infestations. One of the worst pest problems this time of year in the Henrico and Richmond VA area is mosquitoes! As the weather warms up, mosquitoes will start to breed and infest yards. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do now to help limit the chance of getting a mosquito problem later on.

In honor of National Pest Management Month, the team here at Loyal Termite & Pest Prevention is sharing their top mosquito prevention tips for homeowners.

Best Mosquito Prevention Tips & Tricks

Everyone has dealt with mosquitoes before, and no one wants them ruining their backyard events! Mosquitoes are certainly a nuisance, but they can be dangerous, too. There are several things you can do to help protect you, your family, and your property from mosquitoes in the coming months:

  • Maintain your yard. Regularly maintain your garden and lawn to keep the grass short. Also trim back all plants and bushes to prevent mosquito resting spots
  • Remove all standing water. Get rid of any standing water in buckets, flower pots, bird baths, tarps, and more to eliminate mosquito breeding spots!
  • Install screens on your windows and doors. Doing this can save you the grief of getting mosquitoes inside every time you open a window or door.
  • Add fish to your ponds and agitate the water. Certain types of fish will feed on mosquito larvae. Also consider buying an agitator, which will stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water.
  • Install fans! Mosquitoes do not like the wind and are not strong fliers. Use fans to help force them away from your outdoor decks and patios.

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Whether you have an upcoming trip to a lake or a camping getaway, it’s important to learn about mosquito prevention when you’re away from your home. There are several things you can do to lessen the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes this summer:

  • Avoid going outdoors at dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Try to stay away from swampy areas or spots with standing water.
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent.

Help With Mosquito Prevention

Mosquitoes are a big nuisance and can easily ruin any outdoor gathering. If you’ve done all you can to prevent mosquitoes in your yard but still are dealing with these pesky insects, it’s time to call your local mosquito exterminators. Here at Loyal, our team will work with you to develop a custom mosquito control plan suited to the unique needs of your property. Call us today to learn more!

Can Mosquitoes & Ticks Spread COVID-19?

Insects are not currently considered to transmit COVID-19 in Henrico VA and worldwide. Learn more from Loyal Termite & Pest Control.At Loyal Termite & Pest Control, we understand how distressing and uncertain times are right now during COVID-19. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to stay educated and to keep up-to-date. As always, our focus is our dedication to the safety and health of our communities here in Henrico and Richmond VA. With new information on the hour, there are endless questions surrounding the nature of the virus, including how it is spread. As of now, there is no evidence or proof to suggest that mosquitoes and ticks transmit coronaviruses. These two insects are certainly responsible for some of the world’s worst diseases, but COVID-19 is not one of them.

Using information from the CDC, we’ll explore on the differences between vector-borne diseases and COVID-19 to help dispel myths about transmission in this blog post.

Do Insects Spread Coronavirus?

From what we’ve learned, mosquitoes and ticks do not transmit COVID-19. It’s important to learn how this new virus is understood to be spread:

  1. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that, to date, is spread through person-to-person contact.
  2. COVID-19 spreads through droplets from saliva or nasal discharge, often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can also be transmitted via contact with a contaminated surface and is increasingly considered to be an airborne virus.
  3. Coronaviruses are best avoided by avoiding exposure with infected persons. Studies have shown that COVID-19 may be spread by asymptomatic people, making social distancing a must.

Mosquito-Borne and Tick-Borne Diseases

What exactly are vector-borne diseases? Vectors are organisms that transmit diseases to humans through bites. The most common vector pests are fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Two insects in particular are infamous for their roles in the transmission of critical and serious diseases around the globe: mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes are tied to some of the world’s most dangerous diseases including malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more. Ticks are most known for their ability to spread Lyme disease, which is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States.

What to Remember

Mosquitoes definitely are capable of spreading diseases, but from what we know, COVID-19 is not one of them. At Loyal, we understand mosquitoes are still a threat. As always, it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to prevent biting insects. Our team continues to provide essential pest control services to our communities during these uncertain times.

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we encourage our customers to seek more information and follow guidelines released by the WHO, CDC, as well as your state and local public health agencies.