GreenleafOrganicPest.com Blog

Fun and Interesting Cricket Facts

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Mar 26, 2019 @ 12:29 PM

cricket

Crickets are celebrated in human folklore, feared by the superstitious, and extolled by literary giants including Shakespeare and Dickens. Worldwide, around 900 species of crickets exist. Of these, 100 species of crickets call the U.S. home.

California's native and non-native cricket species include the field cricket, scaly cricket, and snowy tree cricket. If crickets drive you crazy, enjoy these fun cricket facts before the pest control technicians arrive.

1. The Name Cricket Is Onomatopoeia

Crickets get their name for the sounds they make. Onomatopoeia is the term for creating a word that mimics the sounds made by the thing the word describes. Words like hiss, meow, and moo are examples of onomatopoeia.

The word cricket has its origins in the Old French word criquet. The game cricket did not borrow its name from the chirpy arthropod known as the cricket. The sport of cricket owes its name to another Old French term, except the original word, in this case, means goal post.

2. Cricket Myths Exist Around the Globe

In Asian cultures including areas of China and Japan, crickets are so beloved that families have kept the tiny serenading creatures in ornate little cages for generations. At the Insect Hearing Festival in Japan, crickets are set free in a ceremony at the end of every summer.

Some people love to fall asleep to the melodic song of crickets. Other people use crickets as sustainable little security alarms. The crickets grow quiet when anyone approaches their little cages, so they're true champions at giving an early heads-up when someone strange is on the doorstep.

In ancient areas of the U.K. and Europe, numerous myths and superstitions about crickets exist to this day. In some cultures, crickets are harbingers of prosperity and good fortune. According to some Irish belief systems, crickets are Old Folks who've lived many generations and have epic tales to tell with their endless songs.

Native American and other cultures believed that killing a cricket was bad luck. Meanwhile, Dickens gushed over the value of a cricket on the fireplace hearth.

3. Crickets Are Tasty and Nutritious

While munching on a cricket might seem strange, crickets are a delicacy in quite a few locations around the world. In fact, at least two billion people include crickets in their diets.

Recently, Western scientists and food experts have experimented with the benefits of edible crickets for the U.S. dinner plate. They have strong reason to believe that crickets could enhance human gut health.

Recently, one small study found that a diet rich in protein-packed insects increases healthy stomach bacteria and reduces body inflammation. As unpleasant as a deep-fried cricket may sound, crickets are a very sustainable source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats.

Humans are good at digesting insects, so crickets are a possible food option to feed people of diverse ages. The little arthropods are a crunchy way to add nutrition to the diets of people with difficulty digesting other types of proteins.

4. Crickets Chirp Faster When the Weather Is Warmer

If you want a cricket to be quiet so you can get some sleep, turn down the heat. That's because a cricket will chirp faster as the air temperature warms.

Crickets make their chirping sounds by rubbing their wings together. The male cricket woos nearby female crickets and scares off rivals by chirping. Chirps come from rubbing the ridges on one wing over the hardened areas of the opposite wing.

Crickets do not make chirps by rubbing their legs together. The forelegs of crickets have special auditory organs to hear the chirps of other crickets more clearly.

5. Crickets Can Be Nuisances

Apollo himself may have adored the cricket, but you may be one of those people who is aggravated by the constant nocturnal chirping. You may have camel crickets or another cricket taking over your laundry room or pool area.

Prevention is the best way to ensure you don't suffer from a cricket infestation. The following preventative measures will help:

  • Seal up cracks around windows, vents, and doors.
  • Eliminate interior and exterior leaks and wet spots.
  • Keep firewood away from home and pool areas.
  • Keep your trash bins and containers up on bricks.
  • Use only sodium-vapor lighting around yard and pool.

Call a qualified pest control professional if a cricket infestation has gotten out of hand. Pest control companies have a variety of tactics to bait, trap, and eliminate all types of crickets and other household pests.

A pest control team will help you determine where the crickets have entered your home. After you close up access points and schedule routine pest control monitoring, your cricket problems should go away.

If you need help with a cricket infestation in your Los Angeles home, contact Greenleaf Organic Pest Management today. We practice integrated pest management and offer you a choice of home and garden treatment options.

Tags: pests, Nuisance animals, Reduce pest

Get the Scoop on Gophers and Moles

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 07:48 AM

 

Your yard is your pride and joy. You take great care in mowing and watering your lawn. You strike the right balance of trees, shrubs, and flowers when designing your garden. And you've mastered when to prune, fertilize, and mulch the plants on your property.

So when you spot suspicious mounds near your hydrangeas or unsightly ridges near your driveway, you can't help but feel frustrated at the damage. Naturally, you want to remove the source as quickly as possible.

But before you take matters into your own hands, take a few minutes to identify whether you have a gopher or a mole tearing into your yard. These commonly confused pests require different removal and trapping methods. If you use the wrong technique or product, you may cause even more damage to your yard and leave it vulnerable to future infestations.

Here are the easiest ways to spot the difference between a gopher and a mole.

Appearance

Both gophers and moles spend a great deal of time underground, so you might not catch a good look at either of your furry invaders. However, if you do happen to glance their way, you'll quickly notice the following features.

Moles

Moles have pointed, hairless muzzles and potato-shaped bodies. Their eyes are tiny, and at a distance, moles look like they don't have any eyes at all. They do not have any external ears, and their fur completely covers their ear canals. Moles also have large, broad forefeet, and they use their webbed toes like flippers as they swim through the soil.

Gophers

Gophers have bulging cheeks and rounded snouts that end in prominent teeth. They have flat heads and stocky bodies. Though they have small eyes and ears, you can usually distinguish these facial features from the rest of their fur. Gophers have long claws on their forefeet that help them dig and push through the soil.

Digging Patterns

Even if you never see the moles or gophers in your yard, you can still identify the pest based on the damage they cause in your yard. Although gophers and moles dig tunnels, each one uses a different technique to build their home and search for food.   

Moles

When moles aren't foraging for food, they excavate their tunnels by pushing dirt straight above them. If their tunnels are close to the surface, they'll create conical, volcano-shaped mounds. Although molehills vary in size, most of them will have a uniform appearance.

Oftentimes, mole tunnels stay close to a solid object, so look for ridges and trails near your driveway, lawn border, or house foundation. These surface tunnels have little or no support from the surrounding soil, so they'll collapse if you step on them.

Gophers

Gophers dig deeper than moles, creating tunnels and homes nearly six feet under the soil. As a result, you likely won't see any surface ridges or trails in your yard. When gophers exit to seek a mate or find food, they come to the surface at an angle, creating an irregular fan- or crescent-shaped mound. To prevent predators from invading their tunnels, gophers plug the hole at the top.

As gopher tunnels tend to be quite deep, the surrounding soil will lend structure and support to the holes. If you step on the mounds, they likely won't collapse as readily as molehills. 

Additional Identifiers

If you're still not sure whether you have a gopher or a mole digging through your yard, you can use the following details to identify your pest.

Moles

Moles are insectivores, and they'll eat over half of their body weight in bugs and grubs daily. Consequently, many moles will focus on eating the most insects possible and leave your plants alone. But due to the nature of their digging, moles can damage plant roots by creating air pockets around the plants, and more delicate flowers and plants will often die as a result.

If you see holes in the shadier, moist areas of your lawn (where insects often thrive), you may have a mole on your property.

Gophers

Gophers, in contrast, are strict vegetarians. They'll mostly feed on underground plant roots, though they will also nibble on new buds, leaves, and surface vegetation during the spring and summer months. Sometimes gophers will drag entire plants underground, and they'll quickly trim down any vegetation near their holes and mounds.

If you see wilting or dead plants in your garden, you likely have a gopher.

Do You Spot Either in Your Garden?

Once you know the difference between moles and gophers, you can take steps to remove either pest from your yard. Reach out to a pest control expert to discuss possible trapping and removal methods.

If you find that gophers and moles frequent your yard each year, don't hesitate to ask about landscaping techniques and prevention as well. You may need to reduce the insect population in your yard to avoid attracting moles, or you might need to use chicken wire baskets to protect your plants from gophers.  

 

Tags: pests, Moles, Gophers, garden

Do Snails and Slugs Count as Garden Pests?

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 @ 08:25 AM

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California stays relatively warm year-round. You love the appealing temperatures and consistent sunlight. You especially love that you can keep a garden all year long-in fact, you enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables any time you want.

As you look at your garden, you notice that some of the plants seem a little odd in color. You look closer and see shiny, slimy streaks along the stems and leaves. You know that these signs likely mean you have snails or slugs in your garden.

But do these slow crawlers really pose a threat to the plant life on your property? Below, we'll discuss snails and slugs in depth so you know how to recognize these pests in your yard. Read on so you know what to do in the event of a slug or snail infestation.

Their Appearance

Slugs and snails look fairly similar. These pests are often referred to as land mollusks because they come from the same animal family as clams, oysters, squid, and octopus. Snails and slugs are the only members of this family that you'll ever find on land, though you'll most often find them in water.

Snails look ovular in shape, and range in size-these gastropods can grow up to 10 inches in length. The most prominent feature of snails however, is the coiled shell they carry on their backs. Snails also have two soft antennae on the top of their heads, and their eyes rest at the tip of the antennae.

Interestingly, snails have compound eyes. These eyes are made up of dozens of light-sensitive elements. Each element has its own refractive system that forms parts of an image, and these parts combine to allow the critter to see. This eye type and structure is commonly found on most insects (like flies) and a few crustaceans.

Slugs are incredibly similar to snails, but with a few key differences. Slugs don't have a shell on their backs at all. In fact, slugs have an internal shell that is either tiny in size or just a small remnant of the shell. Additionally, slugs can grow up to 15 inches in length.

Both snails and slugs range in color, from light yellow to black and dark gray.

Their Living Environments

Snails and slugs prefer to live in dark spaces in hot, humid climates. Since slugs don't have a shell on their backs, they can easily fit into tight hiding places. For example, you'll often find slugs hiding underneath loose tree bark and slabs of stone.

Snails are less flexible than slugs, however. Because they carry a large shell on their backs, snails can't easily hide in smaller spaces. But they can quickly retreat into their shells and use the structure for protection against predators. You'll also find snails in damp, dark places near a plentiful food source.

Their Preferred Food Sources

These critters will eat any type of vegetation-if they can digest it, they'll eat it. However, snails and slugs prefer to munch on the leaves and stems of the following kinds of plants:

  • Lettuces
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Petunias
  • Daisies
  • Dandelions
  • Primroses
  • Daffodils
  • Lilies
  • Irises
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbages Peas

Land snails and slugs often eat plant matter, while their water-living counterparts are carnivorous scavengers that eat anything they can find.

Their Effect on Plant Life

Snails and slugs might seem like harmless creatures, but they actually cause quite a bit of damage to plant life in your yard and garden. They'll often chew irregular holes in the leaves, stems, and stalks of plants. These irregular holes can cause severe damage to plants.  If a snail or slug eats the fruits or vegetables in your garden, that produce becomes inedible for humans.

What You Can Do to Keep Snails and Slugs Out of Your Garden

To prevent slugs and snails from eating your fruits, vegetables, and other plants, use environmentally friendly methods.

For example, you could crush up old eggshells and scatter the pieces throughout the soil. If you have potted plants, sprinkle the crushed shells in the soil and fertilizer as well. Snails and slugs don't like the sharp edges, so they'll stay away from your plants. The shells also add nutrients to the soil to help your plants grow. Additionally, you could add coffee grounds to the soil to further repel slugs and fertilize any plants.

 

If snails and slugs become too big of a problem in your garden or yard this season, don't hesitate to contact a pest control specialist. Find a company that emphasizes in green pest control solutions. These methods allow the experts to safely and humanely rid your property of pests while reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals.

If you have a large infestation of snails or slugs in your garden or yard, pest control experts are your most effective resource. These professionals can rid your yard of any size infestation and prevent future infestations from occurring.

Tags: pests

Are You Inviting Pests into Your Home? | Greenleaf Pest

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 @ 08:53 AM

Foods That Invite Pests Into Your Home

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Most, if not all, homeowners take great pride in their homes. They dedicate countless hours to cleaning and maintaining the structure. They even spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to decorate, remodel, and add onto their homes to make it cozier and more appealing to their families and friends.

Like typical homeowners, you want to keep your home clean and free of unwanted pests. But when bugs and critters find their way into your home, you may not know what attracted them in the first place. Despite your efforts to pest-proof your home, insects and rodents can still get inside-especially when they see or smell food.

Below, we've listed some of the most common foods that attract pests into your home. We also discuss alternative storage methods and tell you how to prevent pests from entering your house in the future.

Fruits and Vegetables

You love to stock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. But the foods you use to make your smoothies, salads, and other side dishes actually attract several kinds of pests. You may want to keep your fruits and veggies stored in a basket from the ceiling or on the counter. However, this storage method leaves these foods vulnerable to pests.

Additionally, if you leave cut-up fruits and vegetables on the table or counter, pests will do whatever they can to eat those foods.

Rather than leave fruits and vegetables out in the open, try to store them inside your refrigerator if possible. If you have to keep some items out, try to use them as quickly as possible. As fruits and vegetables ripen, they may leak juices that only attract more pests into your home.

Meats

Some insects and rodents are omnivores, so they're attracted by the smells of raw and cooking meats. Whether you choose to cook meat inside each day or host a springtime picnic in your backyard, you'll want to carefully store your meats before, during, and after cooking.

Keep your raw meats inside plastic storage bags or airtight storage containers until you're ready to cook them. You should also store meats in your fridge until about half an hour before you cook them. As you put meat in the frying pan or on the grill, keep the excess meat in a covered container or bowl. Once you've cooked each piece of meat, keep it covered until you need to store the leftovers.

Chocolates

Rodents like mice and rats will eat anything in sight and smell. However, they prefer to eat foods full of carbohydrates and sugars-and chocolate is their food of choice. If you have any chocolate in your home, make sure to store it in durable, airtight container. You can even place this container in a cupboard to further reduce the chances of mice seeing or smelling the chocolate. Grains

Several kinds of pests (including mice, weevils, beetles, and moths) thrive off of grains. Make sure to securely package and store the following:

  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Pancake mix
  • Cake mix
  • Meal
  • Cereals

If you have legumes (such as beans and lentils) in your pantry, you'll also want to store them in sturdy containers. Most pests can smell these foods, and they'll gnaw through most packaging to get to the grains inside. However, if you store these items inside durable containers, the pests likely won't smell the grains. As a result, they're less likely to infest your home.

Crumbly Foods

Smaller pests like flies, ants, weevils, and beetles prefer to nibble on the crumbs you leave behind on your floors, tables, and countertops. Specifically, they enjoy eating crumbs from the following foods:

  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Chips

No matter what foods you eat, thoroughly wipe down your tabletops and counters, and sweep your floors well. As you keep these surfaces free of crumbs, you reduce the chances that a pest will enter your home to get to a food source.

One Final Tip

Although most pests will eat whatever kind of food they can find, an overwhelming majority of rodents and critters prefer to eat decaying foods found in your trash. Make sure to take out the garbage regularly and to store full garbage bags inside a sealed trash receptacle. This step reduces the amount of bugs and critters inside your home and on your property.

When you have fewer food sources available, pests won't find your home as attractive. As a result, you can enjoy a pest-free home that looks and feels the way you want it to.

 

Use the tips listed above to properly store your foods and keep pests outside your home. If you need help ridding your home of any pest, get in touch with a local pest control specialist. You can even contact a professional that specializes in green pest control services so you don't have to use harmful pesticides to clear your home of bugs.

For more tips and information, read through our other blog posts.

Tags: pests