Pest Control Services | Exterminator | Columbia & Lancaster, PA
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Is Something Bugging You?


Kirchner Brothers Pest Control
2635 Columbia Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: (717) 394-8838
Fax: (717) 394-3277
Email: side_logo side_logo

Resources / Info

Preparation Sheets



Spiders

While cobwebs and spiders may make good fall decorations, it's no treat if they give you the creepy crawlies. There are many different types of spiders and they come in all different sizes, colors and shapes. Luckily even though some people may get a slight reaction to spider bites, there are no poisonous spiders native to Pennsylvania. So if you just can't deal with the spiders any longer, give us a call and we can come out and do a treatment for you.

Whether you want just the exterior treated or both your interior and exterior treated, here are a few things to make your treatment more successful:

Preferably the day before your scheduled treatment, take a broom and knock down any cobwebs that may be hanging around. We spray under your eaves, around your window and door frames, and up into your porch ceiling so concentrate on these areas. This will ensure good coverage of our spray to the exterior of your home.

If you are planning on having the exterior of your home washed, do it before your treatment.

Keep leaves and other debris cleaned up and away from your foundation and trim bushes and shrubs back away from the walls of your home.

We use a slow acting, microencapsulated product that lasts about 30 days. Microencapsulated means that even if it gets wet, once it dries itwill reactive itself. Also keep in mind that spiders have a raised body on skinny legs, so not much of the actual spider touches the surface.They will die, but not immediately.


Fleas

Approximately 2,500 species of fleas infest birds and mammals around the world but we typically encounter only a few of them, the most common being the cat flea. Although called the "cat" flea it infests both dogs and cats equally and is what most pet owners encounter. The cat flea has 4 stages in its life cycle, the egg, larva, pupa and adult.

Egg - Female adult fleas lay tiny, pearly white eggs (about 1 per hour) on the host where they fall to the ground and larva hatch in one to six days depending on conditions.

Larva - are slender, white and maggot-like. Because they avoid sunlight they burrow down deep into your carpet or in the cracks and crevices of your hard surface floors where they feed on organic debris. The larval stage usually lasts five-11 days but can be extended up to three weeks depending on conditions.

Pupa - When the larva is matured, it secretes silk and spins a cocoon where it molts to a pupa and then molts to the adult. During this stage the pupa is very resistant to insecticides and can also lie dormant for up to a year if they have adverse environmental conditions or the absence of stimuli such as movement, heat, carbon dioxide or a host.

Adult - Once the pupa evolves into the adult it emerges and finds a potential host where it will remain for the duration of its life starting the cycle over again

Understanding the life cycle of fleas will help you understand treatment. Since the eggs fall onto the floor, treatment should concentrate on floor areas, pet bedding and other areas where pets lay and the pets themselves. Treatment should be done using a product containing a growth regulator (IGR) which will render the fleas sterile so they won't be able to reproduce and will kill the adults. However, there is no product on the market that can penetrate the hard pupa stage, therefore after treatment you will continue to see fleas for about 3 weeks until all pupas hatch out and come in contact with the residual insecticide. We tell our customers to be patient; you need to let them hatch out. Daily thorough vacuuming will go a long way in reducing the amount of eggs, larva and pupa speeding up treatment. Be sure to empty your vacuum bag or canister into an outside trash receptacle or sealed plastic bag to prevent reinfestation. Wash pet bedding and have your pet treated professionally or use a topical flea product such as Frontline or Advantage on your pet. We also recommend having the lawn treated since that is where most fleas originate.


Carpenter Bees

In the past few weeks you may have notice what looks like giant bees buzzing around. These giant bees are called carpenter bees and while not aggressive or harmful to humans they can do quite a bit of damage to any areas of exposed wood on your home such as deck or balcony railings, soffits and window or door frames

Carpenter bees appear in April and usually disappear by the end of May or early June. During that short amount of time the female will look for wood in which she drills a perfectly round hole about ½ inch in diameter and deposits her eggs. Although the hole may look fairly shallow, it usually turns a can tunnel for several inches. Once the female deposits her eggs, she collects pollen and deposits it into the hole to feed the newly hatched eggs.

Carpenter bees are very territorial and will return to the same spot every year. If left untreated for several years the amount of carpenter bees that return each spring will continue to increase as new eggs hatch out and return to the same spot.

Many people think that by plugging up the holes the carpenter bee will die without an escape route, but in reality they will just create a new place to drill out of. When treating carpenter bees, first of all be patient. We tell our clients you really can't stop them from drilling but when the season is over around the end of May to the beginning of June, we can come out and treat the holes. Each hole must be individually treated with an insecticide dust labeled for carpenter bee use. This odorless dust gets puffed into each hole and will kill the eggs and any adults that are in the hole or which visit the holes after treatment. This will greatly reduce the population of carpenter bees next season. Once the holes have been treated, customers can use wood putty to patch up the holes and repaint if so desired. Better yet, if possible cover the exposed wood areas with easy to care for vinyl or metal.


  • honey
  • Honey Bee Swarm Removal

    Sometimes we get calls for honey bee hive removal. Honey bees are very beneficial to our environment and if possible we like to try to save the swarm. If the hive is inside a wall or some other inaccessible area we will be glad to treat it for you. But if the hive is in a tree or other easily accessible area we will probably recommend you call a beekeeper. Many times beekeepers are happy to remove the hive and relocate it. One such beekeeper is Josiah Garber (717) 723-9070 or a list of other swarm removal specialist can be found by checking the Lancaster County Honey Producers web site and clicking on Swarm Collection. A link to their web site is above or If you are not sure how to precede, please give us a call and we will be happy to help you.


  • All You Want to Know About Bed Bugs

    The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) just conducted a comprehensive study on the consumer's knowledge and perceptions of bed bugs. Did you know 1 in every 5 Americans either have had bed bugs, or know someone who has had bed bugs? The bad news is bed bugs are here and unfortunately the number of reported cases is growing. The good news is bed bugs do not spread or transmit diseases.

    What are bed bugs?

    Bed bugs have several stages of growth from eggs to adult. The eggs are extremely small and very hard to see. The adult bed bugs are what most people will encounter and are small (about ¼") reddish brown insects resembling a dog tick. Bed bugs have been found just about everywhere from 5 star hotels, movie theaters, retail stores, office buildings and residential homes. Cleanliness does not have anything to do with who does and does not get bed bugs (of course the more clutter and dirt the harder it is to treat). Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and most people unsuspectingly bring bed bugs into their environments in luggage, or rental/2nd hand furniture or clothing. They are nocturnal creatures and are attracted by the gasses you exhale while sleeping. They feed on the blood of humans and can go for several days, weeks and even months between
    blood meals, hiding in tiny cracks and crevices between meals.

    How do I know if I have bed bugs?
    The only way to know for sure if you have bed bugs is to see the actual bugs. For most people the first indication can be the itchy red welts caused by bed bug bites, however, don't assume all bites or red marks on your skin are bed bug bites. There are many other causes of bites or red marks. Small dark spots (or staining) on the mattress, box spring or sheets caused by bed bug excrement are another indication. If you suspect you may have bed bugs, call us and we can send out one of our trained professionals to conduct a thorough inspection.

    How do I treat an infestation of bed bugs?
    First of all don't panic. If you suspect you have bed bugs call us. Trying to treat them yourself, while tempting, can result in spreading the infestation. Most over the counter pest control products are not designed to treat bed bugs. A trained professional (PMP) may use a variety of treatment methods such as specially formulated pesticides, steam, vacuuming, heat and special monitoring devices. But no matter what the methods used, the key to an effective treatment is cooperation between the customer and the PMP. Follow any preparation or special instructions provided, reduce clutter and install hypoallergenic mattress and boxspring encasements. A series of treatments spaced approximately 2 to 3 weeks apart is recommended with the first treatment being the most thorough. All of Kirchner Brothers technicians are fully trained in bed bugs and the treatment of bed bugs.

    Prevention
    A few simple common sense rules can help lessen your chances for getting bed bugs. Resist the urge to pick up that "Free" sofa, mattress or chair sitting at the curb. If you do buy used or second hand furniture thoroughly inspect all furniture and ask what the store's policy is concerning bed bugs. If you buy second hand clothing, inspect it and immediately wash and dry it before wearing or hanging in your closet.

    When checking into a hotel room never put your luggage or belongings directly on the bed. If possible leave your luggage outside until you have done a thorough inspection of the bed. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress and boxspring paying attention to the seams and roping along the edges, lift up the mattress and check between the mattress and boxspring. Look for the actual insects or "staining". If possible check behind pictures, mirrors and the headboard. Immediately report anything suspicious to the management. When you have satisfied yourself that there are no signs of bed bugs, bring your luggage in and place it on the luggage rack (which you should have thoroughly inspected). Keep this rack located toward the foyer area of the room and away from the bed.

    When returning home, unpack outside or in a garage area, clothing should be immediately placed in plastic bags and sealed shut for transporting to the laundry area. Wash and dry using the highest heat the garments can tolerate. The plastic bags should be disposed of in an outside trash receptacle. Items that cannot be washed, such as shoes, can be cycled through the dryer. Thoroughly examine your luggage and other bags for any signs of bed bugs and vacuum out your luggage. Empty your vacuum bag and dispose of in outside trash receptacle or sealed container. We carry several different types of sprays you can use on your luggage both before and after traveling and can be purchased at our office. Remember it's better to be cautious. Don't be afraid to ask at the front desk before checking in if they have had any problems with bed bugs. Many states are passing legislation requiring disclosure of bed bug infestations and treatments.


Voles

Voles? Don't you mean moles? Most homeowners have heard of moles, the small rodent like creatures who live in tunnels underground, but most have never heard of voles until they become a problem. The vole is a small rodent also known as a meadow mouse or field mouse. They feed on grass, roots of shrubs, flower bulbs and small tree roots. They can quickly wipe out your entire landscaping if left uncontrolled. How do I know if I have voles?
Voles build distinct, noticeable tunnels, or "runways" near or at the top of the ground, a few inches wide. Vole pathways occur when the voles eat the grass blades, in addition to the consistent traffic of many small feet trouncing over the same path. Voles are just as active in the winter as in warmer weather, especially when there is snow covering the ground. They love to burrow through the grass making tunnels under the snow, eating grass and the roots of your bushes. Often the first indication the homeowner has of a vole infestation is when the snow starts to melt and they see the paths made by the pitter patter of tiny feet.

What can I do?
If you suspect you have a vole problem, contact us. We will place tamper resistant boxes containing poisonous bait in the landscaping around the exterior perimeter of your home. Depending on the severity of the problem you may be able to get by with one treatment and a follow-up although many of our customers need a year round monthly maintenance program to control these prolific creatures.


Flying Ants or Termites?

Flying Ants or Termites Termite swarmers are around for a short period of time starting in late March or early April. They appear suddenly seemingly out of nowhere. There can be thousands of them and if left go will disappear as quickly and mysteriously as they appeared. Many times this is a homeowners only indication they have a termite issue and many times homeowners ignore them thinking it is a harmless but annoying flying ant (especially if they disappear in a few days). But which is it Ant or Termite?

The easiest and quickest way to tell is by the body. As you can see by the illustration above, ants have three (3) sections, a head and a two part segmented body. Termites only have two (2) sections, a head and a one part elongated body. So the first thing you should do is get a sample and check out the body.

The next difference while more subtle is the wings. Ants have two pairs of unequally sized wings, termites have two pairs of wings both the same size.

The third indication is piles of discarded wings lying around. The termite swarmer's only objective is to mate. They grow wings during this stage and when done mating discard the wings. If you see piles of discarded wings you probably have termites.

So if a large cloud of swarming insects suddenly appears this time of year don't panic and don't ignore them. Get a sample, check them out and call us. There is no obligation to have us come to check it out. We can positively identify them for you and if it is termites give you an estimate for treatment.

Cicada Killer Wasp

cicada In the past few days we've been getting calls concerning large wasps flying around and burrowing in customer's yards. These large (between .5" to 2" long) are the non-aggressive Cicada Killer Wasps. They appear in early July when the Cicada insect appears. The male is smaller than the female. Only the female has a stinger which she uses to paralyze the Cicada when she catches them. After mating, the male dies and the female will dig a burrow in the ground. They look for areas with sparse or bare vegetation which make it easier to burrow into the soil. After making a burrow the female with catch and paralyze a Cicada which she takes into the burrow and lays her eggs onto it. The Cicada becomes food for the eggs and young Cicadas which overwinter in the burrow and emerge in late spring. Cicada Killer Wasps are territorial and will return to the same area each year. If the burrows are not treated the condition will continue to get worse as more Cicadas hatch out the next season.

TREATMENT OPTIONS: As noted above Cicada Killers are not aggressive and only the female has a stinger. I have never heard of them attacking anyone but they are a nuisance for the month of July and into early August. The best treatment option is to try to ride it out until the majority of them have made their burrows and laid their eggs. Then we can come and treat each individual hole with a dust which will kill the eggs and the female. This will reduce the population for the next year. Another thing you can do is to make sure you have a healthy lawn with no bare or sparse patches making it harder for them to burrow into the ground. This can be achieved by fertilizing your lawn in the fall and spring.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

As the evenings start to turn cooler, those darn stink bugs will be coming out of the trees and bushes looking for a warmer place to roost and overwinter.

Originating from China, stink bugs were initially discovered in the US in Allentown PA in 1998. They are found mostly in eastern PA, but have been regularly spreading throughout the eastern United States.

Stinkbugs have an armor like shaped body which varies in color from light beige to dark brown. They have scent glands situated on the bottom of its thorax and on its belly which produces a strong odor as a defense mechanism, therefore the name stink bug. As the weather starts to turn cooler, especially in the evenings, they start to move to overwintering sites generally into homes and other secured structures. They can flatten themselves as thin as a sheet of paper to gain access so sealing up your house is a good defense. Fix any damaged screens on windows or doors, use silicone-latex or silicone caulk to seal in the cracks around siding, doorframes and if there are any other openings. Remove window air conditioners, an easy and common entry point for stink bugs. Check your siding and soffits for any loose or missing pieces and seal up any cracks. We can also spray the exterior of your home as a deterrent to keep them from roosting on your house.

If they do find a way into your house, don't panic. They do not harm humans or create structural damage. They don't multiply while overwintering and if they do come into your living space will die with 24-48 hours. You can remove them by using your hand or use a shop vac or vacuum cleaner to remove them.

Overwintering Fall Invaders

As the nights and days turn cooler, outside insects such as spiders, the Asian lady beetle, brown marmorated stink bug, boxelder bug, elm leaf beetle, earwigs, millipedes, etc. begin to enter buildings with the intent of finding a sheltered place to spend the winter. When fall invaders get inside, some of them will die fairly soon due to drier indoor air, but others will end up in the attic, behind baseboards or in wall voids. Then the heat of your house or an occasional warm day in the winter may bring them out into the open where they may be seen crawling along baseboards or up walls. Here are a few tips to help prevent entry.

As you are doing your fall yard work take a few minutes to check out the perimeter of your home's foundation.


  • Caulk cracks around doors and basement or ground floor windows.
  • Make sure window and door screens fit securely and screen outside vents.
  • Install threshold sweeps and weather stripping on ground level doors, including garage doors.
  • Move wood piles, compost piles, piles of leaves or grass clippings, or stacked boards or stones away from the foundation.
  • Pull mulch away from foundation walls.
  • Remove grass, weeds and ground cover plants that touch foundation walls.
  • Drain standing water around the foundation.
  • Trim any shrubs or tree branches that touch the roof or sides of the structure.

We can also do an exterior perimeter spray around your foundation to prevent entry.