Invasive spiders, flies, and bugs!

Joro Spiders, Spotted Lantern Flies, Stink Bugs. What do all of these animals have in common? They are all invasive species! An invasive species is an organism that is introduced to its nonnative environment and begins to spread or expand its range. Many invasive species can cause damage to their new environment, the economy, and to human health. The Joro Spider is a relatively new invasive species that was first introduced to the United States around 2013 and is thought to have hitched a ride on shipping containers from its native Japan. Since that time, they have thrived in the climates of southern states like Georgia and South Carolina. Recent studies, though, have shown that they are resistant to colder temperatures and may soon venture north to states up and down the east coast. Thus far, these spiders show no indications of harming the environment or humans, so while they may look intimidating, they are not dangerous. Another invasive species that is a relatively new introduction to the United States is the Spotted Lantern Fly. Contrary to the Joro Spider, this insect has been shown to cause significant damage to the environment and the economy. First found in Eastern Pennsylvania in 2014, the Spotted Lantern Fly has now been detected in 11 eastern states. Not only is this insect a nuisance, but it feeds on the saps of healthy plants and could significantly damage the agricultural production and economy of any area that it infests. The Spotted Lantern Fly is such a danger that Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture has enacted quarantine zones to try to stop the movement of the Spotted Lantern Fly and slow its spread. Sightings of the Spotted Lantern Fly (egg masses, nymphs, or adults) should be documented and reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. One invasive species that we Pennsylvanians have learned to live with (for better or worse) is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Thought to have been introduced in the mid-1990’s from east Asia, these insects are a serious pest of fruit, vegetables, and other crops. They are also a significant nuisance to humans, as they often arrive to our homes in great numbers in the fall to find a warm, protected place to overwinter. Then, as sunny winter days or spring-like temperatures arrive, they can often be found inside homes trying to make their way back outside. If you have a problem with any of these invasive species or nuisance pests, you can contact Environmental Pest Management at 724-349-7900 or We can treat your Indiana County home for nuisance pests such as spiders and stink bugs, in addition to many others. Sources: Penn State Extension ( and UGA Today (

Termite Awareness Week

Termites, known as the “silent destroyers”, are one of the most destructive pests, causing an estimated $5 billion in property damage annually in the United States. Eastern subterranean termites, which are found throughout Pennsylvania, can be so destructive because once damage becomes evident, it is usually the result of many years of infestation. Home owners can take steps to help prevent termites from becoming a serious problem. Routine inspections of the home should be performed to check for signs of termites or termite damage such as mud tubes, cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. In Pennsylvania, termite infestations are most often found in basement or cellar areas or the structural timbers immediately above the cellar walls, so those areas should be thoroughly inspected. Home owners should also reduce moisture around their home, monitor all outside areas of wood, and seal cracks on the exterior of the home. Signs of an active termite infestation can include the presence of swarming termites or their discarded wings, especially in late winter/spring months. Termite swarmers are the most commonly seen stage of termites, since other termite castes will not willingly expose themselves to light. Termite swarmers very much resemble and can be mistaken for winged ants; therefore, they should be positively identified by a pest control professional. In addition to swarming termites, damaged wood or the presence of termite tubes can indicate an active termite problem in the home. If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, contact our office for a free pest identification and professional termite control estimate. Source: Eastern Subterranean Termites, Penn State Extension, More information about Termite Awareness Week can be found on the National Pest Management Association website.

Bed Bugs – What You Need to Know

Remember the childhood rhyme, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”? For most Americans, bed bugs were only a thing of nursery rhymes until the 1990’s when they began to make a resurgence in the United States, showing up in hotels and motels. Since that time, bed bug populations in the United States have increased exponentially, creating a need for increased awareness and education across the country. The Facts: Bed bugs are small, flat-bodied, oval shaped insects that can vary in size from about the size of a pin head (nymphal stage) to an apple seed (adult bed bug). They do not fly or jump, rather they move from host to host or place to place by crawling, often “hitch-hiking” on items such as luggage, purses, or book bags. Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and, on average, live for 6 to 12 months. In optimal conditions, a bed bug population can double every 16 days. Bed bugs spend the majority of their time hiding in cracks and crevices near their host, but with a heavy infestation can seek refuge elsewhere. They become active a night, depending on their host’s schedule, and are attracted to carbon dioxide exhalations and body heat. Prevention Tips: When traveling, check your room for bed bugs prior to bringing luggage into the room. After returning home from travel, put your items in a dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes to kill any “hitch-hiking” bed bugs. Check secondhand items for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your home. Vacuum regularly and dispose of vacuum contents immediately in an outdoor garbage can. Eliminate clutter in your home. This will reduce hiding spots for bed bugs in the event that they are brought into your home. Source: Bed Bug Biology and Behavior. Virginia Cooperative Extension. **If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, you are welcome to bring them to our Associate Certified Entomologist for positive identification. Once bed bugs have been positively identified, we can let you know the best course of action. You can also contact us or give us a call at 724-349-7900.