Waterbugs are large, ovoid-shaped bugs

How to Get Rid of Waterbugs: Boric Acid, Baking Soda & More!

Distinguishing between water bugs and cockroaches in New Jersey is quite difficult. Both have long, flat brown bodies and look almost identical.

While often referred to as a roach, waterbugs are aquatic creatures that are part of a completely different genus.

Nevertheless, spotting a water bug or cockroach in your home can be quite jarring and indicate the possibility of an infestation. If you want to eliminate water bugs and cockroaches for good, read this guide.

What are Water Bugs?

Waterbugs are large, ovoid-shaped bugs that tend to swell in standing water. The true water bug is actually called a Nepomorpha and is part of the “true bug” order known as Hemiptera.

They are usually brown or black in color with long antennae and six legs and are often confused with the Oriental cockroach. However, the Oriental cockroach is native to Africa.

Like pincher bugs, waterbugs are rarely found in homes, but they are quite common across the northeast region, particularly in the tri-state area. Mostly, they feed on other insects, though they’ve been known to bite humans and infest houses from time to time.

For this reason, being able to identify and treat water bugs when they enter your home is crucial.

Identifying Water Bugs

Waterbugs have a flat body shape with two long antennae on their heads. They also have wings but cannot fly due to their size and weight.

Their bodies range from 1/2 inch to 2 inches in length depending on species, making them easy to identify when compared to other bugs like ants or flies.

Water Bugs thrive in dark, damp areas such as basements, crawl spaces, sewers, and drains, where they consume decaying organic material like food remnants or dead animals. Outside, near wet areas like ponds or streams, they can exist happily and remain hydrated in times of drought.

The average lifespan for a waterbug ranges from 6 months to 2 years, depending on its environment and access to resources.

Unfortunately, waterbugs are a common pest found in many homes and businesses, but there are various ways to get rid of them.

Boric acid is an effective solution for getting rid of waterbugs

How to Get Rid of Waterbugs

Eliminating water bugs can be a challenging endeavor, but there are multiple techniques that can help. In many ways, water bug elimination is the same as getting rid of cockroaches, though there are some materials that work better on waterbugs.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is an effective solution for getting rid of waterbugs, as it dehydrates and kills them on contact. This substance works by dehydrating and killing the insects on contact.

To use boric acid, simply sprinkle it around areas where you have seen waterbugs or in places where they may enter your home, such as windowsills and doorways.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another option for killing water bugs. It works similarly to boric acid by drying out their exoskeletons when applied directly to the bug or sprinkled in areas where they may congregate.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is also an effective way to kill these pests. This powdery substance consists of fossilized algae which cuts through the insect's exoskeleton when rubbed onto them, causing dehydration and death over time.

Chemical Sprays

Insecticides and sprays are available at many hardware stores; though, these items must be used with caution since they include toxic chemicals that can prove dangerous if not handled with care.

Biological Methods

Introducing some natural predators, like spiders, lizards, frogs, birds, and centipedes, can help regulate water bug populations without using chemical treatments.

Nevertheless, when it comes to pest control, preventative pest control is always the most effective and natural method available.

Natural Ways to Prevent Water Bugs?

It is essential to take action to avert water bugs from invading your residence or business, as they are a prevalent issue for both. Here is a list of ways to prevent water bugs naturally:

  • Eliminate standing water around your property.
  • Seal up any entry points into your home or business, especially around pipes where water flows.
  • Eliminate any food or debris lying around your home.
  • Use bait stations and traps to catch any waterbugs in your home.
  • Conduct a routine inspection using a pest control service.

Professional Pest Control Services for Waterbugs

Professional exterminators have the experience and knowledge necessary to identify, treat, and prevent future water bug infestations.

Start with an inspection to see if you have any water bugs on your property. Afterward, your exterminator will use a variety of methods to reduce and eliminate the waterbug population in your home for good.

For total, year-round protection, be sure to ask about any residential protection plans.

Anchor Pest Control offers full 365-day protection against over 40 species of pests, including waterbugs, with its Pest Protect 365 plan. Be sure to ask us for a quote the next time you schedule an inspection or service–it might just save you some money.

FAQs: How to Get Rid of Waterbugs

What is the most effective way to get rid of waterbugs?

For successful water bug elimination, an IPM approach should be employed to identify the source of infestation, reduce entry points for pests and use chemical treatments when needed. Identifying the root of the infestation, blocking entry points for pests, and using chemical treatments like insecticides when necessary are all components of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, which is a successful way to get rid of waterbugs.

Additionally, it's important to use proper sanitation techniques and regularly inspect for signs of new infestations. Taking all these steps together will help ensure that you can quickly and effectively eliminate your water bug problem.

How do you get rid of water bugs naturally?

Water bugs can be naturally removed from your home or business by using a combination of preventive measures and natural solutions. Prevention includes sealing off cracks, crevices, and other entry points to keep water bugs out. Natural solutions include vacuuming up any visible pests with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter; applying diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the building; setting traps such as sticky boards or glue traps in areas where they are likely to congregate; placing mint plants near window sills, doorways, and other openings to deter them; and cleaning regularly with vinegar-based products that contain essential oils like peppermint oil or tea tree oil.

What brings water bugs out?

Water bugs are usually attracted to areas with standing water, such as clogged gutters and drains. Moist soil is a draw for these bugs, so they can be seen in places with plentiful humidity like gardens or other outdoor spots.

Additionally, warm temperatures can draw them out; this is why you often see more water bugs during the summer months. Lastly, food sources such as decaying organic matter can attract these pests.

11 Myths about Pest Control That Are Wrong

While pest control may not always be top-of-mind during your day-to-day, it’s important to be prepared and know what to do if an infestation ever arrives at your door.

That’s why we always recommend our customers look into a pest control maintenance plan so that they are always prepared.

Nevertheless, some people choose to remain on the DIY route or contact an exterminator only in emergencies.

That’s why I want to dispel a few common myths that many of our customers have come to believe surrounding pest control, which leads them to make costly and dangerous decisions.

1. If I don’t see pests, they’re not there.

A massive part of pest control is prevention.

Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t often think about prevention or implement any measures until it is too late.

However, it’s very common to find bugs that homeowners didn’t even know existed during a routine inspection. For example, insects like bed bugs, cockroaches, and rodents, are nocturnal and dwell in areas that aren’t commonly trafficked, like basements and attics, meaning you’ll rarely have a chance to spot them in the open.

Furthermore, animals like rodents are sometimes less noisy than you think and could live in walls and basements without your knowledge.

That’s why I recommend every homeowner do a thorough cleaning and inspection of their home every season, checking for signs of pests, such as:

  • Droppings
  • Shells
  • Larva
  • Bite marks on walls
  • Holes in wood
  • Wood shavings
  • The presence of spiders and other insects
  • The presence of birds

In addition, you should implement some pretty standard prevention strategies, such as sealing off any openings to the outside and disposing of any trash that may attract insects.

Even if pests are not there now, this doesn’t mean you’re immune from them coming to your home in the future.

2. One pest doesn’t equal an infestation.

Similarly, many pests are social creatures and travel in packs or colonies. Some common examples of social pests include cockroaches, bees, wasps, termites, ants, and bed bug infestations.

So if you spot any of these pests, it could indicate that you have a deeper problem that you physically cannot see but is present.

In this instance, I highly recommend you contact an exterminator for a thorough home inspection and to thwart an infestation before it grows.

3. DIY pest control is cheaper.

Ignoring a pest problem or dealing with it yourself could cost you more than it could save you money.

First, not addressing the issue right away will require more extreme measures as infestations rise out of control. For instance, cockroach removal may eventually require fumigation of the entire home–though rare–which would cost more than any standard treatment.

Secondly, many people don’t know how to correctly apply pest control products, like pesticides, which could harm their health if used inappropriately.

Furthermore, most homeowners will be unable to determine if they’ve properly dealt with an infestation without a proper inspection.

In the end, mishandling an infestation will cost you more than the initial treatment from your local exterminator and probably require more extensive services.

4. Homeowners' insurance will cover the damage.

Another risk of not addressing an infestation is the damage that certain pests, like termites and ants, can do to your home.

Unfortunately, virtually no homeowners insurance policy will cover damage from pests, and you will be left to foot a major bill.

 5. I can handle most pests on my own.

Ultimately, this leads me to the most dangerous myth of all, which is that most pests can be treated DIY.

Pest control requires advanced knowledge of chemicals and dangerous products that the average layman should not handle. In addition, many pest control methods will vary by pest, as some may require intense fumigation and even evacuation of the home.

Many pests like fleas, mosquitos, rodents, and sandflies can also carry diseases that are harmful to human health, putting your family at risk if they are not dealt with accordingly.

When pest control extends beyond the point of prevention, calling your local exterminator is no longer optional.

 6. Termites don’t damage brick/slab homes.

But what about if you live in a brick or slab home? What damage could termites and pests cause?

Unfortunately, termites can easily make their way through the cracks inside a brick home and attack vulnerable parts, such as the wood frame.

Furthermore, anything made of wood will not be safe from the wrath of these pesky pests, so it’s always safer to contact your local exterminator immediately.

7. A clean house is enough to prevent pests.

Another important myth related to our first query is the notion that your home is immune to pests just because it is clean.

While we certainly recommend cleaning your home of any garbage, clutter, or standing water, there are still sources of food and water that will attract rodents and cockroaches regardless.

Additionally, other pests, such as bed bugs, could enter your home accidentally after traveling, despite having a clean and bleached home.

Other factors, such as having tall grass or a yard filled with clutter, can attract bugs to your property that eventually make their way inside.

8. Cats are natural rodent deterrents.

While there is some truth to the idea that cats are natural predators of mice, they are not as effective as you think.

Primarily, it is the scent of cat urine which repels most mice from a home.

Nevertheless, not all mice will be intimidated by cats, and relying exclusively on your feline friend is generally a poor strategy to rid your home of any existing mice.

In general, cats are about as effective at stopping mice as dogs are at getting rid of squirrels on your property.

9. Rodenticides are more effective than traps.

Similarly, rodenticides are somewhat effective at treating mice, but most rodenticides take up to a full week to work. In the meantime, mouse traps are far more effective at killing mice instantly and helping to control an infestation before more mice mate and reproduce.

10. Mice are mostly attracted to cheese.

Contrary to popular belief, mice are more often than not attracted to sweeter foods, such as grains and vegetables, than cheese. One study from years ago found that food like cereal is more effective at luring mice to a trap than cheese.

Generally, mice will eat anything if they are hungry enough, so cleaning up garbage and lining traps with sweeter and more natural foods like cereals and grains will be more effective as a rat repellent.

11. Bug zappers are effective mosquito repellents.

Finally, not only has one study found that only 0.13% of insects killed by zappers are biting insects but that most insects killed by zappers benefit the environment.

As a result, you’re better off using many natural and DIY methods to repel mosquitos from your yard, including:

  • Eliminating standing water
  • Using neem oil
  • Spraying eucalyptus and other essential oils around the yard
  • Lighting a citronella candle
  • Planting fennel and thyme in your garden

In fact, mosquitos are among the few insects where natural DIY methods, such as essential oils, are particularly effective at preventing infestations.

Hopefully, by dispelling these myths about pest control, you can take the right steps to rid your home of pests using the appropriate methods.

While DIY is a very popular alternative in many industries, pest control remains one industry where it is always safer to leave it to the professionals.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in New Jersey

Living in New Jersey, you’ve likely dealt with a fair share of insects, whether it’s spiders or bed bugs.

One common pest you’ve probably dealt with on those muggy summer afternoons is the pesky and relentless gnat. These small, two-winged flies are known for irritating behaviors, a high probability of spreading disease, and rapid reproduction habits.

There are several ways to eradicate these unwelcome pests from your home if you're in the midst of a gnat infestation. Still, before that time comes, it’s important to have a general knowledge of the insects.

Gnat Overview: What Are They?

The word “gnat” tends to encompass a wide variety of small flying insects in the suborder Nematocera, generally in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae. Several common species are often labeled “gnats,” including:

  • Black flies
  • Midges
  • Fruit flies
  • Fungus gnats
  • Drain flies
  • Biting midges

In any case, gnats are a common annoyance for homeowners in New Jersey, begging the question: how do you get rid of them?

Common Ways to Get Rid of Gnats

There are several ways to get rid of gnats in and around your home, both DIY and professionally. To begin, we’ll look at ways to eradicate gnats outdoors.

Outdoor Gnat Control

Outdoor gnats can be a huge inconvenience during a barbeque or a relaxing sunny evening, especially if you live near a stream or other body of water. This is because gnats use stagnant water as a breeding ground, laying their eggs, which soon hatch into nymphs.

As these insects tend to fly in clouds, or “swarms,” it’s not uncommon to become overwhelmed by these small, pesky flies. From flying into your face, eyes, and nose to dropping into your drinks, gnats are a major pest for those looking to enjoy their outdoor spaces.

However, there are several ways to avoid gnats and make your outdoor living spaces more enjoyable.

Avoid the Sweets

Gnats are often attracted to sweet scents, including fruits, strong perfumes/colognes, and scented soaps/moisturizers. To combat gnats outdoors, try keeping the sugary drinks and foods inside and switch to unscented beauty and hygiene products.

aromatic scent that is absolutely appalling to gnats

Gnat-Repelling Plants

Several herbs and flowers produce an aromatic scent that, while pleasant to humans, is absolutely appalling to gnats. Lemongrass, lavender, and marigolds are some such plants; try planting them near your outdoor living space to naturally repel insects while adding some color and greenery!

Bug Zappers

Bug zappers are a useful tool on every patio, attracting and killing all sorts of flying insects, including gnats. Zappers tend to use ultraviolet light as bait, attracting gnats to the zapper’s electrically charged mesh. Then, when the insect flies too close, the electric current handles the rest, significantly reducing the number of pests in the immediate area.

Indoor Gnat Control

If you think swatting at gnats outside is bad, imagine them taking over your kitchen or bathroom! Unfortunately, gnats, especially fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats, are common in New Jersey homes.

These insects are primarily attracted to rotten fruit and compost, often found in drains, trash receptacles, and even on your counter in the fruit basket. Unfortunately, with a plentiful source of food and water, these insects will rapidly multiply, leaving your house infested! Fortunately, there are several DIY tips to take care of indoor gnat infestations.

- Fly Paper

This practice is relatively simple, inexpensive, and easy.

Purchase a roll of fly paper at any hardware store; this paper is coated in a strong, fragrant adhesive that attracts all sorts of household pests, including flies and gnats.

Place the paper in an area where gnats are generally present; as the insects are drawn to the scent, the adhesive paper traps and eventually kills them.

- Make an ACV Trap

Another common remedy is an ACV trap, created with a few basic household ingredients. Mix together water, a squirt of dish soap, apple cider vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar in a medium-sized bowl. The sweet, pungent aroma of the ACV and sugar will draw the gnats in, and the dish soap and water will quickly trap and drown the pests.

- Bleach

Bleach isn’t just a cleaning solution; it can also be used to kill pesky drain flies. Simply mix a 50/50 solution of bleach and water and pour it down the affected drains. Not only will this mixture kill the pests, but it will also kill off odor-causing bacteria in the drain!

Additional Solutions


In extreme cases, pesticides may help eradicate an infestation. However, it’s important to always use these chemicals responsibly and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, as improper usage is illegal and may result in serious injury or illness.

Since pesticides and insecticides should only be used as a last resort, we’ll review some quick pros and cons of chemical use.


  • Highly effective
  • Long-lasting
  • Kills on contact
  • Readily available


  • Potentially harmful to humans and pets
  • Difficult to contain in a singular area
  • May kill off beneficial insects
  • Must take extreme caution when using

For this reason, we recommend seeking professional assistance when resorting to pesticides.

Preventative Measures

Perhaps the most effective form of pest control is taking preventative action; you won’t have to treat an infestation if it can’t develop in the first place! With these simple tips, you’ll have a fighting chance of preventing gnats from settling in your home.

- Keep Your House Tidy

Since gnats primarily feed on fungus, rotting fruit, and garbage, one of the most important prevention steps is keeping a clean house. Monitor the condition of the garbage and dishes.

If possible, take out the trash as soon as it’s contaminated with food waste or full.

Additionally, rinse any dishes left in the sink to prevent old food from attracting pests.

- Store Fruit and Vegetables In a Pantry or Refrigerator

One of gnats’ primary food sources are ripe fruits and vegetables, making those soft, ripe peaches in your fruit basket the perfect gnat snack. So store fruits and vegetables out of the open to prevent gnats from having easy access. Food particles can also attract other pests, like New Jersey rodents, so try and keep your home free of any trash or rotting food.

- Routinely Change Potting Soil

Fungus gnats have been known to lay eggs in potting soil that’s become overly saturated with water. If you notice these tiny insects hanging around your plants, it’s likely time to change your potting soil, or at least hold off on the watering until the soil’s dried out considerably.

Professional Assistance

If DIY methods just aren't having the effect you were hoping for, or if you simply don’t wish to tackle a gnat infestation yourself, professional assistance is only a phone call away with your trusted local pest professionals at Anchor Pest Control. With various home treatments, your house can be gnat-free in no time.

Quick Q&A Recap

What are gnats?

“Gnat” is a general term used to categorize any number of small fly species in the order Nematocera. While some Entomologists categorize gnats as “non-biting” flies, it’s common to refer to midges, biting midges, black flies, fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats as simply “gnats”.

What attracts gnats?

Typically, gnats are attracted to the sweet smell of decay, whether that be fungus, food waste, or rotting fruit. Additionally, some gnats are attracted to sweet scents in colognes, perfumes, or moisturizers, making those wearing them especially likely to attract gnats.

Should I use pesticides at home?

While pesticide usage should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, it’s typically considered a last resort if other, less-toxic methods have already been exhausted. Most pesticides can be toxic to humans and pets, making it essential to use these products with extreme caution. For any questions regarding pesticide usage, contact your local pest control experts.

big black ants that roam around your home

What Are Those Big Black Ants? Why Are They in My Home?

Though excellent soil aerators and decomposers, ants aren’t necessarily a welcome addition to your home. These pesky insects are known to invade in massive numbers, leaving never-ending trails into your pantry, your pet’s food, and anywhere else their scent trails lead!

While small, common pavement ants are bad enough to find roaming your cupboards, several larger species exist in North America—including the big, black ants you’ve noticed lately in your home. But what exactly are these insects? Are they regular ants that have significantly ballooned in size, or something else entirely?

In the following article, we’ll uncover the answers to all of these questions and more, including what big black ants actually are, why they’re in your New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or New York home, and whether you should be concerned.

What Are Big Black Ants Called?

Those big black ants that roam around your home are likely Camponotus Pennsylvanicus—also known as the black carpenter ant. This common (and massive) species of ant is among the largest in North America, with workers reaching 12 mm in length and queens reaching a staggering 20 mm!

Why Are Big Black Ants in My House?

There are several reasons that one may find black carpenter ants in your house, the least troublesome of which is that they’re just exploring. If you’ve only found a few wingless stragglers crawling around your home, they’ve likely crawled through a door or window in search of food and other resources.

However, if you’re finding black carpenter ants in large numbers, you may have a larger issue on your hands. Carpenter ants, like termites, nest in wooden structures. These burrows and tunnel systems can significantly weaken the structural integrity of your home, leading to costly treatments and extensive repairs. While the cost of termite treatment and damage may be more than carpenter ants, they can be expensive nonetheless.

The third possibility is that you’re seeing swarmers; however, this is only the case if the carpenter ants have wings. Swarmers leave mature colonies from spring/summer in search of new nesting areas nearby, meaning two things: there’s a mature nest that’s concerningly close to your home, and they’re scouting your property to build up a new colony.

Does Killing Ants Attract More?

While we’d like to say this is a fallacy, unfortunately, it’s true; killing ants will almost certainly attract additional workers to the scene. Ants rely heavily on pheromone marking to communicate, alerting other members of the colony of danger, food sources, and more. When ants are killed, they release oleic acid, a compound known as a “death pheromone.” This alerts surrounding ants of the death of their fellow worker(s), who will, in turn, scout the area or retrieve the deceased insects.


killing ants will almost certainly attract additional workers to the scene.

How to Prevent Big Black Ants

Since black carpenter ants can pose such a large problem to homeowners, it's important to know the various ways to prevent and eliminate these pesky arthropods. If you’re struggling to get rid of carpenter ants, try out these tips and tricks to keep them out of your home!

Set Out Bait Traps

Bait traps are a homeowner's greatest weapon against carpenters and other species of ants. Black carpenter ants are foragers, meaning they’ll scavenge for food sources nearly anywhere they can be found; however, like other ant species, they prefer sweets like aphid honeydew, sugar, honey, etc.

Bait traps capitalize on an ant’s taste for sugar, utilizing a sweet, syrupy bait laden with insecticides. As ants collect the bait, they’ll bring it back to the colony to share with other ants, including the queen. Once consumed, most baits take approximately 24–48 hours to induce death, giving the insecticides plenty of time to affect multiple colony members.

Eliminate Food and Water Sources

If you’re continually finding black carpenter ants in your pantry, cupboards, or fruit bowl, it’s best to eliminate all accessible food and water sources. Now, that doesn't mean throwing all of your food away, but rather, sealing it in airtight containers to prevent contamination.

Regarding water, it’s best to fix those leaky pipes and faucets. Ants require a large amount of water compared to their body size and weight, and your leaky sink is a great place to get it.

Eliminate Standing Water

As mentioned previously, ants require loads of water throughout the day. Standing water in your yard, under the foundation from leaking pipes, or even in the kitchen is an excellent source for drinking, especially if there’s food nearby.

Additionally, standing water can soften and decay stumps and nearby wooden structures, which carpenter ants prefer over dense wood to build their nests into.

Seal Gaps and Entrances

While this doesn’t necessarily apply to an active infestation in your home, sealing gaps in siding, windows, and doors can help to prevent arthropod exploration crews from gaining access to your home, whether they’re swarmers or standard workers.

Foam sealant and latex caulking are excellent options, but be sure to purchase the appropriate products for indoor/outdoor use.

Barrier Treatments

As far as preventative pest control goes, there’s no better tactic than barrier treatments, whether chemical or physical. Barriers help to ensure carpenter ants won’t gain access to your home in the first place by making the area far less hospitable.

While DIY barrier treatments are available, it’s always best to contact a pest professional when using potentially toxic chemicals. For more information regarding barrier treatments, including our comprehensive Pest Protect 365 plan, contact your qualified local pest control experts at Anchor Pest Control.

Big Black Ants FAQ

What Are Big Black Ants?

Big black ants are likely black carpenter ants, one of the largest ant species in North America. These voracious and destructive insects are known to burrow into homes, decayed wood, and other wooden structures to build nests.

Does Killing Ants Attract More Ants? 

Yes, killing ants causes their bodies to release oleic acid, known as a “death pheromone.” This chemical alerts other ants of danger, leading them to inspect the area.

How Long Do Bait Traps Take to Kill Ants?

The bait within common bait traps is specially formulated for a slow release, allowing the ants plenty of time to return to the nest and spread the bait to other colony members, even the queen. Within 24–48 hours, affected ants will begin to die off.

Why Preventative Pest Control is So Important

Though most pest control plans center around the treatment of an active infestation, let’s take a moment to discuss arguably the most crucial yet commonly overlooked aspect of pest control—prevention.

Regardless if you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, once a severe pest infestation settles in your residence or commercial business, it’ll intensify and grow, making treatment increasingly more difficult and expensive. For this reason, it’s essential to understand the importance of preventative pest control to halt a future infestation before it can even begin.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about preventative control, including what exactly it pertains to, its importance, and why you should consider it.

What is Preventative Pest Control?

Preventive pest control is a treatment method to prevent pests from entering your property.

Preventative pest control combines a mix of chemical, biological, and physical treatments designed to prevent pests from entering your property and to kill them once they do enter.

Many preventative methods can be DIY, although many exterminators offer inspections and other services designed to spot and prevent pests.

For example, many pest control companies offer monthly preventative services, such as our Pest Protect 365 plan. During our treatment, a pest control expert will visit your home or business every month to add/replace bait(s), reapply barrier treatments, and inspect your home for signs of an infestation and potential points of entry.

The Importance of Preventative Pest Control

While pests may be gross, many can be fairly dangerous to your health and home. That’s why preventative control is important for the following reasons.

Safety Concerns

While pests, like termites and cockroaches, may present health and structural concerns, it’s often the treatment of pests that can be more dangerous–if handled incorrectly. For example, many insecticides, such as termiticides, that are applied DIY can be harmful to you and your pet’s health if handled incorrectly.

While most pesticides are safe–especially if handled by a professional–preventative pest control largely avoids this worry by using safer and more effective measures to stop pests before pesticides are required.

Health Concerns

It’s no secret that some pest infestations pose health risks to you and your family (including pets.) Whether plagued with an infestation of disease-carrying pests like cockroaches and rodents or suffering from excessive venomous spiders or insects, unmanaged pest infestations can elevate your risk of disease or injury.

Prevention ensures contactless treatment, which allows you to avoid ever having contact with a diseased bug ever again.

Home Protection

Insects like termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees are known to consume massive amounts of organic materials, which can harm the structure of your home.

In total, the cost of termites totals in the billions, and they can be incredibly hard to manage once they infest your home. That’s why prevention is the best step to ensure your home remains safe from these pests, especially if you don’t know that they are there.

Cost Considerations

In many cases, emergency treatments, such as the cost of termite treatment, can be more than the cost of monthly preventative care. Of course, this number doesn’t factor in the cost to repair your home from a termite infestation, which is often more than homeowners think.

Reputation and Customer Service (Commercial)

Nothing will tank your business quicker than failed pest inspections or problems affecting your customers. As the old saying goes, a customer with a great experience tells one or two friends, but a customer that finds a cockroach in their salad tells everyone…or something along those lines.

Preventative pest control will ensure your customers are always satisfied and that they don’t have any horror stories about your business they can spread worth of mouth.

Is Preventative Pest Control Worth it?

Preventative pest control is the most effective pest treatment, keeping infestations and their associated damages at bay. While reactive pest control is an effective form of treatment for active infestations, it’ll rarely be necessary with the proper preventative barrier treatments applied by one of our experienced pest professionals.

In sum, preventative pest control ensures that your home or business is 100% pest free and can save you money and stress over the long term.

Preventative Pest Control FAQ

What is Preventative Pest Control? 

Preventative control focuses on the prevention of common pests through the use of barrier treatments and baits, stopping infestations before they have the chance to take hold.

What is Reactive Pest Control?

Reactive pest control, on the other hand, is used once an active infestation is present. These services consist of concentrated, localized treatments designed to eliminate active infestations and prevent future issues.

How Can Preventative Pest Control Save You Money? 

Preventative control can help prevent severe infestations that often lead to extensive property damage. Additionally, preventative pest control is often less expensive than reactive treatments.

Carpenter ants are a troublesome pest

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a troublesome pest to find in or around your  NJ, PA, or NY home. Like termites, carpenter ants burrow into wooden structures to build nests; however, they don't consume the wood they’re tunneling through.

Like other common household ant species—such as the pavement ant and odorous house ant—carpenter ants have a fondness for sweets and other common food sources around your home, including honeydew, pet food, honey, meats, etc.

Considering their damaging nesting habits and voracious appetites, it’s safe to say that carpenter ants aren’t a pest you’ll be happy to find around your property. If you’ve had the misfortune of finding an infestation of these worrisome pests, read on for our top tips and tricks for removal.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in North America and are typically much larger than other ant species. For example, adult workers can reach lengths of 12 mm, while queens can grow up to 20 mm!

Additionally, carpenter ant workers are polymorphic, meaning they vary in size.

Regarding other distinguishable characteristics, carpenter ants have extremely distinct heart-shaped heads and smooth thoraxes. They’re also found in multiple colors, including black, brown, red, or any combination of these colors.

Like termites, you may spot carpenter ant “swarmers” from May to August as they flee old colonies in search of new locations to build nests.

Why Do I Suddenly Have Carpenter Ants in My House?

If you spot a few individual workers roaming your home, especially near a door or window, there’s a good chance that they’ve ventured indoors from a neighboring outdoor colony in search of food. In this case, there isn’t a huge cause for concern.

However, if you’re noticing a large number of workers indoors or swarmers in Spring/Summer, there’s likely a developed colony in your home or nearby. It’s important to note that swarmers only emerge from 2-year-old+, well-established colonies.

What Happens if You Ignore Carpenter Ants?

While not quite as destructive or expensive as the cost of termite treatment, carpenter ants can still cause massive amounts of damage to wooden structures, especially mature colonies. If an infestation is ignored for an extended time (years), there’s a good chance that serious structural damage to support beams, wall studs, and ceiling and floor joists has occurred.

To avoid a hefty repair bill, it’s best to have carpenter ant infestations handled as soon as they’re spotted.

carpenter ants can still cause massive amounts of damage to wooden structures,

9 Carpenter Ant Removal Methods

1. Apply an Insecticide

Insecticide treatment can be incredibly effective against carpenter ants; however, applying the product can be tricky.

Once you’ve determined the location of the ant nest, drill holes every six inches into the wood’s surface.

Then, using a bulb duster, inject insecticide into the holes. You should notice a reduction in activity as ants come into contact with the chemical.

2. Place Bait Traps Near the Nest

While insecticides are useful, they’re often ineffective at penetrating deep into the nest and wiping out the queen; that’s where bait traps come into play.

Place these traps near the suspected colony. As workers leave the nest to find food, they’ll bring the insecticide-laden bait back into the nest, where it’s consumed by additional workers and, with any luck, the queen.

3. Eliminate the Nest

The most effective way to eliminate a carpenter ant colony is to destroy its nest, whether indoors or outdoors. If possible, remove the affected wood; however, this is increasingly difficult indoors as you won’t want to weaken the structural integrity of your home further.

4. Clean Scent Trails

Like other common ants, carpenter ants rely on pheromone trails to maneuver through the world. Once created, these scent trails can last for days, allowing thousands of ants to travel through them like highways.

While erasing the scent trail won’t directly get rid of the ants, it’s a good way to disrupt them.

Try spraying vinegar and water directly onto the trail, masking its scent and breaking ants from their formation. Baking soda is another effective cleaner to remove the scent trail.

5. Eliminate Food Sources

It’s a common misconception that, like termites, carpenter ants consume the wood that they build their nest in; however, that’s not the case at all.

Instead, carpenter ants mimic the eating habits of most other ant species, preferring sugary substances, bread, meat, and even pet food. As a result, eliminating these food sources is an effective means of controlling their populations.

Try sealing open food into air-tight containers, cleaning up crumbs, and not leaving anything unattended on the counter, especially sweets!

6. Use a Desiccant

Common desiccants used in the pest control industry, including diatomaceous earth and silica gel, are effective ant killers. These compounds cling to ants as they crawl through them, serrating their exoskeletons and dehydrating them until death. Try placing desiccants in the ant’s high-traffic areas for maximum effectiveness.

7. Remove Old Standing Water

Carpenter ants prefer damp, soft wood to begin constructing their nests. Because of this, removing standing water and repairing any water leaks in and around your home is essential.

8. Remove Old/Rotting Wood

As mentioned previously, ants love old, softwood for constructing their nests; though this isn’t limited to structural supports within your home. If there are wood piles, old stumps, or dilapidated structures on your property, these are perfect locations for swarmers to land and begin burrowing and should be removed.

9. Contact an Exterminator

If the above methods aren’t successful at ridding your home of the infestation, it’s best to reach out to a qualified professional.

Carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage and are notoriously difficult to eliminate, making professional assistance the only surefire way to rid your home of these pesky insects.

For information on our treatment options and services, including our Pest Protect 365 plan, contact Anchor Pest Control.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants FAQ

Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood? 

No, while this is a common misconception, carpenter ants only burrow into wood to build nests. Unlike termites, they prefer sugary substances, meats, and pet food.

How Can You Identify a Carpenter Ant?

Carpenter ants have several features that differentiate them from other ant species, including their large size, heart-shaped head, smooth thorax, and red/brown/black color.

How Destructive Are Carpenter Ants? 

While not as destructive as termites, carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage to floor and ceiling joints, subfloors, wall studs, and other wooden structures.

pesticide safety comes down to how they are handled

Are Pesticides Harmful to Humans and Pets? Here’s What to Know

The popular flea collar Seresto made headlines last summer when lawmakers urged the company to recall its collars after linking it to thousands of pet fatalities.

This prompted a nationwide discussion over the efficacy of flea collars and the pesticides used to manufacture them. While effective at preventing fleas and ticks, the dangerous side effects left many pet owners angry and confused.

Certainly, pesticides can be dangerous in instances of direct exposure, but their efficacy in treating home infestations, like bed bugs and preserving crop yields can’t be overstated.

As a result, the best way to protect oneself is by learning more about pesticides.

As professional exterminators who handle pesticides for a living, we can say that we wouldn’t be able to do our job without pesticides.

However, it’s important to discuss the proper handling of pesticides and outline the risks associated with their use so everyday homeowners can balance the risks of pest infestations with their chemical treatments.

Are Exterminator Pesticides Safe for Humans?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to whether pesticides are safe. In many cases, professional handling of pesticides guarantees their safety and allows humans to resume dwelling in their homes after brief use.

On the other hand, direct exposure to these chemicals can lead to several harmful side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, and much worse.

Ultimately, pesticide safety comes down to how they are handled and our levels of exposure.

For these reasons, we'd like to list why pesticides are beneficial and safe for humans.

  • The EPA regulates pesticides. Unlike chemicals like diazinon, which have been banned in the past, most modern pesticides are tested and certified for safe levels of human exposure in very small amounts.
  • They’re effective at emergency treatment. Chemicals like Fipronil offer the quickest results regarding full-on termite infestations. And since exposure is minimal and professionals handle these chemicals, these chemicals may actually protect your health by getting rid of dangerous pests.
  • Professionals handle them. Exterminators are trained in proper pesticide handling and will ensure that homes are safe after treatment before people can resume living inside them. This ensures minimal exposure and that all people, pets, and plants are protected from potential toxicities.

Ultimately, pesticide safety must be balanced against the health risks of pests themselves and tempered by whether or not pesticides are applied professionally or DIY. In the former case, we can ensure the safety of these chemicals and that the use of these products harms no one.

What Are Some Harmful Effects of Pesticides?

The harmfulness of pesticide exposure depends on their exposure rate and toxicity level. As we’ll illustrate later, some chemicals may be more toxic than others.

Ultimately, symptoms arise based on how exposure is made and for how long.

Topical Exposure

  • Dermatitis
  • Rashes
  • Blisters
  • Allergic reaction


  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Respiratory issues resembling asthma

Other Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Digestion issues
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Coma
  • Death

Cases of severe toxicity are extremely rare and almost always a result of DIY handling.

In many cases, exposure produces no symptoms. In fact, most studies show that people encounter or use at least one pesticide yearly without any effects.

How to Prevent Pesticide Toxicity

The danger of pesticides comes down to handling. Here are a few tips to help you prevent potential toxicity from mishandling products.

  • Read labels carefully
  • Only apply as much product as required.
  • Keep areas well-ventilated if applying aerosol products
  • Remove all clutter, including chew toys and kid’s toys, from exposure
  • Keep pets and children out of the house while applying pesticides
  • Keep pets off the lawn if applying lawn products for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of time
  • Use non-toxic alternatives for DIY use
  • Call a professional for larger infestations
  • Store products out of the reach of pets or children

How to Prepare for Pest Treatment

With all of this information in mind, this leaves many people worrying about whether or not professional pest treatment or fumigation is safe. We can tell you it is, but if you’re still worried, there are several ways to prepare for treatment to limit potential exposure or risk.

  • Place all food and perishables in cupboards
  • Vacuum floors and wash countertops
  • Move furniture away from walls
  • Keep the home well-ventilated
  • Stow away any clothes or belongings
  • Take your kids and pets away from home during treatment

Common Pesticides Used By Exterminators and Their Risk

Again, the level of toxicity will be different for every chemical pesticide and how much is applied. For example, the most common pesticides exterminators use include:

  • Fipronil: A mildly toxic pesticide used primarily for termites, cockroaches, and fleas. This pesticide comes in liquid or spray form and does require evacuation during treatments.
  • Boric acid: Boric acid is one of the most widely used chemical pesticides and also one of the most dangerous. It’s typically applied as a spray but has a sweet aroma that may attract kids and pets, making it dangerous without proper precautions.
  • Piperonyl butoxide: This is a carcinogenic pesticide used for severe pest infestations and alongside other chemicals. Proper fumigation and time to allow the chemical to dissipate are necessary for safe usage.
  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroid: These are a class of effective insecticides which are generally safe for human exposure but can be deadly for aquamarine life. Proper handling and disposal are crucial.
  • Indoxacarb: This is a relatively new chemical effective at combating cockroaches and preventing them from producing new generations of roaches. This chemical is relatively safe, though it does present some neurotoxic properties at high doses, meaning limited exposure is key.
  • Hydramethylnon: This is a slow-acting compound that can cause lethargy and death in insects. Due to the time, it takes to work, homeowners often must evacuate the property for several days to allow the chemical to dissipate.

However, these pesticides should only be used by a professional.

For DIYers, the following are safer alternatives and ideas to rid your home of pests.

Safe Pesticide Alternatives for Pest Control

  • Insecticidal Soaps
  • Horticultural Oils
  • Neem Oil
  • Azadirachtin
  • Horticultural Oils
  • Bait Stations

You can find a wide list of all-natural products for any category of insecticide or pesticide treatment with a little research.

Often, the most effective and safest method of pest reduction comes from prevention.

Ways to Prevent Pests Naturally

  • Door sweeps: Door sweeps seal off openings under doors to prevent mice and various insects from entering your home.
  • Sealing cracks: Similarly, applying spray foam insulation or caulk to openings in your home may seal away any insects that try to take refuge in your home during the winter.
  • Remove all garbage: Garbage is a magnet for cockroaches and insects. Keep your home clean, especially during the sweltering months of summer and extremely cold winter months.
  • Washing dishes immediately: Remove all food from dishes and wash them as soon as possible to keep bugs away.
  • Plant herbs: Certain plants and herbs like lemon balm, sage, thyme, and peppermint keep bugs away naturally from your garden and your home.
  • Dichotomous earth: Applying diatomaceous earth around your home and garden can protect against beetles, spiders, fleas, worms, and so much more.
  • Essential oils: Certain bugs, like cockroaches, can’t stand the smell of eucalyptus and tea tree oil.
  • Pest control maintenance plans: Exterminators like my company, Anchor Pest Control, offer 365-year-round protection against pests using safe and effective prevention and control mechanisms.

What Is Integrated Pest Management?

A special program known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been developed for people weary of the environmental impact of pesticides. While IPM is mostly reserved for farmers, the same principles of IPM can be applied to gardens and homes.

Some of the principles of IPM include:

  • Identifying pests and determining if controls are required
  • Using natural preventative measures (listed above) to prevent infestations
  • Implementing control measures when prevention has failed
  • Using natural alternatives to pesticides when allowed
  • Choosing the least toxic form of pesticides when extensive treatment is required

We highly recommend anyone who is dealing with pests in their home or garden to adopt these principles for safe management. However, in cases where professional assistance is required, the sooner a professional can get involved, the safer.

Cases When You Should Call a Professional Exterminator

While DIY methods may save money, they are not as effective or safe. In many instances, calling a professional exterminator is the best option to control and eliminate potential infestations before they threaten your health.

We recommend contacting your local exterminator immediately if you spot the following bugs:

  • Bed bugs
  • Cockroaches
  • Termites
  • Large populations of ants
  • Large populations of rodents
  • Large populations of spiders
  • Large populations of wasps
  • Large populations of snakes

Often, pesticides are the only safe and effective option to prevent these insects from spreading or causing further damage to your home.

In many cases, even professionally, the use of pesticides is seen as a last resort option. In such cases, a full-on pest infestation's health risks often outweigh the health risks of pesticide usage.

However, by seeking professional help for pest treatment or pesticide use, you can greatly limit your risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and rest assured that these chemicals will be handled safely.

While pesticides are undoubtedly harmful, seeking professional help will ensure that they are of no risk to you or your family.

Pesticide FAQS

1. What are the most harmful pesticides for humans?

While not widely used by many in the industry, organophosphates, including chlorpyrifos and diazinon, banned since 2001, are considered the most toxic because they attack the nervous system. Other chemicals like boric acid and fipronil are considered moderately toxic but safe under proper handling.

2. What happens if a pesticide touches your skin?

Wash the affected area with water and soap. Discard any contaminated clothing. Seek medical attention if you develop severe symptoms like a rash or contact dermatitis.

3. How long do pesticides stay in the body?

Most pesticides have a low half-life of around 16 days, while some may go as high as 60 days or older. For example, some pesticides, such as DDT, may last several years, though this is rare.

Ticks typically hide in dense, bushy, wooded, or grassy areas

How to Get Rid of Ticks from Your Property and Pets

Whether climbing up your legs, latched onto your pets, or merely scurrying across the ground, ticks are one of the most feared and troublesome pests. These blood-sucking arachnids are known to harbor several diseases, making finding even one a call to action.

This article will delve into everything you should know about ticks, from etymology to how to get rid of them.

What Are Ticks?

You may be tempted to refer to ticks as insects, though that's a common misconception. Ticks are members of the arachnid class, along with several types of New Jersey spiders, including scorpions, mites, harvestmen, and sun spiders.

The primary difference between spiders and insects is their number of legs–arachnids have eight, while most insects have six.

Generally, there are three major tick species prevalent in New Jersey: the deer tick, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick. Unfortunately, all three species are known to transmit disease, making tick infestations far more dangerous than any regular nuisance pest.

For example, ticks are known to transmit various diseases, including:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis

Each disease presents uncomfortable side effects, with some even lingering for life.

Why Are Ticks in My Yard?

Ticks aren't likely to travel long distances independently; they can't fly, move slowly, and are extremely small when not engorged with a host's blood. So how did they get into your yard?

Most likely, ticks migrated into your yard with the help of an infested wild animal like a deer, possum, squirrel, raccoon, bird, or even a lizard! They may also gain access to your home or yard through a family pet or hitch a ride on your clothes or body after a run or hike through a wooded area.

What Seasons Do Ticks Come Around?

While ticks can be active anytime the weather is above freezing temperatures, adults are typically most active between March and mid-May and mid-August to November. Nymphs, or juvenile ticks, generally are most active from mid-May to mid-August. Both nymphs and adults are capable of spreading disease.

Tips for Avoiding Ticks

With ticks posing such a threat to the health of you, your family, and your pets, doing your part to avoid them whenever possible is essential. Here are some tips to prevent tick encounters and bites.

Stay on the Trail

Ticks typically hide in dense, bushy, wooded, or grassy areas, hoping to reach an unsuspecting host to which they can attach themselves. For this reason, it's always best to stay on clear paths when hiking, camping, or running.

The same rule applies to pets as well. Keeping your pet on a leash during walks, hikes, or runs in wooded areas is the best way to prevent a tick infestation.

Treat Outdoor Clothing

If you have a set of clothing or shoes that you usually wear to hike or exercise outdoors, try spraying them with a permethrin-based repellent. These chemicals can help repel any ticks you encounter, preventing them from latching to your clothes or skin.

Wear Long Clothing

While no one enjoys long clothing on a hot day, it may be the difference between receiving a tick bite or not. Long clothing forms a barrier between ticks and your skin, creating one more obstacle for ticks to get through.

Inspect Yourself and Your Pets Immediately After an Outdoor Activity

After partaking in an activity outdoors, immediately inspect yourself and your pets for ticks. Some ticks may not bite immediately, and several tick-borne illnesses require the tick to be attached to a host for 36-48 hours to pass the infection.

Due to the tick's small size, it's essential to inspect yourself and your loved ones thoroughly. Check under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, in hair, around the waist, near the ankles, and between the legs.

Shower Immediately

This step is often done in conjunction with inspecting yourself. Showering as soon as possible can rinse loose ticks off your body and out of your hair before they can latch on.

If a tick bites you, remove the pest immediately. Symptoms of an Untreated Tick Bite

If you miss a tick bite for an extended period, there are some side effects to keep an eye out for that may allude to a Lyme Disease infection. These include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Erythema migrans rash

If a tick has bitten you in the past 30 days and you are displaying any of these symptoms, you should bring it to the attention of a medical professional immediately.

How to Treat a Tick Bite

If a tick bites you, remove the pest immediately.

Unfortunately, thanks to their strong jaws, it's nearly impossible to safely grab and remove the arachnid with a simple tug.

To effectively remove a tick, follow these steps.

  • Locate the Necessary Tools. To remove a tick, you'll need a pair of sharp tweezers and rubbing alcohol. Cleaning the area of the bite is critical to preventing infection, and the small-tipped tweezers are far more accurate than fingers or square-tipped versions.
  • Clean the Affected Area. Before attempting to remove the pest, clean the immediate area to prevent infection.
  • Remove the Tick. At this time, you can attempt removal. Grab the tick as close as possible to the skin, preventing ripping or squishing the pest. Pull upwards with steady yet gentle pressure. It may take some effort, but the tick will likely release its grip. Do NOT twist or wiggle, as this may leave portions of the tick's mouthparts embedded in your skin, leading to infection.
  • Clean the Affected Area Again. After successful removal, clean the area once more with rubbing alcohol to prevent infection.

After removal, you have two options–dispose of the tick or have it tested. To dispose of the tick, either:

  • Drop it into a container of rubbing alcohol
  • Flush it down the toilet
  • Tightly wrap it in tape

Contact your local lab or government if you wish to have the tick tested.

Ways to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard

While preventing bites and other symptoms is valid, tackling an infestation at the source is always best. Here are some methods to treat ticks in your yard.

  • Use a Tick Spray. While treating your yard with insecticides may not be your first choice, it's an effective means of killing juvenile and adult ticks. Tick sprays are relatively affordable and can be safely applied around your property to prevent their entry.
  • Apply Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous earth is an excellent natural insecticide. You can sprinkle this powder throughout yards and near entry points of homes. When ticks pass through the powder, it scours their hide and causes dehydration, eventually leading to death. The product typically kills 12 hours after contact.
  • Keep Your Yard Tidy. Ticks hide in leaf litter, overgrown grass, and unkempt bushes. As a result, one of the best treatments is to keep a clean and tidy yard. Doing so reduces hiding places and minimizes your and your pet's chances of picking up the pests outdoors.
  • Utilize Tick Tubes. Another solution is tick tubes; these outdoor treatments are packed with insecticide-treated cotton, which tick-infested rats and mice collect. The insecticide eventually leaches into the tick, causing death.
  • Natural Sprays. Neem oil and Cedar oil are effective natural insecticides that are safe for pets and humans. Cedar oil is an excellent repellent–spraying it on affected areas will help to drive ticks from your yard. Neem oil is a natural contact killer–spray the substance anywhere you've noticed tick activity to eliminate the pests.
  • Contact an Exterminator. If the above methods are less-than-effective, consider contacting a professional. Anchor Pest Control offers tick control for all species of ticks, including American dog tick control.

Ticks are a species of pest that no one wants in their home or yard. These blood-sucking arachnids are known to transmit several potentially dangerous diseases, making the sight of even one tick a call to action.

If you've noted an increase in ticks in your yard or on your pets, try the above methods to eradicate them. Otherwise, contact your trusted local pest experts at Anchor Pest Control if all else fails. Our experts can set you up with an effective treatment against ticks or any other common New Jersey pests.

We also offer flea and tick control as part of our Pest-Protect 365 plan for ongoing service, protecting against over 40 different species of pests.

How to Get Rid of Ticks FAQ

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are known vectors for several harmful diseases, including Lyme disease. As a result, treating a tick bite immediately and contacting your doctor may be necessary to stem any associated infection.

Where do ticks hide in my yard?

If you or your pet find ticks on themselves, it’s most likely because one of you passed through a thick brush. For the most part, ticks hide in leaf or grass piles, bushes, and tall grass.

What are the best ways to avoid ticks?

Avoiding ticks is relatively easy as long as you know their preferred hiding places and behaviors. Tips to prevent contact with these pests include:

  • Staying on hiking paths and trails.
  • Wearing long, protective clothing outdoors
  • Treating clothing with a permethrin-based repellent.
  • Showering immediately after returning home from an outdoor activity.
  • Thoroughly inspect your body for ticks, including under the arms, between the legs, in and around the ears and hair, around the waist, and in the belly button.

The 7 Most Dangerous Bugs in New Jersey

Aside from the psychological trauma of seeing a pest in your home, many pests can carry diseases and harm your health.

While not all pests are dangerous, several species in New Jersey can be toxic or deadly.
To help you avoid these pests, we’ve listed the seven most dangerous bugs in New Jersey.

1. Black Widow Spiders

The black widow spider is one of several types of spiders in New Jersey, but it comes with the deadliest bite.

While not as common as the New Jersey brown recluse, Black widows have been observed across the state. Specifically, the Northern black widow, or Latrodectus variolus, can be spotted periodically throughout random parts of New Jersey.

Female Northern black widow spiders are easily identifiable by their glossy black bodies with white striations and red spots atop their abdomens and characteristic red hourglass on the underside. Male Northern black widows are smaller than females and feature similar markings without a distinctive, bulbous abdomen.

Female black widows possess a powerful bite loaded with neurotoxic venom that can cause severe illness in specific individuals. While black widow bites often cause no long-term effects, severe reactions may occur. For example, black widow bites may cause nausea, vomiting, painful abdominal cramps, light-headedness, shortness of breath, muscle pain, and localized swelling and irritation.

2. Kissing Bugs

Triatominae–also known as “kissing bugs” or “conenose bugs”–are a subfamily of insects in the United States, Central America, and South America. These insects feed on the blood of invertebrates that they nest alongside, including humans.

Kissing bugs are known to bite people on or near the lips and mouth, hence their nickname. While less common in the Northern U.S., kissing bugs are known vectors of Trypanosoma Cruzi–the parasite responsible for Chagas disease in humans.

When infected with Chagas, humans may experience a slow development of health issues, including severe heart conditions and digestion issues.

As a result, it’s best to avoid these dangerous bugs whenever possible. Fortunately, you can spot these insects by their ovular brown bodies, cone-shaped heads, thin antennae, and legs.

3. Spotted Lanternflies

While not directly harmful to humans or pets, the spotted lanternfly is an invasive bug in New Jersey with devastating effects on several important crops, including walnuts, grapes, hops, apples, and stone fruits.

This invasive planthopper is native to Asia but was first introduced to the U.S. in 2014 by vessels transporting cargo to Pennsylvania. Since then, the SLF population has significantly enlarged, wreaking havoc on the Northeast’s cash crops.

This insect is identifiable by its inch-long body, black head, yellow-striated abdomen, gray spotted forewings, and red hindwings. If you spot the insect, or its grayish, plaster-like egg sacks, it’s recommended to destroy them to prevent further spread and economic damage.

4. Asian Longhorned Tick

The Asian long-horned tick is an invasive species from Asia, initially found in New Jersey in 2017. Since then, the Asian longhorned tick has been found across six New Jersey counties, including Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex, Mercer, Bergen, Somerset, Passaic, Camden, and Monmouth.

Like most ticks, this particular variety is a vector for disease. It may also cause harm to animals due to blood loss in the event of a severe infestation.

Asian long-horned ticks are identifiable by their reddish-brown bodies and poppyseed size when unfed and pea-sized, gray appearance when filled with blood. These ticks are ovular in shape and lack antennae.

If you locate what you believe to be an Asian long-horned tick, it’s best to isolate the arachnid and place it in a sealed bag.

5. Wasps

New Jersey is home to various wasp species, including yellowjackets, paper wasps, and baldfaced hornets.

Wasps are social creatures and highly aggressive pests that will sting if threatened. Unlike honey bees, wasp stingers are not barbed, allowing them to sting multiple individuals multiple times throughout their lifetimes.

While most wasp stings cause localized pain, swelling, and redness, those with severe allergies to wasp venom can get anaphylaxis. If left untreated, anaphylactic shock can lead to death in adults and children, thus earning wasps a spot on this list.

If you spot a wasp’s nest on your property, it’s best to leave the insects alone if possible. However, contact a pest professional wasp control company to avoid injury if the nest is close to buildings or inhabited dwellings.

6. Mosquitos

Not only are mosquitos irritating, but they’re also potentially dangerous due to their propensity to spread disease. While uncommon, mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and several other diseases have been found in the continental United States.

As the number one vector for Dog Heartworm, mosquitos also pose a severe threat to your pets. This parasitic roundworm is passed through the bite of an infected mosquito, where it quickly wreaks havoc on your pet’s internal organs, leading to lung damage and heart failure.

While mosquitos are relentless pests, taking the necessary steps to keep the insects away from your family and pets is essential.

7. Deer Ticks

Last on the list are deer ticks, another species known to be a vector for disease in humans. These arachnids can harbor such diseases as:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Powassan Virus Disease
  • Borrelia Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Female deer ticks are identifiable by their reddish-brown color, black shield-shaped markings on the top of their abdomens, and black legs. Males are similar in appearance, though they feature primarily black bodies and are generally smaller than females.

If a deer tick bites you, it’s best to immediately remove it and contact your health professional, especially if you develop flu-like symptoms.

If you’re dealing with an infestation of any of the dangerous bugs listed above, contact your qualified local pest professionals at Anchor Pest Control. Our team of experts has provided New Jersey residents with thorough and cost-effective exterminator services for over 25 years and can clear your property of unwanted pests in no time.

Dangerous Bugs in New Jersey: FAQ

Which species of widow spider is commonly found in the Northeastern United States?

The Northeastern United States, including New Jersey, is home to the Northern black widow spider. This arachnid features a glossy black body, a large abdomen, and iconic black and white markings across its body, making it difficult to miss. Female black widows pack a dangerous bite, full of neurotoxic venom that may lead to serious health issues.

Where do Kissing Bugs get their name?

“Kissing Bug” is a nickname given to members of the Triatominae family due to their preferred preference of where to bite humans. These insects traditionally bite humans around their lips and mouth, thus the title!

Why are spotted lanternflies on the list?

While these dangerous bugs don’t cause direct harm to individuals, their voracious appetites for New Jersey’s cash crops can have a devastating effect on food availability and the state’s economy. As a result, any sighting of these insects should be reported, and any living adults or unhatched egg sacks should be destroyed.

designed to prevent infestations and keep your home pest free

7 Benefits of a Pest Control Maintenance Plan for Homeowners

Most of us take having a pest-free home for granted until we actually have to deal with an infestation.

The emotional toll of having a private and safe place infested by cockroaches and rats is impossible to quantify. For many, it’s enough to force them to sell their homes.

While preventative pest control may be the last thing on your mind in an inflationary economy, you could save significantly in the long run.

According to Architectural Digest, general preventative pest control could cost homeowners between $400 to $950 annually. However, Home Advisor estimates that the average cost of one-time bed bug treatment could be $5,000 for bed bugs and $8,000 for termites.

Additionally, emergency treatments don’t factor in the cost of home repairs associated with termite damage, which totals over $5 billion annually.

Like health insurance, no one plans for an accident or an illness, but you’re thankful to have insurance to help you manage the costs. As you’ll see, a preventative pest control maintenance plan can give you a lot of the same security you get from an insurance plan.

What Is a Pest Control Maintenance Plan?

A pest control maintenance plan is a generalized and comprehensive pest management program designed to prevent infestations and keep your home pest free.

At Anchor Pest Control, we offer Pest Protect 365, an annual pest management program designed to ward off over 40 pests from your home.

Between preventative measures, such as quarterly chemical and non-chemical treatments, and generalized directions to help keep your home pest free, our pest control maintenance plan is designed to thwart infestations before they occur.

Additionally, our plan offers routine on-site inspections to identify areas where your home is vulnerable to pests.

Most pest control maintenance plans offer monthly, quarterly, or annual inspections and reports to ensure your home is pest free.

At the very least, I recommend having an annual check to ensure no pests are lurking in your home where you can’t see them.

What’s Included in a Pest Control Plan?

A pest control maintenance plan will differ by exterminator, but most residential pest control programs, include:

  • Regular inspections and pest treatment (chemical or non-chemical)
  • Comprehensive reports with guidance to prevent future pests
  • On-demand onsite treatment of any growing infestation
  • Special discounts for emergency treatment
  • Specific treatments for individual pests, including fleas, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, and more
  • 24/7 termite monitoring programs (exclusive to Pest Protect 365)

Plans may also be customized around specific pests native to your area or landscape.

Now that we understand what’s included in a pest control maintenance plan, the question becomes whether one is right for you.

7 Benefits of a Pest Control Maintenance Plan

1. Ensures a Pest Free Home

If peace of mind is important to you or if you’ve previously dealt with a pest infestation, you probably value the comfort of having a pest-free home.

With a routine pest control plan for your home, you can rest easy knowing that your home will be free of any pest presence inside or outside and that your plants and home’s framing will be safe from pest damage.

Not only is this peace of mind something that is priceless, but it’s actually very cost-effective in the long run.

2. Lower Cost than Emergency Service

While high-end treatments for bed bugs and termites may cost you thousands of dollars, this doesn’t factor in finding a place to live for a few days while treatments are conducted. Additionally, this number doesn’t include the cost of home repair and the damage to foliage that an infestation may cause.

Even more affordable treatments for ants, ticks, or mosquitos could cost you $500 per treatment for one-time treatments and still leave you vulnerable to reinfestation.

Overall, an annual pest control maintenance plan will cost you significantly less than more expensive treatments for termites and bed bugs and around the same for a one-time treatment for any generalized pest–after the infestation has spread.

3. Prevents Infestations Caused by Neighbors

If you’ve ever lived in a major city, you’re probably used to dealing with rats and cockroaches in apartment buildings or areas where many live.

Unfortunately, having a clean home won’t prevent an infestation caused by a dirty neighbor. So while you may think you’re safe from roaches and rats, when one neighbor deals with an infestation, it may leave your home vulnerable.

For example, cockroaches can travel under doors, through sewer pipes, and even outside from home to home and spread across entire communities in weeks.

Prevention of cockroaches from a neighbor is almost impossible without proper chemical treatment to prevent them from penetrating any barrier of your home.

4. Protects the Health of Your Family and Pets

Indeed, the emotional toll of a cockroach or rat could be enough to warrant preventative service, but lots of pests can also pose a significant health threat to you and your pets, including:

Many of these pests can be vectors for diseases impacting plants, animals, and human health and should be treated immediately to prevent disease.

5. All-Season Prevention

While some people consider spring and summer the most popular seasons for pest infestation, many pests retreat to warm basements and attics for refuge during the colder months. In general, I recommend inspecting your home for the following pests during the winter:

  • Rodents
  • Box elder bugs
  • Cockroaches
  • Stink bugs
  • Spiders
  • Beetles
  • Silverfish

Routine preventative pest control will ensure your home is pest-free during all seasons, not just in the warm summer months.

6. Ensures Responsible Use of Pesticides

Many forgo preventative pest control in favor of DIY chemical treatments, such as pesticides. Unfortunately, many pesticides can harm your home, health, plants, and pets.

Hiring a qualified exterminator ensures the responsible use of pesticides and the right choices for each treatment. The pest control experts at Anchor Pest Control only use safe pesticides and treatments for you, your pets, and your home and will never cause illness or harm.

7. Protection Against Invasive Species like the Spotted Lanternfly

Finally, preventative pest control is a great strategy to prevent invasive species like the spotted lanternfly or emerald ash borer from infesting your property. Unfortunately, these species are challenging to spot because they are foreign bugs and require active maintenance to prevent their spread further north and throughout New Jersey.

A qualified pest control expert will identify any potential invasive pests lying around your property, even if they’re dormant during the winter, to prevent a full-blown infestation come spring or summer.

In many instances, pest prevention starts with identifying and treating pests before they can spread and multiply. The problem with emergency pest control programs is that they treat the spread after it’s too late and significant damage has been done to your home or health.

While the financial incentives are there to invest in a routine pest maintenance program, the peace of mind our customers have is so much more worth it.

Additionally, our programs help our customers retain their home’s integrity and value, so they don’t have to spend extra money to deal with the damage from a pest infestation.


1. How much does a pest control plan cost?

Most pest control programs cost between $400-$950 annually, although our program is customized based on a customer’s property size and treatment needs.

2. What are examples of different types of pest control?

There are several types of pest control used to treat residential properties, including:

  • Chemical: Commonly used for emergency and routine treatment. Chemical treatments attack the nervous system of pests to exterminate them and prevent breeding.
  • Biological: Pathogens or predators may be used to reduce the population of a specific pest.
  • Physical: Barriers are erected, and pathways are sealed to prevent pests from entering a home or property.
  • Electronic and ultrasonic: Electronic gadgets are used to push away pests from a property.

3. How do you prepare for routine pest control?

If you’re preparing for routine pest treatment or emergency service, we always recommend our customers do a few things in advance:

  • First, clean your kitchen and eliminate any pest food sources.
  • Second, move furniture from walls so experts can investigate and treat barriers in your home.
  • Third, allow adequate access to experts to explore parts of your home where pests commonly lie.
  • Finally, restrain pets from giving experts proper time and room to operate.