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tiny white bugs
Animals, Life Tips

Pest Control 101: Getting Rid of Tiny White Bugs

Are you a neat freak à la Monica from Friends? Even if a little bit of dust here and there doesn’t bother you, we bet it will from now on. Namely, what you think is dust might be tiny white bugs getting all comfortable on your surfaces.

Odds are, even the thought of it has made you feel uneasy. For that reason, we have prepared for you a brief guide to these dust-like insect species. Read on to find out what they are and how you should best deal with them.

What Are the Tiny White Bugs That Resemble Dust?

Before you find out how to get rid of these minute organisms, you need to consider the nature of each of the five main white bug species.

1. Dust Mites

Dust Mites

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If you’ve ever tried a Kirby or any other more potent hoover, you know how dirty your place can get. Even if you tidy up regularly, this vacuum cleaner can leave you dumbfounded at the number of tiny dirt particles it manages to collect.

Chances are, the whole thing instantly grosses you out, and you end up feeling like you’re living in a stall. But we’re all in the same boat here, mind you.

It’s not that we’re untidy — it’s just that dust mites find shelter inside our mattresses, upholstery, curtains, and carpets. For instance, a typical bed mattress can have around one hundred thousand to one million dust mites.

To make matters even worse, these microscopic insects feed on your dead cells. They also absorb moisture from the air, which is why you’re more likely to find them in high-humidity areas.

But the truth is, these tiny white bugs aren’t there to hurt you. Thus, they won’t bite you nor harm you directly — they are far too small to do that. However, an abundance of them can cause you to have an allergic reaction.

Their droppings can trigger your immune system’s response and leave you sneezing, coughing, or even dealing with asthma attacks.

2. Mold Mites

Mold Mites

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Let’s face it — mold is yucky in and of itself. Imagining these tiny fungi growing on your pipes, windows, or walls might be giving you the chills. You can expect mold forming in areas with high humidity, and you’re probably already used to getting rid of it. But what about mold mites — what are they, and do all moist areas have them?

Mold mites are tiny white bugs feeding on fungi and yeast that you can find in soil or inside your home. Using more proper terms, these guys aren’t insects but arachnids, like ticks or spiders.

Mold mites are almost transparent organisms whose size rarely crosses 0.012 inches, making them invisible to the naked eye. In most cases, you’ll be able to spot only a discolored mass forming on mold.

However, these mites might also create brown or gray areas near your food. Dead and alive mites, their droppings, tiny food particles, and your dead cells make up this dust called biomass.

Another thing to look for is visible individual mites scurrying all over your surfaces. Such a sight may indicate there’s a mold mite infestation nearby, which you’ll have to deal with as soon as possible.

3. Woolly Aphids

Woolly Aphids

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Have you ever seen one of those fluffy white masses forming on trees, looking like fungi? If so, it probably hasn’t even occurred to you that they are, in fact, insects. At a brief sight of such a formation, you might have mistaken it for white tree sap or leftover animal hair. But it turns out to be a heap of tiny white bugs called woolly aphids.

These guys dwell on tree barks and twigs where they feed on sap, producing a white waxy substance. As their name suggests, woolly aphids are fluffy and easy to spot as they’re always in large groups.

They also breed quickly, reproducing by parthenogenesis. What this means is that female woolly aphids can lay eggs without being fertilized.

Thanks to the fast reproduction of these bugs, they can cause an infestation in no time. You can usually find woolly aphids on hawthorn or crabapples in springtime.

That’s when they’re most active, but even then, they don’t pose a serious threat to the tree they live on. Still, they can cause premature leaf drop, curled or yellowing leaves, and slow plant growth.

4. Mealybugs

Mealybugs

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If you’re looking at a white formation on a plant, woolly aphids might not be the ones to blame. In this case, the true culprits will probably be tiny white bugs known as mealybugs. The two species often get mixed up thanks to their similar appearances and habitats. Like woolly aphids, mealybugs are white, fluffy, and reside on plants.

So, how can you differentiate between mealybugs and woolly aphids? The main difference between the two is that they attack different plants or different plant parts.

Unlike their lookalikes, mealybugs usually dwell on plant joints or where leaves meet stems. You can also often spot individual mealybugs scurrying around on a plant, which is rarely the case with woolly aphids.

When it comes to a mealybug infestation, bear in mind that it can happen to indoor species like your houseplants. They will pierce through their host’s leaves and stems, sucking the sap from the plant.

As a result, the leaves on the host plant can turn yellow, causing it to weaken. In more extreme cases and when left untreated, mealybugs can eventually also kill their hosts.

5. Whiteflies

Whiteflies

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Much like their cousins, the tiny white bugs called whiteflies can attack your houseplants. They also have distinguishing mouthpieces which they use to suck the host plant’s sap.

As a result, they produce a sticky white substance known as honeydew. And, as you can see, these guys aren’t proper flies, being more related to aphids and mealybugs.

But as opposed to aphids, whiteflies do require a bit higher temperatures. Because of that, they’re more likely to be found on indoor or greenhouse plants. Most commonly, you’ll be able to spot them on the backside of leaves, living in groups. Individual whiteflies, however, might be imperceptible, ranging from 0.06 to 0.01 inches in size.

Like aphids and mealybugs, they can cause damage to the host plant. By draining all its juices, they make the plant’s leaves dry and yellow. Whiteflies can also slow down their host plant’s growth and make it less fruitful.

What’s more, whiteflies are famous for transmitting plant viruses, and the plant hosting these bugs becomes more prone to illness in general.

How to Get Rid of These Tiny White Bugs?

Now that you’ve seen what these little guys are capable of, let’s take a look at how you can deal with them.

1. Getting Rid of Dust Mites

Mites

You already know just how much dust mites love humid places. So, the first step in getting rid of them could be getting a dehumidifier or an air conditioner. By doing this, not only will you make the place inconvenient for current dust mites, but you’ll also prevent potential future infestation.

Another good idea could be changing old carpets and curtains and replacing them with easy-to-clean synthetic materials.

Speaking of which, your number one ally in getting rid of dust mites would be regular and thorough cleaning. Wash your blankets and bedding in hot water or freeze them to make the conditions unfavorable for these parasites. You can also vacuum your mattresses using a HEPA filter hoover and cover them in dust-proof materials.

2. Getting Rid of Mold Mites

soda

Because these guys can’t do without fungi, you might want to eliminate the mold first. You can do this using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or chlorine bleach. Whichever solution you opt for, remember to leave it over the mold for some time before rinsing it. And, to prevent it from forming again in the future, use a dehumidifier.

The same cleaning substances can also help you kill mold mites themselves. These arachnids won’t be able to survive baking soda, borax, and bleach. The same goes for vinegar and lemon, whose acidity is highly effective for getting rid of mites.

3. Getting Rid of Woolly Aphids

soap

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You already know that woolly aphids don’t pose a severe threat to your plants. For that reason, deciding to do nothing about the woolly aphid infestation would also be fine. What’s more, these guys already have their natural enemies like ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies.

But if you want to prevent a woolly aphid infestation on your plants, you can use insecticidal soap to treat the infected area. In more critical situations, you can also resort to harsher chemicals like acephate.

4. Getting Rid of Mealybugs

If you’ve noticed mealybugs on some of your houseplants, you need to separate the infected plants from the healthy ones. By doing this, you’ll make sure these insects don’t spread, and you’ll be able to control the situation more easily.

Then, you can use pesticides to get rid of all the visible mealybugs. But note that these guys are resistant to chemical pesticides, so be sure to use organic ones.

Another way to deal with them is to soak cotton pads with alcohol and clean the affected leaves. Using cotton swabs dipped in alcohol will prove an even more thorough procedure. With the help of them, you’ll be able to clean less reachable places.

5. Getting Rid of Whiteflies

When it comes to a whitefly infestation, there’s also no need to resort to pesticides. Instead, you can use a few simple home remedies to get rid of the stubborn whiteflies. For instance, a regular handheld vacuum cleaner could do wonders. It will help you remove both the adult individuals and their larvae.

You can also use diluted liquid dish soap to clean the affected leaves. This method will effectively rid your plant of whiteflies without harming it. An alternative would be neem oil, which works as a natural pesticide. In the worst-case scenario, you might need to remove the diseased leaves.

how to get rid of pantry moths
Animals, Life Tips

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths: 6 Safe Ideas

Pantry moths are considered to be one of the most common pests found in kitchens and (of course) pantries. These insects aren’t poisonous, however, they will eat anything they come across. So if you’re currently dealing with an infestation, this article will teach you how to get rid of pantry moths.

What Are Pantry Moths?

Pantry Moths

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Before you read about how to get rid of pantry moths, it’s important to learn a bit about these pests.

Pantry moths, also known as P. Inerpentella are flying insects that feed on dry foods. These insects are also called Indianmeal moths, grain moths, flour moths, and weevil moths.

The size of a pantry moth can vary, however, they are typically very small. Adult moths grow up to 3/8 inches in length, with their wingspan being from 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Thanks to their size, it’s quite easy to overlook these insects until you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

Pantry moths can be found all across the U.S. and are easy to identify. Adult moths have bronze wings with or without a pattern (for example, a black horizontal line). Their colors can vary, from light to dark brown.

Are Pantry Moths Harmful?

Harmful

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Pantry moths are not harmful to people. However, these insects feed on basically any type of dry food. With that in mind, your pantry is the first place they will infest, since that’s where people tend to store dried goods such as raw and processed grains, pasta, cereal, dog food, cat food, etc.

Also, contrary to what you may think, having pantry moths isn’t a sign of poor housekeeping. You can keep your pantry as clean as a whistle, and still have an infestation.

What’s more, most infestations occur within commercial food processing facilities. Then, when you open your food, the moths will eventually fly out and move into your home.

Worst of all, one pantry moth can lay an average of 300 eggs. However, it’s not uncommon for them to lay up to 500 eggs at a time. Once they lay their eggs, it will take up to 18 days for them to hatch. In some cases, the eggs will hatch all at once, but it’s possible for them to hatch in intervals as well.

Once hatched, you’ll have hundreds of white caterpillar larvae in your pantry. These are typically up to 1/2 inches long. While moth eggs are difficult to detect, the larvae are hard to miss considering they bear a strong resemblance to maggots.

The larvae will spin webs and consume your dry food during the course of several weeks before they form pupae. The pupae then hatch into adult moths. This process usually takes up to 10 months.

Why Are They Infesting Your Pantry?

Pantry

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Pantry moths can enter your home in a variety of different ways. For example, they can simply fly in through an open door or window. In some cases, pantry moths will make their way through openings around your vents, cables that run through your walls, and plumbing lines.

But even if you’re careful to shut all your windows and doors, and you made sure to plug up any holes in your walls, there’s still a good chance that these pantry moths can stow away inside packaged food.

The problem is that once a pantry moth makes its way into your home unnoticed, there’s a good chance you’ll soon have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

A pantry moth only has one mission: to find an area with plenty of food. Once it does, it can safely lay its eggs.

Why Do They Keep Coming Back?

Back

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Pantry moths keep coming back into your home for one simple reason: you have plenty of open food lying around. If you’re not careful to keep everything in air-tight containers, or you regularly leave pet food out, then it’s no wonder pantry moths are turning your pantry into their home.

What’s more, if you’re not careful to check your food once you bring it home from the store, there’s always a chance that a moth or two could be hiding inside your food.

So ultimately, if you want to keep the moths away, you will need to start inspecting your food more thoroughly.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths: 6 Ways

Get Rid of

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Namely, dealing with a pantry moth infestation isn’t difficult. However, it will involve a lot of work on your part. So without further ado, here’s how to get rid of pantry moths.

1. Clean Your Pantry Regularly

Cleaning your pantry once a week is a good way to prevent a moth infestation. However, you should be thorough when cleaning, making sure to vacuum every nook and cranny in your pantry.

Furthermore, you should make sure to use a safe cleaning liquid when you wipe down your counters. For extra protection, there are a few natural moth repellents you can place inside your pantry.

2. Inspect Your Dried Goods

The next tip for how to get rid of pantry moths involves thoroughly inspecting your food. This means opening and checking every dry food item.

Overall, you will need to look for moth larvae in your food, and on the food packaging itself. Also, check for messy webs, since these will belong to moths (spiders make neat webs).

Keep in mind that moths love to infest all of your grain-based products such as pasta, flour, and cereal, so check those first. Then, move on to nuts and sweets.

Once you’re done inspecting these products, you can move on to canned products and spice jars. For unopened cans and jars, you will only need to check the packaging for moth larvae.

Equally important, if you keep any pet food in your pantry, make sure to check it as well.

3. Discard Your Dried Foods

Dried Foods

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Whatever food you find that has moths or larvae, you will need to throw away. However, it’s important that you place these items in an outdoor trash can. If you throw them away in your kitchen trash, all your hard work will have been for nothing.

If you have some unopened nuts or grains that you would like to keep, but you’re afraid they may be infested, place them in the freezer for a few weeks. This will kill any moths or larvae that may be lurking inside.

Once you’ve dealt with the infested products, you will need to completely empty out your pantry. Make sure you pull out all of your shelf liners to give them a good wash. Vacuum the corners of your shelves, as well as the shelf brackets, undersides, hardware.

Also, don’t forget to vacuum the baseboards, walls, floor, trim, ceiling, and even your pantry door.

Then, you will need to use something strong to clean the pantry. Keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to use any pesticides to get rid of these pests, considering they’re located around your food products.

Instead, you should make a safe, homemade spray. You will need:

• A spray bottle

• Some water

• White vinegar

• Essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, and cedarwood)

Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and pour the mixture into your spray bottle. Add approximately 5 drops of peppermint, 15 drops of eucalyptus, and 10 drops of cedarwood essential oil.

Give the mixture a good shake, and then spray the solution onto all the surfaces in your pantry, giving them a thorough wipe-down.

The main thing to remember is that you will need to clean every area from top to bottom before you even consider putting all your items back in place.

4. Restock Your Dried Foods

Only when you’re 100% certain that you’ve gotten rid of your moth infestation can you start to restock your pantry. The best thing to do is to leave it bare for a day or two just to see if any moths appear again. If they do, you will need to give your pantry another scrub-down.

But, even before you begin the restocking process, you should first check all your products. As mentioned, it’s quite common for moths to enter your food while it’s being packed. So, when you gather all your products, make sure to open them and check for any moths and larvae. If you do find any, discard the infested items.

5. Freeze Your Dried Goods

One scary thing about math larvae is that they can eat through paper and plastic. That means that any food packed in paper or plastic containers is up for grabs. So what can you do?
Your best option is to freeze your dried goods. These include:

• Flour

• Cereal

• Nuts

• Seeds

• Bulk grains

• Dried fruit

• Crackers

• Chips

• Baking soda

• Baking powder

• Sugar

• Pet food

Basically, anything that doesn’t come in a can or jar should be frozen.

6. Seal Any Gaps in Your Wall

Make sure to seal any cracks in your walls or even the smallest of openings. Moths are incredibly small, so it’s easy for them to enter through tiny spaces.

Check the space between your cupboards and walls and behind your appliances. If you find any cracks, seal them with caulk.

Pantry moths are pretty annoying when they show up in your home. They’re difficult to spot because they’re so small, and once they start to multiply you’ll wonder how in the world could this have happened to you. But luckily, there are effective ways to get rid of them, and keep them out of your pantry for good!


Featured image source: Pinterest.com

turtles that stay small
Animals

6 Cute Pet Turtles That Stay Small and Look Cute Forever

Turtles make for wholesome pets, anybody who has owned one, be it big or small. They spend their whole lives eating, resting, and swimming around in their tank. Turtles can also be surprisingly playful and have a very soothing presence. They are very easy to care for, and they also live for much longer than your average pet.

Although they’re not that active, turtles do need a relatively large space compared to their size so that they can freely explore at their own pace. If you’re short on room, here are some breed suggestions for turtles that stay small and look cute forever.

Benefits Of Turtles That Stay Small

Benefits Of Turtles

1. Affordability

Small turtles used to cost a dime. While that time has passed, small turtles are still relatively inexpensive compared to large turtles. Small turtles are less expensive to purchase and care for because you won’t need to invest in a giant aquarium or expansive filtration system.

Small turtles only require the most basic setup — a tank that gives them room to swim around, filters, turtle grub, and the occasional replacement bulb. All of this can fit comfortably within the average spending budget of a college student, let alone an adult.

2. Less Work Overall

Small turtles are easier to clean or groom. It is also easy to clean their tanks as small turtles produce less waste. They’re easy to take to the vet for checkups and can accompany you on roads as well. The cherry on the cake? They only need to be fed every alternative day.

3. Easy To Feed

Most reptiles and amphibians are notorious for giving pet owners a headache when it comes to feeding. They’re irregular, demanding at times, and have mood swings. Their food can also be tricky to acquire at times.

Turtles, on the other hand, are much easier to feed. Most of them are vegetarians and can easily sustain themselves on fruits, leafy green vegetables, and a pet store turtle feed containing essential nutrients. You could also incorporate turtle food pellets or feeder fish if needed.

Lists Of Turtles That Stay Small

#1. Mississippi Mud Turtle (4 inches)

Mud Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Mississippi mud turtles only grow up to 4 inches as an adult. They’re small, dark brown, and semi-aquatic freshwater species so you would need to purchase a mini-aquarium for them. They’re endemic to the United States and are commonly found inhabiting marshlands, swamps, slow-moving rivers, and ponds.

Care and Environment

Given the proper care, these adorable critters can live for up to 50 years. Fortunately, all they need to subsist is a small tank with enough room for swimming. Turtles are usually lazy but they still need to exercise every now and then. An aquarium with room to swim can help stimulate them.

Diet

Mud turtles are omnivorous, so they can eat snails, fishes, insects, and other types of protein, as well as leafy vegetables like parsley and lettuce. The foods they eat are usually low in calcium so you will need to dust a calcium mineral supplement on their food once a week.

#2. Bog Turtle (3–4 inches)

Bog Turtle

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Size And Appearance

Bog turtles grow up to be 3-4 inches in height and are North America’s smallest turtle. They’re a critically endangered species of semi-aquatic turtles so it may be difficult to acquire one today. They are recognizable by the unique orange patch on either side of their head and by their mud-brown shells.

Bog turtles are most commonly found in mountain bogs, wetlands, and deep mucky soils.

Care

To mimic its natural environment, you should provide bog turtles with a muddy aquarium to help them stay cool and adapt faster since they’re wild animals. They’re incredibly smart pets that know when to come out and ask for food. However, they’re also very territorial.

So if you’re considering purchasing two males, it’s best to keep them apart. Otherwise, they may end up fighting over territory.

Diet

Bog turtles are omnivorous and can enjoy feasting upon many things. They can eat slugs, mice, millipedes, voles, and even nestling birds. You can feed them commercial turtle food pellets and the occasional house pest like cockroaches or crickets for some protein. They also enjoy seeds and berries.

#3. Common Musk Turtle (2–4.5 inches)

Musk Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Common musk turtles grow between 2 and 4.5 inches in length. Their physiology and color are quite similar to those of mud turtles, so it can be difficult to tell them apart.

However, one distinguishing feature the musk turtle carries is the ridge on the back of their shells that starts around the middle. Mud turtles, on the other hand, have a smoother, flatter shell.

Care

A 20-gallon aquarium would be more than enough for your musk turtle to live like a king. However, since they’re freshwater turtles, you need to install a filtration system or add a canister filter. You will also need heating and a UVB light, which will help in their healthy growth as your turtle’s living indoors.

Diet

Wild musk turtles eat an array of insects like worms, aquatic nymphs, or dragonflies, but a good commercial turtle food can also provide most of the important nutrients. They can subsist on turtle food for a long time, but to provide more stimulation, you should mix things up once in a while with shrimp, worms, or common insects.

#4. Michigan Spotted Turtle (3–4 inches)

Spotted Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Michigan spotted turtles grow up to 3 inches in length. They’re semi-aquatic and are found in marshy meadows, bogs, swamps, ponds, and all small bodies of water. They can be identified easily by the yellow spots on their shells.

Care

Although they’re not aquatic, spotted turtles do enjoy swimming. So you should consider purchasing a 55-gallon tank. You need to have a balance of land and water in the tank. You will also need to invest in a filtration system to keep the water crystal clear and add heating lights to promote healthy growth.

Diet

Spotted turtles are omnivorous. They can live on commercial food although you should supplement it once in a while with insects or leafy vegetables. They will also require a weekly calcium supplement since their diets don’t give them enough calcium.

#5. Reeve’s Turtle (6 Inches)

Reeve’s Turtle

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Size and Appearance

Reeve’s turtles originate from East Asia and can grow up to 6 inches in size. They don’t have many signature traits so they’re hard to identify. Their upper shell is usually black in color with shades of brown, olive green, and a moderate amount of yellow.

Care

With the right care, Reeve’s turtles can live for up to 25 years in captivity. They’re not adept swimmers, so a single baby reeve’s turtle won’t need more than 15 gallons of swimming space in shallow waters.

One important thing the habitat must-have is a basking area, which you’ll have to provide by investing in heating lights since you’re raising them indoors.

Diet

Reeve’s turtles in the wild feed on both animal and plant matter. They eat fish, worms, insects, and green leafy vegetables with equal enthusiasm.

#6. Diamondback Terrapins (5–9 inches)

Diamondback Terrapins

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Size and Appearance

Diamondback Terrapins are the largest turtles on this list since they can grow up to 9 inches in size. They have a very unique trichromatic pattern of beige, brown, and black streaks on their shell. Their skin is also covered in dark uneven spots and streaks.

Care

Knowing how large they can get compared to the other turtles, ideally, you should go for a 70-gallon tank with a powerful filtration system. Diamondback Terrapins are fun to have as pets but require extra care because they’re more prone to shell diseases and fungal problems.

Make sure you invest in quality filters and UV lights to help their bodies produce enough Vitamin D3 to help fight off those diseases.

Diet

Diamondback Terrapins are poor hunters, so it’s best not to feed them live foods they’d have to chase. Like the other turtles, they too can subsist on commercial pet food along with the occasional protein snack like snails or worms. They’re almost strictly carnivorous so they may not respond to vegetables.