How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

Hoo boy! These critters are nothing to mess around with!

Fire ants might be little, but they make their presence painfully known if the occasion calls for it. They also reproduce quite quickly. Thus, upon discovering a fire ant infestation, getting rid of it should become your priority!

Here’s why and how to get rid of fire ants.

What Are Fire Ants?

Fire ants aren’t native to North America. They arrived from South America in the 1930s and have since spread to infest more than 260 million acres of land spanning 9 southeastern states, including Texas. Their rampage sometimes comes at the expense of native ant species and other wildlife, due in large part to their mating and protective habits.

A single colony of fire ants can produce thousands of queens, each with the potential to start her own colony. Queens mate with flying males and can travel distances either under their own steam or by hitching a ride on cars or trains. They can even float to new areas in flood waters.

Plus, queens only eat food that workers have eaten first. Thus, if an ant control poison works too rapidly, it will never make it to the queen.

What do fire ants look like? At between 1.5 and 5 millimeters long, fire ants are quite small — even for ants. Their bodies are bright red or reddish brown.

The Risks of Fire Ants

Fire ants are not the only red ants in Texas — so just seeing a red ant isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. However, if the red ant you see is a fire ant, watch out!

Fire ants will grab ahold of you with their powerful jaws in one-half less than no time. But that’s not the part to be concerned about. Once they get a good grip, they can insert their stinger and inject the burning venom they’re famous for.

One fire ant sting isn’t so bad. It’ll burn a little and itch and usually develop a little white pustule. If you treat it right, it probably won’t become infected. Fire ant bite treatment includes icing it to help with the burning and applying hydrocortisone cream and antibiotic ointment to keep the bite clean.

The bigger problem is that fire ants are aggressive and attack in droves. One ant can sting multiple times while his buddies are rushing to help — and there are more fire ants in one colony than you can shake a stick at! Enough stings can put people at risk of anaphylactic shock, particularly if the individual is allergic.

Beyond this irritation, fire ants are also dangerous to other animals. They will often eliminate competing insects when they move into an area. And their stings are powerful enough (in large numbers) to kill other animals — even baby livestock! The impact is so great that wildlife reproduction rates go up after area-wide fire ant suppression campaigns.

How to Get Rid of Fire AntsAerial view of a fire ant nest.

In short, fire ants are about as welcome as an outhouse breeze. Once people spot them, they start reading up on fire ant killers to find out the fastest and most effective way to eliminate these pesky critters.

If you already have an infestation, the best plan of attack is to go to the source — the fire ant nest. Fire ants live in the ground, but the fire ant mound looks a little different. These ants don’t make exit holes in the top of the mound like other types of ants. Instead, they create subterranean tunnels and form mounds with the discarded dirt. You can spot their entrance tunnels in the flat areas surrounding the mound.

There are two main ways to get rid of fire ants with pesticides:

  1. Scatter slow-acting poison around the yard for foragers to pick up and take back to the nest.
  2. Drench the mound with either liquid or granular pesticides formulated specifically for fire ants.

To protect your home from future infestations you can use a broadcast treatment over your yard. For the best results, spread the treatment at the right time of year (late August to mid-October) and the right time of day (late afternoon when ants are foraging).

Protecting Your Home from Fire Ants

There’s no doubt about it, fire ants are not welcome critters. Not only do they pose a painful threat to your family members, but also to other wildlife who don’t take too kindly to them either.

But unlike wildlife, you can do something about it!

Call us friendly folks here at Buckaroo Pest Protection. We are committed to protecting your home from all threats —including the unnecessary use of poisonous chemicals. Fire ants are a real problem that we’ll help you take care of it in the healthiest way possible.

Reach out to us today to learn more!


How Do I Know If I Have Termites?

Termites are among the most destructive pests that Texans face. Each year, termites cause roughly $30 billion dollars in damage to crops and manmade structures.

In areas like ours here in Texas where termites flourish, few homeowners go unscathed. These pesky little critters have an awful habit of showing up at the most inopportune times.

And they are about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.

Read on to find out how you can keep an eye out for termites and how to protect your homestead from the ravages of severe termite damage.

What Are Termites?

You’d only be asking this question if you’re new to these here parts. The short answer is that these are incredibly tiny creatures that can cause a serious amount of damage to your home or business.

How big are termites? Only between ¼ inch to ½ inch long. But what they lack in size, they make up for in number. A termite colony can easily house between 60,000 and 1 million termite individuals. If you spot termites on your property, you don’t want to let their numbers multiply.

And what’s worse is these little, soft-bodied critters never sleep. Nope. They spend their entire lives running around and chewing, chewing, chewing on anything they can find with cellulose. If that happens to be the wood in your home, you’ll be looking at an expensive repair bill if you don’t catch them early.

So, it’s 112 times better for you to catch them in a New York minute.

How to Check for Termites?

Termites like to hide. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies but build mud tubes to commute to your home. Drywood termites burrow into your walls and rarely poke their ugly heads out to be seen.

This is why the damage can often be extensive by the time you discover termites in your home or business. Though termites don’t show themselves often, the signs of their passing are a little more obvious.

Keep your eyes always peeled for these signs of termites:

1. Termites with Wings

As termite colonies mature, they produce a special type of termite that is more worrisome than the average soldier. These termites are capable of reproducing — and they have wings.

Typically, in early spring, these termites swarm out of the nest and go out into the world to start their own colonies. The problem is that they don’t go far and usually start a new colony right there on your property. The swarm only lasts for a short period so you can easily miss it. But piles of shed wings lying around are a sure sign that one happened.

2. Termite Droppings

Termites are so small you’d think that seeing termite droppings would be nearly impossible. But since they are constantly eating, they are constantly pushing refuse out behind them.

Subterranean termites use their droppings to help build their mud tunnels so it’s not common to see them. But drywood termites leave droppings called frass lying in plain sight — we have a whole passel of these kinds of termites here in Texas.

Termite frass looks like tiny piles of wood dust and can be found anywhere near termite activity. Watch for it around windows and doors where termites have easier access.

3. Stuck Windows or Doors

Here’s one that might seem a little “out there.” If a window or door suddenly starts sticking in its jamb, termites could be to blame. As termites burrow through the wood and cause damage, that wood can warp and no longer fit properly.

Of course, there are plenty of other causes for stuck windows and doors, but if this happens, take a closer look for a possible termite infestation.

4. Noises in the Night

Remember that termites don’t sleep? They literally live to eat and spend all their time chewing.

 To hear one tiny termite chewing is probably impossible. But thousands of them together? That can make quite a ruckus. Plus, termites can communicate through vibrations and noises. They’ll sometimes bang their heads against the walls or shake their bodies to communicate an alarm to their fellow colonials.

It’s easier to hear these noises at night when your home is quiet. You can try putting your ear up to a wall where you suspect termite activity. You might be surprised (and horrified) by what you hear!

5. Wall Damage

Spotting external damage caused by termites is like trying to bag flies, it ain’t easy. Most termite damage happens inside your walls, which is why a lot of infestations don’t get discovered until the homeowner opens up the walls during a remodeling project.

However, there are tiny signs of termites in the walls that you can watch for.

They burrow mostly through the wood, but they still need exit holes. These holes are minuscule, like a pinhole. Sometimes they can even make these holes without disturbing the paint on top.

However, if you notice that your paint or wallpaper is peeling, take a closer look. It could be moisture problems, but if you see these pinholes, you could actually have a termite problem.

Who Do You Call When Termites Are in Your House?

Once a termite colony establishes itself, it doesn’t take long for them to cause major damage. Thankfully, termites don’t travel far, so the damage is usually limited to a specific area in your house — until they start sending out swarmers.

If you spot swarmers, this generally means you have multiple colonies and you gotta get going like a house afire to take care of the problem. Neglecting the signs of termites could easily cost you several thousand dollars’ worth of structural damage to your home.

Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we specialize in keeping your home and family safe from threats like this. We use as few chemicals as possible because we don’t believe you should trade one threat for another.

For established colonies, we have the knowledge and equipment to find and destroy termites for good. And we have very effective methods to protect your home from future invasions.

Ready to get rid of your termite problem? Give us a holler, we’re always happy to help!

How Do Mice Get in Your Business?

House mice can become a significant problem for businesses when the weather gets cold. Many business owners wonder where mice are coming in, and because mice are tiny, there are about a million cracks and crevices that they can squeeze through.

Knowing how to keep mice out of your house or business can be a game changer, especially when it impacts your business. Mice don’t discriminate between homes and businesses; if they can find a warm shelter with available food, they will!

Field mice are not uncommon in the winter and you’re not alone in wondering how to get rid of house mice. Let’s look at how they sneak in and the best way to get rid of mice in old houses or businesses.

Tiny Cracks and Holes

A mouse peeks out through a small hole in the wall.

As one of the most common pests in the United States, mice can enter any small hole in your home or business. Once they’re inside, your most reliable method to get rid of them is commercial mouse control.

If your business has a mouse problem, you risk health violations, upset customers and damage to your property. There are a few steps you can take to encourage them to move on. Whether it’s a warehouse mouse or a mouse in restaurant, your first step is to figure out how mice are getting in.

Closely examine your windows and doors and identify any gaps. Keep in mind that mice can fit through a dime-sized hole. Seal up these mouse entry points with steel wool or caulk. Mouse traps can also be a valuable tool to get rid of mice in the house or business. Bait your traps, humane, if you prefer, with peanut butter or cheese, and place them along the walls or in corners where you’ve noticed mice.

Serious mouse problems, such as noticing baby mice in your house or business, might mean it’s time for the commercial mice control experts at Buckaroo.

Do Mice Climb?

Never underestimate how well a mouse can climb. If you’ve experienced mice in the walls of your house or business, you’ve already got a pretty good idea of their ability to climb porous surfaces.

Mice can climb up exterior walls of your business or easily scale trees to reach your rooftop. Because they’re so good at reaching new heights, it’s crucial to remember that they can sneak in through any small openings in your ceilings, around utility connections and through vents.

Once inside a safe shelter that offers food, water and warmth, mice will build nests and breed. Mice will enter your business in search of these things, regardless of the type of mouse. There isn’t much difference between field mice vs. house mice.

Whatever type of rodents take up residence in your business, we assume you want them gone! If you’re asking yourself, why do I have mice in my house, the simple answer is because there’s food, shelter, water, and a way inside. That’s all it takes!

Rid Your Business of Mice

If you’re wondering how to get rid of mice in a restaurant, or any business, it starts with sealing the cracks in your foundation, walls, doors, windows, and ceilings. Once inside, mice can be difficult to trap and remove. For businesses this can pose a frustrating challenge. If you find that you can’t get rid of them, it’s essential to get in touch with a professional exterminator before mice can cause damage to belongings and begin to spread disease.

Asking if mice in my house make me sick is a great question, and though mouse-borne illnesses aren’t as common as they once were, having them in a food-related business can be catastrophic. Don’t risk your health or your reputation over a rodent infestation.

Say So Long to Mice with Buckaroo Pest Protection

Don’t let your mouse problem grow out of control. Call in the professionals and rid your business of these pests quickly and efficiently. Buckaroo Pest Control is a family-owned pest control dedicated to protecting your business from the damage of a mice infestation. We serve businesses of all types in the North Dallas, Plano, McKinney area and we’d love to help you too!

Mice are a danger to human health and can destroy the things you’ve worked hard for, including the reputation of your business. If you’re ready to chase these pesky critters away, contact the team at Buckaroo Pest Protection today!

Poisonous Spiders in Texas

Eeek! A spider!

While most spiders don’t deserve our fear, there are a handful that do. In Texas, these are the brown recluse spider and the black widow.

Though neither spider is aggressive, they both will bite if disturbed and their victim may suffer severe symptoms including vomiting, cramping, fever, or even convulsions.

To avoid this, learn how to identify these two treacherous Texas spiders and how to keep them away from your home or business.


Female black widow spiders are jet black with large abdomens and grow to about 1 inch long. She has a characteristic reddish or yellowish hourglass-shaped marking on her underside.

Male black widow spiders are brown and much smaller at only about ¼ inch. They have venom but don’t bite humans, perhaps because their mouthparts are too small.

Brown recluses are golden brown and have a dark brown or black fiddle-shaped pattern on their heads. Their bodies are only about ¼ inch long with about a 1-inch leg span.


Black widow spiders in Texas prefer to stay outdoors. You might find them in woodpiles or under your porch. If they come indoors, you’re likely to see them in your basement, attic, garage, or anywhere other quiet location where people don’t spend a lot of time.

Brown recluses like to retreat in dark little hidey holes. So, watch out for them in your shoes or tucked into your clothes in the closet.

The Danger of Venomous Spider in Texas

The black widow spider’s venom is reported to be about 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. Thankfully, they only inject such a small amount. While that small dose may cause extremely unpleasant symptoms, it rarely results in death.

Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Lesion at the bite site

The venom of a brown recluse is quite potent and can necrotize (destroy) the tissue around the site of the bite. Infection at the site can lead to death in very few cases.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Necrosis or a red, white, and blue lesion at the bit site
  • Weakness

Prevent Dangerous Texas Spiders

Though a bite from these spiders only rarely leads to death, the symptoms can be quite unpleasant. There is an antivenom available for black widow bites but is only used in extreme cases because of the risk of an anaphylactic reaction. There is no good antivenom for brown recluse bites.

Thus, the best way to protect yourself from spider bites is to put away the welcome mat and keep the spiders away in the first place. Here are a few best practices:

  • Avoid using bright outdoor lighting as it attracts insects — a buffet for spiders
  • Cut down weeds and grass around buildings to remove the habitat for both insects and spiders
  • Seal up small openings that may allow spiders access to your home
  • Vacuum up spiders, webs, and their egg sacs inside your home regularly
  • Shake out shoes, clothing, and other household items that you haven’t used in a while

If you’re still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs about spiders around your property, call in the pros to keep them away. Expert pest professionals from Buckaroo can apply special pesticides that will help control the spider population in and around your home.

Protect Your Home or Business from Texas Spiders

Though spiders are largely undeserving of our fear and hatred, few of us are going to invite them in for a cold glass of sweet tea. In fact, we would prefer to keep them away from our homes and businesses as much as possible.

That’s where we come in. Here at Buckaroo Pest Protection, we are committed to using safe, effective methods to control spider populations and keep them away from your space.

If you’re concerned about poisonous spiders in your home or business, give us a call today!

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Someone has probably said this to you as you’re heading off to bed. But have you ever stopped to think about how you’re not going to let them bite? Do you even know what bed bugs look like?

Hmmm, never thought about that, did you? In reality, your home or business could be crawling with bed bugs and you might not even know! They’re so tiny you wouldn’t even notice them unless you were looking for them.

On that lovely thought, let’s find out how to tell if you have bed bugs and how to keep them away from your stuff!

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are tiny critters about 0.2 inches long once they reach adulthood. Adult bed bugs have brown, flat, oval-shaped bodies if they haven’t fed recently. Once they’ve fed, their bodies balloon out and turn more reddish brown. They have tiny wings, but don’t fly.

Baby bed bugs are much smaller and yellowish-white or almost translucent in color. If they haven’t been fed recently, they are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. The pearl-white bed bug eggs are even tinier — about the size of a speck of dust.

Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

Bed bugs don’t get cozy and make nests like bees or ants, but they do like to live in groups. Their homes are more like hiding places. They can lay in wait in the right conditions for their next meal to come for between 20 and 400 days!

Their flat little bodies make it easy for them to slide into nearly any space. They often enter homes or businesses because people bring them in luggage, used furniture, or even clothing.

Their preferred hiding spots are in the bedroom. Anywhere in the mattress, box spring, bed frame, or headboard will do. After all, their hosts come and conveniently lie still for several hours each night — plenty of time for them to get their fill of your blood!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Clean spaces do not equal bed bug free. We naturally assume that a dirty space would be more likely to have bed bugs. However, this isn’t always true.

Bed bugs aren’t like cockroaches, digging around in garbage or other unclean places looking for morsels to feed on. They only need blood to survive, which means they can live in any place where a blood meal is available.

Owners of hotels, retail stores, transportation services, or any business where people frequently bring luggage, clothing, etc must always be vigilant about bed bugs. Any one of their guests or customers could unknowingly bring bed bugs into their space. To prevent bed bugs, teach your staff how to perform regular bed bug checks. At home check your bed and surrounding area during and after travel.

With the rate that bed bugs multiply and their resilience, there can quickly be more of them than you can shake a stick at in what appears to be an immaculate space.

How to Check for Bed Bugs

Thus, you always need to be on the lookout for bed bugs. Luckily, they are relatively simple to spot if you are paying attention.

Inspect mattresses and bed frames frequently. Bed bugs are more active at night, but you still might see them skittering around if you disturb them by poking at the mattress.

Bed bugs molt their exoskeletons several times throughout their life. Even if you don’t see live bed bugs, you can spot these translucent or light-colored exoskeletons they leave lying around.

Another visible sign is the delightful sight of their fecal stains. These are tiny brown or red mounds, usually most easily visible on white or light-colored bed sheets.

Bed bugs generally bite at night while the host is sleeping. If guests are waking up with new “mosquito” bites, it’s time to take a closer look at the mattress and room where they were staying.

There are also active monitoring systems you can install. These use carbon dioxide to attract bed bugs to the device — making it easy to identify the problem. Some monitors even include insecticides or traps that will help get rid of bed bugs.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are quite resilient but can’t survive at extreme temperatures. Wash all bedding and clothing in the hottest water possible and put anything that can handle it in the dryer on the hottest setting for an hour.

Clean the space thoroughly by vacuuming the floors, mattress, everything. Use a steam cleaner that reaches over 115 degrees Fahrenheit for best results.

Cold also works to kill bed bugs. Seal items in plastic bags and put them in the freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days.

A Helping Hand with Texas Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of and starving them out is nearly impossible because they can live so long without feeding. If you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, call in the professionals at Buckaroo Pest Protection to help.

We will corral up all those nasty critters and give them the boot! Plus, regularly treating a space for bed bugs will help prevent a new infestation from getting started.

Contact us today to learn more about protecting your business from unwelcome guests!