We came across a very unusual pine tree ant infestation. The resident of a house in Sonora, on Villas Lane, had been gone a week, and when he came back, found his kitchen floor covered with a fluffy, dusty material.
Examination revealed an infestation by pine tree ants, and oddly, these ants were attacking the insulation around a couple of kitchen appliances, an oven and a dishwasher. Typically these ants excavate in soft wood, such as rotted parts of pine trees, and Celotex ceiling insulation. I’d not seen them try to nest in appliance insulation.
The ants had a handy food source, about 20 feet from the appliances: a hummingbird feeder on the front porch.
23 June 2020
Part 1, problem reported:
June 22, 2020. Jason Price brought in samples of drugstore beetles infesting a bathroom in a house in Valley Springs, Calaveras County, California. This is unusual, indicating a food source in that area. The problem started, to my knowledge, at least in May of 2020.
It turns out that this house had a bad mouse infestation in the past (prior to the new owners), and we are now going to search for rodent bait or a rodent cache in this area, beneath or within the wall.
Part 2, problem resolved:
Nothing was working to stop the infestation. The beetles kept reappearing after every treatment.
Manager Ryder Richards took on the job. He crawled the subarea and found nothing. That left the bathroom as the area that must have the food source issue. Ryder spoke with the homeowners, and the husband then used a hole saw drill bit to open an access for examination under the bathroom cabinet. Ryder used his cell phone to examine the void, and WOW, what a find!
The camera revealed a huge amount of dog food in the void under the cabinet! Ryder and the homeowner used a shop vacuum to clean out the area. The dog food was old, and, cumulatively, had hundreds and hundreds of little holes.
The homeowners had purchased the house less than a year previously. The house, although very nice, had a history of mouse problems prior to their purchase of it. Apparently the previous owners also had a dog, and a mouse had been moving and caching the dog food in this convenient area. Being that drug store beetles can infest dog food, we presume the previous owners had purchased some dog food that had at least a few drug store beetles eggs in it. The beetles were able to expand their population in this undisturbed setting.
Since the removal of the dog food, there have been no further beetles seen. The problem is resolved. What a great cooperative effort between Ryder and the homeowner.
Photos from part 2:
Photos from Part 1
Ryles Richards brought in samples of an unusual ant he saw at a home in Pine Mountain Lake, Groveland, California. He said the ants were very fast and ran in erratic paths, not following trails. We took photos and sent them to Dr. Philip Ward for ID. Based on these photos, he thinks they might be Formica aerata.
12 June 2020
We received a call from a customer about thousands of tiny bugs all over the white house trim. When I arrived to get samples, most were gone, but the homeowner did collect a few. See images below.
Thrips are minute, flower-feeding insects. When their flowers start to die off, the trips are forced to fly and find more white flowers (if that is the flower color that species prefers). In this case, there were no more flowers, and the thrips were attracted to the whit trim.
30 May 2019, Groveland California.