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Asian Lady Beetles vs. Native Ladybugs

Monday July 24, 2017
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Invasive Asian Lady Beetles

Asian Lady Beetle

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis)

Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away . . .”

Invasive or Invited? The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle looks like our North American ladybug but it’s really an invasive species.

The Asian Lady beetle, however, could make an argument that rather than have invaded the country, it was invited – by our government.

It seems we didn’t have enough ladybugs so the Asian Lady Beetle was introduced into the states during the 1970´s to perform chemical-free pest control, for both our agricultural crops and our national forests.

Nine-spotted ladybug

The native Nine-Spotted ladybug is a threatened and endangered species. It has four spots on each wing and one spot that is split in the middle.

Native Ladybugs

Today, there are very few native ladybugs; so much so, that there´s an actual website dedicated to “lost” ladybugs!

Hearts Pest Management is concerned about ladybugs and other beneficial insects…that’s why we practice Organic Pest Control!

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Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Friday November 21, 2014
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Your Majesty the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Bird poop larva of swallowtail

The mature caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail is so disguised as to deter predators into thinking its just a piece of bird poop.

Once Upon a Time . . .

This is a story about an ugly caterpillar that turns into a beautiful majestic butterfly; but before this sad-looking caterpillar grows up, it goes through an unsightly, humiliating stage that resembles bird poop!

Larva from the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly is a greenish-brown with white blotches that look like bird poop; therefore, it is often referred to as the Bird Poop Worm or Bird Poop Caterpillar. Read more


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Fiery Skippers

Wednesday October 29, 2014
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Butterfly or Moth?

These little butterfly-looking moths are the merriest of creatures. Skippers are considered butterfies but have traits of both moth and butterfly. Like moths, skipper bodies are a bit on the bulky side when compared to the slender butterfly. Who would have thought insects could have body types? The skipper is very alert and despite his or her plus-size frame, appears to skip through the air from flower to flower at a rapid pace!

Fiery Skipper close up

The Fiery Skipper has short antennae with clubs and a little hook on the end.

Dancing Skippers

Male and female Fiery skippers doing their courtship dance.

♪♫ Come Skip Through the Tulips with Me ♪♫♪

Skippers are in the family Hesperiidae, with over 3000 skipper species throughout the New and Old World but its the Fiery skipper that is most often spotted skipping through the air of California landscapes. Read more


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Invasive Red Bugs

Wednesday October 22, 2014
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The Red Bugs are Coming! The Red Bugs are Coming!

Close up of Red Bug

Red Bug found in Ramona, CA

There´s a New Bug in Town –

What is this “Red Bug” that´s been in the news lately? Is it harmful to the landscape? Does it bite?

Southern California has a new bug in town . . .

This one looks similar to the Red-shouldered and Box Elder bug, except it is very, very, tiny in comparison.

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The White Velvet Ant

Thursday October 2, 2014
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White Velvet Ants and the Creosote Bush

Did I just see a piece of fuzz run across the desert? What´s white with 2 puffs of fuzz, 6 legs, 2 antennae, and squeaks when disturbed? Did I mention the powerful and painful sting?

Thistledown White Velvet Ant on Coral Rocks

Thistledown White Velvet Ant on Coral Rocks

White Velvet Ants

This female White Velvet Ant isn´t an ant at all…..she´s a wasp! Velvet ants look like big hairy ants but they´re actually solitary living wasps.

The female has no wings and so, sad to say, she cannot fly but she sure can move fast.

Thistledown Velvet Ants blend in with the creosote bush because of their white hair which mimics the fuzzy “fruits” of the creosote.

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Death´s-head Hawkmoth

Wednesday February 19, 2014
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Death´s-head Hawkmoth – A Case of Misrepresentation

The Death’s-head Hawkmoth is also known as a “bee robber” but it’s not the bee he’s after . . . it’s the honey! The name “Death’s-head” is derived from the image of a skull and bones on the back of the thorax. There are three species of Death’s-head hawkmoths that belong to the family Sphingidae. Large in size, their wingspans can reach a whopping 5 inches!

Death's-head hawkmoth

Death´s-head Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) Male

This particular moth has been featured in art and film, including the poster of a famous blockbuster chiller, “The Silence of the Lambs.” Because of the skull-like image, the death’s-head hawkmoth has been associated with evil and the supernatural but in fact, the moth is quite harmless (unless you are a potato plant or beehive, then your leaves would get eaten and your honey nicked). Some cultures believe that if the moth flies into your house, it brings bad luck and death or misfortune are sure to follow.

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Bugs in Your Food – Cochineal, A.K.A. Carmine

Wednesday January 8, 2014
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Bugs in Your Food

– On Purpose!

(Note: some of the photos are graphic in their content regarding bugs) Do you eat yogurt with strawberries?  How about pink grapefruit juice, or red velvet cake?  Most likely you are consuming bugs……a particular scale insect to be exact.  It´s called “cochineal,” harvested in South America and Mexico from the prickly pear cactus.
Flowers of the Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha).

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It is not easy to hire the right person for any job. In the pest control industry, it can be exceptionally difficult to find the right candidate: positive, articulate, hard working, ethical and team oriented. Kia was a great find. Below her picture is a wonderful review we received on this new pest control techncian.

Kia Goode, recently hired pest control technician

Kia Goode, pest control technician

“Hi Gerry,

I am writing to share my experience with your employee, Kia.

I just wanted you to know that in my brief interaction with Kia today, her friendliness and professionalism was excellent, and really appreciated. I usually never arrive home from work early enough to encounter your employees, and I know nothing of the pest control treatment that is actually applied on Heart’s visits. (Until today, I have only known that Hearts was another bill to pay.) Having met Kia today, and having paid attention to the various treatments she applied today, I was impressed.

I just thought you should know that Kia makes a terrific first impression, seems to have a great work ethic, really cares about the customer, and is a great representation of your firm. The employees on the front lines can make or break your relationship with your customer base, and she has certainly cemented ours in the brief time we interacted. She may be relatively new, but she’s a terrific asset to your firm.

(And – my wife Jackie gives Rob very high marks too!)

Kind regards, R.B. —- Inspiration Lane Escondido, CA 92025 Acct 13524″


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Acorns of California and the Acorn Weevil

From wildlife to prehistoric cultures, the acorn has sustained many a life – be it human or critter.  In California, gathering acorns to support life during the harsh winter months is important to many animals, especially Acorn Woodpeckers.  (Not that California has harsh winters but tell that to a Southern Californian and he/she will say, “It really does get chilly…..and, on a cold winter´s morning, there´s even frost on our windshields…….!”)

Male Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker – Melanerpes formicivorus

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Sand Digger (Hunting) Wasp

Friday October 26, 2012
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Sand Digger (Hunting) Wasp

One day I was out walking on my lunch hour, and as usual, I had my camera with me. Casing out the ground as I walked, I noticed something crawling around in the dirt, climbing in and out of small holes. At first, because of the coloring, I thought I had found a spider wasp. This thread-waisted wasp, however, turned out to be what is sometimes called a “Sand Lover” wasp. Instead of hunting spiders to feed to her young, she hunts and paralyzes caterpillars.

Sand Digger Wasp Digger Wasp (Sand Wasp / Sand Lover) – Ammophila sabulosa Read more


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