I had a pest guy come and look at our bugs and he told me they were minute pirate bugs? They are little tiny black bugs that are on the outside of our home on our doors and window screens. Usually they are just around in the fall but now we’re seeing them more. I was told it was when the farmers start harvest but this spring they are here and seem to keep getting worse. We live in Iowa by the way.
They are worse on the doors during the day and then go away at least on the doors in the evening but are still on the window screens. I also see them in the yard on various plants and I think they can bite! If these are pirate bugs, what do you recommend for treatment and how long do you think it would take for them to be gone or at least get them to where they aren’t as bad and we can actually be outside without them being everywhere? I have a toddler and a dog and I think the dog is allergic to them. Let me know, thank you.
Based on how this pest is behaving, I’m sure they’re pirate bugs. And since a local pest control technician believes that’s what they are too, let’s assume this is the target pest.
PIRATE BUG BIOLOGY
In general the pirate bug is a pest late summer and early fall. They’re predatory by nature feeding on small insects (they love larval stages of crop pests) and when farmers harvest crops many will get relocated from their natural home.
Once in the yard, they will hang around untreated plants looking for active food. People and pets in the yard will find them annoying and if you’re allergic to their touch, your skin will welt in a fashion similar to flea or mosquito bites.
Now since most insects peak in population by late summer and fall, they can literally run out of food. This causes them to migrate toward more urban, populated areas. It’s here where they encounter man and in many cases, will even sting people so you’re concern is warranted.
Now in some years they’ll get active early spring, way before there is any food present, and it appears this is happening right now for you. And when they emerge early, there is usually is no food available. So if there is no food and still some cold in the air, pirate bugs will seek any heated structure to roost and stay protected. This is why you’re seeing them on your home.
PIRATE BUG INVASIONS
In the past we’ve seen where many of these early infestations will just “disappear” as the temps rise with spring kicking in. But this might take another month or two. Worth noting is that once pirate bugs start coming around, the structures they target tend to get infested annually over and over so it’s not something you want to let develop if you see it getting worse. And in most cases once they start appearing in the spring you should expect to see them coming around in the fall too.
PIRATE BUG SPRAY FOR THE HOUSE
The good news is they’re easy to treat. Just mix up some MAXTHOR and SPREADER STICKER and spray down the siding where you see activity. It usually only takes 1-2 treatments to knock them out and the Maxxthor will repel them for several weeks as well. So if you want them gone now this is what we recommend. And if they come back next fall, be sure to treat then too or else they’ll start using your home for safe keeping during the normally cold winter. And you don’t want that happening because once that starts, some will find their way inside the home for sure.
The following video shows how to use our GREEN TOPPED HOSE END SPRAYER to make the application. Remember, you’ll want to add both the Maxxthor (2.5 oz) and the Spreader Sticker (1 oz) to the sprayer AND then add the water.
As the video above shows, 1/2 oz of Maxxthor per gallon of water and plan on getting about 500 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon. Pirate bugs and other insects will die quickly when you spray and since Maxxthor is highly repellent, insects will avoid treated areas.
Be sure to get some SPREADER STICKER to be used at the same time, in the same tank mix. So in a pump sprayer, just 1/2 oz will be plenty. In the Hose End, add a full 1 oz. This additive allows the Maxxthor to penetrate the thick shell of pirate bugs which protects them well and shields them from the impact of the spray.
For gardens where you’re growing vegetables or fruit, use organic MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER. It’s approved for organic gardening so it’s safe to use on any plant that will produce an edible crop. Keep in mind this formulation does not provide any length of residual so that means within a few days of treating, it will effectively be gone. Of course, this is why it’s so good for use on fruit and vegetable bearing plants but the down side is obvious; pests can re-infest easily so be prepared to treat more frequently if you go with the organic option.
Treatments can be done with any good PUMP SPRAYER and there is no need to treat the soil so really, there should be no hazard to you or the family when the applications are done properly.
MINUTE PIRATE BUG SPRAY FOR THE YARD
Add 2.5 oz of the Maxxthor along with 1 oz of Spreader Sticker and then add water to the 5 gallon line.
MINUTE PIRATE BUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
Once pirate bugs get inside the home, you’ll find them annoying if they target you for food.
Pirate bugs are drawn to saline and moisture so naturally to people when inside a dry environment like a home.
To keep them out of the house, be sure to spray down the homes siding with the Maxxthor above.
Inside the home, apply FS MP AEROSOL to all cracks and crevices around windows, doors, baseboards and points of entry.
The following video (less than 60 seconds long) summarizes why FS MP is so good for use in the home.
Pirate bugs will hide during the day and get super active at night. FS MP is both quick killing and it will take away any place for them to hide.
For spot treating furniture or carpets, our MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER is water based and gentle enough for anything to sensitive.
You can even spray walls and ceilings and it won’t stain.
This following video shows how to use it for surface spraying.
Remember, use the FS MP for all the cracks and crevices and the Multipurpose if the bugs are active on rugs, carpets, furniture and basically anywhere out in the open living spaces.
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