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COMMON HOUSE MOUSE
The common house mouse is relatively small, weighing approx. 1oz as an adult. The ears are large, the tail is as long as the head and body. The fur is usually dark grey on the back, and light grey on the belly, but they may vary in color. Mice can be identified from young rats by the size of the head and the hind feet which are smaller on the mouse. The house mouse is more likely to be found indoors than the rat. The house mouse is generally considered a public health because of its effects on humans. Mice are capable of causing almost as much damage and pose just as great a risk to health as the rat due to its habit of nibbling small amounts of a wide variety of foodstuffs and urinating over a great deal more. Parasites caused by mice include ringworm, mites, tapeworm and ticks. Mice droppings are approx. 6 to 10mm long, and resemble a grain of rice. Sightings of mice during the day could mean an infestation. Have a Professional inspect the premises for possible entry points.
Most cockroaches have a flattened, oval shape, spiny legs, and long, filamentous antennae. Immature stages are smaller, have undeveloped wings and resemble the adults. Adult German cockroaches are light tan to medium brown except for the shield behind the head marked with two dark stripes, which run along on the body. Adults are about 1/2 to 5/8-inch long and have wings, but rarely fly. Wings cover the entire abdomen of females and all except the abdominal tip in males. The male is light brown and rather boat-shaped, whereas the female is slightly darker with a broader, rounded posterior. Young roaches (nymphs) are wingless and nearly black with a single light stripe. Egg capsules are light tan and less than 1/4-inch long. German cockroach females, unlike most other roaches, carry the egg capsule protruding from their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The case is then dropped in a secluded location, with the nymphs emerging within one day. A female may produce 30 to 48 eggs. The eggs hatch in about one month, and nymphs develop in 1-1/2 to 4 months. Female roaches live about 6-8 months and males slightly less. The German cockroach produces more eggs and has more generations per year (three to four) than other roaches, and only a few individuals are needed to develop into troublesome infestations. This roach is spread by commerce and transportation as well as mass migrations. It is the most prevalent pest in low income apartments in North America. During the day, these roaches may be found hiding, clustered behind baseboard molding, in cracks around cabinets, closets or pantries, and in and under stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers. If clusters of roaches are seen during the day, the population is large. Both nymphs and adults are very active and capable of running rapidly. German cockroaches have a high need for moisture and usually travel 10 to 12 feet from their harborage for food and water in kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, etc., preferring darkness. Without food or water, adults may die in two weeks, but can live a month with only water.
This is an ancient insect whose roots are thought to go back centuries. For many years, bed bugs were found in numerous communities around the US & North America. In the 1950’s, bed bugs were a considerable problem. After the discovery of DDT and its application here, the incidence of bedbug infestations declined. Why has this pest surfaced once again? There are a number of theories. First, there is much more travel. Also, more people visit from other countries that have bedbug problems. This pest is carried from one place to another in luggage and on clothing. With more bedbug problems, hotel and motel travelers run a greater risk of contact with bedbugs and may eventually bring bedbugs home with them. Whatever the reasons, the bedbug is a serious pest problem. Its affect on people is substantial. Bedbugs bite the host most commonly around the waist while in bed, sleeping. However, bites may occur on exposed skin such as arms and legs. After biting, they scurry into mattress tufts, bed frames, moldings, floor joints, picture frames and in any other crack or crevice they may find. The sole source of food is the blood meal that they take at night while the victim sleeps. When the victim awakes, the only sign of bedbugs is the blood on the sheets. A bedbug bite leaves a nasty, red welt that is not easily healed and can cause more severe problems for hypersensitive individuals. Bed Bugs are able to survive for a long time without a blood meal. Thus a mattress that is infested with bedbugs may still be a problem, even when the bed is unused for some period of time. Bedbug problems should not be taken lightly. Immediate action should be taken.
The Carpenter Ant varies in size, ranging from a ¼ inch for the workers, And 3\4 inch for the queen. They are black, or sometimes red and black. Carpenter ants are active indoors during many months of the year, usually during the spring and summer. When ants are active in the house during late winter/early spring, the infestation is probably within the household. When carpenter ants are seen in the spring and summer (May-June), then the nest is likely outdoors and the ants are simply coming in for food. The natural food of the ants consists of honeydew from aphids, other insects, and plant juices, but they will forage for water and food within the house. Under natural conditions, carpenter ants nest in live and dead trees and in rotting logs and stumps. However, they will also construct their nests in houses, telephone poles, and other wooden structures. Nests start in deteriorating wood which has been exposed to moisture. Often, the colony will extend its nest to adjacent, sound wood. Nests are commonly found in porch pillars and roofs, window sills, and wood covered with soil. The colonies of carpenter ants are often long lived. Each colony is founded by a single fertilized queen. She establishes a nesting site in a cavity in wood. She then rears her first brood of workers, feeding them salivary secretions. She does not leave the nest nor feed herself throughout this period. Carpenter ants rarely cause structural damage to buildings, although they can cause significant damage over a period of years because nests are so long lived. Some recent evidence indicates that they can also cause extensive damage to foam insulation. Control of carpenter ant infestations requires that the nest be found. Once this is done, the infested wood can be removed or treated chemically, and causes of moisture damage to the wood can be corrected.
Pharaoh Ants are very small, light yellow, to reddish brown in color, with the abdomen somewhat darker. Female Pharaoh Ants can lay 400 or more eggs in her lifetime. Most lay 10 to 12 eggs per batch in the early days of egg production and only four to seven eggs per batch later. At 80°F and 80 percent relative humidity, eggs hatch in five to seven days. Unlike most ants, they breed continuously throughout the year in heated buildings and mating occurs in the nest. A single queen can produce many hundreds of workers in a few months growing to as large as 300,000, or more members. Nests are often so small it can be contained in a thimble, located between sheets of paper, in clothing or laundry, furniture, foods, etc. Nests usually occur in wall voids, under floors, behind baseboards, in trash containers, under stones, in cement or stone wall voids, in linens, light fixtures, etc. They prefer dark, warm areas near hot water pipes and heating tapes, in bathrooms, kitchens, counter tops, etc. They are “trail-making” ants and often are found foraging in drains, toilets, washbasins, and other unsanitary sites.
LITTLE BLACK ANT
Little black ants are found throughout North America. They are Jet black in color and are about 1/16 of an inch in size. Little Black Ants nest beneath stones, in lawns, and in areas that lack vegetation. Their nests are easily located because they form small craters of fine soil at their entrances/ these ants also nest in rotting wood and behind the woodwork or masonry of structures. Indoors they can be found under the edge of carpeting, and in wall voids. Little black ants like to feed on a variety of foods. They eat aphids as a source of honeydew, feed on meats or greases, and are predaceous on other insects. Indoors they feed on both greases and sweet foods.
Earwigs feed on other insects, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. The Earwig is nocturnal, hiding during the day and roaming at night to find food and water. Around homes it hides in garden plants, in shrubbery, along fences, in woodpiles, at the base of trees, and behind loose boards on buildings. Its habit of hiding among petals or leaves, plants, or inside fruit, allows it to be brought frequently into the home. Earwigs tend to build to very high population levels with consequent competition for food and shelter, followed by gradual decline. It is a nuisance in and about homes and gardens. It is much disliked because of its repulsive appearance to many people, its foul odor, and its habit of feeding at times in kitchen refuse or hiding in a wet mop. It may be destructive to many plants and flowers, but it is omnivorous, feeding on both plant and animal material, and it may be beneficial as other insects make up a large part of the food supply.
BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER
The brown recluse is about 1/4 to 1/2 inches in body length. Coloration ranges from tan to dark brown, with the abdomen often darker than the rest of the body. The feature that most distinguishes the brown recluse from many other harmless spiders is a somewhat darker violin-shaped marking on top of the leg-bearing section of the body. The neck of the violin points towards the rear of the spider. Brown recluse spiders also have 3 pairs of eyes (arranged in 3 groups of two) rather than 4 pairs for most other spiders. The brown recluse roams at night seeking its prey. During the day, it hides in dark niches and corners, where it may spin a poorly organized, irregular web. Eggs are deposited in 1/2 inch long off-white silken egg sacs, often appearing flattened beneath and convex above. It is shy and will try to run from a threatening situation but will bite if cornered. People are sometimes bitten while they are asleep because they roll onto a brown recluse spider while it is crawling in the bed. More often the victim is bitten while putting on a shoe or piece of clothing which a spider has selected for its daytime hiding place. The bite of the brown recluse is usually painless until a few hours later when it may become red, swollen, and tender. Later the area around the bite site may develop into an ulcerous sore. Healing often requires a month or longer, and the victim may be left with a deep scar.
BLACK WIDOW SPIDER
The Black Widow is about 1 1/2 inches long, and 1/4 inch in diameter, and shiny black in color. The female is usually black with a red spot or hourglass- shaped mark on its round abdomen. The male usually has light streaks on its abdomen. Black widow spiders are common around wood piles, and are frequently encountered when homeowners carry firewood into the house. Also found under eaves, in boxes, outdoor toilets, meter boxes, and other unbothered places. Egg sacs are brown, papery, about ½ inch long and oval. The black widow is not aggressive. It will, however, bite instinctively when touched or pressed. Be very careful when working around areas where black widow spiders may be established. Take proper precautions-wear gloves and pay attention to where you are working. Black widow bites are sharp and painful, and the victim should go to the doctor immediately for treatment. Infestations of Black Widow Spiders should be treated by a professional as soon as possible.
Centipedes are common arthropods with long, flattened, segmented bodies. The centipede is up to 1 1/2 inches long and has 15 pairs of very long, almost thread-like legs. The body is brown to grayish-yellow and has three dark stripes on top. Though house centipedes are found both indoors and outdoors it is the occasional one on the bathroom or bedroom wall, or the one accidentally trapped in the bathtub or sink that causes the most concern. However, these locations are not where they normally originate. Centipedes prefer to live in damp portions of basements, closets, bathrooms, unexcavated areas under the house and beneath the bark of firewood stored indoors. Centipedes feed on small insects, insect larvae, and on spiders. They can be very beneficial, but most homeowners take a different point of view and consider them a nuisance. Technically, the house centipede could bite, but it is considered harmless to people.
Pillbugs/Sowbugs are found under mulch or vegetable debris of all kinds and beneath objects on damp ground. They frequently invade damp basements and crawl spaces and may infest potted plants. A heavy infestation indoors generally indicates that there is a large population immediately outside the building. Both Pillbugs and Sowbugs feed upon decaying vegetable matter. Although they do not pose a health problem, they can sometimes become a nuisance.
Silverfish are wingless and silvery to brown in color because their bodies are covered with fine scales. They are generally soft bodied. Adults are up to 3/4 inch long, flattened from top to bottom, elongated and oval in shape, have three long tail projections and two long antennae. The Firebrat is quite similar in habits but is generally darker in color. The firebrat prefers temperatures over 90 degrees F but has a similar high humidity requirement. It is common near heating pipes, fire places, ovens and other heat sources. They are long-lived, surviving from two to eight years. Silverfish are chewing insects and general feeders but prefer carbohydrates and protein, including flour, dried meat, rolled oats, paper and even glue. They can survive long periods, sometimes over a year, without food but are sensitive to moisture and require a high humidity (75% to 90%) to survive. They also have a temperature preference between 70 and 80 degrees F. They are fast running and mostly active at night and generally prefer lower levels in homes, but may be found in attics. These insects are primarily a nuisance inside the home and can contaminate food, damage paper goods and stain clothing. They are medically harmless. Many of their habits are similar to cockroaches and they appear to be more common as household pests in drier parts of the state. Occasionally damage book bindings, curtains, wallpaper.
Powder-Post Beetles are very small, less than 1/4″ in size. They are reddish-brown to black in color. Larvae are white, cream colored, shaped with dark brown heads. Larvae create tunnels in the wood becoming pupae. As adults they bore out through the wood, pushing a fine powdery dust out. The shapes of their holes are round, about 1/32-1/16 pinholes. They attack hardwoods depositing their eggs. True Powder post beetles breed in dead and dried hardwoods such as the dead branches and limbs of trees. Their presence is overlooked until they are discovered in stored lumber, joists, finished wood, and furniture products.
There are many different species of carpet beetles, the adults of all species are small, oval-shaped and about 1/8 inch long. The black carpet beetle (the most common species) is shiny black. Adults of other common species are colored in various patterns of white, brown, yellow and orange. Carpet beetles are capable of damaging carpets. These pests will also feed on many other materials besides carpets and will attack any item composed of animal fibers such as wool, furs, silk, feathers, felt and leather. Serious infestations of carpet beetles can develop undetected in a home, causing significant damage to clothing, bedding, floor coverings and other articles.
Clothes moths are well-known pests of fabrics in the home. Two species of clothes moths commonly infest woolens and other fibers, the “Casemaking Clothes Moth”, and the “Webbing Clothes Moth”. Both clothes moths are similar in appearance. The adult moths are uniformly yellowish/gold in color, and approximately 1/4-inch long. They have a fluttery flight and tend to avoid light. Fully grown larvae are 1/2-inch long and white with brownish-black heads. They spin a silken feeding tube or hard protective case in the fabrics on which they feed. The adult clothes moth lays its soft, white eggs in the fabric it attacks. The eggs hatch into creamy-white larvae. The larval stage is the only feeding stage in the moth’s life cycle. Approximately four generations per year occur under household conditions. In general, control and prevention measures for carpet beetles also will control clothes moths.
INDIAN MEAL MOTH
The Indian meal moth, a common house-infesting moth, is often confused with the clothes moth. However, it does not attack clothing, but rather is associated with dried food. The adult Indian meal moths are darker on one half of the body and have two black stripes running vertically on its back. They are approximately the same size as the Clothes Moth.
The bald-faced, or white-faced hornet, is widely distributed throughout North America, is about 3 cm (about 1.2 in) long and is black with white markings on most of its segments and on its face. Its gray nest is usually suspended from a tree limb. Hornets make nests of papery material composed of chewed plant foliage and wood. The nest is often surrounded by a papery football shaped envelope. Hornets are very aggressive when disturbed and can produce a painful sting.
COMMON YELLOW JACKET
Common Yellow Jackets feed on insects, fruit, garbage, nectar, and tree sap. Yellow Jacket workers are short and bulky, about ¼ of an inch, with alternating black and yellow bands on the abdomen. The queen is fairly larger, about ¾ of an inch. Workers are sometimes confused with honey bees, especially when flying in and out of nests. However, Yellow Jackets do not have brown hair or legs that can be used to carry pollen, like the honeybee. Yellow Jackets have a stinger which they can use repeatedly. A honeybee can only sting once.