PEST LIBRARY

This Pest Library provides information on the most common insects and pests, including basic pest biology behaviors and characteristics.

ANTS

Pavement Ant

As their name suggests, the Pavement ant reside in nests in or under cracks in the pavement. These black ants can also infest structures and love to eat almost anything including seeds, sweet things, meats, nuts, cheese and other insects. While Pavement ants can contaminate food, they are not considered a health risk.

Argentine Ant

Argentine ants are a common household pest that invades kitchens in search for food and water. They typically appear during dry or hot weather. Found in environments that are near a food source, Argentine ant colonies can be as large as their habitat. You will spot a continuous trail leading out from the colony in their pursuit for food. They give off a musty odor after they have been crushed. Argentine ants actually protect aphids so that they can receive the aphid’s sweet excretions. This allows for the avid population to grow. These ants have a real sweet tooth but will eat almost anything sweet or fatty like meat, eggs and oily foods. Like with most ants, Argentine ants are not considered a health hazard but they can and will contaminate food.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants get their name from their mission to harvest the wood they need to build their nests. They are larger than the average and can range in size from ¼ inch to the Queen’s hefty ¾ of an inch. It is easier for them to excavate wood that is wet or has been damaged by water or mold resulting in little smooth tunnels that start in the damaged area but can lead into the neighboring dry undamaged wood. They leave sawdust like substance called frass in their wake which can help in finding clues to their nesting location. They get into buildings through cracks around doors and windows and through small holes. They can even use branches or wires as a bridge to the wood that they need. The Carpenter ant builds their nests outdoors in places like tree stumps, landscaping or wood piles. These hardworking pests can cause real damage to structures.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants sound just as scary as they are. A sting from this ant is painful and a person is typically stung more than once if he or she steps on the habitat. After being stung the skin is left with a welt and white pustule. These ants build large mound nests in soil, so be cautious around garages and landscaping. The fire ant can also get into buildings through small holes and cracks. The ants are resilient and can adapt to their surroundings and survive changes to their environment.

Odorous Ant

Aptly named, the Odorous ant gives off a strong rotten smell when crushed. This long-living ant is tiny and makes its home in soil and cracks in walls. The ant is drawn to sweets, especially melon. The odorous ant colonies tend to show up after the rains in spring. There is no threat to health but these ants can contaminate food.

COCKROACHES

American Cockroach

Cockroaches; the name alone makes most people cringe. There are few species of cockroaches that are common in our area. The American Cockroach is the largest of the species. They scavenge both human and pet food. The American Cockroach is usually found in basements, foundations and around drains but can also be hiding on food storage areas. If there is a large concentration of cockroaches, you will smell an offensive odor. Cockroaches spread germs wherever they travel. If you see a cockroach, you can be sure that your surfaces are contaminated. In addition to being germ spreaders, cockroaches can cause other adverse health effects like asthma.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Two light brown bands across the body are the identifier for the brown banded cockroach. The males have full wings. Egg cases from the brown banded cockroach tend to be hidden under furniture. This cockroach prefers higher spaces in a home like tops of cabinets where it is warm and dry and don’t hang out in the kitchen like other roaches. Like with the American cockroach, the brown banded roaches spread germs by passing along residue from their exploits.

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach worldwide. It is not only a nuisance but has been blamed for illness and allergic responses in people. Gravitating to warm and humid places, these cockroaches tend to prefer kitchens and bathrooms but will appear pretty much anywhere people eat and drink. They live in cracks and crevices close to a food sources that are starchy, sugary or greasy. They are voracious eaters and even think household items like soap, glue and toothpaste are tasty. Since these cockroaches are also responsible for spreading bacteria, it is vital to eliminate this pest.

Oriental Cockroach

Also nicknamed “water bugs”, Oriental Cockroaches are commonly found in damp, dark places. These cockroaches travel mostly through sewer pipes and live off decaying filth, yuck! They will most likely be found under your sink, washing machine or in a basement, but are rarely found in the upper floors of buildings. These roaches love the humidity, living mostly outside when the weather is warm, but will catch a ride inside on food packages or laundry, if there is not enough water outside.

FLIES

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are tiny pests that love to feed on fruits and vegetables in homes, restaurants and anywhere food is prepared. They especially like food that has been sitting for days and is beginning to decay.

House Fly

The pesky house fly lives between 15 and 25 days. They can only ingest liquids so when they can’t find it, they make their own liquid by landing on food with their super sensitive feet. Flies are able to carry many kinds of germs that cause disease making this little pest dangerous to the residents of houses they inhabit.

RODENTS

Deer Mice

The Valley is a lovely mix of suburban areas within a natural landscape. The deer mouse finds its home here as well. The good news is that these mice rarely invade homes since they prefer the outside. Even though these mice usually stick to the outside, they are still a threat since they can carry the Hantavirus, a potentially fatal disease that is transmitted through contact with mouse carcasses, by breathing urine droplets from infected deer mice. Deer mice have also been connected to the spread of Lyme disease. Be extremely careful when cleaning up mice feces, a dust mask is always a must.

House Mice

Due to its adaptability and rapid breeding habits, the house mouse is the most common pest in the rodent family. These mice mostly make their homes in structures but they can also live outdoors. Mice bring with them other pests like fleas, mites, tick and lice adding additional pests that can cause problems and need to be eliminated.

Norway Rat

The Norway rat has small eyes, ears and a short tail and are characterized by shaggy brown or grey fur. They tend to enter the home through underground burrows or high places in the fall when their normal food source is scarce. They can make their way into your home through a small quarter-sized hole. They cause damage from chewing on wires and other materials and they chew through and urinate on stored foods. These rats tend to remain in hiding during the day, so signs of these rodents during the day points to disturbances or possible infestation.

Roof Rats

Roof Rats are smaller than Norway Rats and are dark brown or black in color. These little guys are climbers. They are often found in the upper parts of structures and/or buildings. They nest inside and under houses, in trees or in dense piles of debris or vegetation. Roof rats can burrow and gnaw their way through furniture, doorframes and even lead pipes. It is easy to find evidence of a roof rat trail, either by the holes made by gnawing or by the grease trail they will leave behind when traveling. These rodents can jump two feet vertically in the air and four feet horizontally. However, if they are at any sort of height off the ground, they have the ability to jump twice this distance vertically. The best way to keep roof rats away from your home is to screen off any vents or holes and cut any tree branches away from the house.

SPIDERS

Black Widow Spider

The Black Widow spider; the spider with the sinister name and reputation actually rarely devours its mate. The telltale hourglass shape under their abdomen makes them easily recognizable. Though the Black Widow doesn’t instinctively bite humans, if you have been bitten, the venom of can cause severe pain. Young children and the elderly can have an acute reaction to a bite. Black widows usually spin webs close to the ground but webs can also be found in secluded areas like boxes and wood piles.

Brown Recluse Spider

Identified by the dark brown violin shaped mark on their back, the bite of a Brown Recluse spider is quite painful and results in an open, ulcerating sore. These nocturnal creatures like dark places and can hide in clothing, closets and storage areas when they do make it indoors

Common House Spider

The Common House spider makes its home, you guessed it, indoors. Unlike the recluse and Black Widow, these spiders are more of nuisance than a threat. The webs are woven to capture prey. If their dinner doesn’t show up, a new web is spun in a different location. Window frames, closets and crawl spaces and favorite spots for the spiders. In addition to the house, Common House spiders appear in barns, garages and sheds. The spiders tend to have a longer life in these areas because there is more variety of food sources.

Jumping Spider

Jumping spiders do just that; jump! They use there leaping ability to capture prey. There are many species of jumping spiders. Some variations are colored and are sometimes mistaken for a black widow. These spiders don’t build webs to capture prey but more as a place to relax. These webs tend to be under furniture, in drapery and on bookshelves. Unlike other spiders, they are not nocturnal and are active during the day and seem to like the sunshine. Jumping spiders can be found outside under loose bark, between leaves and in bushes. These spiders can bite but the venom isn’t poisonous and is not considered a threat.

Long Bodied Cellar Spider

Long Bodied Cellar spiders also called “daddy-long-legs” like dark and damp areas like basements. The spiders build tangled webs in corners and can add to the web structure and make it quite large in a short period of time. They hang upside down underneath the web. It is misconception that the venom from these spiders is highly poisonous, it is actually not very potent and their weak mouthparts keep them from biting humans.

Wolf Spider

Hunters in the spider world, wolf spiders chase and capture their prey. Their big, hairy bodies are frightening to a lot of people. Wolf spiders go in search for food at night and typically leave people alone. They can bite if provoked but they are not interested in human prey. Wolf spiders prefer the outside but once inside they can get used to their surroundings and take up residence in the home. They can take the trip indoors on firewood and other outdoor items that are moved inside.

BIRDS

Pigeons

Pigeons are not only a nuisance, they are real health hazard. Through their droppings, pigeons damage buildings and other structures like statues. In addition to causing structural decay, pigeons can carry a variety of nasty diseases like cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis and salmonella. If the droppings are allowed to build up on the ground, it is not only unsightly, it causes a slipping hazard. Pigeons are scavengers that prefer grains and are dependent on humans who mostly involuntarily provide food through spilled trash or open containers. In addition to urban areas, pigeons also roost and nest in parks, warehouses and agricultural areas. Patriot Pest Management specializes in pigeon abatement.

Swallows

Swallows are small, vocal birds that are highly social. They nest close together in dead trees, nesting boxes, hollow stumps or under the eaves in your home. Swallows are called “aerial foragers,” which means they feed mostly on flying insects. Swallows are migratory birds; they fly back and forth every year, but will always return to their nesting locations. Once their nest is complete, they will make it their home for their entire life. When they complete the building of their nest, usually around mid-March, Swallows are officially protected under Migratory Laws and their nests are not allowed to be touched until they migrate around mid-September. After the Swallows have left their nest, Patriot can come to your home, remove the nest, mud, hazardous fecal matter and net the area off, so the birds will be forced to find a new home next year when they come back to take residence at their old location.

BLOOD-SUCKERS

Deer Ticks

Deer ticks are notorious spreaders of Lyme disease. These tiny pests feed on the blood of white-tailed deer but also love the blood of humans that come in contact with them. They hide in grass and shrubs in areas where deer are common.

Fleas

These little blood suckers live off of any warm-blooded body. In addition to feeding off of cats and dogs, fleas can also get their dinner from humans. Fleas hop from rodents to other mammals using their powerful legs. They usually stick to their host but can also be found in shoes, pants and blankets. Through these items, they transport to another host. Although rats were commonly to blame for the bubonic plague, it was actually the fleas on the rats that were responsible for the spread. Fleabites are red, itchy and can be painful.

 Mosquitos

Mosquitos, one of the most bothersome of pests, breed in stagnant water and soft soil in warm months. Mosquitos crave the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals and are most active from twilight to dawn. It is important to remove any standing water from your property to help prevent breeding. Through their bites, mosquitos can spread West Nile virus, malaria and dengue fever.

Bed Bugs

Commonly referred to as Bed Bugs, this pest is especially troublesome as it is a parasite that lives on the outside of the host’s body where they feed on blood. They feed on humans and other warm-blooded hosts and leave behind skin rashes, allergic symptoms and even psychological effects. They can usually be found in the crevices of mattresses, box springs and bed parts.

 

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