Pests and Pest Control Introduction
Table of Contents
Pest Control at it’s finest means that not all guests are welcome in your home! When you invite guests into your home that stay a few days, what do you do? You provide food, and a place to sleep!
Do you really think it’s different when unwanted guests (I’m now speaking of pests, not teenagers!) come into your home? Why do they come in? They want to be comfortable – away from the heat of the summer or the cold in winter, just like you and me. They find themselves food and a place to hunker down! Same thing. Some just find their way in, some get dragged in on shoes, clothing and things we carry into our home like groceries or firewood. Others are born in your home.
Pest control means different things to different people! Sometimes it means different things to me, during different times of the year! The concept of using many small hammers to have effective pest control management makes sense! Something here, something there! It all starts with what Mom called cleanliness – but that’s not enough!
This article addresses several types of common pests but this list is address is far from complete! A couple of examples are ants and roaches. There are carpenter ants, and there are fire ants. In fact there are many more types of ants, but we’ll get to that in a minute! Then there are roaches!
The American cockroaches and German cockroaches are different, and need very different services when doing pest control.
There are over 12,000 species of ants across the world. There are three types of ants. The queen ant, the male ant, and the worker ant. The queen and the male both have wings. When the queen starts a new colony, she loses her wings. (no more going out on the town, I guess!). The males mate with the queen and die.
Ants are attracted to melons and sugary foods and substances. Finding an ant in the yard is different than finding one in the salad on your plate! Yet ants have their place in the ecosystem that we share. Ants play an important role in the environment. Ants turn and aerate the soil, allowing water and oxygen to reach plant roots.
Talk with your Pest Control specialists to find out how to best treat areas where you don’t want ants.
Personally, I have a love, hate relationship with bats! We love them because they feed off of insects like flies, mosquitoes, moths and other things we like even less than our bats! I like the bats around my house, but not on my house or near my front door.
Come to think of it, over the years, I’ve known two families that have had problems with bats. Both bat friendly, both at the front door! It’s not the bats I mind, its the mess they leave. Remember, bats are protected during certain parts of the year. Check with your local pest control company for more details about local regulations.
If you want to move your bats to a place that is more convenient for you, build ’em a house! Bat houses can be purchased online and nailed to a tree. This gives them a quiet dark place to sleep during the day, then come out an buzz around your lights in the evenings, picking off one moth after the next. Again, your local pest control company can consult you on where to best place the bat house.
There are about 1,400 species of bats across the world, the smallest being a mere 1 1/8 inch long, to the largest having a wingspan up to 5 ft 7 inches, weighing about 3 1/2 lbs. Each species has it’s own diet.
Bed bug bites are caused primarily by two species of insects: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus, found primarily in the tropics. Their size ranges between 1 and 7 mm. They spread by crawling between nearby locations or by being carried within personal items. Infestation is rarely due to a lack of hygiene but is more common in high-density areas. Diagnosis involves both finding the bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Bed bugs spend much of their time in dark, hidden locations like mattress seams, or cracks in a wall.
Treatment is directed towards the symptoms. Eliminating bed bugs from the home is often difficult, partly because bed bugs can survive up to 70 days without feeding. Repeated treatments of a home may be required. These treatments may include heating the room to 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 90 minutes, frequent vacuuming, washing clothing at high temperatures, and the use of various pesticides.
A Pest Control company is recommended for the control of bed bugs. Bed bug sniffing are effective in detecting live bed bugs and are a welcome part of the bed bug pest control team!
There are over 16,000 known species of bees in seven recognized biological families. Some species – including honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees – live socially in colonies while most species (>90%) – including mason bees, carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, and sweat bees – are solitary.
Mostly, honey bees do not attack but they do defend. Honey bees are extremely important for pollination of blossoms before fruit, vegetables, grain and other plants mature and germinate so that the plant can reproduce in the next season.
Dealing with honey bees (or any other kind of bee for that matter) should be done by pest control professionals. Bees can be euthanized with something as common as soapy water, but some choose to use chemicals.
In the United States, two main types of cockroaches are prevalent. The American cockroach on the left is the largest species of common cockroach, and often considered a pest. American cockroaches are actually native to Africa and the Middle East and came to America in the 17th century. They are about 1 1/2 inches long and have the longest lifecycle, up to about 700 days.
The cockroach travels quickly, often darting out of sight when a threat is perceived, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is considered one of the fastest running insects.
American cockroaches are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders that eat materials such as cheese, beer, tea, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, soiled clothing, and glossy paper with starch sizing.
There are about 30 cockroach species associated with our living spaces. The German cockroach pictured on the left is very different from the American cockroach above. Of the few species of cockroach that are domestic pests, it probably is the most widely troublesome example.
The German cockroach occurs widely in human buildings, but is particularly associated with restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, and institutional establishments such as nursing homes. In cold climates, they occur only near human dwellings, because they cannot survive severe cold.
A contract with a local pest control company can help keep cockroaches under control.
Flea, the common name for the order Siphonaptera, includes 2,500 species of small flightless insects that survive as external parasites of mammals and birds. Fleas live by consuming blood, or hematophagy, from their hosts.
Adult fleas grow to about 3 millimeters (1⁄8 inch) long, are usually brown, and have bodies that are “flattened” sideways or narrow, enabling them to move through their host’s fur or feathers.
A flea can jump vertically up to 18 cm (7 in) and horizontally up to 33 cm (13 in) making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size), second only to the froghopper.
Some species breed all year round while others synchronize their activities with their hosts’ life cycles or with local environmental factors and climatic conditions. Flea populations consist of roughly 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults.
It is believed to have evolved in the Cenozoic Era, possibly in the Middle East, and has spread all over the world as a commensal of humans. It is the most common fly species found in houses. Adults are gray to black, with four dark, longitudinal lines on the thorax, slightly hairy bodies, and a single pair of membranous wings.
Adult flies normally live for two to four weeks, but can hibernate during the winter. The adults feed on a variety of liquid or semi-liquid substances, as well as solid materials which have been softened by their saliva.
They can carry pathogens on their bodies and in their feces, contaminate food, and contribute to the transfer of food-borne illnesses, while, in numbers, they can be physically annoying. For these reasons, they are considered pests.
A mouse, plural mice, is a small rodent. Read carefully! Mice are well known as pests and also well known as pets! Characteristically, mice are known to have a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail, and a high breeding rate.
The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). Mice are also popular as pets. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are locally common. They are known to invade homes for food and shelter.
Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of arthropods have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Despite this, mouse populations remain plentiful. Due to its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, the mouse is one of the most successful mammalian genera living on earth today.
The mosquito life cycle consists of egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. Eggs are laid on the water surface; they hatch into motile larvae that feed on aquatic algae and organic material.
These larvae are important food sources for many freshwater animals, such as dragonfly nymphs, many fish, and some birds such as ducks.
The adult females of most species have tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) that can pierce the skin of a host and feed on blood, which contains protein and iron needed to produce eggs.
Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of various hosts — vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some fish; along with some invertebrates, primarily other arthropods. This loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the host.
The mosquito’s saliva is transferred to the host during the bite, and can cause an itchy rash. In addition, many species can ingest pathogens while biting, and transmit them to future hosts. In this way, mosquitoes are important vectors of parasitic diseases such as malaria and filariasis, and arboviral diseases such as yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile, dengue fever, and Zika.
As part of your Pest Control strategy around the house, and reduce the number of mosquitoes in and around your home, eliminate all sources of standing water.
Feral pigeons (Columba livia domestica), also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons, are pigeons that are descended from the domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild rock dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains.
Rock (i.e., “wild”), domestic, and feral pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.
Owing to their abilities to create large amounts of excrement and be an occasional disease vector to humans combined with crop and property damage, pigeons are largely considered a nuisance and an invasive species, with steps being taken in many municipalities to lower their numbers or completely eradicate them.
Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size. Usually the common name of a large murid rodent will include the word “rat”, while a smaller murid’s name will include “mouse”.
The term rat is also used in the names of other small mammals that are not true rats. Examples include the North American pack rats (aka wood rats) and a number of species loosely called kangaroo rats. Rats such as the bandicoot rat (Bandicota bengalensis) are murine rodents related to true rats but are not members of the genus Rattus.
Male rats are called bucks; unmated females, does, pregnant or parent females, dams; and infants, kittens or pups. A group of rats is referred to as a mischief.
Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonizing most landmasses except Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. Termite queens have the longest known lifespan of any insect, with some queens reportedly living up to 30 to 50 years.
Unlike ants, which undergo a complete metamorphosis, each individual termite goes through an incomplete meta-morphosis that proceeds through egg, nymph, and adult stages. Colonies are described as superorganisms because the termites form part of a self-regulating entity: the colony itself.
In many parts of North America, the story goes “there are three types of houses, those who had termites, those who have termites, and those who will have termites.
A wasp is any insect of the narrow-waisted suborder Apocrita of the order Hymenoptera which is neither a bee nor an ant; this excludes the broad-waisted sawflies (Symphyta), which look somewhat like wasps, but are in a separate suborder.
The most commonly known wasps, such as yellowjackets and hornets, are in the family Vespidae and are eusocial, living together in a nest with an egg-laying queen and non-reproducing workers.
Eusociality is favored by the unusual haplodiploid system of sex determination in Hymenoptera, as it makes sisters exceptionally closely related to each other. However, the majority of wasp species are solitary, with each adult female living and breeding independently.
Females typically have an ovipositor for laying eggs in or near a food source for the larvae, though in the Aculeate the ovipositor is often modified instead into a sting used for defense or prey capture. Wasps play many ecological roles. Some are predators or pollinators, whether to feed themselves or to provision their nests.
Except where otherwise noted, Pests and Pest Control Introduction by Marcus Laubli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Distribute freely as entire article, always attributing PestRadar.com with a link.