Wasps

 

Yellowjackets – Vespula spp.

Color:     Abdomen usually black and yellow pattered similar to bands
Legs:     Six
Shape:     Wasp-like
Size:     Workers 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch
Antennae:     Yes

There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say, the pattern resembles stripes. Signature to species, the abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify specific types of yellowjackets.

Habits
Yellowjackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc…. They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.

Habitat
Yellowjackets can be found anyplace humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein. Yellowjackets become more aggressive in autumn when the colony begins to die out except for the queen.

Threats
Yellowjacket stings pose significant health threats to humans. Yellowjackets may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

 

Termites – Dampwood

Dampwood Termites

Description
As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.

Pest Facts

Color: Brownish
Legs: Six
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 3/4 – 1 inch
Antennae: Yes
Flying: Yes
Habits
Dampwood termite colonies, like drywood termites, have no worker caste. The nymph dampwood termites take care of the kings and queens of the colony and feed the soldier caste.

Habitat
Because of their need for excessive moisture, dampwood termites are not often found in structures.

Threats
Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures. However, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure.

Prevention
To avoid dampwood termites, make sure downspouts and gutters are diverted well away from the structure, and avoid prolonged contact between a structure and large areas of moisture, such as ponds or snow drifts.

Spiders

Spiders-General

There are over 35,000 described species of spiders worldwide, with about 3,000 occurring in North America. Many species of spiders are household pests. Wherever their food is available, spiders are likely to be found. All spiders are predators, feeding mainly on insects and other small arthropods.

Black Widow Spider

Description
Black widow spiders are most recognized for the red hourglass shape on the back. Contrary to legend, female black widow spiders rarely devour the male black widow spider after mating.

Pest Facts

Color: Black, with characteristic red “hourglass” on back
Legs: Eight
Shape: Round
Size: 3/4 inches length; 3/8 inches in diameter
Antennae: No
Flying: No

Habits
Black widow spiders spin their webs near ground level. They often build their webs in protected areas, such as in boxes and in firewood.

Habitat
Black widow spiders are often found around wood piles and gain entry into a structure when firewood is carried into a building. They are also found under eaves, in boxes, and other areas where they are undisturbed.

Threats
The venom of a black widow spider is a neurotoxin and is used as a defense. Black widow spiders do not bite humans instinctively. The black widow spider bite can cause severe pain. Young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to a severe reaction to a black widow spider bite.

Prevention
Avoid black widow spider bites by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time. Spiders often hide in shoes, so check shoes and shake them out before wearing. When spider webs are visible, use caution before putting your hands or feet in that area.

Sowbugs

Sowbugs

Description

This pest is the only crustacean that has become completely adapted to spending its life on land. Sowbugs have oval bodies and seven pairs of legs. They are easily recognized by their back, which is made up of seven hard individual plates. Sowbugs are sometimes referred to as rollie-pollies.

Pest Facts

Color: Dark brown to black
Legs: Fourteen
Shape: Oval; round when rolled up
Size: 3/4 inches
Antennae: Yes
Flying: No

Habits
Sowbugs eat decaying vegetable material and are most active at night. They are known for their ability to roll into a ball.

Habitat
Sowbugs live in moist locations. They are found under damp objects or under vegetable debris.

Threats
Sowbugs do not spread diseases or invade food products. However, the sowbug is often considered a pest when it gains entry into a home.

Prevention
Sowbugs can be avoided by eliminating food sources such as vegetable or plant debris. If sowbugs enter a structure, they will often dry out and die.

Powderpost Beetles


Pest Facts

Description
Powderpost beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood and the larvae tunnel into the surface, filling it with a very fine powder-like dust. Powderpost beetles have long, narrow, flat bodies that allow them to easily attack wood surfaces. These beetles are reddish-brown in color.

Color: Reddish brown to black
Legs: Six
Shape: Narrow oval
Size: 1/8 to 1/4 inches
Antennae: Yes
Flying: Yes

  •     There are several hundred species of these, but fewer than 20 are widespread.
  •     Are small, between one-tenth and one-third inch in length and usually are reddish brown in color.
  •     Can emerge from wood used in construction from one to 10 years after a structure has been built.
  •     Usually emerge in the spring.
  •     Are most likely to be found in softwoods (pine, spruce, fir) or certain hardwoods (oak, maple) frequently used for construction, including wood used in log homes, conventional homes and furniture.
  •     Are attracted to lights or to windows.
  •     Live between one and two years.
  •     Burrow small, one-eighth inch round holes in wood, and larvae create channels where they have chewed their way through. There is usually a fine sawdust-like powder streaming from exit holes.

Habits
Adult powderpost beetles are very active at night, enjoy flying and are attracted to the light.

Habitat
Powderpost beetles often attack hardwoods, and can be found in hardwood floors, timbers and crates, antiques and other objects made of hardwood materials.

Threats
Some researchers believe that powderpost beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

Prevention
Powderpost beetles can be prevented through vigilant inspection of wood sources in the home.

 

Flies

Flies-General

Non-biting flies are one of the most important pest groups because they are not only nuisance pests, but many are also important in disease transmission. Flies feed on a variety of food materials but most of those of structural importance develop in either fermenting or decaying organic matter, although a few are parasitic on other animals. Fly control is often quite challenging because their larval developmental site(s) must usually be located and eliminated for success, and these sites may be some distance from where the adults are nuisances.

  • More than 120,000 species exist ranging in size from one-twentieth of an inch to well over three inches long.
  • Take on various shapes. In the larva or maggot stage, flies resemble greasy white worms.
  • Do not have teeth or a stinger, but rather thrust needle-like hooks into victims and inject a digestive juice that breaks down cell tissue.
  • Have life span of approximately 21 days (house flies).
  • Are attracted to a variety of warm, moist substances from animal feces to human food and garbage.
  • Spread at least 65 human pathogens including typhoid fever, diarrhea, tuberculosis, salmonellosis and cholera.
  • Breed in garbage cans, compost heaps, pet feeding and pet elimination areas.

 

 

Fleas

Pest Identification

Color:     Dark reddish-brown
Legs:     6
Shape:     Flat
Size:     1/12 to 1/6-inch long
Antennae:     Yes

“Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans.

 

Habits
Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals. They infest both household pests and wild animals. Fleas use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally.

Habitat
Fleas usually remain on their warm-blooded hosts at all times. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They are often found infesting opossums, raccoons, and skunks in urban settings.

Threats
Fleas are the most common transmitter of the rare Bubonic Plague. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats. Their saliva can cause serious Flea Alergy Dermatitus in pets, and their debris has been reported to cause similar allergic reactions in humans. Fleas can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets. Flea bites commonly cause painful, itchy red bumps.

Bed Bugs

Pest Identification

Color:     Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.
Legs:     6
Shape:     Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.
Size:     Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.
Antennae:     Yes

The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus 1758) is an ectoparisite insect (a parasite which lives on the outside of the body of the host) of the family Cimicidae. Bed bugs feed only on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Although they have a cryptic behavior and can conceal themselves in tight cracks and crevices, bed bugs are often found in bed parts, such as mattresses and box springs, hence the common name.

Habits
Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.

Habitat
So where do bed bugs live? Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Beg bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains.

Threats
Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

Bats

Pest Identification

Color:     Varies in shade from tan to black
Legs:     Four legs used for crawling; Front two are used as wings
Shape:     Body covered with hair; Two wings and very large ears
Size:     Depending on the species, adult bats average 2 3/16” to 7 ½” (5.5cm – 18.8 cm) in length from nose to end of tail. They have a wingspan of about 6” to 15” (15.2cm – 38 cm).

The most common species that enter structures are the little brown bat, and the big brown bat.

For centuries, bats have been the subject of folklore and myths, often associated with witchcraft, haunted houses and evil. These myths still exist today and cause unfounded fear in many people.

Habits
Bats are nocturnal flying mammals that leave their roosts at dusk to feed and return to secluded dark places just before daylight. Most species are active during the warmer months and hibernate and/or migrate for the winter season. However, they do not fly in rainy or unseasonably cold weather.

Big brown bats: Female big brown bats form nursery colonies in the spring and are joined by males in late summer.  They leave their roost at dusk in a slow, fluttering flight to find food. They feed close to the ground on various insects including beetles, ants, wasps, flies and mosquitoes.

Little brown bats: This species forms nursery colonies in early spring, then migrates south in autumn and hibernates in irregular clusters from September through April. They feed on insects, primarily flies and moths, and alternate their feeding with rest periods during which time they hang to digest their food.

Habitat
Different bat species living across the United Stated roost in dark secluded areas of buildings and in naturally protected areas like caves.

Big brown bats:  This species commonly roosts in attics and church belfries, and behind shutters and loose boards.  During the winter months, colonies travel short distances seeking hollow trees, rock crevices, drainage pipes, caves, mines and buildings to hibernate alone or in small groups.

Little brown bats:  This species roosts in tree cavities and crevices during the warmer months and seeks shelter in caves and mines to hibernate.

Threats
Bats can pose a serious health threat to humans if they are found inside a structure. Fungi that harbors in bat droppings can cause the lung disease, histoplasmosis. An accumulation of droppings should be professionally decontaminated and removed.
A small percentage of bats are also infected with rabies, but may not show symptoms. Rabies can be transmitted when saliva or even the body tissue of an infected animal comes into contact with another animal or human. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you’ve had any unprotected, physical contact with a bat.
In addition, if an infestation develops, it is important to treat the area for bat mites and bat bugs, which will bite humans.

Ants

Ants – General

Ants are one of the most successful groups of insects. They are social insects that live in colonies which are usually located in the ground, but they may enter buildings for shelter and/or food. Ants feed on practically every kind of food, but those entering homes are looking for sweets and/or protein-containing substances. About 700 species of ants occur in the United States and Canada. Of these, only about 25 species commonly infest homes. The biology and habits of each ant species are different, so a detailed knowledge of these for each species is necessary for effective control.

  •     More than 20 varieties of ants invade homes during the warm months of the year. Worldwide, there are more than 12,000 species, but only a small number cause problems.
  •     Destructive ants include fire and carpenter ants. Others ant types include the honey, Pharaoh, house, Argentine, and the thief ant.
  •     All ants share one trait: They’re unsightly and contaminate food.
  •     Ants range in color from red to black.
  •     Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
  •     A carpenter ant colony can have a long life span. Each colony is founded by a single fertilized queen that establishes a nesting site in a cavity in wood.
  •     A carpenter ant colony does not reach maturity until it contains 2,000 or more workers, which can take three to six years.