Self Pest Identification
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As autumn approaches, the adult beetles leave their summer feeding sites in yards, fields and forests for protected places to spend the winter. Unfortunately, homes and buildings are on their list for locations. Swarms of lady beetles typically fly to buildings in September through November depending on locale and weather conditions.
Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs have flat, rusty-red colored oval bodies, no wings and are about the size of an apple seed. They are big enough to be easily seen, but hide in mattresses, box springs, bedding, cracks in furniture, floors, or walls. When bed bugs feed, they swell and become brighter red. They can live for several months to over a year without feeding. They don’t jump or fly, and they crawl and move about the same speed as an ant.
Boxelder bugs feed on a variety of plants, but their favorite food is boxelder seed pods, which are found only on the female boxelder tree, and occasionally maple seeds. These bugs seldom develop in sufficient numbers to be a nuisance unless a female boxelder tree is in the neighborhood.
Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels. Carpenter ants differ from termites by having dark-colored bodies, narrow waists, elbowed (bent) antennae, and if present, hind wings shorter than front wings. Carpenter ants are very common and are frequently seen in the open.
Carpenter bees are so named because they excavate galleries in wood to create nest sites. They do not consume wood. Rather, they feed on pollen and nectar. Carpenter bees are important pollinators of flowers and trees. Carpenter bees typically are just nuisance pests that cause cosmetic rather than structural damage to wood. Nonetheless, considerable wood damage can result from many generations of carpenter bees enlarging existing galleries in wood.
Centipedes are elongated, flattened arthropods with numerous legs – one pair per body segment. Although all centipedes have poison glands and the means to inject their venom, bites are infrequent and normally do not cause more than temporary, localized pain. Most centipedes can be found under boards, logs, rocks and other protected, damp locations outside.
Earwigs are nocturnal; they often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Damage to foliage, flowers, and various crops is commonly blamed on earwigs.
The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves, and sinks) and in bathrooms of homes.
Hornets have stings used to kill prey and defend hives. Hornet stings are more painful to humans than typical wasp stings because hornet venom contains a large amount (5%) of acetylcholine. Individual hornets can sting multiple times; unlike typical bees, hornets and wasps do not die after stinging because their stingers are not barbed and are not pulled out of their bodies.
Mice are nocturnal creatures, and, therefore, are rarely seen by the homeowner. The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings (1/8 – 1/2-inches long, dark and pointed at both ends), sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials used for nesting.
The mosquitos are a family of small, midge-like flies: Although a few species are harmless or even useful to humanity, most are a nuisance because they consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans.
The most common species of meal moths found in the home pantry is the Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella. All damage is done by the larvae, which attack a wide range of products including cereal and cereal products, flour, cornmeal, rice, dried fruit, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, chocolate, candies, and other confections.
Oriental cockroaches are often called water bugs because of their preference for dark, damp, and cool areas such as those under sinks and washing machines, and in damp basements. This species, which is less wary and more sluggish than the others, of concern because it often travels through sewer pipes and lives on filth.
Pavement ants earned their name due to their tendency to burrow under sidewalks, driveways and building slabs, piling the resulting dirt in mounds on top of the pavement. They nest outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement. They also nest indoors in walls and under floors.
Unlike members of other woodlouse families, members of this family can roll into a ball, an ability they share with the outwardly similar but unrelated pill millipedes and other animals. It is this ability which gives woodlice in this family their common name of pill bugs, roly polies, chiggy-wigs or potato bugs.
Rats are dangerous! They can ruin your food, destroy things in your home and start electrical fires. Rats and their fleas can carry disease.
Silverfish consume matter that contains polysaccharides, such as starches and dextrin in adhesives. These include glue, book bindings, plaster, some paints, paper, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, clothing and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to tapestries. Other substances that may be eaten include cotton, linen, silk, synthetic fibers and dead insects.
The common house spider is usually the spider most often encountered indoors. It is a nuisance pest, probably more because of its webs than the spider itself. This spider is found worldwide and is common throughout the United States and Canada. Wolf spiders are hunting spiders and will chase their prey. These spiders are often big and hairy which alarms some people, but they are primarily nuisance pests.
Wasps build their nests in a variety of places, often choosing sunny spots. Nests are commonly located in holes underground, along riverbanks or small hillocks, attached to the side of walls, trees or plants, or underneath floors or eaves of houses. Wasp nests are most easily found on sunny days at dawn or dusk as the low light levels make it easier to spot the Wasps flying in and out of their nests. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if threatened, so care should be taken around Wasps and their nests.
Yellow jacket is the common name in North America for predatory wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. Members of these genera are known simply as “wasps” in other English-speaking countries. Most of these are black and yellow; some are black and white like the bald-faced hornet. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging.
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