Guardian Pest Control

Pest Identification

One of the first steps to eliminating a pest problem is identifying the type of pest you are seeing. Here at Guardian Pest Control, we want to help you knock out this step. We have gathered pictures and descriptions of some of the most common pests that you may see. Simply click on one of the buttons below to view a specific category. Once you have successfully identified the type of pest you are seeing, give us a call and we will take care of the rest. 

Helping You Identify

 

Ants

Acrobat Ant
Carpenter Ants
Odorous House Ant
Pavement/Slab Ants
Pharaoh Ants

The acrobat ant is yellowish brown, to red and black to black in color. This species hold their abdomen over there head and thorax when excited. The acrobat ant normally isn’t found inside but may come in at times in search for food. These ants can sometimes be found in decaying wood inside homes.

The odorous house ant is brownish black in color and are 1/12 to 1/8 inch long. Colonies are large and usually contain many active queens. Their nests are found inside and outside. Inside nests are normally under floors and walls. Outside nests are shallow and underneath stone or a board. The odorous house ant gives off a bad odor when crushed. Workers usually forage along regular trails. They prefer sweet foods however honey dew is their primary food.

The odorous house ant is brownish black in color and are 1/12 to 1/8 inch long. Colonies are large and usually contain many active queens. Their nests are found inside and outside. Inside nests are normally under floors and walls. Outside nests are shallow and underneath stone or a board. The odorous house ant gives off a bad odor when crushed. Workers usually forage along regular trails. They prefer sweet foods however honey dew is their primary food.

Pavement/slab ants are small blackish brown ants. They feed on fruit, other insects and will eat pet food. Colonies are very large and usually found in pavement in and around homes. They commonly enter homes in cracks and other openings making them a nuisance to home owners.

Pharaoh ants are light yellowish to reddish brown. The workers measure 1/15-1/12 inch long. Pharaoh ants feed on syrups, fruit juice, honey, jelly, cakes, pies, greases, dead insects and meats. Pharaoh ants mostly forage in kitchens or where open water and food sources are found. They nest in ceilings, behind baseboards and switch plates, under floors, between walls, outside gardens or along walk ways. Their colonies may be very large containing hundreds of thousands of workers and queens.

 

Bees / Wasps / Hornets

Bald Face Hornet
Bumble Bees
Carpenter Bee
Cicada Killer
Paper Wasp
Yellow Jacket / German Yellow Jacket

Bald face hornets build large hanging paper nests from trees and structures. Paper nests are made by chewing on wood fiber which is mixed with starch in their saliva. Bald face hornets are black with a white face. They can become very aggressive when they are threatened.

Bumble bees nest underground and are social insects. Bumble bees make tunnels in old mouse holes or abandoned burrows, under stones, or logs, they do not burrow holes in wood. Bumble bees don’t usually cause any problems to humans unless they feel the nest is threatened then they will attack and sting.

Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but do damage both dead wood and structural timber on homes. Carpenter bees are black and yellow in color with shiny black abdomens. They burrow by vibrating their bodies as the rasp of their mandibles against the wood to make perfectly circular holes. The tunnels they make function as a nursery for their young.

Cicada killers are a very large wasp. They measure 2 inches with black or dark brown markings. They nest in the ground and hunt cicadas which are paralyzed by the venom of the wasp sting. The female will then bring the cicada back to the burrow and lay one egg on it where it will remain until spring then emerge as an adult.

Paper wasps are brown and yellow in color and are common wasps. Nests are found in sheltered areas, they appear gray in color and are made with plant fibers mixed with saliva to produce a cone shaped nest for egg laying. Sizes very from small to large. Paper wasp aren’t very aggressive and will only attack if they themselves or the nest is threatened.

Yellow jackets are social insects and are about 1/2 inch long. Yellow jackets build their nests underground most of the time. These underground nests are usually made by some other pest that abandoned the burrow, these nests expand when the colony develops. However, some build their nests in concrete block foundations, rail road ties, and in landscaping. The wasp that nests in structures is known as the German yellow jacket. The structures they are most found in are: wall voids, attics, or crawl spaces. German yellow jackets use the same hole or crack that they found in home or building. Several thousand workers may be produced in one season. They forage on sugars, carbohydrates, beer and some live on prey like: insects, garbage, and carcasses. Yellow jackets peak in late summer early fall. Yellow jackets are to be the most dangerous, for life threatening allergic responses to certain sting victims.

 

Beetles

Asian Lady Beetle/Ladybug
Carpet Beetle
Confused Flour Beetle
Red Flour Beetle

Asian lady beetles/ladybugs are about 1/3 inch long and oval in shape. They can be yellow to red, reddish brown or any shade in between with blackish spots, some have no spots. Asian lady beetles feed on trees and soybeans throughout the summer. These beetles are attracted to light colored homes or buildings especially ones warmed by the sunlight in late autumn and winter. Asian lady beetles work their way into homes and buildings through cracks and crevices and hibernate for the winter in wall voids, attics and other secluded areas. Asian lady beetles become active in late winter and early spring but are usually inactive until trees begin to leaf in spring.

The Carpet Beetle usually lives in lint and debris, including that which collects inside of walls, beneath floors and behind built-in storage spaces. Therefore, exposed areas should be swept frequently. The larva is a fuzzy, slow-moving, light brown or blackish worm about 1/4 inch long. The damage it does is similar to that of the clothes moth larva, but without webbing and the skin which the larva sheads is often found mixed with lint and dust. The Carpet beetle may be found crawling over the same items that are infested by clothes moths, but is more likely to be found in lint swept from beneath the edges of rugs or similar places.

The confused flour beetle is reddish brown and 1/8 inch long. This flour beetle can make its way into sealed containers. The adults can’t fly. The confused flour beetle is found in cereal products, peas, beans, dried fruits, spices and of course flour. They can live up to 3 years and lay 300 to 400 eggs in their lifetime.

The red flour beetle is similar in appearance to the confused flour beetle. The adults can fly. These beetles are also one of the most common beetles found in stored foods in retail stores and homes.

 

Birds

Pigeon
Sparrow
Starling

The pigeon is familiar to most everyone throught-out the United States and is the most serious urban bird pest. They are found in both cities and rural areas. They use city bridges and buildings that provide roosting, loafing, and nesting sites. In rural areas, they will inhabit farmyards, livestock facilities, grain elevators, feed mills, and town courthouses. Pigeons typically have gray bodies with a whitish rump, two black bars on the secondary wing feathers, a broad black band on the tail, and red feet. These birds can transmit diseases and contaminate food products with fecal matter, feathers, and nesting material. They can also carry lice, mites, bed bugs, bat bugs, louse flies, fleas, and ticks. The average weight is 10-13 ounces and length is 11 inches. Their nests are not like normal bird nests, instead they consist of twigs, sticks, and grasses, and sometimes their own feces merely clumped together to form a crude platform. Pigeons will clog gutters and rainspouts.

The sparrow is small, stocky in appearance with the upper parts being reddish -brown streaked with black and the under parts are gray. Sparrows can be a serious nuisance, being destructive around poultry and other livestock operations in rural areas because they consume and contaminate large amounts of livestock feed, and destroy building insulation. In cities and residential areas, they live in parks, city streets, zoos and are pests in gardens and around yards, where they frequently displace desirable songbirds. Their nests are usually built in, on, or near buildings. But will also build nests in trees and shrubs. Nests are typically messy formed of twigs, grass, paper, or almost anything the bird can carry. A sparrow can carry lice, mites, bed bugs, bat bugs, louse flies, fleas, and ticks and will clog gutters and rainspouts like pigeons.

Starlings are found throughout the United States and are pests in both city and rural areas. In rural areas they nest in tree cavities and on the ledges of farm buildings and can be serious pests around grain elevators, cornfields, orchards, and in cattle and hog feedlots. In city and suburban areas, starlings are pests because they use buildings, parks, and residential trees for roosting sites. They are stocky, short-tailed birds about the size of a robin. From a distance it appears entirely black, but it is actually flecked with light speckles and most of its feathers show iridescent purples and greens.

 

Cockroaches

Cockroaches
American Cockroach
Asian Cockroach
Brown Banded Cockroach
German Cockroach
Oriental Coackroach
Smoky Brown Cockroach
 
 

Cockroaches are among the most common insects and one of the oldest. Fossil evidence dating roaches back 350 million years. They vary in size, color and habits. Although there are over 3500 species of cockroaches, 70 species are found in the United States. Only a few of these infest our homes and we have listed the most common. These species represent most if not all of the most infesting cockroaches.

 
 

American cockroaches are sometimes referred to as the palmetto bug or water bug. It is the largest of the common roaches, up to 1-1/2 inches, and reddish brown in color. Females carry egg capsules within a day after it is formed, sometimes glued in a hidden area. This female can produce up to 90 capsules with up to 16 eggs each. They feed on a wide variety of foods but also feed on book bindings, clothing, and paper.

 

Asian cockroaches are similar to German cockroaches. Asian cockroaches prefer to infest shaded and moist areas in landscapes, ground covers, and grassy areas. These roaches are most active at dusk and only for a few hours. The adults can fly and travel a long distance. They fly towards light, so once inside they can become annoying because they will fly on to TV screens and people.

 
 

Brown banded cockroaches are one of the smallest roaches – about 1/2 inch long, light brown and can be distinguished from the German roach by the presence of two lighter, transverse bands running from one side to the other across the base of the wings and abdomen. This female attaches her egg capsule to a protected surface. She produces up to 14 capsules with 18 eggs in each. This roach prefers starchy material, but will eat almost anything.

German cockroaches are the most common cockroach in homes, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. Adults are pale to medium brown and 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. German roaches can be distinguished by the two dark stripes on the anterior, dorsal portion of the thorax. Adults have wings but rarely fly. The German roach is the only house infesting species that carries the egg capsule for an extended time. The female can produce up to 50 eggs in each capsule. That’s how quick one roach could turn into hundreds. German roaches eat almost anything. They prefer living in cracks and crevices and usually are nocturnal.tered areas, they appear gray in color and are made with plant fibers mixed with saliva to produce a cone shaped nest for egg laying. Sizes very from small to large. 

 

Oriental cockroaches are also known as the water bug, black beetle, or shad roach. Adults are very dark brown, nearly black and grow up to 1-1/4 inches. Females produce up to 8 capsules each containing 16 eggs. This roach is common in sewers, drains, and loves damp basements. They feed on all kinds of filth and rubbish and can live without food for 30 days if water is available.

Smoky Brown cockroaches are closely related to the American cockroach but smaller, being slightly more than 1 inch long. A uniform mahogany color. Females produce up to 17 capsules usually glued to a surface with 24 eggs in each. Smoky brown roaches feed on plant material. This roach is common in central Texas and eastward along the gulf coast, throughout Florida and up the eastern coast. Usually not found in Northern United States.

 

Flies

Cluster Flies
Fruit Flies
House Flies
Phorid Flies

Cluster flies resemble the house fly but are larger with golden hairs on the thorax and are sluggish. Their life cycle is 4 to 6 weeks. Cluster flies are found in upper rooms, attics, and window frames. In the fall they hang out in voids of houses and in the walls. On warm days in winter and early spring they leave voids in large numbers. Cluster flies lay their eggs in cracks in the ground, hatched larvae enter in to earthworms in which they develop in 11 to 14 days. When they mature they leave the body of the earthworm and pupate in the ground.

Fruit flies are small flies that can get in through screening, and are common in homes, restaurants, and fruit markets. Fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long with a tan colored head and thorax, blackish abdomen, gray underneath, and bright red eyes. This fly lays its eggs near a surface of fermenting materials like: ripened fruit, dirty garbage cans, rotten vegetables, empty bottles, mops, cleaning rags, and drains. In about 30 hours they will hatch and begin feeding on fermenting materials. Fruit flies can lay 500 eggs and only require 9 to 12 days to develop, which can make them appear in very large numbers. The population of fruit flies builds in the summer. Adult flies can fly up to 6 1/2 miles in 24 hours.

The female house fly begins laying eggs a few days after hatching, she lays a total of 5 to 6 batches of 75-100 white oval eggs. In warmer weather these eggs hatch in 12 to 24 hours into larvae. They then burrow on food material such as: animal manure, garbage, decaying vegetable material and human excrement in which they hatch, in warm weather it takes larvae to grow and pupate in 4 to 7 days. House flies are ready to mate in a few hours after hatching. House flies are 1/4 inch long and dull gray in color with 4 stripes on thorax. The life cycle of the house fly is 7 to 45 days. They rest in corners and edges or thin objects like wires, electrical cords, and strings, night resting places are usually close to their food source. House flies build up their population in late summer and early fall months, some develop indoors throughout the winter.

Phorid flies look like fruit flies but are more humpbacked. They are found mostly in decaying plant and animal matter. Their life cycle is 1-2 weeks. Phorid flies found in structures can breed where ever there is moisture such as: plumbing, drains in kitchen and bath, garbage cans, crawl spaces, and basements. Most activity for Phorid flies is in the warmer months but they can be seen in winter too.

 

Mice / Rats

Deer Mice
House Mice
Norway Rat
Voles

Deer mice are excellent jumpers and faster than most other mice. They are brown and white in color and have 2 to 4 litters a year with 3 to 11 young. They can easily over populate and become a nuisance.

House mice are one of the most common home invaders. Mice consume and contaminate food sources and do transmit disease causing pathogens. They range in color from white to black. Mice have 5 to 10 litters of 3-15 a year making them a nuisance.

The Norway rat has been in the United States since about 1775. They weigh about 12 to 16 oz. Their body fur color goes from reddish to grayish brown with white under parts. The mother rat will have a litter of 8-12 pups. Rats can squeeze into holes about 1/2 inch. Rats are great swimmers; they can swim up to 1/2 mile in the water. Rats will swim in sewer lines and can even swim up toilets. Rats can tread water for up to 3 days. Rats climb very well. Also, if they can’t climb up something, they will jump. Rats can jump up to 3 feet. Rats also chew or gnaw through materials like: lead sheathing, cinder block, aluminum, siding, glass, and concrete that wasn’t properly cured.

Voles are small rodents that resemble a mouse with a short tail. They have 5 to 10 litters a year which make populations high in a short amount of time. Voles damage small plants and grass with their extensive burrowing and tunneling.

 

Nuisance Wildlife

Bat
Beaver
Chipmunk
Coyote
Groudhog
Mole
Muskrat
Opossum
Raccoon
Skunk
Squirrels
Squirrels (Ground)

Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. Bats detect their prey by ultrasonic sounds. Bats are not blind and they use their sight for long distance and object identification.

Bats roost in trees, caves, natural shelters, and buildings in which they breed in warm weather months. There are forty different species of bats. The big brown bat is the most common. It is 4 inches in length with a wing span of 12 to 14 inches. Big brown bats are dark brown with black ears. Big brown bats are born in June and July and can have one to two young per female. Bats mature within 3 to 7 months. This is when they will go out on their own for food. Bats are attracted to buildings near water and food (insects), odors from previous infestations, and high roost temperatures for rearing young. Bats do not chew or gnaw, so buildings would have to have openings for them to get in. Bats rest during the daytime. They start moving at dusk in search of food and water and then return to the roost by dawn.

The beaver is North America’s largest rodent and is known for building dams and lodges on waterways. They are brown with paddle like tails. Beavers have 1 litter of 6 kits born between April and June. Beaver have both a positive and negative impact on the environment; dams they build create new wetlands environments for other species, but in suburban settings dams cause flooding in low lying areas and major tree loss making them a nuisance.

Chipmunks are related to the ground squirrel. It has 2 tan stripes and 5 blackish stripes on back. Chipmunks are 5 to 6 inches long and its hairy tail is 3 to 4 inches long. Chipmunks cause structural damage to slabs, foundation walls, decks, patios, and anything else structural. Chipmunks feed on seeds, seedlings, berries, nuts, grains, birdseed, and flower bulbs. Chipmunks store food in their burrows throughout the year. They mate twice a year in summer and fall; they have 2 to 5 young. These young are born in April or May and also again in August to October. Adults live up to three years and young are mature within a year. A chipmunk may live in a yard up to 1/2 an acre but defends territory up to 50 feet. Their burrows are usually hidden near buildings, wood piles, brush piles, garages and other objects. The burrows are normally about 20 to 30 feet long. Chipmunks are most active during morning and afternoon. Chipmunks go into a restless hibernation in late fall to winter. Some will become active on warm sunny winter days.

Coyotes are active at night and during hot summer weather. They have good eye sight and a keen sense of smell. They breed February-March and have a litter of 5-7 pups in 63 days. They are brownish gray with light gray to cream color on their belly. Coyote dens are found in steep banks, rock crevices, and holes under brush. They cause damage to livestock, poultry, and pets. Their diet is comprised of many things; however, rabbits are at top of the list. Common coyote diseases are Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Mange. They also carry parasites such as mites, ticks, fleas, and worms.

Groundhogs, also known as the wood chuck, are herbivorous, eating primarily grasses and other vegetation. Groundhogs are brown in color. Young are born in April and May with usually 2-6 in a litter. Groundhogs are excellent burrowers. They use these burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernating.

Moles are mammals with grayish fur. Moles use their large front feet for digging. A mole’s primary food sources are earthworms and other lawn insects that they come across.

Moles tunnel just below the surface causing major lawn damage to property. Food sources in yards are what moles look for and why yards become damaged.

Muskrats are covered with short thick brown fur. They have long black tails that aid in swimming. Muskrats spend most of their time in the water. They can have 2 to 3 litters of 6 to 8 young per year. Their diet consists mostly of aquatic vegetation. Bank burrowing is usually the damage they cause which causes erosion problems for home owners.

Opossum are North America’s only marsupial, meaning the female has a pouch. Opossums have large litters of up to 13 young. They are also omnivorous eating both plant and animal material. They are gray in color with a long rat like tail. Opossums are usually solitary and will stay in one area as long as food and water are available.

Raccoons are common in suburban areas. They give birth in March and April and a typical litter size is 2 to 5. Raccoons are omnivorous eating both plant and animal material. A raccoon’s most distinctive features include dexterous front paws and its facial mask. Raccoons often take up residency in ground burrows, tree hollows, and of course, attics.

Skunks are common in suburban areas. They give birth usually in May to 4 to 7 kits and young usually stick with their mother until 1 year of age. Skunks are omnivorous eating both animal and plant material. Skunks are not true hibernators in the winter, but will den up in extreme conditions. Skunks are black and white in color and are best known for their ability to secrete a strong foul odor as a defensive weapon with a high degree of accuracy.

Squirrels can range from 16 to 27 inches long depending on what kind of squirrel. Squirrels eat fruits, seeds, buds, leaves, bulbs, bark, insects, and nuts. They hide their food in different out door areas. They have 2 litters per year one in early spring and one in late summer. Squirrels can have up to 3 to 8 squirrels depending on species. Squirrels get into attics, garages, and anywhere else they can find shelter to store food. Squirrels will gnaw on exterior/interior of buildings to get in; they will also chew through electrical wires and other items that are in storage. Squirrels will bite if cornered. Squirrels are most active in early morning and late afternoon.

Ground squirrels weigh about 8 oz. and are 10 inches in length (plus tail of 3 inches). They have 13 stripes that line the length of its body. Five of the light colored lines break up into spots. They are mostly yellowish tan or tan with an orange cast in color; their chest and belly are light tan. Ground Squirrels can be found in lawns, golf courses, gardens and building foundations. Ground squirrels are sometimes called gophers; they have shorter tails and live in ground. They are active in late winter to early fall. After hibernation, ground squirrels will mate and have a litter from 4 to 8 young. The gestation period is 28 to 35 days. These young in summer will leave and make their own burrow and territory. These squirrels are great burrowers they don’t climb very well, therefore are usually found in open fields or bushy areas. Ground squirrels feed on seeds, roots, fruits, insects, and green vegetation.

 

Snakes

Garter Snake
Western Fox Snake

The Garter snake is the single most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America. Garter snakes are carnivores and eat slugs, earthworms, birds, fish, toads, and rodents. If a garter snake is disturbed, they may coil and strike but typically it will hide its head and flail its tail. When approached by a predator on land they will also slither into the water to escape. These snakes also discharge a musky-scented secretion from a gland near their back end. Garter snakes like to bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. They are usually 18-26 inches long, but can reach up to 48 inches long.

The Western Fox snake is the common name given to two species of North American rat snakes, neither is a threat to humans. Due to their striking resemblance to the rattle snake and mimics the rattle snake by vibrating their tails, it is killed by many people. They are generally docile animals, but may bite when disturbed. Their bite feels like very small needle punctures, but do not do any lasting damage, only being used for holding purposes. They can be located in open forests, prairies, and farmlands and they feed on mice, rats, even small rabbits, killing them by constriction.

 

Spiders

Spiders (general)
Black Widow
Brown Recluse
House Spiders
Jumping Spiders
Yellow Sac Spiders
Wolf Spiders
There are many different species of spiders. Spiders have eight legs unlike insects that have six. They also have no antennae or wings. All spiders have jaw like appendages near the mouth; each fang has a small opening where venom comes out to inject into their prey. Spinnerets, which are located at the tip end of the abdomen, are glands from which silk is spun for web making. All spiders use venom when they bite, the only ones dangerous to humans are the black widow, brown recluse, and hobo spider. Still, anyone bit by a spider should bring a specimen to your physician. Outdoor spiders are good for eating other insects. Spiders like moisture and therefore can be found in basements, crawlspaces, and other damp areas. Some like the warmth so you will find them in attics, upper air floor vents and corners of rooms. Most species hide in cracks.

The Black Widow is widely distributed over the warmer portions of the United States. The females are easily identified because of their globular, shiny black abdomen with two reddish or yellowish triangles on the underside making and “hourglass” marking. The abdomen is usually about 1/4 inch in diameter but may be as large as 1/2 inch when the female is full of eggs. Males are much smaller and lighter colored, with light streaks on their abdomens. The Black Widow venom contains toxins that are neurotoxic, which affects the nervous system.

The Brown Recluse is a soft-bodied and secretive species found in homes (i.e. bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, garages, basements, and cellars) and other outbuildings in the southern, western, and midwestern United States. The adult body varies 1/3 to 1/2 inch in length, with the arrangement of the legs producing a larger overall size of 1 inch in diameter or greater. The body is yellow to dark brown and has a rather distinctive darker brown “violin” shaped mark on the top of the cephalothorax and visible fangs. This spider is not aggressive and usually retreats to cover when disturbed. Most bites occur when a person traps or crushes the spider while putting on old clothes that have been hanging in a garage, or by rolling on the spider while asleep in bed.

The House Spider builds their tangled web in or near human dwellings, often in secluded areas such as between loose walls, behind open doors, and attic windows. They eat household insects and other invertebrates that get trapped in their web. They are generally dull in appearance, with patterns consisting of brown shades for coloration, often giving a vague spotted appearance that is noticeable on the legs. Their average body size is 1/4 inch long, but can be an inch or more across with legs outspread. They are not usually aggressive and will even let a human hand approach their web.

These spiders are so named for their jumping ability. They can jump many times their length to capture prey or avoid threats and can also walk backwards. These common spiders are about 1/8-3/4 inches long, very hairy, stocky built, and short-legged. Many species have patches of brightly colored or iridescent scales. Some are black with spots of orange or red on the upper surface of the abdomen, and at times are confused with Black Widow spiders. Jumping Spiders are active during the day and prefer sunshine. They normally live outdoors, but they can become established indoors and their hunting activities often center about windows and entry doors where their prey is most common.

The Yellow Sac spider is very common in the United States. In the summer months the Yellow Sac spider prefers to live on trees, shrubs, and in low vegetation close to open expanses, such as fields due to there being plenty of food sources in these areas. In the autumn when the food sources start disappearing they will move indoors to find food. Indoors they are often seen on walls and around different constructions. If disturbed it drops to the floor. Yellow Sac spiders lay their eggs in corners of all sorts and are white and spun with silk. These spiders are active in the night, where they wander around to find prey. Also, they do not produce webs.

Wolf spiders range in body size and color; they depend on camouflage for protection. Wolf spiders are excellent hunters with good eye sight and have a wide range of habitats.

 

They are unique in the way they carry their eggs, which is in a round globe attached to their abdomen that she carries until they are born. Unlike most spiders wolf spiders do not spin webs and actually hunt for their food.

 

Wood Destroying Insects

Carpenter Ants
Powderpost Beetles
Termites
Carpenter ants are large black ants that prefer to nest in dead, damp wood and will cause extensive and expensive damage to homes. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood but hollow out sections of wood to nest in. Colony sizes can range upwards into the thousands and are one of the most common wood destroying organisms.

Powderpost beetles are a common wood destroying organism, the larva of these beetles damage wood to a very fine powder like material. Powderpost beetles riddle softwoods and hardwoods with holes they pack with wood dust or frass. Powderpost beetles lay their eggs on exposed wood. Larva are yellowish white with dark mandibles, adults are flattened and reddish brown to black in color. The larva stage is when almost all damage is done to wood; the adults do very little damage.

Termites will search your home for wood fibers. They will squeeze through cracks as narrow as the thickness of a penny. Other ways for them to gain entry are through expansions joints, foundation cracks, and tiny gaps around plumbing and electrical openings. Termites often leave evidence of their presence. Look for small holes, crumbling drywall, and sagging doors or floors. You might see shelter tubes which they build to serve as their passageways. Shelter tubes conceal the termites, provide a moist environment and protect termites from enemies. Also, you may see insect wings; termites shed their wings when they swarm to start new colonies. Damage from termites can go undetected while it grows for years on end, and most homeowner’s insurance will not cover termites. Termites can live for 15 years, lay 1 egg every 15 seconds, and can destroy an entire house in about 2-3 years.

 

Insects (miscellaneous)

Bed Bug
Box Elder Bug
Centipedes
Earwigs
Fleas
Clothes Moth
Indian Meal Moth
Millipedes
Silverfish
Sowbugs
Bed Bugs were largely eradicated as a pest in the 1940’s, but have made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Bed bugs are flat reddish brown oval shaped insects that favor homes and beds where people sleep. Bed bugs usually feed unnoticed on human blood when people sleep. They can lay 5 eggs a day and usually infest beds, bed frames, and any other sheltered areas they can find in your home. Bed bugs are transmitted from many areas. Hotels are most known but can be found just about anywhere.

Box elder bugs are most commonly found on box elder trees. They measure a 1/2 an inch long. They are black with red markings. They feed on plant matter, and invade homes in large numbers during the spring and fall.

Centipedes are grayish yellow with three dark strips extending along the back. A centipede is only 1 to 1-1/2 inches long. Centipedes prefer damp areas to live in such as cellars, closets, bathrooms, crawls, and attics during warmer months. They lay their eggs in the same damp places. Centipedes forage at night for small insects, spiders, and their larvae. They can be seen actively running across floors, bathtubs, and sinks. If provoked larger centipedes may bite, which may cause swelling and pain. Their bites are not from their mouth but from front legs which look and function like jaws.

Earwigs like moist areas and feed on insects and plants. They can do damage to plants and crops. Earwigs are brownish black in color and have a pair of forceps like pincer on their abdomen. This is used for protection and holding prey.

Fleas are small wingless insects 1/12 to 1/6 inch long, but can be as small as 1/25 to 1/3 inch long. The flea body is covered with spines that project backward which make it easy for them to travel through hairs on a host’s body. Adult fleas have piercing, sucking mouthparts so they can get through the host’s skin and suck blood. Fleas can jump as high as 7 to 8 inches vertically and 14 to 16 inches horizontally. Flea eggs are barely seen and are only 1/50 of an inch in diameter. Eggs are laid on the host, but can fall off and hatch on ground. A flea can lay up to 200 to 400 eggs in a couple of days and depending on temperature and humidity, eggs can hatch anywhere from 2 days to a week. Fleas feed on all kinds of organic debris and can develop well when they feed on feces of adult fleas. Adult fleas emerge from pupa within 7 to 14 days, but some may not emerge for several months to a year later. Warmth and other signals like walking or a pet stepping on carpet can trigger fleas to hatch. This is why new homes, vacationers, or apartments that had fleas are attacked when they move back in or come home. These vibrations allow the fleas to hatch. Adults are ready to feed right after they hatch. Fleas can carry parasites and disease.

Clothes moths are often found in boxes of old clothing, furs, feather pillows, piano felts, old over-stuffed furniture, carpets, and even lint that collects along baseboards and in corners. The adult Clothes moth is a tiny, buff-colored “miller” that avoids light. The adults do not feed, but their presence does indicate a moth infestation. The larva is a small white caterpillar that lives inside a silken case or web and feeds on wool, hair, fur, and feathers. Damage done will depend upon the type of item being fed upon and the species of clothes moth involved.

Indian meal moths are tan and reddish brown. Their wingspread is about 3/4 of an inch. They feed on all kinds of grains and grain based products. Some of these products are seeds, dog food, nuts, candy, chocolate, and dried fruits. Larva leaves their food supply when ready to pupate and this is where they find a place to spin their cocoons and pupate.

Adult Indian meal moths live less than 2 weeks. This is the most common stored food product moth found in a home.

Millipedes live outdoors in damp places, under decaying leaves, and in outdoor plants. They feed on decaying vegetable matter, new roots, and green leaves. In dry weather they may move into buildings and homes in large numbers. Millipedes are brownish in color and are 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long. Millipedes coil up when resting.

Silverfish are small wingless insects and are silver in color. Silverfish look and move like a fish. Silverfish do a lot of destruction to books, paper photos, clothing, linen, and silk due to their starch content which is their preferred food source.

Sowbugs are gray in color and have several segments on their bodies. The like moist dark areas like basements and feed on dead or decaying plants or animals.

 

Sowbugs are also called a pillbug because some species roll up into a ball when disturbed.

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