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Pest Control & Termite Services

Pests

Common Household Pest




Ants   fire antfire antfire ant

Ants: America's Least Wanted of approximately 700 species of ants in North America, only 25 species are considered structural pests which typically enter structures for food, water and occasionally for harborage. From a consumer standpoint, ants are considered to be the number one pest in the United States (followed by cockroaches). Ants are social insects which live in large colonies and undergo complete metamorphosis — egg, larva, pupa and adult.
COLONY STRUCTURE. Three types of individuals (castes) live within the colony: QUEENS typically are the largest ants in the colony. Their function is to establish new colonies and produce eggs. Some ant species have single queen colonies; others have multiple queens, typically 10-30 per colony. MALES serve one purpose — to mate with the queen. They typically are present only during the colony’s reproductive cycle and then die within two weeks of mating. WORKERS, the backbone of the colony, commonly live from one to seven years. Workers are considered to be sterile females; in some species, however, they can lay eggs that develop into males or are used as a colony food source. In some ant species the workers are all one size; in others, there are at least two different size workers within the colony. Large workers are referred to as majors and small ones as minors. Because the eggs, larvae and pupae are helpless, the workers care for them and the queen.
FORMING NEW COLONIES. Ants have two ways of forming new colonies: swarming and budding. Swarming occurs when winged reproductives (i.e., males and females) fly out of the nest, mate, and the fertilized queens chew off their wings and begin to produce eggs. Swarms of the same species of ants typically occur at the same time each year. Only mature colonies produce swarmers; this usually does not occur until two or more years after the colony is established.
Budding is a process by which mating of the swarmers occurs within the nest and queens and males do not physically "swarm" from the nest. Fertilized queens (e.g., Argentine and pharaoh ants) leave the nest to establish new colonies.
FEEDING. Workers forage for food, eating liquid foods and water. Hard food items, however, are brought back to the colony and fed to the larvae. The larvae eat, digest and regurgitate the food and feed it back to the workers. Other workers then feed the regurgitated food to all members of the colony including the larvae. This process of food sharing and distribution is called trophallaxis and is the reason most ant colonies can be easily eliminated by baiting.
FORAGING. Ants search for food along established "trails." Workers continuously search for food, and when a source is found, they lay down a chemical trail (i.e., pheromone) which other ants follow to the food source. Ants also prefer to follow along edges and straight lines.
In addition to the trail pheromone, several other pheromones are used to protect and perpetuate the colony. Some ants release defense and attack pheromones when the colony is threatened; this probably is most notable in fire ants. Sex pheromones are used during swarming to facilitate location of a mate.


Common Ants


Acrobat Ant

Acrobat ant workers are light brown to black and 1/16- to 1/8-inch long. The top of the thorax has one pair of spines, and the petiole has two segments. The petiole is attached to the top of the abdomen in contrast to most other species of ants. When viewed from above, the abdomen appears to be heart-shaped. A stinger is present. When alarmed, the workers scurry around with their abdomens raised over their heads. Swarmers have been observed in nests or swarming from mid-June through late September. The size of colonies range from moderate to large.
Acrobat ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, firewood, in trees, and in conditions similar to carpenter ants. In structures, they nest in wall and floor voids, foam insulation, and other areas commonly associated with carpenter ants. They are found in abandoned termite, carpenter ant, or other wood infesting insect galleries. Acrobat ants travel in trails, foraging as much as 100 feet from their nest.
They feed on honeydew produced by aphids and other plant feeders, live and dead insects, including termite swarmers. Workers defend the colony aggressively and are quick to bite and release a foul odor.

CARPENTER ANT
The black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, in the east and C. modoc in the west are the most thoroughly studied species in the United States. Other species of Camponotus are distributed throughout the country. Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in the United States, ranging from 1/8- to 1/2-inch long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers of an established colony vary in size. They are commonly black; however, some species are red and black, solid red, or brown in color. They have one node in the petiole and a circle of tiny hairs on the tip of the abdomen. Their thorax is evenly rounded when seen from the side.
The adult winged female or queen loses her wings soon after mating with the smaller male and selects a secluded nesting site where she raises the first brood of workers. These workers are very small but assume the care of the larvae and the queen after they mature. Future workers are larger than those from the first brood because they receive better care. All workers are wingless.
Mature colonies range in size from several thousand workers to 10-15,000. Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in wood. They commonly excavate galleries or tunnels in rotting or sound trees and, in structures, readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities. They prefer to excavate wood damaged by fungus and are often found in conjunction with moisture problems.
The workers excavate the nest, forage for food, and care for the young. Carpenter ants feed on sugar solutions from honey dew-producing insects such as aphids, sweets, and the juices of insects they capture. They do not eat the wood as they excavate their nests. They actively feed at night well after sunset continuing through the early morning hours. Foraging trails may extend up to 300 feet and, upon close inspection, can be seen on the ground as narrow worn paths.
Carpenter ants enter structures through gaps or cracks while foraging for food. Carpenter ant control can be very difficult and thus, requires an integrated approach which involves moisture elimination, removing overhanging tree limbs, stumps, and firewood, and mechanical alterations to prevent entry. It is important to locate the source of the ants, i.e., the nest and satellite nests. Areas where water leaks occur, particularly the roof, soffits, bathroom, and kitchen should be inspected.

FIRE ANT 
Fire ant workers vary in size, ranging from 1/16- to 1/4-inch long and are yellow to dark red-brown. The thorax lacks spines, and the petiole has two nodes. They have a stinger at the tip of the abdomen and ten-segmented antennae, which is tipped with a two-segmented club.
The red imported fire ant single-queen colonies range in size from 80,000 - 250,000 workers and 30-100 mounds per acre. Multi-queen colonies have fewer workers per colony but 200-700 mounds per acre. Queens can produce approximately 1,500 eggs per day. The larvae mature into workers in 22-38 days. Minor workers live 30-60 days, intermediate workers 60-90 days, and major workers 90-180 days. Queens live from two to six years. Males die shortly after swarming. Six to eight swarms occur each year and typically contain 4,500 swarmers. Other species have different biological characteristics.
They are attracted to electrical junction boxes, such as air conditioners and traffic signals. When nesting in the soil, they build large, unsightly mounds which are a detriment to cultivation of fields. Some species of fire ants nest in typical ant habitats, such as under stones, landscape timbers, in voids and around foundations.
These ants, and especially the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, have tremendously large colonies that can severely injure crops, lawns, young birds, and people. Fire ants prefer high protein foods but will feed on practically everything, including other insects, honeydew, seeds, fruit juices, nectar, plants, nuts, cereals, butter, grease, and meats. They also gnaw on electrical wiring and clothing, especially if it is soiled.
Nests often require several treatments, especially if they are large and well established. Direct mound injection and drenches can be used successfully to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the colony.
 
ARGENTINE ANT
Argentine ant workers are 1/16-inch long and light to dark brown, the queens are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long, brown, and covered with fine hair. Males are slightly smaller and a shiny brown-black. These ants lack spines on the thorax which is unevenly rounded when viewed from the side, have a single node on the petiole, and do not have a circle of hairs at the tip of the abdomen. The eyes are located very close to the base of the antennae and appear to be looking forward.
Colonies consist of several hundred to several thousand workers and several queens. They are located in moist areas near a food source. Developmental time (egg to adult) is 33-141 days and averages 74 days. Swarmers are rarely seen because mating occurs inside the nest.
Argentine ants are found throughout the southern United States and California. They typically live in nests outdoors near a food source but become major pests when they forage indoors for food. Overwintering nests are large, may have several queens, and are found deep in the soil and in buildings near heat sources. In the spring, these nests disperse with smaller colonies developing in moist soil, in trees, and under stones and concrete slabs.
The colonies are mobile, relocating to more acceptable nesting locations whenever necessary. In the fall, the colonies congregate in communal overwintering sites. Ant numbers decrease somewhat during this period.
Argentine ants are very aggressive and eliminate other ant species in the area they colonize. They attack, destroy, and eat other household pests, such as cockroaches. They prefer sweets, often tending aphids or scale insects on plants, and use them as a source of honey dew.
Control is often very difficult because the colonies are dispersed. However, the workers are very good at finding sweets in homes and in establishing trails which can be used to find the nests. They are attracted to and feed on sweet and protein-based baits.

CRAZY ANT
Crazy ant workers are light brown to black with a gray sheen and 1/16- to 1/8-inch long. The thorax has no spines and the petiole has one segment. The distinguishing characteristics of this species are their extremely long legs and the first segment of the antenna which is twice as long as the head. The tip of the abdomen has a circle of tiny hairs.
The size of colonies tends to be small, containing less than 2,000 workers. A colony of this size may have eight to 40 queens. Occasionally they completely abandon a nesting site and relocate to another.
Crazy ants often nest outdoors in soil under objects such as trash, refuse, mulch and stones, and in potted plants and cavities in trees and plants. In structures, they nest in wall and floor voids, especially near hot water pipes and heaters.
Their common name relates to their erratic running about in their search for food. They do travel in well established trails, foraging as much as 100 feet from their nest. They feed on honeydew produced by aphids and other plant feeders, seeds, fruit, insects, and almost any household food products. They frequently enter structures in the fall or after a rain because both conditions reduce the availability of honeydew outdoors.

                        smokeybrown cockroach
ROACHES    smokeybrown cockroachsmokeybrown cockroach

Cockroaches are the most common structural pest in the United States.  Cockroaches are loathed by most people, and rightfully so, considering their filthy living habits, their association with numerous disease-causing organisms, and their ability to cause asthma.
For the most part, cockroaches prefer to live in habitats which result from poor sanitation and where there is a significant accumulation of decaying organic matter, clutter, and moisture.
Cockroaches have been associated with at least a couple hundred disease causing organisms, e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, roundworms, etc.  It is believed that they readily transport disease-causing organisms by walking and feeding on infected materials and contaminate clean surfaces and food by walking, feeding, and discharging body waste and fluids on these uninfected materials.
At last count (1992), there were 69 species of cockroaches in the United States. Fortunately most live outdoors and rarely are encountered by humans. The following article describes the five common species of peridomestic cockroaches, i.e., those species living in close association with humans and their structures.
• Most species avoid light; during the day or while the lights are on, they are found hiding in protected areas such as, cracks and crevices, inside cabinets, among clutter, etc. Smokybrown and Asian cockroaches are two of the few species that are attracted to light.
• Cockroaches run for cover when someone walks into a room because they are very sensitive to air movement, not because the light was turned on.
• Some species fly (e.g., American, smokybrown, and brown-banded) while others can not (e.g., German and Oriental).
• Cockroaches typically are gregarious, i.e., they like to live in groups; however, they are not social insects such as termites, ants, and bees.
• Cockroaches prefer tight spaces and to be in contact with surfaces. They tend to follow along edges and lines, such as the corners of cabinets and walls, the back of counters, etc.
• Except for the brown-banded cockroach, which prefers drier areas, cockroaches prefer moist environments and feed on almost every type of decaying organic matter.
How Do Cockroaches Get Inside the Structure?
• Brought in with groceries, particularly in grocery bags, onions, potatoes, bananas, and other foods and containers.
• Brought in on infested equipment such as refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, and other appliances which may have been sent in for repair.
• Imported into the home or vice versa from an infested work site.
• Migrate from an infested area, such as an infested apartment with common walls, pipes and electrical chases.
• Migrate in or fly in from outdoor breeding sites.
• Enter through infested drains and sewers.

Common Roaches 
      
AMERICAN COCKROACHES                                                                            
American cockroaches are 1 3/8 to 2 1/8 inches long when mature, red-brown in color, and the pronotum has a dirty-yellow band around its edge. American cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant in sewers and commercial facilities, e.g., groceries, prisons, restaurants, hospitals, and office and apartment buildings. They prefer to inhabit warm, damp locations, e.g., steam tunnels and boiler rooms. In the summer large numbers accumulate in outdoor locations, e.g., in dumps, alleys, and yards, and in the fall, migrate into surrounding structures.
                                                                                                          Brown-banded cockroaches are about 1/2-inch long when mature, light brown to brown in color, and have two light yellow-brown bands running across their wings. The pronotum has a dark brown area that is shaped like a liberty bell. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer a warmer and drier environment than do German cockroaches. Thus, they are not nearly so common in houses. They are found throughout structures, preferring hiding places up off the floor, e.g., behind crown molding, pictures, tapestries and other wall hangings, and in closets, furniture, appliances, computers, and telephones.
                                                                        
GERMAN COCKROACHES    
German cockroaches are 1/2- to 5/8-inches long when mature, light brown to tan in color, and the pronotum (i.e., shield-like segment behind the head) has two dark parallel bars on it. German cockroaches are the most common household insect in the United States. This pest typically infests kitchens and bathrooms but will live anywhere inside heated structures in which there is food, water, and harborage. They rarely are found outdoors and then only during warm weather

ORIENTAL COCKROACHES                                                                           
Oriental cockroaches are about 1 inch long when mature, dark brown in color.  Also known as “water bugs or black beetles.” More sluggish than other species, gives off a distinctly unpleasant odor. Oriental cockroaches are Common outdoors; often enters buildings through sewer pipes. Tends to live near the ground and in warm, damp areas. This pest typically eats anything, but often found feeding on garbage, sewage and decaying organic matter. Seems to prefer starches, if available. Egg capsules contain 16 eggs. Females will produce an average of eight capsules. Nymphs go through seven molts before becoming adults in about a year. Adults can live up to six months.

SMOKEYBROWN COCKROACHES                                                                          
Smokeybrown cockroaches are between 1-2 inches long. They are uniform brownish black to mahogany in color. Very common in Southeastern states. Early nymphs have white stripe on back. Egg capsules are attached to surfaces. Smokeybrown cockroaches prefers damp areas because they lose moisture more readily than other cockroaches. Enter structures at night through cracks and crevices. Live in natural conditions around structures. Often can be associated with debris filled gutters. They are scavengers and eat almost anything.  Has shown a marked attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially beer. Female needs to mate only once to produce many egg capsules. Each capsule contains an average 20 eggs. Nymphs molt several times in about 600 days before reaching maturity. Adult can live about six months.

MADAGASCAR HISSING COCKROACHES                                                                                
Madagascar Hissing cockroaches are up to three inches in length, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is one of the largest cockroach species and lives on forest floors and beneath rotten logs. Madagascar hissing cockroaches feed on fallen fruit and decaying organic matter and can live as long as five years.  Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss when disturbed or alarmed. They produce this sound by expelling air though slits in the abdomen.  The Madagascar hissing cockroach differs from other cockroach species in that it possesses horns and is wingless. The female Madagascar hissing cockroach is also ovoviparous, giving birth to live young rather than laying an ootheca. Females can produce as many as 60 nymphs.  Males of this species have larger horns and hairier antennae than females. They are also extremely aggressive and are commonly seen fighting.

AsIAN COCKROACHES                                                                           
Asian cockroaches are about ½" long. They are light brown and have two parallel lines behind their head on the pronotum and appear similar to German cockroaches. Asian cockroach has longer, narrower wings than its German counterpart and is typically lighter in coloration. Asian cockroaches are capable flyers, while German cockroaches are not. Asian cockroaches also live primarily outdoors, while German cockroaches tend to infest human dwellings. They have been known to carry germs carriers of germ and can spread diseases to humans. Asian cockroaches are prolific breeders and reach peak populations in spring. Asian cockroaches are typically located in shaded, moist areas. While they are more likely to infest outdoor areas, they do sometimes enter homes. Asian cockroaches are most active at dusk and fly long distances toward sources of light. You may see an Asian cockroach attracted to your television screen or perched near lamps and other sources of illumination.

GREEN COCKROACHES                                                                      
Green cockroaches are approximately 3/4-inch in length and relatively slender. Also known as the Cuban cockroach, green cockroaches are a tropical species found extensively in Latin America and the humid Southeastern United States. Green cockroaches have wings and are good flyers, capable of traveling long distances for food. Green cockroaches feed on sugary organic matter such as fruits and spilled soda. Adults are pale green in color and young insects are dull brown to black. Primarily found outside, this species is nocturnal and may be attracted at night to light from human dwellings. Green cockroaches do not breed inside and typically only infest homes in summer when windows and doors are left open.


SILVERFISH   silverfish


SILVERFISH
White to brown-grey or bluish-silver in color, silverfish are teardrop-shaped insects that measure up to one inch in length. Three long bristles on rear.  Grow from egg to adult without visible change in appearance. Silverfish feed on carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches. Cellulose, shampoos, glue in books, linen, silk and dead insects may be food sources.  Some experts classify silverfish as most destructive pest of stored food.  Have been found in un-opened food packages. Females lay clusters of up to 50 eggs.

 

 

SPIDERSspiders


POISIONOUS SPIDERS

 
BROWN RECLUSE SPIDERS
Long-legged and yellow-tan in color, brown recluse spiders of both genders are best distinguished by a fiddle-shaped pattern close to the eyes. Adults measure approximately ½-inch in length. Brown recluse spiders dwell in dark, sheltered places and can be found in homes, barns and basements, as well as outdoor habitats. Webs tend to appear disorganized and are built most commonly near ground level. The spider is a hunter, so the web is not intended to catch prey. The brown recluse is throughout the American Midwest and South. Brown recluse spiders are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. They are incapable of biting through clothing and bites sometimes go unnoticed until effects become obvious a few hours later. A pale blister ringed in red appears first. Fever, convulsions, nausea and weakness set in within one day. If untreated, the early blister may become a lesion, resulting in necrosis and severe nerve damage.

BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS
Black widows are identified by red hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens. Black widows are shiny black in color. Females are larger than males and can measure up to 10 millimeters in length. Black widow spiders favor dark, secluded areas such as crevices and woodpiles. There are two species that are primarily found in Florida. These are the "red widow" or Latrodectus bishopi and the "brown widow" or Latrodectus geometricus.
Although black widow spiders are named for the female's propensity to kill the male after mating, this behavior rarely occurs outside of captivity. In laboratories and cages, females and males are kept in extremely close proximity. In natural conditions, males almost always successfully elude females after mating.
Male black widow spiders are considered innocuous, as their venomous organs are not used after they reach maturity. However, females are capable of injecting venom. In extreme cases, the venom of the black widow spider severely weakens the nerves and the brain, leading to impaired breathing, body aches and nausea. Death is more likely in very young or old individuals.


NON POISIONOUS SPIDERS


HOUSE SPIDERS

House spiders are the most frequently found in human dwelling places. Although their presence is discomforting, house spiders are not necessarily lethal to humans. Small, controlled populations can even prove useful, as they consume other unwanted household pests. Several species are considered house spiders. Some of the more prevalent house spider species include the common house spider, the domestic house spider, the aggressive house spider and the brown house spider. House spider webs are typically funnel-shaped and can be located in various places within a home, including windows, ceiling corners and above or beneath fixtures. House spider webs are large and constructed of thin silk threads. They serve both as dwelling places and as traps for prey.

WOLF SPIDERS
Wolf spiders are hairy arachnids that can grow up to five inches in leg span. Quick moving and relatively large in size, wolf spiders inspire fear when they are found within human dwellings. Wolf spiders are also sometimes confused for tarantulas. However, occurrences of wolf spider bites are extremely rare and are not known to be deadly. Most species are burrowers that live underground, although some specimens can be seen traveling aboveground in leaf litter, on lawns and in gardens

Also a less hairy version is the Brown Wolf Spiders are the most common of wolf spider species and are often mistaken for brown recluses. However, the bite of a brown wolf spider is relatively harmless, while that of the brown recluse can be dangerous.
While they rarely bite, it is best to approach brown wolf spiders with caution. They are known to attack when threatened. However, despite its fast movements and frightening appearance, the brown wolf spider's bite causes only mild effects, including swelling, itching and localized pain. Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to brown wolf spider venom and should immediately seek medical attention.

GARDEN SPIDERS
Garden spiders are common in Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as in the United States and Canada. As their name suggests, they are found outdoors and in gardens. Garden spiders also sometimes called “fruit spiders” are not aggressive and are more likely to retreat from than attack humans. However, in cases of extreme provocation, garden spiders may bite. Their bites are usually harmless to humans.
However some people do have allergic reactions that may require the attention of a physician. Garden spiders are known as orb weavers due to their orb-shaped, delicate webs. The webs of garden spiders are notoriously strong and quite large reaching up to three feet in diameter.

 JUMPING SPIDERS
Over 300 species exist within North America.  Jumping spiders tend to exhibit dull coloration, although the bodies of some males may glisten. Jumping spiders are known for their swift reflexes and leaping abilities. These spiders are capable of leaping as high as 25 times their own size and as such, are extremely capable predators. Jumping spiders also possess impressive eyesight.
Although jumping spiders are not web-weaving arachnids, they do produce silk. Their silk is used to mark retreats and to protect eggs. Silk may also function as a dragline while jumping, allowing jumping spiders to control their fall and trace their steps.