Ants:

  • More than 20 varieties of ants invade homes throughout the United States 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. 
  • Fire ants are vicious, unrelenting predators with a powerful, painful sting. 
  • At least 32 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to severe allergic reactions to fire ant stings. 
  • Millions of dollars are spent each year eradicating fire ants alone. 
  • 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. 

Termites:

  • Cause serious damage to structures often long before they are discovered – more than $5 billion in property damage a year to over 600,000 homes in the U.S.
  • Feed on books, papers or anything containing cellulose.
  • Favor warmer climates and actively avoid light.
  • Live in underground colonies – some containing over two million members.
  • In a larger nest, a queen and king may live for 15 years, with the queen laying up to one egg every 15 seconds for most of her life.

Fleas:

  • More than 2,400 species exist worldwide.
  • Attracted to animals by body heat, movement and the carbon dioxide that animals exhale.
  • Adults feed on blood; larvae feed on organic debris.
  • Found on cats and dogs year-round, but most common during warm and humid weather.
  • Life span on dogs is typically more than 100 days – enough time for a pair of fleas and their descendants to produce millions of offspring. Under ideal conditions, assuming no mortality, a pair of fleas has the potential to produce more than 20 trillion descendants in one year.
  • Found on opossums, rats, other rodents and humans. 
  • Can transmit tapeworms from dogs and rodents to other animals and humans.
  • Can jump up to 150 times the length of their body.
  • Transmit several major human diseases including plague, murine typhus, Bartonellosis and tapeworms.

Carpenter Ants:

  • Size ranges from one-fourth inch for a worker ant to up to three-fourths inch for a queen in the most common species.
  • May range from red to black in color.
  • Build nests in deteriorating, moist wood; often the colony will extend its nest into adjacent, sound wood.
  • Are commonly found in porch pillars and roofs, window sills, telephone poles, live and dead trees, rotting logs and stumps and wood in contact with soil. 
  • Do not actually eat the wood removed during nest-building activities; rather, deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles.

Mosquitoes:

  • Can transmit West Nile encephalitis, a sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain. 
  • Acquire the West Nile Virus from infected birds.
  • Breed in stagnant or putrid water. Mosquitoes are unlikely to breed in clear, clean water such as a well maintained swimming pool.
  • Are effectively repelled by products containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). 

Silverfish:

  • Can be found in homes and buildings throughout the United States. 
  • Are small, silver-scaled insects, about one-half inch in length with two long antennae projecting from the front of the insect and three bristly antenna-like appendages projecting from the rear.
  • Live two to 3.5 years.
  • Prefer dark, warm, moist areas such as attics, closets, baseboards and around bathroom fixtures. 
  • Feed on carbohydrates and proteins contained in flour, starch, cereal, paper, drywall and natural fiber clothing (cotton and linen). 
  • Cause damage to books, wallpaper, flooring and clothing. Signs of silverfish damage include uneven holes in paper and small yellow stains on fabrics.

Carpenter Bee's:

  • Resemble bumblebees, but the top of the carpenter bee’s abdomen is hairless, often shiny, black, and has no yellow stripe. 
  • Are about one inch in length. 
  • Bore into dried, seasoned and untreated wood surfaces, preferring softwoods such as cedar, redwood, cypress, pine and fir. 
  • Males are noted for aggressive behavior and a white spot on their face. They are harmless, however, and do not possess stingers; females have stingers but are generally docile. 
  • Nest in nail holes, exposed saw cuts and unpainted wood.
  • Leave sawdust piles near perfectly round tunnels in wood; often these sawdust piles are accompanied by defecation stains. 
  • Usually emerge from the nest in spring.
  • Are commonly found in porch and shed ceilings, railings, overhead trim, wooden porch furniture, dead tree limbs, fence posts, wooden shingles, wooden siding, window sills and wooden doors; prefer wood that is at least two inches thick. 

Skunks:

  • Are the major carriers of rabies in many parts of North America.
  • Can reach lengths of 2.5 feet long and weigh between one and two pounds.
  • Are active and feed during night hours.
  • Generally only spray as a last resort in self defense.

Squirrels:

  • Often take up residence in attics or garage ceilings.
  • Choose homes for nest building based on availability of feeding sources.
  • Can chew through many structural materials.
  • Are generally unaffected by repellents.
  • Common enter the home via broken screens, roof tiles and gaps.

Creepy Crawler Facts:

No other group of land animals has more members than the class Insecta. More than 900,000 species exist and additional species are identified every day. Following are facts about some insects that are most commonly found in the home.

Bed Bugs:

Bed Bugs get their name because they like to live and feed in beds.

Habits:
Bed Bugs like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, even wall paper. They come out at night for a blood meal.


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

Prevention:
Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation. Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots. Bed Bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation.

Cockroaches:

  • One of the oldest insects – fossil remains date back 200 million years.
  • Crawl around on six legs, have wings and two antennae.
  • Like dark, damp places with a plentiful food supply; hide during the day in warm, dark places, such as under sinks, behind dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators, and inside cupboards.
  • Feed on a variety of foods, especially starchy and sugary materials, including book bindings, photographic film, linens, leather goods and numerous food items; usually forage at night.
  • Can survive a month or more without food, but less than two weeks without water.
  • Have an acrid odor that may permeate items with which they come in contact.
  • Can transmit bacteria and organisms responsible for diseases in humans including food poisoning, cholera, dysentery, salmonellosis and strep. 
  • A study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a report in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that exposure to cockroach allergens is a major health concern for asthmatic children. 
  • Under optimum conditions, cockroaches can produce two million offspring in one year, with an average breeding season resulting in 350,000 offspring.
  • Found around the world. Two species are prevalent in the United States, the American cockroach and the German cockroach.
  • The American cockroach has reddish-brown wings and light markings on its thorax and reaches lengths of up to 1.5 inches.
  • The German cockroach is between one-half and five-eighths inches long and is light brown with two dark stripes down its back.

Powder Post Beatles:

  • 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.

Fire Ants:

  • Three species are common to the Southern US: the red imported fire ant, the imported fire ant, and southern fire ants. 
  • Pose a significant health threat due to their stings.
  • Can be lethal to quail, deer, lizards, songbirds, horn toads and a small portion of the population who experience severe allergic reactions.
  • Infest wall voids, bath traps, shower stalls, and hot water heater walls.
  • Have been spreading Northward, Westward, and Southward since the 1950s.
  • Are sensitive to vibration or movement. Fire ants can swarm up a person's leg and when one ant stings that person jerks or moves. This triggers many of the other ants to sting in response. Thus, it appears they all sting at the same time.

Flies:

  • 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.

Clothes Moths:

  • Two species commonly infest homes – case making moths and webbing moths. 
  • Attack clothing, blankets, comforters, rugs, carpets, draperies, pillows, mattresses, brushes, upholstery, furs, piano felts and wool mixed with synthetic fibers.
  • Infest homes by finding their way into woolens improperly stored in dark places and left undisturbed for long periods of time.
  • Deposit soft white eggs in clothing and household furnishings. A single female is capable of depositing from 100 to 300 eggs.

Rats:

  • Various species are problematic in the U.S., mainly the Norway rat and roof rat.
  • Bite more than 45,000 people each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
  • Can burrow three feet straight into the ground, chew through building materials such as glass, cinder block, wire, aluminum and lead, and can climb inside pipes with diameters between one-half and four inches.
  • Primarily rely on smell, taste, touch and hearing.
  • Eat and urinate on human and animal food.
  • Support many ectoparasites.

Mice:

  • A female house mouse gives birth to a litter of approximately six mice about 19 days after mating and is capable of mating again in two days.
  • Can produce six to 10 litters a year.
  • Are able to mate two months after birth.
  • Can produce 2,500 heirs in six months, with ideal conditions and no mortality.
  • Establish a nesting site near sources of food and feed 15 to 20 times a day.

Raccoons:

  • Often establish dens in chimneys when their den trees are destroyed.
  • Can easily maneuver past a flimsy or poorly installed chimney cap.
  • Are very protective of their young and will tear apart a roof if one of her youngsters is trapped inside.
  • Will seek shelter under porches or decks.
  • Are only dangerous when provoked, trapped or rabid.
  • Are major carriers of rabies in Eastern and Northeastern U.S.

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