Everything you need to know about pests ... and then some.
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1 to 5 mg
7 years (worker); 15 years (queen)
Ants are eusocial insects of the order Hymenoptera and the family Formicidae. They are extremely widespread and comprised of over 13,000 species worldwide. Renowned for their physical strength (ability to lift more 20 times their body mass) and complex social behavior, they are some of the most successful insects on the planet.
Ants occupy a wide array of environments across every continent except Antarctica. They have evolved to exploit virtually every type of habitat, whether natural (logs, soil, and trees) or man-made (pavement, houses, and facilities) which is part of the reason why they are such successful and frequent pests.
Because of their eusocial nature, ant behavior is highly specialized. Worker ants are exclusively sterile females whose job is to forage for food, defend the nest, and intercept enemies. Male ants and queen ants are the only type of ants that have wings, this is so that they can find new nesting sites. Winged ants' only function is reproduction, after mating with a queen a male ant dies shortly thereafter. The fertilized queen starts a new nest, in most cases, and spends the rest of her life laying eggs.
Worker ants can be a great source of annoyance for people as they can raid pantries, accumulate in great numbers on spilled food or liquids, and some species, such as carpenter ants, can cause structural damage to property. Ants can also bite using their large mandibles and some species deliver painful stings when they bite by injecting formic acid or damaging protein strands into the wounds they cause.
The best possible prevention from ant infestation is to store all food securely and in such a way that it cannot be compromised by foraging workers. Also, be sure to toss away overripe fruits as the sweet aroma is almost irresistable to nearby ants. Checking your property for entry points and sealing them can also go a long way towards preventing an infestation.
If you suspect you have an ant problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 12,000 individual species of ant.
28 - 33 cm
11 - 25 g
18 - 20 years
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. They are the only mammal naturally capable of sustained flight and their wings are actually a set of webbed hands. There are two major categories of bats, megabats and microbats. Megabats are large frugivores, while microbats, the kind that live in the United States, are largely insectivores. These bats play an important role in controlling insect populations, however, there are also bats that are carnivores and feed on smaller mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians; some species also consume nectar and help pollinate flowers and there is one species, the vampire bats, that feed exclusively on blood.
Bats have a large, but highly dispersed population. The larger megabats typically live in tropical and subtropical climates, whereas microbats can live in a much wider variety of habitats and occupy every continent except Antarctica. The brown bats (big and little), are the most common species in the United States and typically lives close to human beings and many times nest in homes and buildings.
Bats are almost exclusively nocturnal feeders, therefore, instead of sight most species of bats (such as the brown bats) use echolocation to see. Megabats, conversely, do not use echolocation as the trait has been lost through evolution and is unnecessary for their fruit based diet.
During winters some species of bat migrate to warmer climates while some others hibernate. Some species go into torpor, a sort of regulated hypothermia that can last variably from hours to months.
Bats are notorious for harboring diseases, which has caused them to be greatly stigmatized throughout human history. Bats are typically depicted in popular culture as a sign of pestilence or evil, however they are quite misunderstood. While it is true that some bats carry rabies, bites are rare as they usually prefer to flee rather than to act with aggression toward larger animals.
Bats should never be allowed to nest in your home or office building because of the inherent risk of bites. Many people attempt to "bat-proof" their homes themselves; you can do this by attempting to find and seal entry points, using moth balls as repellants, and other techniques. This, however, is usually not a good idea and increases the risk of being bitten. The best course of action is to contact a professional pest control service to analyze your problem and draft an effective solution.
If you suspect you have a bat problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 12,000 individual species of bats, making them the second largest order of mammals next to rodents.
6 - 12 months
7 - 14 days
Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects of the Cimicidae family. They get their name because of their tendency to infest the beds of human hosts, however, they do not discriminate, they will nest wherever the feeding is good, including headboards, couches, chairs, and other furniture. Bed bugs, like other cimicids, feed exclusively on the blood of warm blooded animals
Although it is true that they primarily nest in beds of human hosts, they also nest other types of material that has frequent human contact, like carpet, luggage and backpacks, clothing, and even airplanes.
Typically, bed bugs prefer to feed at night, when they can more easily go undetected. During the day they usually hide in the cracks and crevices of their nesting area, although they have also been known to feed during the day if a host is present. Bed bugs can drink blood from any warm blooded animal but they much prefer to dine on human blood, mostly because human skin is relatively exposed compared to other animals that are covered with fur. Bed bugs bodies are flat until they feed,
Bed bugs live in large groups consisting of dozens of adults and juveniles, and all bed bugs at every stage of growth, except for eggs, will feed on blood. Bed bugs mate by way of traumatic insemination and females lay between 1-5 eggs per day, continuously, and usually an average of 500 over the course of their lifetime.
The common bed bug has been a part of human history for more than 3,000 years. It has migrated with human beings in virtually every established society ever since. These parasites feed almost exclusively on human blood and as such have frequently been assumed to be vectors for diseases, however, it is disputed whether or not they have the capacity to transmit infections.
When bed bugs bite you probably won't feel it, it is key to the bed bug's survival to feed with stealth. To prevent you from noticing them they inject a numbing agent on the bite surface and an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing freely as they suck. Bedbug bites usually leave itchy, red bites on the skin, they usually appear on the arms or shoulders but they will feed on any area of skin that's exposed. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.
Bed bugs are extremely difficult pests to get rid of. If you do not already have an existing problem, the best thing that you can do is work towards prevention by using the following steps.
If you suspect you have a bed bug problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
The common bed bug is the only species of cimicid that prefers human blood.
Bees are flying insects of the order Hymenoptera and the clade Anthophila. They are extremely widespread and comprised of over 20,000 species. Bees are known for primarily for their ecological niches of pollinating flowers and producing honey as well as for the ability of some species to deliver powerful and painful stings.
Bees have an extremely broad and diverse distribution of habitat, they are known to live on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica and to thrive in a variety of climates as well, with many species able to survive brutal winters inside of their hives.
Many species of bees, such as honey bees and bumblebees, are eusocial and have a queen bee that lives for much longer than its workers and lays eggs continuously. These "social bees" have strong instincts to attack perceived threats to their hive and will sting rapidly if so provoked, one bee stinging releases pheromones that cue other attacks by nearby bees. Although it is generally assumed that all bees die after stinging, that is not true, as this only happens with honey bees. Honey bees are unable to pull the stinger from your skin after stinging and instead pull out their own abdomen. Other species of bee can sting repeatedly.
There are also solitary bees, such as carpenter bees, these bees don't live in colonies or necessarily cooperate for survival, however some species do nest close to each other. In lieu of hives, solitary bees make nests in the ground or in wood, causes them to be much more likely to be pests. Solitary bees, such as the carpenter bee typically have males that are extremely aggressive, however they are much less dangerous than other bees because they don't have stingers. Females can sting, but usually will not sting unless trapped in the hand or cornered.
Bees play an important role in human society, not only do they pollinate a large percentage of the world's flowers, but they also are the sole producer of some of humanity's most cherished commodities, honey and beeswax. This relationship, however, is not completely harmonious as bees are extremely notorious for delivering painful stings to humans. Although it is rare, bee stings can be fatal in sufficient numbers or if the person has an allergy.
Occasionally bees my nest in or around your home or business. To make this less likely, try using the the following steps.
If you suspect you have a bee problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 20,000 species of bees.
10 - 14 days
Boxelder bugs are a species of true bug native to North America. They prefer to congregate and feed on boxelder trees. They are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "stinkbugs" but although they are not true stinkbugs they do release a pungent scent and foul taste when consumed to discourage would-be predators.
Boxelder bugs are found all throughout North America wherever their preferred food of boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees are found. They are often found in large congregations on trees, and on or near homes and buildings.
Boxelder bugs reside in large groups. They are known to be semi-social because these groups have no real structure and are a random cluster of individuals. The groups tend to stay together through winters and hibernate together anywhere where they can find dry shelter. When the temperature rises the following spring, they become active and look for food. They feed constantly throughout the spring and summer and prefer to aggregate in warm areas, usually in the sun. Boxelder bugs often fly onto host trees to mate or lay eggs.
Boxelder bugs will sometimes invade homes or buildings, and they do so in large numbers. They are not especially harmful to property, however, their excrement has been known to stain walls, curtains, or other indoor surfaces. Boxelder bugs may occasionally bite humans, however, the bites are not poisonous or particularly painful.
Occasionally, boxelder bugs may cluster in or around your home or business. To make this less likely, try using the the following steps.
If you suspect you have a boxelder bug problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 20,000 species of boxelders.
2 - 5 g
Earwigs are nocturnal insects of the order Dermaptera they are known for their unique pair of cerci, the pincers that protrude from the rear of their thorax. They are named after the myth that they burrow into the ear, however this is not actually true.
Earwigs live on every continent except Antarctica and their geographic range is actually expanding every year. They can usually be found in the spring and summer hiding under debris, compost or in or around trees. They can easily gain access to homes or office buildings through tiny cracks in the walls.
Earwigs are nocturnal and they usually hide during daylight in places such as debris piles, potted plants, and under rocks, stones and other similar places. After dark, they emerge to prey on smaller insects or feed on compost materials. Earwigs are one of the few species of insects where the female cares for the young after they hatch.
A common misconception about earwigs is that they crawl into the ear canal of people, this is a myth. It's thought that their name is actually inspired by the appearance of their forceps which are shaped like a human ear. Earwigs may usually nest in ground level burrows, however they can occasionally infest homes, and may swell to large numbers if left unbothered.
Occasionally, earwigs may be found in or around your home or business. To make this less likely, try using the the following steps.
There are over 2,000 species of earwigs.
Fleas are hematophagic insects that form the order Siphonaptera. They have no wings and are equipped with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas are external parasites, living off the blood of mammals and birds.
Fleas are located on every continent in the world except Africa. They are usually found on the body of their host when they need to feed. Although certain species prefer specific hosts, almost any flea will feed on an array of hosts including humans. When not feeding, fleas can typically be found in the nests of host animals or virtually anywhere in a human home. Eggs and immature fleas are also usually found either on the host or in the host's nesting after falling off.
Fleas are astonishing jumpers. They are able to jump up to 100 times their height and use this ability to execute escapes or to lodge onto a host. Their legs contain a highly elastic protein called resilin which acts as a spring board allowing them to launch their amazing leaps. Fleas usually dislodge from their host after feeding and lay in wait in the hosts immediate rest area.
Fleas have been known to spread a variety of human diseases, including: plague, ricketts, cat-scratch fever, and typhus, flea bites are red to reddish-brown, slightly raised, often grouped together and cause intense itching. Flea saliva can be an allergen to humans and pets and their bites can also transfer tapeworms. Flea infestations are among the most difficult to eliminate.
A flea infestation can be devastating to humans and pets alike. Removal can be a grueling process, even for professionals, therefore, prevention is key. Try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a flea problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 2,000 species of fleas.
6 - 14 mm
Flies are insects of the order Diptera. They are also known as the "true flies." Flies are known for their fondness of what humans know to be waste products, including rotting fruits, feces, and garbage. Flies can only feed on liquids but their powerful saliva can liquefy many dry foods and make them fit for consumption.
Flies live on every non-arctic continent. They are some of the most widespread insects in the world. They typically nest in rotting materials such as plants or flesh. They can also be found in and around garbage cans, debris, and around sugary spills.
Flies actually taste objects with their feet, which are more than 10 million times more sensitive to sweetness than the human tongue. They reproduce rapidly with some species laying more than 500 eggs in their lifetime. Some species, such as flesh flies, however, do not lay eggs at all and instead give birth to live maggots.
Flies serve a very important function in the world's ecosystems by removing waste materials and helping to decompose dead carcasses. However, because of the nature of their diet, flies can carry lots of diseases including: typhoid fever, amoebic and bacillary dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, pinworm, tapeworm, hookworms and even pinkeye.
To prevent developing a fly problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a fly problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 120,000 species of flies.
12.7 - 15.8 mm
100 - 200 days
Cockroaches are omnivorous insects of the order Blattaria. There are over 4,500 species of cockroaches but only four of them are known to frequently be pests. Cockroaches are extremely resilient and their broad range and diet has made them one of the most widespread pest in human history.
The vast majority of cockroach species live and thrive in tropical climates, however, the species known as pests can survive quite well in virtually any climate, except the arctic. In human homes they can usually be found around sources of food or moisture such as kitchens or bathrooms; they also tend to nest and congregate inside of walls, garbage, and detritus.
Cockroaches usually live in large groups in warm moist areas (such as bathrooms and kitchens). Both nymphs and adults are very active and tend to be most active at night. Although members of the same colony forage in similiar areas, they scarcely directly compete for food. German cockroaches are terrestrial and adapted for running. Although they have wings, they cannot fly.
Cockroaches crawl through dirty areas collecting and tracking bacteria and other germs throughout homes. They can contaminate food by shedding their skins, these dead skins and waste byproducts can cause severe allergic reactions, asthma and other illnesses, particularly in children.
Cockroach populations can quickly swell into the thousands an few intruders can quickly become a full blown infestation.Try to prevent infestations by using the following steps.
If you suspect you have a cockroach problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 4,500 species of cockroaches but only about 30 live near humans.
3 - 7 mm
2 - 5 mg
Mosquitoes are parasitic flying insects of the order Culinex. They are notorious as summer pests with an inclination
Not all mosquitoes bite. Only female mosquitoes take blood meals. This is because they need the protein in blood, composed of amino acids, to develop eggs. Some female mosquitoes require a blood meal to reproduce the first time. All female mosquitoes require a blood meal to reproduce a second time. Mosquitos reproduce exclusively by laying eggs in standing water.
Mosquitoes spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria and dengue fever.
If you suspect you have a mosquito problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 120,000 species of mosquitoes.
Moths are flying, primarily nocturnal insects belonging to the order Lepidoptera.
Attracted to the light, these bugs are found in bright places where food is stored like restaurants and grocery stores.
Moths frequently appear to circle artificial lights, although the reason for this behavior remains unknown. One hypothesis to explain this behavior is that moths use a technique of celestial navigation called transverse orientation.
Moths have been known to cause damage to clothes, carpeting, crops, and stored food. Their tendency to be drawn to light makes them a typical pest in homes because of artifical lighting.
To prevent developing a moth problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a moth problem contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 120,000 species of moths.
7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in)
1.5 to 3 years
Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, they are characterized by their distinctive frontal incisors that grow perpetually. With over 2,000 species, rodents are the largest order of mammals on Earth. Of rodents, rats and mice are by far the most common household pests.
There are many differences between mice and rats, primarily their size (with rats being several times larger than mice), and their behavior (mice are extremely curious whereas rats are extremely cautious). However, both pests can be not only a nuisance but also a health risk, as they can contaminate food and be vectors for disease.
Mice and rats prefer to dwell in warm, dark, areas and tend to burrow close to sources of food or water. Throughout the world these animals have a highly diverse habitat and a wide distribution across all the major continents.
Mice and rats tend to be very social animals arranging themselves into large communities and reproducing throughout the year. Mice tend to be much more curious than rats, readily investigating new objects, which is why traps tend to be very effective against them. Rats, however, are much more cautious and will avoid unfamiliar objects, making the prospect of trapping them much more difficult.
Mice and rats usually live in proximity to humans, in or around houses or fields. Originally native to Asia, they have since been spread to all parts of the globe by humans.
Mice and rats can damage property and contaminate foods as well as being a vector for disease. They frequently leave droppings and these droppings can contain large amounts of bacteria and toxins. Rats and mice rarely bite, however if they do the bite can be severe and potentially life threatening if the mouse or rat is carrying any diseases.
To prevent developing a mice or rat problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with mice or rats contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 2,000 species of rodents.
14 - 37 in
1.8 – 14 lbs
11 - 14 days
Opossums are the only marsupial found in North America. They live in many parts of the U.S., with the exception of the Rockies, western plains and parts of the northern U.S. Opossums usually live alone and are only active at night.
Opossums prefer environments near streams or swamps, but can live in diverse areas, ranging from arid to moist, wooded to open fields. They take shelter in burrows of other animals, tree cavities and brush piles.
Opossums usually have two to three litters per year, with an average of seven young in each litter. Like other marsupials, the young spend their first several weeks of life in their mother's pouch. Opossums generally eat fruit, grains and insects, but will also eat out of compost piles, garbage cans and pet food dishes if they can get access.
Opossums sometimes den in attics and garages where they may make a messy nest. They can also destroy poultry, game birds and their nests. When startled, opossums can bare their sharp teeth and hiss, and in rare cases may bite if they feel threatened.
To prevent an opposums problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with opossums contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 65 species of species of opossum.
2 - 3 ft
7.7 – 20 lbs
2 - 3 years
63 – 65 days
Raccoons can be found throughout the U.S., but are more common in the wooded eastern portions of the country than in the more arid western plains. Raccoons are rarely seen during the day because of their nocturnal habits.
Raccoons are omnivores and will eat plants and other animals, including fruits, berries, nuts, fish, frogs, insects, turtles, mice, rabbits, muskrats and bird eggs. Raccoons usually have one litter per year, which is usually born in late spring or early summer. One litter may contain between three and five young. Raccoons can live as long as 12 years in the wild. Raccoons do not hibernate, but they do live in dens and become inactive during severe winter weather.
Raccoons are a major host of rabies in the U.S., especially in the eastern part of the country where their populations are increasing. They can also cause property damage around homes and outbuildings, especially when they try to enter homes through attics or chimneys, which they are also known to use as denning sites. In some cases, raccoons have torn off shingles or boards to gain access to an attic or wall space. Raccoons often raid garbage cans in search of food, and sometimes kill poultry, destroy bird nests, and damage gardens or crops.
To prevent a raccoon problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with raccoons contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are 3 species of species of raccoon.
9.1 – 12 in.
0.88 – 1.3 lbs
2 - 6 years
Tree squirrels get their common name from the fact that they are found only in areas where there are trees. There are three representative species of tree squirrels: fox squirrels, gray squirrels and pine squirrels.
Fox squirrels favor oak-hickory forests, but they are found in pine forests and cypress and mangrove swamps in the south. During the summer months, fox squirrels make leaf nests in trees and they often overwinter in a common tree hole. Gray squirrels are found in hardwood or mixed forests with nut trees, especially oak-hickory forests and river bottoms. In the summer, gray squirrels nest in tree cavities or build nests made of leaves in branches. In the winter months, they are known to invade structures and homes looking for a place to overwinter. Pine squirrels are often abundant in any kind of forest and are commonly found around buildings. Pine squirrels usually nest in tree cavities or nests made of leaves, twigs and bark.
Fox squirrels are most active in the morning and late afternoon often burying nuts for winter use. They feed mainly on hickory nuts and acorns, but also eat the fruit of tulip poplar, maple tree seeds, corn bordering woods, berries, bird eggs and fungi. Gray Squirrels are active year round, but most productive in the morning and evening on dry days. Gray squirrels feed primarily on nuts, especially hickory nuts, acorns, beechnuts and walnuts. In addition, they occasionally feed on maple or tulip tree seeds, fruit, opening buds and corn. Pine Squirrels are active year round, especially in the morning and evening. However, they are sometimes active after dark as well. Pine squirrels feed on a great variety of seeds, nuts, berries, bird eggs and fungi.
All three species of tree squirrels are considered a household pest because they frequently enter attics in the winter; however, they rarely pose a health threat to homeowners. Outdoors, these squirrels can cause considerable damage to electrical and telephone cables.
To prevent a squirrel problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with squirrels contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 265 species of squirrel.
16 – 37 in.
1.1 – 18 lbs
2 - 4 years
Skunks are mammals of the family Mephitidae known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong odor. Different species of skunk vary in appearance from black-and-white to brown or cream colored, but all have warning coloration.
Skunks are extremely adaptable and thrive in many different habitats, as long as food and shelter are available. Because they rarely travel more than two miles from their established dens, a skunk will typically settle down within two miles of a water source.
Skunks are known to release a powerful smell through their anal glands when threatened. Skunks will usually only attack when cornered or defending their young, and spraying is not the first method of defense. A skunk will growl, spit, fluff its fur, shake its tail, and stamp the ground. If the intruder does not leave, the skunk will then lift its tail and spray its famous skunk odor.
Skunks are notorious for the foul odor of their spray and their digging habits. Skunks will leave holes in your lawn when digging for insects, and they can damage your foundation if one chooses to construct a burrow underneath your home.
To prevent a skunk problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with skunks contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are 12 species of skunk. Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, four species); Mephitis (the hooded and striped skunks, two species); Mydaus (stink badgers, two species); and Spilogale (spotted skunks, four species).
3.8 - 4.7 mm
< 1 g
1 - 2 years
Spiders are arachnids. They differ from insects in having only two parts to the body, eight legs not six, six or eight eyes (two in insects) and spinnerets on their abdomens that produce silk. With over 45,000 species they are extremely diverse and exhibit a wide range of hunting behaviors. Although most species are relatively harmless to humans, some, such as the black widow and brown recluse can deliver painful and even fatal bites.
Spiders are typically found in leaves, brush, along walls, and inside homes in cracks & crevice, windowsills, closets, basements and any other place where insects are known to frequent.
Many species have become highly specialized to reduce competition with others. Some are nocturnal; others diurnal. Some build fixed webs (sheets, orbs or tunnels); others throw webs to entangle prey. Some hunt prey; others sit and wait in ambush.
Among all small pests, spiders may be the most feared. Despite this prevalent fear however, most species of spider are harmless to humans and prefer to escape rather than act aggressively. The exception is that female spiders who are nursing young will be exceptionally aggressive, and the dangerous species such ans the brown recluse and black widow, often deliver bites when being stumbled upon by accident. If you have been bitten by a spider call.
To prevent a spider problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with spiders contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 45,000 species of spider.
Among all small pests, termites may be the most feared. Despite this prevalent fear however, most species of termite are harmless to humans and prefer to escape rather than act aggressively. The exception is that female termites who are nursing young will be exceptionally aggressive, and the dangerous species such ans the brown recluse and black widow, often deliver bites when being stumbled upon by accident. If you have been bitten by a termite call.
To prevent a termite problem try the following steps:
If you suspect you have a problem with termites contact us for a free estimate and get your solution today!
There are over 45,000 species of termite.