Pest ID

Ants

Damage
Ants cause various types of damage, depending upon the variety. Carpenter ants get their name from their habit of hollowing out galleries in wood for nesting purposes, thereby, resulting in structural damage. Pharaoh ants have been strongly implicated in the spread of serious diseases. All ants contaminate the food they infest.

Detection and Treatment
Ants build massive colonies, so their presence is generally detected when you see trailing ants that have located a food source, or the debris carried out of an exit hole from a nest building process. Treatments involve baiting, insecticide, and sealing off entry to buildings.


Cockroaches

Damage
Cockroaches spread human disease by depositing disease organisms on food and utensils. The American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings, may transmit bacteria that cause Salmonella (food poisoning) and Shigella dysenteriae (dysentery). German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus, hepatitis, and coliform bacteria. They also have been implicated in the spread of typhoid and dysentery.

Recent studies have found a strong association between the presence of cockroaches and increases in the severity of asthma symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to cockroach allergens.

Detection and Treatment
Cockroaches may become pests in homes, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and virtually any structure that has food preparation or storage areas. These pests are common even in the cleanest of crowded urban areas and older dwellings. Infestations are usually not difficult to discover, because they’re often visible. Treatment generally involves sealing cracks and crevices to block entrance, keeping food and trash areas clean to avoid providing food, and the professional application of insecticide and bait on a regular basis. Click here for more information.


Rodents

Damage
Rodents consume and contaminate food. They also gnaw on electrical wires and wooden structures and tear insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting. Rodents can also transmit disease to humans, pets, and livestock. They have been found to transmit typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, and salmonellosis.

Detection and Treatment
The presence of mice and rats is usually detected by the damage they cause to food and structures, by their droppings, and by their nests. Prevention and control involves eliminating all entry points and population reduction by the application of rodenticides and traps.


Fleas

Damage
Fleas are one of the more important groups of insect pests not only because of the discomfort by biting, but they can transmit several diseases such as plague and murine typhus.

Detection and Treatment
It is not necessary to have pets inside the building in order to have fleas present. They can easily be transported inside on pant legs and shoes. Fleas are normally found where animals sleep or frequent but can also be found in buildings that have been empty for several months. Control is a multi-faceted process. Vacuuming plays an integral role in eliminating adult fleas and to trigger the hatching of the pupae. Pets must be protected at the same time of the indoor treatment program. Insect growth regulators and insecticides are used to treat flooring, fabric furniture, and pet bedding areas.


Spiders

Except for poisonous spiders, such as the black widow and the brown recluse, spiders are not harmful to humans. When it’s important to control spiders, chemical control is used, along with destruction of webs and eggs. Since they feed on insects, measures that control unwanted insects will also reduce spider populations. Outdoor lighting during the summer months is a common culprit to increased spider populations. Buildings with light color siding, due the nighttime reflective quality, can increase the spider population on the sides facing the light source. A combination of light manipulation and perimeter treatments may be needed to control the population. Properties with mature trees and large shrubbery will also harbor increased spider numbers. Spider reduction programs may include the treatment of the surrounding vegetation.


Seasonal Invaders

This is a catch-all group of nuisance pests which may invade homes from time to time. Seasonal changes bring a new weather pattern with changes in temperature, rainfall, and humidity which may benefit one pest species and hurt another. Some insects that are problematic during one or more of these seasons include: bees, hornets, crickets, springtails, attic flies, fruit flies, moth flies, asian beetles, boxelder bugs, earwigs, millipedes, scavenger beetles, etc., etc.

Detection and Treatment
Control and/or prevention may consist of insecticide treatments along with landscaping modifications. Some of these pests, such as the asian beetle, require perimeter treatments in the fall to reduce numbers that accumulate on the siding looking for an entry inside to hibernate for the winter. Scavenger beetles may require outdoor lighting modifications to lower the attraction to the building. Moth flies inside the building usually indicate a sewer problem in the crawlspace or dry drain trap. Each pest presents a unique challenge with different control and prevention method. Click here to learn more about other insects.

Pest identification information copyright Regents of the University of California©. Visit UC IPM Online for more information about additional pests.


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