Learning Center - Pest Guide
This guide outlines the most common pests you might see, warning signs of an infestation and problems they can cause.
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The ant feeds voraciously on sweets, grease, and food matter. Ants come in a wide range of colors, sizes and types, and they’re one of the toughest insects to eradicate and control. Ant colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of members, made up of worker ants, male ants and the queens. Queens may be three times the size as other ants with a lifespan that lasts up to 15 years.
They usually nest in the ground, but create pathways through foundations, wall openings, and cracks to plunder kitchen and food storage areas. Stray ants showing up in unusual locations, such as the bedroom or hallway; these ants could be scouts sent out from the colony to find additional food sources.
Bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat, oval and don’t have wings. They can run surprisingly fast. They are found in bedrooms and hotel rooms, and feed upon human blood at night. Lacking human blood, this insect will feed on the blood of rats, mice, rabbits or chickens. It can survive without food for up to 15 months. Their small size makes it easy for them to hide in sheets, mattress seams, cracks and crevices, furniture, carpet, picture frames and even luggage. You may see a bed bug or small pieces of skin that the juvenile sheds. You may also spot black or brown stains where bed bugs are defecated or blood on the sheets or mattress. When bitten, some people will have red welts on the skin and/or rashes, while others may show no signs of being bitten. Bed bugs may live more than 300 days with females laying up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.
Heat remediation is the most effective way to kill bed bugs. This heating process will thoroughly kill bed bugs and their eggs within 4-6 hours without using pesticides.
Do you suspect bed bugs?
BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS
Black widow spiders usually get inside by just walking straight in, though an open or poorly screened window or door, and through caps around door and window frames. They don’t enter homes looking for housing so much as looking for food. They’ll also get inside as stowaways in boxes or other items taken from outside into the home.
The black widow spider carries poisonous venom that creates fever and illness in adults and can cause severe injury and even death to infants and small animals. It hides in water meters, attics, garages, basements, tool sheds, and air conditioning units; pretty much anywhere it can be out of sight.
The black widow, brown widow and brown recluse spiders have bites that are dangerous to humans. Others, like the wolf spider and jumping spider, have bites that aren’t necessarily dangerous but can be painful or cause reactions.
Carpenter bees are large, black and yellow bees frequently seen in spring hovering around the eaves of a house or the underside of a deck or porch rail. They are most often mistaken for bumble bees, but differ in that they have a black shiny tail section. The male carpenter bee that is most often noticed, but is unable to sting. They hover in the vicinity of the nest and will dart after any other flying insect that ventures into their territory. The males may even hover a short distance from people, causing unnecessary panic. The female, however, is capable of stinging but seldom does. She must be extremely provoked (i.e. handled) before she will sting.
Carpenter bees do not eat wood. They excavate the tunnels for shelter and as chambers in which to rear their young. They usually attack unpainted objects such as doors, windowsills, roof eaves, shingles, railings, telephone poles, and sometimes wooden lawn furniture. When the tunnel is about 1 inch deep, the bee turns at right angles to the initial hole and tunnels with the grain of the wood. Bees prefer to attack wood that is greater than two inches thick.
The carpet beetle thrives on various materials such as fur, woolen, leather, hair, and other organic matter. It lays eggs in 100% wool carpets, and in garments stored in closets and attics, where larvae can feed on materials for up to one year.
The cockroach eats food of any kind, and destroys fabrics, clothes, books, and rugs. It’s found in pantries, closets, basements, and any other dark, moist area with easy access to food. The cockroach usually comes out at night.
German cockroaches, like many insects, are nocturnal. They will do everything in their power to stay away from any light source. This means that, if you see any during the day, it probably means that the hiding places have become overcrowded.
Roaches will spread through your house or apartment along utility lines, laundry vents, trash chutes, and other shared facilities during warm weather.
Contrary to popular belief, earwigs do not crawl into ears. Earwigs are relatively easy to identify by the prominent pincers on the end of the abdomen. Although they can give a mild nip, they are weak and otherwise harmless. Earwigs hide during the day and feeds on leaves, flowers, fruits, mold and insects at night. These insects live together outdoors in large numbers. Earwigs can be found under piles of lawn debris, mulch or in tree holes. They enter houses either by accident or when seeking shelter, especially in the fall or during periods of prolonged dry weather. They do not spread diseases, but their menacing appearance can be alarming to a homeowner. If disturbed, earwigs may produce a noticeable foul odor.
Mack Pest can help eradicate earwigs!
Fleas are tiny wingless creatures that are usually reddish brown to black with small heads, elongated bodies and six spindly legs. The flea carries disease and causes itching from biting both animals and people. It feeds on the blood of dogs and cats and uses animal eye fluids to quench its thirst. It can be found on animals, and in rugs, beds and the fabric of furniture.
Beware if pets are constantly scratching themselves. They are bothersome to both people and pets. Flea eggs are only about .5 mm in size, with a smooth, white oval exterior. Flea larvae are translucent when they hatch, with a dark stomach visible through their skin. They are not much bigger than the eggs, reaching up to 1.5 mm in size. The larvae spin silk cocoons in carpet fibers and other small indoor or outdoor crevices. The cocoons are sticky and often attract dirt and other debris that serve as a kind of camouflage.
Flea feces look like coarse black pepper, around pet beds, rugs and carpets. Flea bites are red spots surrounded by red halos and common around the ankles, feet and lower legs on humans.
MICE AND RATS
The rat is a true survivor that can carry rabies or other infectious bacteria. At one time, the rat carried fleas that caused the bubonic plague. The rat is very vicious, and will attack if hungry or cornered. It lives and breeds in attics, basements, and roofing. It has a constant ravenous appetite and will eat both human and pet food.
Rats have been known to chew through wires in cars, attics, and chew through water lines in homes creating thousands of dollars' worth of damage.
Our trained technicians can handle all types of rodent and wildlife issues–anything from live animal trapping to removal of rodents.
Mosquitoes can be one of the most excruciating summer pests. It’s rather difficult not to notice mosquitoes when they’re hanging around.
Not all mosquitoes are important disease carriers, even though most suck the blood of man and other vertebrate animals. Only the female mosquito bites. They require standing or slow-moving water in which to develop, and breed in ponds, unattended swimming pools, containers where rain collects, rain puddles and more. Mosquitoes are actually in the same family as flies, although they are typically thinner. They are most active from dusk to dawn and generally shun the sun.
Mosquito bites are problematic for being itchy and potentially causing allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. But an even bigger problem can stem from the many viruses mosquitoes are known to carry and transmit. Some of the more well-known include malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis and the Zika virus.
Silverfish are nocturnal. Their abdomens get smaller giving them a fish-like look. Silverfish are considered household pests due to their consumption and destruction of property. They will damage wallpaper, cause damage to tapestries and also eat cotton, linen and silk. They live in walls that are wallpapered, dens and libraries, closets, and storage areas. Silverfish die on contact with toxins.
Schedule a home inspection to help you get rid of silverfish.
Termites are well-known for the absolute destruction they can cause to your home. They can cause significant structural damage, resulting in holes throughout the wood, crumbling drywall, dipping doorways and sagging floors. Periodic inspections are necessary to prevent this pest from destroying your house or business. Various species can live in the ground, cracks in cement, foundations, walls, floors, attics, and even the wood structures of sofas and beds.
Several warning signs can alert you it’s time for termite treatments, although termite infestations may only be revealed through a thorough termite inspection.
Visible signs to look for include:
Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
Darkening or blistering of wood structures
Uneven or bubbling paint
Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest
Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills indicate swarming termites have entered the home
At the very least, residential and commercial properties should undergo a termite inspection at least once a year.
Ticks frequently attach themselves to humans or pets and can cause harm. The feeding action of an attached hard tick can sometimes induce paralysis. Ticks are very hardy creatures and may survive for months or years without food.
The most common tick is the brown tick, which is especially prone to attaching itself to dogs. In the most severe cases, tick-infested dogs can die of blood loss. Symptoms include rashes, fever and joint stiffness, so if you experience anything like this after suffering a tick bite, see a doctor. Ticks usually live long enough and get around well enough to feed off multiple hosts. For this reason, they can communicate flu-like diseases from one host to the next and more commonly transmit Lyme disease.
Termites work silently behind the scenes in droves. They’re tough to spot with the untrained eye, and can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage before you even realize you have a problem.
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