Pest Control 101: Common Household Pests
Ants: Ants are small insects of the family Formicidae (closely related to wasps and bees). Ants typically live in colonies and are wingless save for some fertile adults.
Aphids: Aphids are small, green-colored insects that feed from sucking sap from plants. Aphid infestations are often characterized by small holes in the leaves of plants.
Bed Bugs: Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed off of blood. These pests are about the size of an apple seed and have long, reddish-brown, oval-shaped bodies that are either flat or balloon-like depending on if its fed recently or not.
Carpet Beetles: Carpet beetles are bugs that closely resemble bed bugs in size and shape. However, unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles are brownish in color with spots and speckles. They also do not feed human blood; rather, they feed on natural fibers in their larval stage and small animal or plant material as adults.
Centipedes: Centipedes are multi-legged arthropods with one pair of legs per body segment. Centipedes are predominantly carnivorous and can have anywhere from 30 to 350 legs, depending on the species. Thousands of centipede species exist around the world
Chiggers: Chiggers are small, nearly-microscopic mites with completely red bodies. These pests resemble tiny spiders, tend to cluster in groups on a person’s skin, and are predominantly active in warm environments with high vegetation.
Chinch Bugs: Chinch bugs are small North American insects of the order Hemiptera and family Blissidae. Chinch bugs often form large swarms on grasses and rushes and feed on plant matter.
Cockroaches: Cockroaches are brownish-orange beetle-like insects with long legs and antennae. Cockroaches are omnivorous and feed mostly by scavenging. There are thousands of cockroach species known to exist, with roughly 30 associated with human dwellings.
Crickets: Crickets are insects of the family Gryllidae characterized primarily by cylindrical bodies, round heads, and long antennae. Crickets have large hind wings that are membranous and folded when not in use for flight. Many cricket species are flightless.
Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic arthropods that feed on shed human skin. They thrive in dirty, humid indoor environments.
Earwigs: Earwigs are all insects in the order Dermaptera, which is composed of 2,000 individual species and 12 families. Earwigs are characterized by their characteristic cerci (a pair of forceps-like pincers on their abdomen) and membranous wings folded underneath short, rarely used forewings.
Fleas: Fleas are small flightless insects of the order Siphonaptera. They feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Usually brown- or orange-colored, fleas can jump up 50 times their own height to reach the bodies of their hosts.
Flies: Flies are one of the most common indoor and outdoor insect pests in the world. Try flies are insects of the order Diptera. As their name suggests, flies are characterized by their ability to fly, made possible by a single pair of front wings. There are an estimated one million species of flies ranging in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Flying and Biting Insects: Flying and biting insect pests include common nuisance insects such as wasps and horseflies, as well as those feed on blood and transmit disease, such as mosquitoes.
Gnats: Gnats are tiny flying insects of the order in the dipterid suborder Nematocera. Gnats are primarily outdoor insects and feed on plants (though some are carnivorous). Male gnats often congregate in large “clouds” at dusk.
Grubs: Grubs are the larvae of Japanese Beetles. They are laid and hatch underneath turf, where they feed on grass roots and cause major damage to lawns. They are large and white in color.
Head Lice: Head lice are wingless insect ectoparasites that nest in human hair to feed on blood from the scalp. Head lice are translucent in color and do not transmit disease.
Japanese Beetles: Japanese beetles are relatively large beetles with a shiny orange and green coloration. Originating from Japan, Japanese beetles are considered worldwide lawn pests due to their larvae (“grubs”) which feed on grass roots.
Mice: Mice are small rodents characterized by pointed snouts, small rounded ears, body-length scaly tails, and a high breeding rate. They are omnivorous and found across the world.
Millipedes: Millipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Diplopoda. They are characterized by having two pairs of jointed legs on most on their many body segments. Unlike centipedes, most millipede species are not predatory and instead feed on plant, fungi, or decaying organic matter.
Mites: Mites are microscopic arthropods belonging to the class Arachnida and the subclass Acari (also known as Acarina). There are several thousand species of mite known to exist, most of which cannot be glimpsed without the aid of a microscope. Some mites live in water; some in the soil as decomposers; others live on plants, sometimes creating galls; while others again are predators or parasites.
Mole Crickets: Mole crickets are burrowing insects of the family Gryllotalpidae, in the order Orthoptera (compromised of grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets). Mole crickets can reach sizes of 3 to 5 centimeters in length. They feed on plants and are considered agricultural pests in many areas of the world.
Moles: Moles are tunneling mammals that live primarily underground. There are hundreds of mole species known to exist, including the “true moles” of the Talpidae and other mole species. Moles are adapted to a subterranean lifestyle and have sleek, short fur, large polydactyl forearms, and small eyes.
Mosquitos: Mosquitoes are small, flying ectoparasitic insects of the family Culicidae. They are one of the most common bug pests in the world and are found on every continent except Antarctica. Mosquitoes can be identified by their relatively long, tube-like mouthparts and faint, high-pitched buzzing. There are thousands of mosquito species known to exist. Many spread diseases, including West Nile Virus and yellow fever.
Nematodes: Nematodes are microscopic roundworms of the phylum Nematoda. It is estimated that there are anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million distinct nematode species. Nematodes have adapted to live in virtually every environment on Earth. Some nematode species are parasitic and feed on their hosts – plants, and other large organisms, and even soil – for nutrients.
Pillbugs: Pillbugs are a family of woodlice, (a type of terrestrial crustacean) in the order Isopoda. These bugs can be identified by their clearly-segmented bodies and their propensity to roll up into a ball. Pill bugs feed primarily on plant matter and are considered pests in many regions.
Rats: Rats are common rodents superfamily Muroidea. True rats belong to the genus Rattus and closely resemble mice, though they are considerably larger. Rat species can spread disease and cause massive structural damage due to prolific chewing.
Scorpions: Scorpions are venomous, predatory arachnids of the order Scorpiones. There are thousands of scorpion species known to exist. Scorpions are distinguished by a large tail with a venomous stinger that arches up over their bodies. Scorpions are found in all types of ecosystems and can, depending on the species, pose life-threatening health risks to humans and animals should they sting.
Silverfish: Silverfish are small, wingless insects in the order Zygentoma. This insect species earned its name due to its silver-gray body and its fish-like shape. Silverfish are wingless and can invade indoor areas in search of carbohydrates. They are most-commonly found in areas with a relative humidity between 75% and 95%.
Spiders: Spiders are perhaps the most famous of all arachnids. Comprising the order Araneae, spiders have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. The venom of some spiders is strong enough to cause serious health problems for people and pets.
Stink Bugs: Stink bugs are actually a single species within the insect family Pentatomidae. This species is Halyomorpha halys, better known as the brown marmorated stink bug. Small, brown and shield-shaped, the brown marmorated stink bug earned its name due to the distinctly unpleasant odor it emits when disturbed or crushed.
Termites: Termites are eusocial, wood-eating insects classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. “Eusocial” means that they live in colonies, which can frequently make their homes in buildings, feeding on support beams and other wood fixtures. Termites are found on all continents except Antarctica.
Ticks: Ticks are ectoparasitic arachnids of the order Parasitiformes that feed on the blood of humans and animals. There are both hard ticks, which have hard bodies and are difficult to crush, and soft ticks, which have soft bodies and are much easier to crush. Adult ticks have ovoid or pear-shaped bodies which become engorged with blood when they feed. Ticks are typically found in long grasses or densely-wooded areas.
Voles: Voles are small rodents closed related to mice but distinguished primarily by their dietary preference for plants. Voles also tunnel in the grass and will build their nests at the bases of shrubs.
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