Facts about Cockroaches
Cockroaches have been around for more than 350 million years.
There are nearly 4,000 different species of cockroaches known in the world. Only three species, which are all distributed world wide, cause frequent and significant problems here and much of the rest of the world. These are the German, American and Brown-Banded cockroaches; in roughly that order of importance as urban pests.
Most species live in tropical or subtropical areas and nearly all need warm, dark, moist places to hide during the day. They nearly all will eat anything available, from sugar to rotting leaf litter to feces. They are important in recycling dead and decaying matter (especially dead plant matter) in their natural settings.
Cockroaches often are a health threat. In general, the habits and high reproductive rate of pest cockroaches can lead to large populations which spread disease organisms, contaminate and eat our food, and cause allergies and even asthma.
Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air.
Good sanitation and habitat reduction, along with vacuuming, surveillance, a baiting program, and some sealing of cracks can usually quickly reduce or eliminate a cockroach population.
Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. They were even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.
Adequate control of cockroaches is needed in such settings to help prevent the build-up of dangerous concentrations of their allergens. Where large cockroach populations are already well established, and in older buildings, or in buildings which allow roaches to easily move between rooms or apartments, very good sanitation by one occupant will not solve the problem. In those cases, the help of a trained, experienced, licensed pest management professional will probably be needed to reduce the problem, and effectively work toward eliminating the roaches.
Profiles of the three main urban pest cockroaches.
The German cockroach, Blattella germanica, is about 5/8-inch (16 mm) long, light-to-medium brown with two dark parallel stripes the long-way on the pronotum. Females are slightly darker, and have wider bodies, and more rounded abdomens than males. Nymphs have two dark parallel stripes the whole length of their bodies. They breed all year round indoors in humid places at about 21C. They produce 30-40 eggs in a capsule (ootheca) approximately three months after they first hatch, and then produce another capsule about every 28 days after that.
The American Cockroach, Periplaneta
Brown-Banded Cockroaches, Supella longipalpa, are very slightly smaller than German cockroaches (about 1/2-inch; 13 mm long). They have two lighter bands across their dark brownish bodies. Males have full wings, which reach beyond the tip of their rather pointed abdomens, but females have underdeveloped wings, much shorter than their broad, rounded abdomens. The lighter band markings are much more distinct in nymphs than in adults of either sex. Within a room, these cockroaches tend to prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations than do any of the other urban pest cockroaches. They are often found in upper cabinets or in other rooms than the kitchens (food preparation areas) or bathrooms. Under good conditions of moderate humidity and warm temperatures of about 27C, these cockroaches can develop from hatching to adult in around 95 days. The females can begin producing egg capsules containing about 19-20 eggs after about 70 more days. This species does not require as much moisture as any of the other three urban pest cockroach species.
Facts about Bedbugs
This insect has a famous history as a bloodsucker and is named due to its tendency to feed on a bed’s occupants at night. The bed bug primarily attacks humans but can feed on any warm blooded animal such as birds, mice, and pets.
Adults are just under a 1/4” long and are relatively flat, nearly as wide as long, and oval in shape compared to most other insects. The color is brown to reddish brown. The body may have short golden hairs and will exude a “sickening sweet” smell from glands on its body. There are many types of bed bugs and related insects.
Reproduction and Biting
Female bedbugs can lay over 500 eggs over a lifetime and each bed bug will moult or shed its shell five times as it grows and a blood meal is required for each moult. If blood meals become scarce, bed bugs can slow their life process until a blood meal source is found. The saliva of the bed bug may cause a swelling on most people when they are bitten but they do not leave a wound. Swelling may include redness in some sensitive people.
The bed bug is able to crawl into very small crevices in and around the human environment. These include between mattresses, seams in bed linens, upholstery, behind wood trim, inside electrical boxes, in floors, behind wallpaper, and in any other area near a blood meal that will hide a very thin insect. Note, however, that bed bugs will move distances at night for a blood meal which is why infestations occur in beds commonly, so merely washing bed linens or other infested areas might not eliminate the source. Bed bugs are also excellent at relocating by hitching rides in luggage, boxes, shoes, and any other mobile material.
An infestation of bed bugs is NOT evidence of unclean or unsanitary living areas. World class hotels have reported bed bug infestation in recent years perhaps due to the increased domestic and international mobility of society in the past few decades.
Commonly, the first sign of bed bug infestation is the appearance of small brownish or reddish dots on bed linens. These are fecal spots or droppings on the surface of linens from these bugs. Occupants may also notice swelling where they have been bitten.
The first step of control is to have a professional thoroughly inspect the area. This inspection is required to determine the places where the bed bugs are living. Once the inspection is complete, the pest control professional will determine the proper type of control technique; treat the area and most likely return for a follow up inspection.
Facts about Rodents
Rodents may come in through almost any opening – pet doors, holes in walls, missing vent screens, openings around pipes, dryer ducts vents, etc.
The roof may also be a handy highway into your home. Rats can climb plants or trees that are too close to the house. That’s where roof rats get their name. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a nickel. Rats can squeeze through a space as small as a half dollar.
Rodents usually can spread diseases, including potentially lethal hantavirus and arena virus. House mice constantly give off hundreds of micro-droplets of urine as they travel around their territory every day.
You know you have rodents when you can hear scampering or gnawing sounds late at night in the attic or behind walls. Rodent droppings may be found in undisturbed areas of the house such as pantries, attics, inside ceiling void, and along wall void.
Telltale signs of rodents’ gnawing may be seen on packaged goods, cardboard boxes, and walls near pipes and vents. Inside, rodents can be destructive. They chew through wallboards and can eat through cardboard boxes, wood and plaster. Rodents gnaw on electrical wiring that could potentially cause an electrical fire.
Diseases associated with rodents
Keeping rodents out
Facts about Termites
Everyone knows that termites cause horrific damage to a building, but exactly to what extent is not so widely understood. It’s likely much worse than ever imagined – latest industry estimates place the annual cost of damage and treatment at $5 billion worldwide.
Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.
When termites infest buildings, they damage lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products, and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage is the loss of structural strength. Other costly losses include attacks on flooring, carpeting, art work, books, clothing, furniture, and valuable papers.
Currently, there are three types of treatments available for use: soil treatments, wood treatments and baits.
Soil treatments are liquid termiticides diluted with water to ensure adequate coverage in the soil. Injection of this system in the soil creates a treated area that repels or reduces the population of termites and envelops the structure with a long-term protection. This is the most commonly used system and may be used in combination with baits and / or wood treatment.
Wood treatments involve treating infested wood or potentially infested wood with liquids such as a traditional treatment or borate materials. This treatment type protects the wood from infestation and reduces or eliminates the infestation in the wood at the time of the treatment.
Baits are relatively new and involve installing bait stations in the ground. Termites then eat the bait and carry the active ingredient throughout the colony or area, thus reducing foraging, which in turn reduces the colony population. Baits are popular since there is no interior drilling, and they are less bother for the homeowner.
Scientists say that, based on normal feeding activity, it takes three to eight years to cause appreciable damage. Some experts predict that, under ideal conditions, a termite colony of 60,000 workers may consume a one foot of 2-inch by 4-inch pine in 118 to 157 days.
The total number of individuals in a colony of subterranean termites may be more than a million. Imagine a million insects invading your home? In actuality, termites do not “attack;” they forage, attracted to moist areas, and find food sources. Termites need to maintain an atmosphere of nearly 100% humidity.
Recognizing termites is tricky, since they are often difficult to distinguish from flying ants. Termites swarm in during cooler nights when a group of adult males and females leave their nest to establish a new colony.
Termites have relatively straight, beadlike antennae, while ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) that are of almost equal length. Ants also have two pair of wings but the fore wings are much larger than the hind wings. The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax while the abdomen and thorax of the ant are joined by a narrow waist.
Termite damage can be located by probing wood with a screwdriver, ice pick, or knife. Start inspection in the basement and use a bright flashlight. Look for telltale “mud tubes” or shelter tubes about the diameter of a pencil that are solid evidence of termite activity. Worker termites are blind and sensitive to heat, cold, and dry air, which is why they build mud tubes.
Wood damaged by termites always has remains of mud tubes attached to wood tunnels in an irregular pattern. The tunnels may contain broken mud particles with fecal materials. The presence of flying winged males, females or their shed wings inside the building indicates an infestation.
Worker termites find new food sources such as vegetation or wood containing cellulose. Upon finding a food source, they put down a chemical signal or pheromone to lead the other workers to the feeding site.
Each colony develops its own characteristic odour. An intruder is instantly recognised and an alarm pheromone is secreted that triggers soldier termites to attack. They are less numerous in the colony than workers and their only function is to defend the colony against invaders. The top caste in the termite colony is the king and queen; the queen may live up to 25 years and lay more than 60,000 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are yellowish white and hatch after an incubation of 50 to 60 days.
Tips to avoid termite infestation
Since termites are attracted to moisture, avoid moisture accumulation near your home's foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents. Before and during construction, never bury scraps or waste lumber in the backfill, especailly near the building. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.
Since termites are attracted to moisture, avoid moisture accumulation near your home's foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
Before and during construction, never bury scraps or waste lumber in the backfill, especailly near the building. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed.
Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.
Facts about Ticks
Ticks are more closely related to arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions, than to insects. Like a spider, a tick’s body is fused into a single region. Conversely, an insect’s head, thorax, and abdomen are separated. There are two families of ticks:
Several tick species are known or potential vectors of tick-borne diseases that infect humans, pets and livestock.
Prevention and Protection
Facts about House mice
Colour: Light brown to black
The house mouse is the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world. It can breed rapidly and adapt quickly to changing conditions.
House mice can breed throughout the year and can share nests.
House mice live in structures, but they can live outdoors.
Micro droplets of mouse urine can cause allergies in children. Mice can also bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home.
To keep mice and other rodents out, make sure all holes of larger diameter than a pencil are sealed. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a nickel. Seal any cracks and voids. Don't overlook proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building.
Facts about Pavement ants
Colour: Dark brown to blackish
Shape: Segmented; oval
Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures.
These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese.
These ants live in or under pavement cracks.
These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home.* Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.
Facts about Carpenter bees
Colour: Blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen on abdomen
Carpenter bees look like typical bumblebees but often lack yellow stripes. They are solitary bees.
Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The bits of wood she chews and deposits outside the nest are called frass. The male carpenter bee guards the outside of the nest. He does not have a stinger, but his constant buzzing causes concern for some.
Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.
Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can damage wood through their nest building.
Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for assistance.
Varied Carpet beetles
Varied Carpet Beetles
Colour: Black centres, with white, brown and yellow patches in an irregular arrangement
Varied carpet beetles get their name from the rainbow of colour on their back surfaces.
These pests enjoy dining on carpets, woolen fabrics, dead insects, furs, hides, feathers, horns, hair, silk and bones. It can take 249-354 days to three years for varied carpet beetles to grow from an egg to an adult.
Varied carpet beetles are found in homes in attics, Oriental carpets, tapestries and wood-based wall-to-wall carpeting.
Varied carpet beetles feed on dead insects, but also feed on upholstery and carpet, so they can damage those materials. They can also damage clothing fabric.
As with moths, to avoid varied carpet beetle infestations, store clothing in plastic containers. Dry clean clothing thoroughly before storing for long periods of time.
Colour: Brown, with pronounced banding across wings
Brown banded cockroaches get their name from the two lighter bands they have across their dark brownish bodies. In addition to the distinctive banding, males have full wings, which reach beyond the tip of their rather pointed abdomens, but females have underdeveloped wings, much shorter than their broad, rounded abdomens. The lighter band markings are much more distinct in nymphs than in adults of either sex.
Male brownbanded cockroaches have been observed to fly indoors. Among cockroach species, brownbanded cockroaches have the most distinctions between sexes. Females have larger abdomen and shorter wings than males. Brownbanded cockroaches often hide their egg cases in or under furniture.
Within a room, these roaches tend to prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations than do any of the other urban pest roaches. They are often found in upper cabinets or in other rooms than the kitchens (food preparation areas) or bathrooms.
Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. They were even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.
Good sanitation and habitat reduction, along with vacuuming, surveillance, a baiting program, and some sealing of cracks can usually quickly reduce or eliminate a cockroach population.
Facts about Mosquitoes
Culex species and others
Colour: Varies; Pale brown with whitish stripes across abdomen
Size: 1/4 - 3/8"
One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil and can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days.
Female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars. They can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days. They are most active from dusk to dawn and will fly up to 14 miles for a blood meal.
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tyres, children’s wading pools and birdbaths.
Mosquitoes are well-known to spread diseases such as elephantiasis (victim’s limbs swell to an enormous size), malaria and dengue fever.
Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and unfiltered pools. Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed. Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as guppies to standing water. Screen windows, doors and other openings with mesh. Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active: during dusk or dawn. Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite.
Facts about Carpenter ants
Colour: Varies depending on species, from red to black or a combination. The most common specie is black.
Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
All species mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mould. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.
Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.
Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.
Because carpenter ants require a water source, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.
Facts about Fruit flies
Colours: Tan / light abdomen
Shape: Small oval
Fruit flies feed on decaying fruits and vegetables.
Fruit flies feed on decaying matter, especially fruits and vegetables
Fruit flies are small pests that are commonly found in homes, restaurants and other facilities where food I processed. They are found on moist decaying matter that has been stationary for several days.
Fruit flies are found in unsanitary conditions so they are a potential health concern, especially when present in health facilities.
PreventionFruit flies are best prevented through vigilant sanitation practices. Remove kitchen trash daily, and keep counter clean.
Facts about Honeybees
Apis nekkufera linnaeus
Colours: Predominantly golden-yellow with brown bands
Shape: Oval; bee shape
Honeybees are social insects found all over the world. They are an extremely important beneficial insect because of their role in pollination.
Honeybees are active pollinators, and produce honey which feeds their young in colder months. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.
Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests. They often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in other areas such as attics.
Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.
Honeybees should be addressed by a professional. Removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.