Bug Dictionary

Bug Dictionary

Know Your Enemy

Proper identification of pests is as important as choosing the best preventive pest managment available on the market today. Accurate Pest Control has complied a list consisting of the most common pests in the Baltimore/DC area as a means of helping you identify your problem!

Ants


Characteristics

Thief ants are one of the smallest ants since they measure 1/16 inch or 3/50 inch in length. Workers are monomorphic, and have a yellowish or tan coloration. They have a ten-segmented antenna with two-segmented club. They are normally confused with the Pharaoh ants because of their similarity in color and size.

Habitat

Since these ants prefer to steal food than search for them, their preferred habitats are created near places where they can steal them. Nest sites may be found in rotting wood, in tree cavities, under rocks, and in crevices of homes. These ants is found almost everywhere. They can create their homes in lawns, grassy areas, fields and meadows, golf courses, etc.

Behavior

Thief ants are known for their thief like behavior. When they create a nest, they will create them in areas where other nests are also present so that they can steal the food of their neighbors and the larvae as well. The stolen larvae will be made as part of the food for the colony.

Food

They prefer to eat protein foods, but they are also attracted to sweets. These ants will feed on dead insects, greasy foods, dairy products, honeydew, seeds, and so on.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of thief ants starts with female and male alates. After mating, the female will search for a good area to find shelter. The new queen will search for a suitable field or lawn and will crawl underneath the surface to wait and lay her first batch of eggs. Some queens may bring workers from the old colony, while some queens will not have any workers at all to start building the new colony. After the first batch of eggs become adults, the workers will now become responsible in searching for food, managing the nest, and taking care of the queen. The queen’s main responsibility is to lay eggs. In a day, she can lay at least 105 eggs.

Thief ants start as an egg for 16 to 28 days. After it becomes a larvae, it will go through a couple of instars that will last for about 21 days until it reaches its final instars. Semi pupae may last for 2 to 11 days. Pupal stage will last for 13 to 27 days. After that, it will become a worker ant that will help the queen and the rest of the colony.

Other Information and Tips

Finding the nests of these ants is difficult because of their minuscule size and their ability to stay hidden. An effective way to get rid of these ants, is through baiting. Although it is not common for these ants to create nest indoors, they will still continuously go into your kitchen in search for greasy foods. They will go in and out of the kitchen, even if you try to get rid of them with the use of insecticides. The use of effective baits will allow the workers to carry the bait to their colony, which will then be fed to the queen. Once the queen is eliminated, the whole colony will die too.


Characteristics

Small honey ants are also known as false honey ants or winter ants. They are monomorphic creatures that are known for their small size. They are just 2/25 to 4/25 inch in length. When viewed dorsally, its constricted thorax looks pinched. Their color varies from light to dark brown, and are smooth and shiny.

Habitat

These ants are common in shaded areas, such as under slabs, shrubs, landscaping bends, and so on. Their underground nests have multiple small galleries. They may come indoors during the early spring to forage for food. They are known to be winter tolerant and can survive through the cold temperatures more than other ant species.

Behavior

Although these ants live under the soil, they can be active above ground to search for their food. During the winter, these ants will not go through strict hibernation, which is why some of them end up in homes where they will seek for shelter and food.

Food

The small honey ants prefer the sweet honeydew of aphids and they are known to take care of them so that they can get the honeydew that these aphids produce. When they enter kitchens, they will search for sweets, meats, fruits, breads, cakes, honey, and any type of food they think they can eat.

Life Cycle

New colonies of these ants are built during the months of March and April. Nuptial flights occur, but most of the mating of female and male reproductives happens on the ground.Once mating is completed, the female will shed her wings and seek shelter in the soil so that she can produce her eggs. Colonies can be created by several females moving in one nest site. An established colony will just contain a few thousand workers, but their colony can live for more than ten years with most workers surviving for one to two years.

Other Information and Tips

Small honey ants may just be small, but they are persistent and may contaminate and feed on a variety of food in the kitchen. They can also damage plants by extracting its juice. And since, they tend to aphids, they can cause destruction and death to plants as the growth of aphids and scale insects continue.

To get rid of these ants, it is necessary to locate the colonies. If the colony is found outdoors, the use of residual insecticide can be done by injecting the colony. This form of treatment is effective since most colonies are not big and ants are clustered in small nest chambers. Most colonies only have a few hundreds to thousands of workers with dozens of queens that can be eliminated through this process. If the colony is found indoors, the use insecticide can be applied, but make sure to follow instructions to get the desired effect. If infestation still occurs and the colony cannot be found, contact your local ant control specialist.


Chacteristics

Pavement ants are common in homes. They are small and commonly create their homes in pavements. Their color is brown to blackish and they have a black abdomen. They are small ants – 1/10 to 4/25 inch in length. Their distinguishing feature is their two spines on the back that goes upward to the rear, grooves on their thorax and head, and their stinger at the end of the abdominal segment. They also have a 12-segmented antennae with 3-segmented club.

Their family is made of a queen, alates, workers, and drones. Alates and drones have wings, and are bigger than the workers.

Behavior

Pavement ants got its name because they are usually found under the cracks of pavements. However, these ants can also be found under stones, in walls, under floors, in slabs or other openings, and the likes

Food

These ants may be mostly seen at night when most of us are sleeping. They will create trails going to and from their food sources, while moving at a slow pace. They are not easily disturbed even if they are seen or discovered. In the spring, colonies that are near each other may fight over territories, which create a great sight for mini war or ant war.

Life Cycle

Compared to other ant species, the pavement ant only has one functional queen. To create a new colony, swarmers will fly away from the old colony to mate, most commonly during the month of July. Once mating is done, the new queen will search for a suitable site and drop her wings. She will excavate a nest and buries herself within her nest, and then produces her eggs. While there may be a lot of swarmers in sight during their nuptial flight, most of them will die off and will not be able to produce eggs. The queen that succeeds in finding a nest will be able to burrow into the soil and starts laying eggs. Her eggs will require two to three months before they become adults. Once the first batch of workers become adults, they will tend to the queen, and her young while making the extending the colony.

Other Information and Tips

Pavement ants are considered pests. Although they do not commonly create a nest indoors, they can still create nests near home premises, and sometimes inside one. Since they have a habit of excavating sand to create their nests under roads, building foundations, and walkways, overtime, these nests may create structural damage. They are also persistent in collecting food indoors, which makes them a nuisance for most homeowners.

To control these ants, the use of commercial baits can be effective to properly eliminate them. However, for serious infestation, it is practical to just rely on a pest control specialist.


Characteristics

Moisture ants are also called yellow ants because of their yellow color. This ant is 3/25 to 1/5 inch long, has notch on the back, and has hairs surrounding the end of the abdomen. Workers are monomorphic, which means that they have one size

Habitat

These ants are considered pests because they can nest indoors. Although they are common outdoors, they can come indoors at night in search for food. If they find an area in the home where moisture is present, they will create their colony there. When they build nests indoors, they can stay in leaky plumbing, windowsills, bathroom fixture, drains and near gutters.

Behavior

Like what their name indicates, this ant prefers moisture. In fact, they need continuous source of moisture to survive. They can eat wood that has a higher moisture content and live there to create their colony. Their behavior is similar to a termite since they can feed the wood they are creating as home. However, they do not extend the damage of the wood since they will just infest the rotting part of it unlike termites that can create structural damage. They are sometimes mistaken for carpenter ants because both ants can live in wood. However, carpenter ants dig through wood, but they do not eat the wood. Their galleries are smooth, unlike moisture ants. Moisture ants can even be sometimes seen carrying soil or debris back to the wood to create their nests.

Food

They prefer to eat the honeydew from aphids. They can also collect honeydew from other insects, such as mealybugs, planthoppers, and whiteflies. When they are found in kitchens, they will search for anything sweet, such as cake, sugar, candy, honey, and so on.

Life Cycle

The swarming season for these ants are in late September and October. After that, the reproductive female will search for a rotten wood or soil to begin her colony and lay her first batch of eggs. The first batch of eggs will be the first batch of workers that will take care and feed the larvae and the queen. They will also be foraging for food and will help in extending the nest.

Other Infomration and Tips

Moisture ants are considered a nuisance because of how they create their colonies. However, these ants will only be attracted to wood that has already been decayed. They will not start the destruction of a wood, but will just inhabit water-damaged, rotting wood, which means that they are not entirely a structural pest since the damage wood has already been there in the first place. They will construct galleries from the rotten wood and create the colony. To get rid of these moisture ants, it is necessary to search for the damaged wood. Replace the wood with a new one and correct the condition of the area to prevent these ants from coming back.


Chacteristics

These ants are tiny little creatures that are only 1/25 to 1/20 inch in length and are jet black, hence the name little black ants.

Habitat

These ants are found in throughout the US. They will travel long distances from their nests site in order to find food. They are a known nuisance indoors and outdoors because they are mostly attracted to protein and sweets. They can be found in kitchens and even on picnic tables during summer.

Behavior

Although these ants are harmless to humans, they are a real nuisance. They can be found in kitchens in search of food. They will forage, scavenge and hunt for food any time of the day and night without the care of anyone watching them.

Food

These ants love to eat foods rich in protein such as meats. They also like, sweets, greasy foods, corn meal, and any type of food most people enjoy. When outdoors, they will take care of young aphids so that they can harvest its honeydew. They will also consume dead or living insects if they find them.

Life Cycle

Little black ants are social insects that live in colonies with a queen or multiple queens. The colony starts with a female reproductive, swarm and mate with a male. The female and male both have wings. The female will shed her wings after mating while the male dies. Once the queen is fertilized, she will create her nest and then lay eggs. It only takes ten days for the egg to become an adult once it is hatched. After the first batch becomes adults, these workers will take care of the queen plus the larvae to continue the reproduction of workers.

Other Information and Tips

Most colonies of these ants are made outdoors. Although they travel long distances in search of food. Most homeowners feel that they are pesky insects that should be treated because they never stop from marching in and out of the house in search for food. In some cases, these ants can also create their nest indoors, which can cause a lot of trouble.

To get rid of these ants indoors, pesticides, dusts and baits can be given to get immediate control over them. Also, the kitchen should always be left cleaned every time it is used, so that it will not further attract pests. Outdoors, these pests can be treated by searching for the colony, then drenching it with hot water or liquid insecticide. But for large and difficult to solve infestation, it is highly recommended to get a professional pest control company to get rid of the ants and the nest for you.


Characteristics

Imported fire ants have a 10-segmented antennae that has a 2-segmented club. Worker ants are 3/25 to 1/4 inch in length. They are reddish brown and may have a shiny opaque black abdomen. Male fire ants are mostly black.

Habitat

Imported fire ants create coned-shaped dome mounds of excavated soil. These mounds are commonly hard and rain resistant. Mounds are found in pastures, parks, golf courses, and fields.

Behavior

Imported fire ants look like just an average ant. However, they are very aggressive and can cause painful stings that create blisters at the site of the bites. Workers are hostile and will defend their mound when it is disturbed.

The creation of their colonies relies on their queens. Once a queen or queens find a suitable nest, and after producing enough workers, the queen will become an egg laying machine that will just spend her days creating eggs while her workers take care of them. Workers have the ability to serve different queens and cooperate with other workers that are not their relatives, which allows their colony to grow rapidly.

Food

Imported fire ants are omnivorous that will eat almost any plants or animals that they can find. However, they love to feed on insects, even those insects that are necessary in pollination.

Life Cycle

A fire ant colony may contain a single queen or in some cases, it may contain many queens that are unrelated and will produce workers and immatures. The immature goes into four stages, which are the egg, larva, pupa, and last as an adult. Winged males and females become active during the late spring and early summer. This will be followed by a nuptial flight following a rainfall. Once mating happens, the surviving female will search for a place to create her colony.

A single colony can have a single queen that can lay 800 eggs in a day, but the queen can also have recruited queens to help build the colony. Unrelated queens and their workers can live peacefully together, creating a cooperative colony. This colony can have 500,000 to 800,000 individuals and may have 10 -100 more queens.

Other Information and Tips

The imported fire ant is not your typical ant. Their aggressive behavior makes them a dangerous pest. They can sting continuously as they grasp the skin of their victim and inject their venom from their poisonous sac with the use of their jaws. After a few hours, the bitten area will experience burning and itching followed by a small blister that will become a white pustule after a day or two. Individuals who are even sensitive to their bite may suffer chest pains, nausea, sweating, slurred speech, and swelling.

These ants are also a nuisance with domesticated animals and a serious problem in urban and agricultural environments. Animals may get blinded or killed if these ants attack them. Fruits and plants are damaged and destroyed by them. And, they are known for decimating insects, thus reducing the needed food supply of other beneficial insects.

If you find a mound that contains imported fire ants make sure to stay away from it. These ants can bring more harm than good. Better call a pest control specialist to solve the nest for you to avoid any inconvenience and harm to you and your household.


Characteristics

The harvester ants are considered a nuisance pest because of their ability to sting people and even pets. They are large ants with a length of 1/5 to 1/4 inch. Some have yellow to black color, but the species that are the most notorious is the reddish brown, which is known as the red harvester ant. They have two segments on their abdominal and twelve segments on their antennae. Their psammophores are poorly developed. Adult males and females may have wings while workers are wingless females.

Habitat

Harvester ants prefer to live in open grassland or dry habitats, and are commonly found in a clay loam soil. They do not, however, like to live in a desert. When these ants are in vegetation, they have the ability to remove the plants around them in a circular or crater shape with their colony in the middle of it. It is common to find no vegetation around the surrounding areas of the colony, and also the foraging trails of these ants.

Behavior

The life of the colony is the queen. The harvester ant queen can live for 15 to 20 years and she cannot be replaced. When the queen dies, the colony will die with her. Although she may produce fertile alates, her female alate offspring will just move out and create her own colony instead of helping her maintain her mother queen’s colony. To maintain her colony, the queen will produce 10,000 workers each year that will also die after a year. These workers are divided into four classes, which are the maintenance crew, midden workers, forager, and patroller.

Food

These ants can eat almost anything, but they mostly prefer seeds and dead insects, which they bring back to their nest for storage. They can either collect seeds that have fallen from the ground, or they can also pluck them out from the plants. Their preferred seeds from plants are alfalfa, crab grass, small crab grass, red clover, rough buttonweed, sedge, poke weed, narrow leaf vetch, ragweed, and crotonweed.

Life Cycle

These ants are social insects that prefer to live together in colonies. They have only one queen per colony. Their life cycle begins with a winged female and a male swarming away from the parent colony to mate. After mating, the male will die while the female will shed her wings since she will not have any use for it. She will then search for a suitable nest to begin laying her eggs. After the eggs hatch, the queen will now have her first batch of workers that will take care of her and the eggs she will produce.

Other Information and Tips

Harvester ants can become pests because they have the ability to clear areas of grass around a supposed grassy land. They often create nests in open areas where people can easily be victimized, such as in lawns, recreational areas, and even on golf courses. Their sting is a cause for an alarm because it is known to be venomous. Their venom is even considered more dangerous than bees, wasps and hornets. Although some species of these ants are not aggressive, it is still recommended to get rid of their colonies in areas where people might encounter them. Otherwise, these ants should just be left alone if they are only present in a specific area to harvest seeds and insect pests.


Characteristics

Army ants are huge ants, with the soldiers reaching a half inch in length. Its body consists of a head, abdomen and thorax. The head of this ant has its eyes, mouth and antennae. However, this ant is blind and rely mostly on their sense of smell and touch to communicate. They also use trail pheromones and chemical messaging to communicate.
The female workers are mostly infertile. Their task is to forage for food. The smaller ant soldiers tend to the queen’s eggs, while the soldier ant defends the colony and protect the queen.

Habitat

These ants do not make a permanent home, but migrate to find food. They do create nests out of themselves. In order for them to protect the queen and her brood, the workers will create walls by fastening onto each other with the use of their mandibles. They can create enclosed, but very structured nest. Their nest even has corridors to let the ants transport food and eggs to the different portions of the nest.

Food

Army ants are considered dangerous since they will eat anything and everything in their path. They are known to consume up to 100,000 animals per day if they are given the chance. Most of their victims, however, are snakes, chickens, lizards, pigs, goats, tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, goats, and so on.

Life Cycle

Their colony is made up of a queen, soldier, and multi-purpose worker ants. The main purpose of the queen is to lay eggs that are about 100,000 to 300,000 eggs in just five to ten days. Their colony starts with a stationary phase and a nomadic phase. To start her colony the queen will need to produce 55,000 to 65,000 eggs as she stays stationary for two to four weeks. Once these eggs develop into mature eggs, adult workers will emerge. The nomadic phase begins as the colony grows.

With the growing size of the colony, the army ant will need to emigrate daily. The queen will still lay eggs, although they are travelling. The army ant will just stop for a while when the queen lay her eggs. They will travel back again, and the growing larvae will be carried by the workers.

The queen can live up to 20 years if the conditions are favorable. Her workers can live to up to a year. Male ants mostly die after mating with the queen. But, because she can reproduce very quickly, her colony can also survive together with her for up to 20 years, until the time she dies.

Other Information and Tips

Army ants have been accidentally introduced into the United States from South America. They will feed on anything and are known aggressive as they always consider of being attacked, or their queen is in danger. If you think you found army ants near your premises make sure to call a professional exterminator for help.

Cockroaches


Characteristics

The discoid cockroach or the false death’s head cockroach resembles the true death’s head cockroach although it is bigger than the true death’s head as they can grow up to 3 inch long. Although both female and male cockroaches have wings, this particular species cannot fly. They are not good climbers as well, and cannot climb smooth surfaces. They have a dark brown with yellow and black markings on their bodies. The back of their head has a marking that is similar to a vampire or a skull, which is where their name was derived.

Habitat

These cockroaches prefer to live in caves, forests, and may also be seen infesting homes. When these roaches are made as feeders for tarantulas, lizards, and bearded dragons, they are usually placed in a glass aquarium, which these roaches can clean by themselves. They are popular as feeders because they breed faster than the true death’s head, and are not expensive. However, the true death’s head cockroach is also popular as pets because of their attractive and shiny appearance.

Behavior

The discoid cockroach is a nocturnal insect. At night, they will scavenge for food and will look through leaf litter and bat droppings for food. They are not able to climb smooth surfaces like glass, so most enthusiasts who house them, usually place them inside a glass container. These cockroaches are fast runners, compared to the true death’s head cockroach. This cockroach also emits a slight bad odor when it gets scared.

Food

They prefer to eat decaying food, plant, and animal matter. Just like any other cockroaches, these roaches can eat feces or wood materials, especially when they cannot find their main food source. They always have a hungry appetite, which allows them to consume food that is half their body weight.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of the false death’s head starts with the female carrying the eggs inside her, then giving birth to nymphs. Each capsule may contain 34 eggs that will be hatched within three to four weeks. Nymphs prefer to stay hidden underground, which is why it is difficult to find wing sheaths as they grow. It takes four to five months for these cockroaches become adults. Once they attain full maturity, they will have about ten to twelve months to live.

Other Information and Tips

Just like the effect of other cockroaches, the presence of a large population of the false death’s head can create a bad odor, which may affect the flavor of food. They can also contaminate the food they walked in and the utensils we used to eat. They are also carriers of dangerous pathogens that can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Their feces and dead bodies can cause different allergies and trigger asthma attacks.

If the false death’s head cockroaches are not going to be used as feeders, and they are seen in homes, it may just indicate that they are making your home their home.

To eliminate them, make sure to:

Vacuum regularly to sack up all the carcasses and egg cases that you are not able to see.

• Clean and sanitize the affected area regularly so that cockroaches will not go back to their old harborage.
• Keep those pests out by fixing plumbing fixtures, wall outlets, windows and doors, and switch plates.
• Use baits and insecticides.
• If infestation still occurs, consult a professional exterminator.

Rodents


Characteristics

Woodchucks are fat, short animals that can weigh 5 to 10 pounds and 16 to 27 inches in length. Although they are fat and short and also owning a short, bushy tail, they have strong legs and claws that are used for digging burrows. their ears have the ability to close the ear openings so that they can stay protected when they are digging or when they are underground.

Habitat

This animal prefers living in dry soils where they have easy access to their needed food, which is why their burrows are common in farmlands and woodlands. But, because of urban development, these animals are now creating burrows in parks, golf courses, and at times in gardens.

A great way to know if your yard is harboring a woodchuck is when you find burrows. This animal likes to dig to create their burrows and since they are also big creatures, the entrance of their burrow are made 10 to 12 inches wide that may have two to three entrances. Excavated soils can also be found surrounding the entrances.

Behavior

Woodchucks are commonly seen during the warmer months where they will sleep on rocks or logs that are near their burrows. they do not like to travel long distances away from their burrows and will rely on their sense of sound and smell to escape from possible threats.

Woodchucks also hibernate for four to five months during winter just like bears. They will wake up during February or March with the male waking up first, only to search for females still in their sleep so that they can mate.

Food

Woodchucks are vegetarian. They eat beans, lettuce, cole crops, alfalfa, clover, and a variety of fruits and green-leafy vegetables.

Life Cycle

The breeding season for woodchucks are during the months of March and April. They only breed once a year with two to six young. The young woodchucks are born blind and hairless and will be taken care of their mother until June or July. By then, the young woodchucks will leave their mother to find their own dens or burrows. Woodchucks can live for 3 to 6 years.

Other Information and Tips

While issues arise when woodchucks create burrows in orchards, gardens, farms, and the likes, they should still not be considered as pests. They are just trying to live their life while at the same time their habitat is shrinking. To humanely get rid of woodchucks in your property the best solution is to evict them or trap them.

Eviction can be done by disturbing the burrow. However, timing is necessary to do this because they are mostly asleep during the winter, and they have dependent young in their burrows from spring or early summer. If you evict them during winter, they may die. To get all the woodchucks out, wait for mid to late summer to allow these animals be transferred to a better location.

It is also important to fence your home or garden to stop these woodchucks from entering your property.If possible, get a dog since dogs can scare them off.


Characteristics

Voles are chubby, looking creatures that live underground. They are 5 to 7 inches long with short legs and tails, and a plump body. Their upper color can be yellowish to brown or gray.

Habitat

These rodents are known to live in places such as in underground burrows in orchards and woodlands.They can create substantial tunnels that can be 5 centimeters deep. These burrows are commonly connected above ground so that they can have easy access outside.

Behavior

Voles are active throughout the year and they can be on the move day or night. They cannot be seen easily because they are ground-dwellers. This creature can create different underground tunnels with different entrances. However, some voles, such as the meadow voles live above the ground.

These rodents can populate and peak creating large infestations depending on their species, food quality, climate, stress, genetics, and the likes. An acre may contain 15 to 500 voles inside it, which can also multiply if left unchecked.

Food

Voles are herbivorous, feeding on plants, plant roots, tree roots, fruits, grass, moss, soft seeds, leaves, and the likes. They can also sometimes eat snails, insects, worms, and eggs. Voles are known pests since they can infest and encircle the trunk and roots of trees that may eventually kill it. They can also affect the amount of harvest and the time for new plantings to produce.

Life Cycle

Voles are prolific breeders. But, compared to their other rodent cousins, voles have a shorter lifespan. Smaller voles can live for three to six months while fully matured voles may live longer than 12 to 18 months.Although voles gestation period takes 17 to 21 days that produces three to six young, with also the possibility of producing four to five litters per year, and the ability to mate and become pregnant at three weeks of age, the early death of voles is contributed by predators, such as owls, foxes, weasels, and kestrels.

An infestation can easily occur when their population are not controlled.

Other Information and Tips

Voles are considered pests, especially when they are harboring in orchards and tree plantings. They can create extensive damage by girdling trees and can cause damage to crop fields as they create extensive runway tunnels. To control these pests, exclusion or trappings can be done, especially for low population. For large infestations, repellents and toxicants can be used. However, if you are not certain and do not feel confident on how to handle voles, you can get the help of a wildlife pest control specialist to get rid of them.


Chacteristics

The roof rat can easily be compared to the Norway rat, but their ecological and behavioral habits can also help in identifying and properly eliminating these two species. One main way to recognize the characteristics of the roof rat is through their tail. The tail of this rat is hairless, and scaly, and is mostly longer than its body. The roof rat also has a blackish or brownish color and are 6 to 8 inches in body length while their tale is 7 to 10 inches longer.

Habitat

Roof rats commonly take advantage of living close to man and can be found areas above high places.

Roof rats can be found in:

• Attics
• False ceilings
• Wood piles
• Overhangs or beams
• Trees with hollow cavities
• Upper portions of buildings

These rats can also burrow in the ground, especially in hot, dry places. They can be found on sidewalks, concrete slabs, etc.

Behavior

Roof rats are nocturnal creatures that hunts for food above the ground. They are great climbers and can easily climb trees, wires, rooftops and rafters. For them to reach their food, they can use utility lines to come to your home and forage for food, but they can also use the ground to enter homes.

These rats are also great swimmers, and can use the sewers to find new habitats. They are great travelers and may even travel a hundred feet away from their nesting site just to find their food.

Food

Roof rats love to prefer to eat fruits, especially citrus fruits. But, they can also eat different types of foods, such as insects, snails, grains, meats, stored food, livestock, and the likes. These rats easily contaminate food just by them touching or stepping on the food or livestock.

Life Cycle

Roof rats can breed all-year round with their females giving birth to 5 to 8 pups, and a possibility of having 4 to 5 liters per year. Within 21 days, after mating, the female rat can have her own first litter. The young rats will need 3 weeks to mature, and after 3 months, these rats can have their own set of litters.

Other Information and Tips

Roof rats are known pests in homes, since they can defile food, cause damage to homes, and are carriers of diseases. They play a great role in the transmission of different diseases, such as bubonic plague, ratbite fever, endemic typhus, etc. Your home should also be protected from them. Effective methods to control roof rats include, trapping, poison baits, exclusion, restriction of habitats, and the likes.

Effective control of roof rats can be difficult because of the known threats they posses and the need of proper knowledge on the behavior of these rats. To properly eliminate these rats from your home, it is advisable to get the help of a pest control specialist instead of handling it yourself.


Characteristics

One of the most successful breeders around the world, these Norway rats are known to be found in any locations where humans are found. The Norway rat is also known as the brown rat because of its brownish to grayish fur. However, its color can also differ from white, pale brown or black.

This rat is also the largest rodent found around the world. It can grow up to 18 inches long with the male being larger than the female, and can weigh 31/100 to 1 lb. The tail is bald and is also shorter than its body. The ears are shorter and also bald.

Habitat

The Norway rats enjoy a variety of habitats that are beside the human population.

Their homes can be located in:
• Garbage cans
• Sewers
• Old buildings
• Basements
• Attics
• Barns
• Woodlands
• Ponds
• Any location where humans are present

Behavior

Although this species are known to be polygynandrous, which means they can mate many times with different males, they are still known for their social and cooperative behavior. They will breed in large groups, and can take care of their young pups together no matter who the mother is as long as that mother belongs to their group.

Food

This rat can eat anything that is edible. From grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, rice, eggs, fish, to mice, chicks, birds, and even lambs.

Life Cycle

Norway rats are known to be polygamous creatures and are prolific breeders. The female rat only has six hours of heat cycle, but this is just enough for her to mate at least five-hundred times to different male rats.A single female can give birth to 6 to 9 pups. In a year, this rat can give birth to up to 12 to 13times, which is why they can easily spread and create infestations. The young pups stay with their mother to be milk-fed for three weeks to a month, then will soon leave her, and begin the cycle of breeding again. The mother on the other hand, can mate right after giving birth to her pups.

Since these rats have easy access to our living conditions, they are now taking advantage of the different types of foods that are made available to them. As a result, Norway rats can live up to 4 to 5 years, as long as the conditions are favorable to them. However, rats that are found in the wild may just have 1 to 2 years to live.

Other Infomration and Tips

The Norway rat is considered a major pest in all parts of the world because of the many different damages it causes. These rats are responsible for fouling human food, property and electrical damage, and are known as a carrier of different diseases. They also carry lice and fleas that they can transfer to their human home.

To control these rats, various measures such as poisoning and trapping can be used for them, especially in places where their populations are bigger.


Chacteristics

Although they are not related to kangaroos, these rats are called kangaroo rats because of their ability to hop with the use of their powerful hind legs, long tail, and big feet. They are small, and prefer to eat seeds, which they can even convert into water. Their body ranges from 3/5 to 4/5 inch long while their tails are 7/10 to 9/10 inch long.

Habitat

Kangaroo rats prefer to live alone in created burrows underground that are in sandy to rocky soils in desert locations.

These rats are found in:
• Perennial grasses
• Scrublands
• Saltbush
• Sandy soils
• Stony soils

Behavior

This rat is a nocturnal rodent that are mostly active at night searching for food, and will stay most of their day sleeping in their chosen burrows. When they come out at night, they will look for seeds and grains that they will carry back to their burrow with the use of their cheek pouches. They do not like to stay out for a long time because they are very territorial. They will mostly go out and forage for food for just 20 minutes or less.

Kangaroo rats are truly similar to a kangaroo because of having very large 2 feet at the back and two small feet at the front. This also enables them to leap quickly away from predators. Their very long tail also helps them when they jump since this acts to provide balance, and can also distract and confuse predators to where they will be going. They can also blend well in their environment because of their fur color, protecting them from hungry predators.

Food

Seeds are their main source of food. They normally consume mesquite, purslane, ocotillo, grama grass, creosote bush, succulents, and grasses. They will gather the seeds and will store the ones that they will not eat for later consumption.

Life Cycle

During the mating season, the female kangaroo rat can mate to as many males to increase the chances of conception. Gestation period lasts for 22 to 27 days. Once the young are born, they will be taken care by the mother since they are still blind and hairless. These young kangaroo rats will stay with their mother for the next one to six months before they go on their own, find their own burrows, and search for their seeds.

Other Information and Tips

While kangaroo rats prefer to live in the wild, there are some instances when they become a pest. It is necessary to be careful around them because they can carry different fleas that are also carriers of different diseases that can be passed on to pets and people. However, these rats are part of an endangered species that needs help in conserving. If encountered, make sure to get the help of a wildlife control operator to help these kangaroo rats be placed back in their natural habitats.


Characteristics

Jerboas have 33 species of long-tailed jumping rodents. Their body measures 2 to 4 7/10 inch, and an additional 4/5 inch for their tails. They look like a mouse, but is far different from them. Some jerboas have long, big ears like rabbits, some have normal small ones similar to a mouse. Some are big, while others are small. However, all species have long hind legs, short forelegs similar to a kangaroo. They also have a very long tail, and their fur is silky or velvet, and has light color that matches the ground.

Habitat

These animals are commonly found in Eastern Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia on deserts and steppes. Jerboas create burrows near their food since they can create burrows near plants. During the rainy season, they will create tunnels in mounds so that they will avoid getting flooded by the rain.

Behavior

During the day, these rodents stay in their burrows. They will come out at night because of the cool temperature outside. Jerboas prefer to stay in their permanent burrow during the winter season and they will hibernate to survive the cold temperature. They are also known to be solitary creatures, but can still create “loose colonies” during the winter so that they can stay warm from the weather outside.

To communicate with other jerboas, these creatures will use dust bathing for chemical communication. They may also hear sounds and vibrations to communicate, which they can easily hear, especially for the long-eared jerboa.

Food

These animals are omnivorous, and will eat plants, seeds, sprouts, and at times they will eat insects.

Life Cycle

Jerboas mate after waking up from hibernation. The female jerboa may have two to six youngs after giving birth to them. Once her youngs are able to take care of themselves, they will leave their mother and live a solitary life.

Other Information and Tips

Jerboas are wild animals that should stay outdoors. However, some jerboas are being sold as exotic animals that are treated as pets. Taking care of a jerboa may provide difficulties since little is known about their behavior. When they are enclosed and placed in one group, those that were introduced later in the group may be killed or bullied because most of the pack will not accept the new one. Problems may arise in raising jerboas since they are not like hamsters or gerbils that can be made as pets.


Characteristics

The Capybara is known to be the largest rodent in existence. It weighs from 72 3/4 to 158 73/100 lbs and has a length of about 1/2 inch. This animal has a fat and heavy appearance, has a short head and muzzle and has no tail. The fur is pale to dark brown, but with a shade of yellow, red or brown that can easily dry off once it is on land. It has a hoof-like claws and short, sturdy limbs that is used when walking on slippery banks or when swimming. Its eyes, ears, nose are all positioned on the top of its head so that it can still see, hear and smell while in the water.

Habitat

These cockroaches prefer to live in caves, forests, and may also be seen infesting homes.

Capybaras are found in Central and South America. They live in grassy plains, rainforests, and in densely vegetated areas that are close to water.

Behavior

Capybaras are social animals that prefer to live in groups. Their population may just be a simple three members to a growing number of 30 individuals. It is difficult to find a capybara alone since this will mean that the capybara becomes excluded from any group. A capybara living alone may not have a chance to mate or even live longer.

They live within their territories that they have to defend and maintain from the other herds. They follow a dominant male, which will also be the father of most of the young ones. They are susceptible to heat stress because of their size and weight, which is why they also stay in the water most of the day and may come out at the end of the day because the sun’s heat is already gone.

Food

Capybaras are herbivorous. They prefer grass and aquatic plants, but they can also feed on fruits, and sometimes may feed on the soft tree bark.

Life Cycle

Capybaras live in herds that follow a dominant male. They can breed all year round, but it may peak during the rainy season. When a female begins her estrus cycle, the dominant male will try to be the only rodent to breed with the females. However, in large herds, this can be difficult. A female capybara may mate with the dominant male, while also mating with subordinate males.

After 150 days, the female may have 2 to 8 youngs per litter. Young capybaras are precocial. They will be able to stand and walk, right after birth. After a week, they are able to eat grass, although they will still be weaned until their third month. The herd usually follows a cooperative parenting where other mothers will help in feeding the young capybaras and protecting them against predators.

Other Information and Tips

Capybaras and humans have long lived together without annoyance. However, there is a decline in the population of this animal. They are still not part of being endangered, but recent studies indicate that their population has grown smaller. This is due to being hunted down by people, the loss of their natural habitat, and the increase of pollution in the water that makes it more and more unsafe for these creatures. Capybaras may be considered pests when they enter crop fields to get their desired vegetables, roods and flowers. But, in their natural habitat, the capybaras are amazing rodents that should just be left alone

Scorpions


Characteristics

The fat-tailed scorpion is considered to be the most dangerous scorpion around because of its venom that can kill its human victim within seven to eight hours.

They are relatively large that has a size of about 4 inches in length. The male is longer than the females. They also have a large tail and small pincers. Their color can be light tan, yellow or black.

Habitat

This scorpion is a natural desert creature since it is commonly found in desert and semi-desert locations. 22 species of this species are widely distributed in North Africa, the Middle East and India. Just like any other scorpions, this scorpion does not burrow, but will hide under stones, under barks, steep slopes of drifting sand dunes, and in crevices. Unfortunately, the fat-tailed scorpion are commonly found near homes, especially in dry areas.

Behavior

The fat-tailed scorpion is a nocturnal creature that hunts insects and small vertebrates when the sun is already down. Just like any other scorpions, the fat-tailed scorpion prefers to live near people because of the variety of food that they can get and the right temperature that they can take advantage inside these premises. They prefer to live in dry places where they can take cover in dry rocks, trees, cactus hedges, and the likes.

Food

Scorpions can survive without food for at least six months because of their inactive lifestyle and low metabolic rate. When they do eat, they will eat a lot at one time. They will use their claws to catch their prey and give its venom to paralyze or instantly kill their prey. Their food mainly consists of roaches, crickets, beetles, mice, lizards, and any small invertebrates.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of the fat-tail scorpion is the same as other scorpion species. The male will search for a female, and once he finds one, he will begin to mate by placing his spermataphore. The male and the female will not mate entirely, but the female will move his spermataphore inside her, thus releasing it in the process, and fertilizing it after. Once the process is done, the male will move away from the female to avoid being eaten by her.

The female will then give birth to her scorplings one at a time. She can have around two to 100 or more babies. Once the young ones are born, they will stay with their mother for about 3 weeks, right after their first molt. They cannot survive without their mother before the first molt. After the first molt, they will still continue to molt until they are already grown. A fat-tail scorpion can live for four to twenty-five years, depending on their environment.

Other Information and Tips

The fat-tailed scorpion is considered to be the most lethal arachnid to date that is responsible for deaths from a scorpion sting in north Africa. Although this is not native to the United States, it is still necessary, NOT to approach this scorpion if they are within your premises.

Spiders


Characteristics

The zebra jumping spider is a small spider. Males are almost the same size as females with males being 1/5 to 1/4 inch long while females are 1/5 to 7/25 inch long. The fangs or chelicerae of the males are larger than the females. Their distinguishing mark is their black and white fury striped pattern on their abdomens. They have eight eyes that are arranged in three rows. The large eyes at the front is used for binocular vision. The second row of eyes is used for forward direction, and the final row is used to look upward.

Habitat

The zebra jumper was originally from Europe and North America. They have the ability to adapt to urban environments, which is why they are commonly found near human dwellings. They like to stay in gardens, on walls, window panes, and the likes.

Behavior

Their ability to jump allows this spider to go in all directions. They can leap on their prey easily and also avoid predators with the use of their jumping ability. Their style is similar to a cat, wherein they will slowly approach their prey and pounce on it once they get the chance.

The zebra jumper has the ability to see almost everything in all directions. It can even see a human going near them and they are not afraid to approach them as well. Instead of running, this spider will observe their human onlooker and may twitch its pediphalps to show interest. While they can still bite, they are not aggressive and may just attempt to fight back if they are threatened or confined.

Food

The zebra jumper eats insects that are the same size as them or even larger than them. They usually hunt during the day and will locate their prey with the use of their clear vision. Although they do not create webs, they can still use a silk to create a dragline or a safety cord as they go from one place to the next.

Life Cycle

The zebra jumper commonly has a one-year life cycle. Some are nearly full-grown during winter while others mature during the fall. Mating usually happens during the fall. The male of this species will die also during fall while the female will die during spring.

Since they are blessed with great eyesight, their mating activities are more sight-based. The male performs an intricate mating dance for the female to get her attention. After mating and when the eggs are mature, the mother spider will create a silken retreat and create an egg sac. The mother will wait for her eggs to hatch, and once they do, the spiderlings will disperse through ballooning.

Other Information and Tips

Some people think that the zebra jumper is venomous and can bring harm to humans because of their aggressive jumping behavior. However, it is only in their nature to jump. This spider is not venomous nor harmful to humans. Although they can also bite when they are threatened, their bite is not venomous. It may bring a mild irritation to sensitive individuals, and nothing more.


Characteristics

Orchard orbweavers are sometimes easy to miss because of the transparency of their webs and their tiny size. Females are ¼ inch in length, not including the legs, while the males are much smaller. They have eight eyes that are grouped together in a trapezoid manner. Their legs are long and are covered in spines and hairs. Both genders have a yellowish-green with a thin, dark green or black stripe down the center and along the sides. The abdomen is elongated oval and can have a variety of colors, such as silver, green, yellow, red, and blue. The front end of the abdomen is rounded.

Behavior

These spiders prefer low bushes and damp woodlands. They will create small webs in lop seed, and even in small trees. Although they can be found in different habitats, they mostly prefer moisture-rich environment like low bushes and lower portions of trees. While these spiders can multiply in wooded areas, they are not easily noticed because of their characteristic of dropping quickly into a leaf litter when they are disturbed.

Food

The orchard orb weaver is a tiny spider that will just sit and wait for food to come at her web than search for it. They create circular webs that are positioned at an angle to the ground, and will wait for their food while hanging in the middle of their web. You may be able to see the underside of these spiders once you look down upon their webs. They usually rest with their backs facing the ground that will allow you to see the shiny emerald greens and orange spots near their spinnerets.

Life Cycle

This spider prefers any insects that fly and jump, such as flies, mosquitoes, gnats or leafhoppers that are caught in its orb web.

Other Information and Tips

The orchard orb weaver is an annual species, which means it will live only for one year. This spider commonly hatches its eggs in spring and spends the rest of the season mating and laying eggs, maturing, eating, and mating and laying eggs again. They are capable of creating egg sacs as long as the weather allows them. As fall comes in, their metabolism slows down. They will die when the season becomes colder. As for the egg cases, they will overwinter and will hatch as spiderlings when spring comes.


Chacteristics

The giant crab spiders, also known as huntsman spiders, are giant spiders that can compete with tarantulas in size. Although this spider is a flat-bodied spider, it can still scurry to narrow cracks and crevices because of their laterigrade legs (legs that extend forward that is similar to a crab’s leg). Mature males are 1/2 to 1 1/5 inch while the mature females are 3/5 up to 2 inch in body length. Their legspan is 50 to 64 millimeters in length, adding to that giant look. These spiders are also found with brown or gray spots all over, and a striking black and white mark on their undersides.

Habitat

Giant crab spiders do not build webs, but they are natural hunters and predators. They can be found under rocks or on tree barks if they are in their natural habitat. When they are found indoors, these spiders can be in garages, and in sheds where they will not be seen or disturbed.

Behavior

As the giant crab spiders search for prey, they will climb up into high places so they can observe wide areas without being seen. Although they like to climb, they are also a non-visual hunting spider, where they use their other senses to know when their prey is coming. And, even if they are big, they can still run fast, which allows them to catch their prey easily. Once they find something to eat, they will ambush their prey and inject it with their venom.

Food

This spider like to eat other small insects, crickets, small skinks and geckos that they can subdue easily.

Life Cycle

A female giant crab spider can live for 2 to 3 years, compared to the male giant crab spider that has a short lifespan because they are commonly consumed by the female after mating. After she releases her eggs, she will place them in a sac and will carry it below her body. She will not feed during the incubation period, and will protect her sac and the spiderlings after they come out. These spiderlings will stay under her protection for a while, until the time that they disperse.

Other Information and Tips

Although this spider is really big, and have jaws to bite, this spider is still considered not dangerous. The giant crab spider can even be thoughtand make as pets if handled correctly. However, this spider is fast, agile, and also aggressive. They will not hesitate to bite, especially if they are threatened. Since we still do not know much about spider venom, it is wise not to touch this spider with bare hands, unless you feel confident that you will not have any allergic reaction towards it.


Characteristics

Army ants are huge ants, with the soldiers reaching a half inch in length. Its body consists of a head, abdomen and thorax. The head of this ant has its eyes, mouth and antennae. However, this ant is blind and rely mostly on their sense of smell and touch to communicate. They also use trail pheromones and chemical messaging to communicate.
The female workers are mostly infertile. Their task is to forage for food. The smaller ant soldiers tend to the queen’s eggs, while the soldier ant defends the colony and protect the queen.

Habitat

These ants do not make a permanent home, but migrate to find food. They do create nests out of themselves. In order for them to protect the queen and her brood, the workers will create walls by fastening onto each other with the use of their mandibles. They can create enclosed, but very structured nest. Their nest even has corridors to let the ants transport food and eggs to the different portions of the nest.

Behavior

Although this species are known to be polygynandrous, which means they can mate many times with different males, they are still known for their social and cooperative behavior. They will breed in large groups, and can take care of their young pups together no matter who the mother is as long as that mother belongs to their group.

Food

Army ants are considered dangerous since they will eat anything and everything in their path. They are known to consume up to 100,000 animals per day if they are given the chance. Most of their victims, however, are snakes, chickens, lizards, pigs, goats, tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, goats, and so on.

Life Cycle

Their colony is made up of a queen, soldier, and multi-purpose worker ants. The main purpose of the queen is to lay eggs that are about 100,000 to 300,000 eggs in just five to ten days. Their colony starts with a stationary phase and a nomadic phase. To start her colony the queen will need to produce 55,000 to 65,000 eggs as she stays stationary for two to four weeks. Once these eggs develop into mature eggs, adult workers will emerge. The nomadic phase begins as the colony grows.

With the growing size of the colony, the army ant will need to emigrate daily. The queen will still lay eggs, although they are travelling. The army ant will just stop for a while when the queen lay her eggs. They will travel back again, and the growing larvae will be carried by the workers.

The queen can live up to 20 years if the conditions are favorable. Her workers can live to up to a year. Male ants mostly die after mating with the queen. But, because she can reproduce very quickly, her colony can also survive together with her for up to 20 years, until the time she dies.

Other Infomration and Tips

Army ants have been accidentally introduced into the United States from South America. They will feed on anything and are known aggressive as they always consider of being attacked, or their queen is in danger. If you think you found army ants near your premises make sure to call a professional exterminator for help.

Termites


Characteristics

Formosan termites are similar to subterranean termites. Their colony is made up of workers, soldiers and winged reproductives.

Workers – Workers are similar to other termite species because of their white coloration.

Soldiers – Soldiers have egg-shaped heads and curved mandibles, and are known to be more aggressive than other termites.

Reproductives – Winged termites are 1/2 to 3/5 inch and are yellowish to brown in color. Swarms or termite reproductives will appear at night during late May to early June and they will be attracted to lights. They have four translucent wings that are equal in size, and are milky in color.

Habitat

Formosan termites are known as dangerous and aggressive since they can consume wood faster than other termite species. To build their habitat, these termites will create a mud nest underground. In their natural habitat, these termites will live in trees and shrubs. In indoor structures, these pests will chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper. They can also infest timber, utility poles, and boats.

Behavior

These termites are known for their aggressive behavior. They will attack wood through their underground soil colony. Once they have touched the wood, they will consume the wood until it is entirely destroyed. It only takes three to six months for them to accomplish their task of destruction.

While they are known for creating underground colonies, these termites can also create colonies above ground. Like most termites, they build networks of galleries that are well hidden. Once the colonies become mature, alates will leave their old colony to create their own.

Formosan termite soldiers are also known to defend their colony when it is disturbed. As an act of defense, these soldiers will emit a white liquid to capture their enemies.

Food

These termites consume anything that has wood fiber on it. They are attracted to homes, building, trees and crops because of the wood that they can consume from them.

Life Cycle

Their colony has a king, queen, workers, and reproductives. A new colony will start with female and male alates swarming in late May until early June. They prefer the evening hours when humidity is high and will go near lights as much as they can. After mating, the female and male reproductives will search for soil, where the female can lay her eggs. Once the colony is created and workers are able to gather wood-fiber, the colony will start to grow with the queen being able to produce more than 1,000 eggs in a day.

Other Information and Tips

Formosan termites are known to be aggressive and are known to cause structural damage in homes. They are even known for their other nicknames, such as super-termite.

Signs of infestation:
• Presence of swarmers
• Mud tubes
• Damaged wood
• Presence of nests

It is important for homeowners to act fast when these termites are seen or when evidence of these termites have been noticed. To get rid of these pest, contact your local pest control specialist to finally get rid of the infestation.