Pests

COMMON PESTS

Pests are everywhere. They are on your body right now. They are living inside you. Pests are something that we cannot escape. We can, however, control them.

This is a simple list of just a few pests that may be lurking around inside your home. This page has scientific information, as well as our own spin on each pest.

ANTS

ant-carrying-a-leaf-on-a-branch

fireantsAnts are social insects, related to wasps and bees. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. A few ants classified as pests include the pavement ant, yellow crazy ant, sugar ants, the Pharaoh ant, carpenter ants, Argentine ant, odorous house ants, red imported fire ant and European fire ant.

Ants are some of the strongest creatures comparative to their size. It has been documented that the common American field ant has joints that can withstand 5000 times its own body weight.

Most ants are harmless, although there are a few dangerous varieties. Fire ants are a kind of wingless wasp that has been known to kill humans. Velvet ants, which are also wingless wasps, are said to have one of the most painful stings in all of nature, and yes, they are native to Ohio.

Carpenter ants, while probably cannot kill you directly, can chew through important areas in your home’s woodwork and cost thousands of dollars in damage. We have seen carpenter ant damage so severe the floor was so badly damaged that it was the consistency of saltine crackers, and if you took a stroll through the house you would quickly end up falling through to the hard concrete basement floor.

COCKROACH

germanroachgermancockroachCockroaches are insects of the order Blattaria. There are about 4,500 species of cockroach, of which 30 species are associated with human habitations and about four species are well known as local pests. Most kinds of cockroaches are strictly forest dwelling and don’t even bother mankind.

Among the best-known pest species are the American cockroach, which is about 1.2 in long, the German cockroach or kitchen roach, about 1/2 in long, and the Oriental cockroach, about 1 in.

Diseases spread from these insects can kill humans. Necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating disease, has been associated with German cockroaches.

BEDBUG

bedbugs1bedbugBedbugs are small hemotophagious (blood eating) parasitic insects. The term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood, although there are many kinds of “bedbugs”. All insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The name ‘bedbug’ is derived from the insect’s preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.

Although it has not been scientifically accepted that they can spread disease, we believe that in time they will come to light (Mosquitos had to undergo scientific testing to prove that they also carry disease).

In heavy cases, their feces left behind can be thick enough to harbor some nasty diseases, such as the bacteria MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which can be fatal. The bugs apparently spread it while they are drawing blood from their target and then they are crushed or rolled over on, releasing their contents into your bloodstream. Diseases spread by bedbugs have been speculated to be Lyme Disease, Hepititus B, and Chagas Disease.

RACCOON

raccoonThe common raccoon is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. It has a body length of 16 to 28 in and a body weight of 8 to 20 lb. That’s about the size of a beagle hound.

The raccoon is usually nocturnal and is omnivorous, with a diet consisting of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. Most people picture raccoons as only living out of trash cans, but they eat just about anything.

It has a grayish coat, of which almost 90% is dense underfur, which insulates against cold weather. Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask, which are themes in the mythology of several Native American tribes.

Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later. The original habitats of the raccoon forests of North America, but due to their adaptability they have extended their range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas (urbaniziation), where many homeowners consider them to be pests.

Raccoon’s can spread very serious illnesses. One is rabies, and rabies is fatal. Only one rabies related human death by spreading directly from raccoon is documented. Of course, if a rabies stricken raccoon bites a dog and then the dog bites a human…

SQUIRREL

Public domain image from www.public-domain-image.comSquirrels are highly agile arboreal rodents.  They are incredibly fast. The tree squirrel is part of the genus Sciurus, which is native to the eastern and midwestern United States, but in Ohio there are over seven squirrel species.  They are incredibly adaptive and can live on every continent except Antartica, just like raccoons.

Squirrels are very aggressive when they feel in danger, and can seriously harm humans. Their claws are sharp and their jaws hold a set of rodent incisors that can bite to the bone. It is highly suggested to call Animal Control to deal with these rodents. Don’t underestimate their size.

 

TERMITES

termitesTermites are a group of social insects that are polyneopterous, which means that according to scientific classification, they are related to cockroaches and mantids. Along with ants and some bees and wasps, termites divide labor among gender lines, produce overlapping generations and take care of young collectively.

Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung, and about 10% of the estimated 4,000 species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Don’t let that number fool you, as typically one termite colony has enough termites to fill an entire pick-up truck bed.

Termites have also been shown to actually farm fungus for consumption. They grow fungus in a chamber, and when the fungus is ripe enough, they can use it to sustain themselves.

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