Pest Education

Cockroaches

Damage:

Cockroaches spread human disease by depositing disease organisms on food and utensils. The American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings, may transmit bacteria that cause Salmonella and Shigella. German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus, hepatitis, and coliform bacteria. They also have been implicated in the spread of typhoid and dysentery.

Recent studies have found a strong association between the presence of cockroaches and increases in the severity of asthma symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to cockroach allergens, especially children.

Detection and Treatment:

Cockroaches may become pests in homes, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and virtually any structure that has food preparation or storage areas. These pests are common even in the cleanest of crowded urban areas and older dwellings. It's usually not difficult to discover an infestation, because they are often visible. Treatment usually involves sealing cracks and crevices to block entrance; keeping food and trash areas clean to avoid providing food; and the professional application of insecticide and bait on a regular basis. Click here for more info.

Rodents

Damage:

Rats, mice, squirrels and other rodents consume and contaminate food. They also gnaw on electrical wires, wooden structures, and tear insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting. Rodents can also transmit disease to humans, pets, and livestock. They have been found to transmit typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, and salmonellosis.

Detection and Treatment:

The presence of mice and rats is usually detected by the damage they cause to food and structures, by their droppings, and by their nests. Treatment involves eliminating all entry points and population reduction by the application of rodenticides and traps.

Ants

Damage:

Ants cause various types of damage, depending upon the variety. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood, destroying structures. Pharaoh ants may transmit serious diseases. A fire ant's sting is potentially deadly to susceptible individuals, and all ants contaminate the food they infest.

Detection and Treatment:

Ants build massive colonies, so their presence is generally detected when you see their nests, or the ants themselves. Treatments involve baiting, insecticide, and sealing off entry to buildings.

Spiders

Except for poisonous spiders, such as the black widow and the brown recluse, spiders are not harmful to humans. When it's important to control spiders, chemical control is used, along with destruction of webs and eggs. Since they feed on insects, measures that control unwanted insects will also reduce spider populations.

Biting and Stinging Pests

Damage:

Bees, wasps and scorpions are dangerous because of their painful and potentially harmful stings.

Detection and Treatment:

Wasp nests and bee hives can be removed by professionals with protective gear. Insecticides are also used. Scorpion problems are usually treated chemically. Click here to learn more about other insects.

Termite Facts

Subterranean termites are extremely destructive. First they build tunnels to wooden structures, and then they burrow into those structures to obtain food. Any wood or cellulose-containing material constitutes termite food, and given time to do so, they'll eat until nothing is left but a shell. Termites avoid light and air, so they build their colonies where you're not likely to stumble upon them.

Is it a termite or an ant?

On the off chance you do see them, remember that it's easy to confuse termites with ants. Fortunately, there are features that distinguish them.

Ants Termites
  • narrow waists
  • thick waists
  • bent antennae
  • straight antennae
  • two sets of wings (one set is longer than the other)
  • two sets of wings (both are the same size)
  • ant vs. termite image

    Pest Prevention: Steps You Can Take

    Here are some ways you can help keep pests from disrupting your home.

    Keeping them homeless

    • Seal cracks and crevices where pests can get into your home.
    • Get rid of stacks of newspaper, papers, bags, and cardboard boxes that make good homes for pests.

    Keeping them hungry

    • Keep a tight lid on trash cans and empty them often.
    • Store food in tightly sealed containers.
    • Wipe up spills and crumbs right away.
    • Clean your dirty dishes right after eating.
    • Pests thrive on moisture. Keep them from getting to water by fixing leaks and not leaving dish water in the sink overnight.

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