Pests 101

On this page, you'll find some interesting facts and videos to help you learn more and be able to identify some common household pests. Click on a category to learn more about a specific pest. 

Bed bugs are flattened, oval shaped bugs that feed on blood and are found in all 50 states, and other parts of the world. Their bites can result in a number of health issues including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Bed bugs can live for several months without a blood meal and can survive temperatures of nearly freezing to 122 degrees. They generally  stay  hidden during the daytime in crevices, cracks, mattresses, bedding, baseboards or any other dark place, but at night, the carbon dioxide we exhale often tempts them out of their hiding spots. Due to a component in bed bug saliva that acts as an anesthetic, a bed bug bite is often painless until a rash or itchiness appears. Because bed bugs can survive up to 70 days without feeding, repeated treatments may be required to totally eliminate them.

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There are over 70 species of rats and mice throughout North America. The most common of these are the deer mouse, house mouse, the Norway rat, and the roof rat. Although similar in physical appearance, rats and mice are very different in their behavior. Mice are more curious rodents and will fall right into a well set trap, whereas a rat is more cautious and will avoid anything unfamiliar or new. Both rats and mice are nocturnal creatures and most active at night. Mice live on average 12-18 months while rats have an average lifespan of about two years.

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The most common roaches found in the U.S. are American, Brownbanded, German and Oriental. The American is the largest and most commonly seen roach in residential homes, and is sometimes referred to as water bug or Palmetto bug. Brown banded roaches prefer warmer, drier environments and are commonly found in cabinets and near ceilings or anywhere there is warm, dry shelter. German cockroaches are the most common species roach in the world and are commonly found in restaurants, hotels, nursing homes and food processing facilities. Oriental roaches are primarily an outdoor species and often referred to as "waterbugs" as they hang out in damp areas or where there is alot of moisture. Roaches are nasty pests, can spread bacteria and cause allergies, and are challenging to get rid of.

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There are over 700 species of ants in the U.S. but four that are most commonly seen in are around homes - Carpenter ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants and imported fire ants. An ant infestation can grow quickly and can contaminate food and cause structural damage. 

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Termites cause more than $5 billion dollars in property damage a year and are know as the "silent destroyer" using their razor sharp jaws to chew through wood, paper, and flooring. Common termite species include Subterranean, Drywood, Dampwood, Formosan, and Conehead. Termites can devastate a property in no time if left untreated. 

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While there are about 3000 species of spiders in Northern American, only two in the Southern and Western U.S. are threatening if disturbed - the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Black widow spiders are commonly recognized by the red hour glass shape on their abdomen. If bitten by a black widow, their venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake, causing muscle aches, nausea and difficulty breathing. Brown recluse spiders have a small body, long legs, and a violin shaped marking on its head. They typically live outdoors but can also be found indoors in boxes, under furniture, in old shoes or attics. The bite from a brown recluse spider can cause necrosis and dense scar tissue and even loss of fingers or limbs. 

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