Select a bug or rodent to learn more about these pests and how they live to keep you informed
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Termites are some of the most costly pests native to the United States. With their sole food source being dead wood and plant matter, they often find their way into the homes of unlucky individuals. The consequences of this infestation are frequently catastrophic.
In the United States, there are two distinct varieties of termites: drywood and subterranean. Here in Georgia, the most common species of termite is the Eastern subterranean termite. As the name implies, these termites live out a large portion of their life underground. However, they still subsist solely on the aforementioned termite diet. Thus, they often leave their earthen environment for accommodations more suitable for their metabolic needs. This is unfortunately what has lead the Eastern subterranean termite to be the most widely distributed termite in the United States, “pestering” homes in every state with the exception of Alaska.
The most destructive characteristic of a termite colony is the clearly defined social structure. A colony numbering in the millions still maintains organization and precision any military would envy. One queen powers the reproductive requirements of the colony, along with her less impressive male counterpart. Workers are the only type of termite with the ability to digest wood products, and therefore take on the role of feeding their larger soldier colleagues. These soldiers in turn protect the colony from invading ants, and form a unit impenetrable to most arthropod invaders. Swarmers, so named for their unique possession of wings, spread outside of the colony in mass. This adaptation allows for the continuation of the termite lineage should any mishap occur in the main colony. This can make for a frighteningly difficult pest to personally remove, and thus necessitates the existence of pest control companies like Preferred.
Termite swarmers are the variety of termites that allow for the detection of the colony. After deciding that the purpose of their wings has been fulfilled, these termites promptly discard them. These wings, which can be up to twice as long as the termite itself (a characteristic that sets swarmer termites off from fling ant species), are easily spotted on floors or window sills. However, if you follow the tracks and come across the actual colony itself, do not disturb them. Subterranean termites have mastered the art of self-preservation, and will scatter at even the slightest disruption. Thus, it is always a better idea to allow a trained inspector to investigate the potential infestation.
Ticks are parasitic arachnids in the order Ixodida. Though small in stature, these hematophagic (bloodsucking) organisms can pack a deadly punch, as they are vectors for all kinds of potentially deadly diseases. A tick epidemic is not anything to take lightly, and if such an infestation becomes a problem in and around your home, trained inspectors should be contacted immediately.
Ticks cannot survive without a host organism to feed on. Female ticks require blood in order to produce eggs for the continuation of the species. Fortunately, only one round of eggs is hatched before both the male and female die.
There are two very distinct families of ticks. Hard ticks, as expected, differ from their softer counterparts in that they possess a feature known as the scutum that covers the dorsal region of the organism. Also, with regard to the soft-shelled ticks, they have a much simpler life cycle, with each stage only requiring one feeding session. Their mouthparts are also clearly visible from all angles and much more exposed than those of the soft-shelled variety, which possesses mouthparts that are located on the underside of the head. Both tick families have the capacity to spread many kinds of disease, including but not limited to the following: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tick Paralysis, and Q Fever.
Ticks are an incredibly selective parasite, and are often classified by their preferred host. Thus, Deer Ticks often target deer and so on. The problem arises when ticks that prey on cats and dogs come into play. These domestic animals can bring the ticks into your home, where the pests are allowed to reproduce with a consistent food supply – you. To ensure such a problem does not get out of control, professional measures should be taken.
Bees and Wasps
Bees and wasps are common springtime insects that serve vital roles in any ecosystem. Bees are great pollinators, and wasps serve as efficient pest controllers in their own right. However, when they are allowed to swarm in or near a home and pose a threat to the inhabitants, they become pests. Bees and wasps both have the capacity to inflict painful stings upon an unlucky passerby, but they are also known for something far more deadly. Bee and wasp allergies are some of the most common allergies in the world, and also some of the deadliest. Those that are allergic to the potent venom often have serious reactions that require hospitalization. To top it all off, it has been observed that the reaction can get worse with each sting. Thus, an entire colony swarming can not only be something out of nightmares- it can be fatal.
What attracts bees and wasps? Well, any occasion that is accompanied by loud sounds and sugary drinks will attract the curiosity of these insects. Consequently, if a colony goes untreated, you can expect a visit from the worst kind of party crasher. In fact, it isn’t unheard of for wasps to find their way into the drinks themselves. The unfortunate individual who takes a sip of the wasp’s newly conquered abode may get an unexpected surprise!
Bee and wasp infestations are often looked at as minor annoyances, nothing important. As such, many people try to take the problem into their own hands. However, this is never a good idea. A pesticide in the hands of the untrained can cause more harm to come to them than necessary. For instance, even the most effective commercial chemicals for bee and wasp extermination require nearly direct application onto the nest and all of the occupants. This is often a difficult feat to achieve, especially when there are millions of stinging insects ready to swarm at the slightest disturbance. Professionals can deal with the situation efficiently, without any harm coming to you in the process.
The most commonly reported pests in the United States; ants are the root cause of a variety of different household issues. Enticed indoors by opened food products, sugary substances, and even dead insects, these opportunistic insects can squeeze in through any available crack. Within only a short span of time, a small population of ants can become a flourishing colony. For this reason, action should be taken immediately if the beginning stages of a colony are found.
An ant infestation can infect many different household functions depending on the species. With this variety of functions comes a variety of treatments, and the species of the ant in question must be identified for efficient treatment. There are thousands of different species of ants worldwide, but the four most common in the United States are the carpenter ants, the red imported fire ants, the pavement ants, and the pharaoh ants. Each has their own niche in ant society, and each is harmful in its own special way.
The carpenter ants are the largest of the four mentioned above, measuring out at five eighths inches long. As implied by the common name of the species, carpenter ants nest in all kinds of wood. Unable to metabolize the wood themselves, carpenter ants instead rely on the wood only for a habitat, removing the wood to make room for a nest.
Distinguished from carpenter ants by their diminished size, pavement ants can cause very much the same problem for household structures. Though they prefer to nest in the cracks of pavement, these ants are natural opportunists and will nest in any available building- which, of course, opens the door for an infestation in your home.
Red Imported Fire Ants are perhaps the best known of the four mentioned species, and are so called for the pain of the stings that they can inflict when threatened. Building large mounds out of dirt, they have little interest in wood structures. However, when an unlucky passerby stumbles across the nest accidentally, the reason for their pest status is made readily, painfully apparent.
Pharaoh ants are the smallest species of the four listed, measuring out at only one sixteenths inch long. Attracted by sugar, grease, and dead insects, pharaoh ants are common invaders of hospitals, restaurants, and other commercial buildings. These insects are vectors for all kinds of diseases, Staph infections prominent among them.
All species of ants can be pests in their own way. In the case of the pavement and carpenter ants, the problem arises with structures. Fire ants and Pharaoh ants are more directly harmful to humans, striking with painful stings and potentially deadly diseases, respectively. However, effective pest control treatments for all ant species have been developed, and with the simple call of a professional pest control exterminator problems can be dealt with in the most efficient possible manner.
Mosquitoes are a family of pests that plague tropical areas around the world during the warm summer months. While in the more industrial nations mosquitoes are often considered only a pesky nuisance, they have the potential to be killers anywhere. Stagnant water provides a breeding hole for these insects, and they will reproduce anywhere that water is readily available.
Not all mosquitoes drink blood to survive. Male mosquitoes in fact subsist on the nectar of flowers, and never insert their proboscis into other animals. Female mosquitoes are the kind we are most familiar with, as they are the fearsome, annoying bloodsuckers of the species. They do not need blood to survive however; they only need it to reproduce. Since the short life cycle of the female mosquito is based solely upon the generation of offspring, they are hematophagic for the majority of their lifetime, unfortunately for us.
Mosquitoes are vectors for a number of different deadly disease, among them malaria and the West Nile virus. They also have an uncontrolled backwash mechanism, which allows infection to be spread from one individual to another. These two horrible characteristics come together to form a deadly combination that has allowed their death toll to be higher than that of any other insect. In fact, malaria has become such an epidemic in parts of sub-Saharan Africa that the heterozygous genotype for sickle cell anemia, an unfavorable trait in and of itself, is being naturally selected for due to its protection against the former disease.
Cases of diseases that are endemic to Africa and spread by mosquitoes have started to arise in the Western Hemisphere in recent years. This is a troubling sign for those native to the United States, as diseases that are very rarely given much thought in the first world are now becoming a real and dangerous problem. Before long, these diseases will be widespread within all of the 50 states. For this reason, it is paramount now more than ever to seek the professional aid of pest exterminators for your mosquito problems.
Bed bugs are well-known pests that were a major problem for generations of people long ago. Though many people think that bed bugs are but a nightmare that has long since passed, the rate of bed bug infestation has actually increased exponentially in recent years in proportion with the growing amount of people that travel internationally. Such people spread these tiny pests from one country to another, and the United States is no exception.
Bed bugs are nocturnal and feed exclusively at night. They are hematophagic, feeding on the blood of humans as they sleep. These insects are not inherently dangerous, as there is no recorded case of them spreading infectious disease. However, the swelling and itchiness of a bed bug bite explains their classification as a nuisance pest.
While visible to the naked eye, we encounter bed bugs very little due to our diurnal nature, and an infestation can be difficult to classify. To top it off, these insects often leave no visible evidence of a bite beyond the itchiness, and the bite itself is not perceptible. It is for this reason that a bed bug infestation is often blamed on a completely different species, which is not conducive to effective treatment of the pest.
Bed bugs are often times not harmed by general pesticides that are used for other species of insect. The resistance of bed bugs to common chemicals allows them to thrive in conditions that are unfavorable to virtually any other insect. For this reason, professional pest control services should be sought in order to deal with the problem most efficiently.
Spiders are a variety of arachnid that strike fear in the hearts of many humans. The spider is a frightening creature assuredly, but it also serves an important function in the food web. They actually perform their own kind of pest control, preying on potentially harmful insects such as flies and cockroaches. However, the problem arises when these spiders begin to harm humans.
All species of spider are venomous, but only a select few have the ability to deal substantial harm to humans. In fact, only two species in Georgia are capable of delivering fatal bites, the black widow and the brown recluse. While they are comparatively mild when considering some species of spider that are not endemic to Georgia, black widows and brown recluses nonetheless take the lives of a slight few each year. Thus, any bite received from one of these spiders necessitates immediate medical treatment.
Brown recluses and black widows both have features that distinguish them from any other variety of spiders. The black widow is perhaps best known for the red hourglass that is present on the ventral section of the abdomen in females. Brown recluses also possess an hourglass, but it is much darker and is instead located on the dorsal section of the abdomen. Both species prefer dark surroundings, and so often times make their homes in unfortunate locations- the insides of shoes prominent among them.
While there are many species of spider native to Georgia, only the above two are incredibly dangerous to humans. However, it is always the safest solution to seek out medical attention when bitten by ANY spider, no matter the species. The presence of spiders can be a positive thing when dealing with the outside environment, but should an unwanted spider be found inside of your home, seek out a professional pest control company to deal with the problem efficiently.
Flies are insects of the order Diptera, which is comprised of over 240,000 distinct species. Over a third of these species live in America, and all are considered pests of some sort. All true flies have the capacity to spread disease, both indirectly and directly. From the common house fly to mosquitoes and sand gnats, all species of fly warrant some sort of extermination.
True flies have only one set of wings, and are not renowned for their beauty as an order. The diseases they carry are in part derived from the areas they breed. Flies choose to lay their offspring in disgusting places, among them garbage piles, sewer systems, and rotting animal flesh. In all of these places, pathogenic bacteria live and thrive, and the flies are coated in infectious disease that they can then transmit to humans. Some of the diseases these flies spread are malaria and yellow fever, with a combined death toll ranging in the millions annually.
Even as maggots, the beginning stage of life for true flies, these insects can be incredibly destructive. From the pulverization of vegetable roots to parasitism, these maggots can be devastating and in some instances even cruel. The common fly we encounter in day to day life is the house fly, which is notorious for spreading disease. Other common species include the fruit fly, which is incredibly small and reproduces rapidly, and the horse fly, which can actually bite humans. All of these species is destructive and considered a pest in need of control.
The main function of flies in an ecosystem is the decomposition of dead organic matter. In this, they are incredibly helpful and necessary detritivores, but it is this distinction that makes them the notorious vectors for disease that we know them as. For this reason, professional pest control should be sought whenever an infestation of flies is discovered.
Beetles are the most numerous organisms on the planet, comprising over a quarter of existing animal life-forms. There are more than 300,000 different species of beetles, all of which possess unique features and adaptations to their respective environment.
The scientific name for the beetle order of insects is Coleoptera, so named for their distinguishing feature, sheathed wings. All beetles possess a hardened outer shell which coats and protects the wings when they are not in use. As in all insects, beetles have six legs and three body segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen.
Many species of beetle act as pests for a variety of different reasons. Some beetles subsist solely on wood, feeding and then reproducing in the structure of homes. Repairing the damage created by these pesky insects can sometimes cost thousands of dollars and hours of labor spent sealing the entry holes. Some species of beetle have no natural enemies, so they can wreak utter havoc when uncontrolled. For this reason, whenever a beetle is seen roaming around your home, it is always a wise decision to contact a professional inspector.
Often times, the larva of beetles can be more destructive than the adult forms. Not only do they require much food matter to grow, they often eat holes through wood structures in an attempt to get out. The resulting tunnels can weaken the strength of a building and ultimately cause rot and decay of the wood.
The destruction caused by beetles is, unlike termites, not contained to solely wood. Many species of beetle feed actively on vegetable roots in gardens, and can destroy entire crops if left uncontrolled. If a beetle is seen in or around a garden, it is often a sign of the presence of a greater infestation.
Some species of beetle that you may be familiar with can actually be beneficial to keep around the house. These beetles are not active pests, and can actually control the population of pests in an ecosystem. For instance, the ladybug feeds actively on aphids, a species of insect that can have devastating impacts on gardens. Pest control for these kinds of beetles is unnecessary, and if they are seen there is no reason to be alarmed.
Pest control for beetles can often be more difficult than for other orders of insects. Many species of beetles, wood beetles especially, are impossible to reach with conventional pesticides, and require professional pest control. To stay on the safe side, a trained inspector should always be contacted when destructive beetles are spotted.
Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea that are easily recognizable and are objects of the disgust of the majority of the human population, with good reason. These insects are incredibly formidable, with the ability to temporarily survive even decapitation. With an incredibly fast rate of reproduction, it can be difficult to rid a home of these pests, but removing the factors that attract them is a step in the right direction.
Cockroaches can eat virtually anything- from decaying organic matter to paper and soap. All thirty species of cockroaches that are encountered by humans are attracted by cluttered environments where food is prevalent. However, this is not to say that presence of cockroaches is an indicator of an untidy environment. Such an environment only makes the control of the insect more difficult.
The four main species of cockroaches encountered by humans are the American, German, Oriental, and Asian varieties. All reproduce exceptionally fast, with German cockroaches able to produce up to 300 eggs in their short life span. Due to their nocturnal nature, cockroaches can be difficult to spot. However, the dirty nature of the materials on which they subsist makes them potential vectors for disease. Homes with cockroach infestations report increased rates of asthma in children, as well as a variety of other health problems. For this reason, it is of paramount importance that any sign of a cockroach infestation be reported to trained inspectors immediately.
The definition of pest does not necessarily apply only to arthropods. Many larger life-forms are capable of wreaking havoc upon structures and upon the immune system. When encountered by humans, many species of mammals and other non-insects will behave defensively, and this can be very dangerous. Opossums, raccoons, bats, and other mammals can carry dangerous diseases like rabies and transmit them to you or your pet. If bitten, you should seek immediate medical attention to be safe.
Wildlife is responsible for millions of dollars in damages annually to property. These animals are attracted to food sources and shelter in harsh environments. Therefore, always remember to close your garage door and lock any sheds or other such structures. When these animals become trapped in such a structure, the slightest disturbance can push them over the edge. This can make them dangerous to handle, and professional assistance should always be sought in such a situation.
The methods employed by any professional for wildlife removal can always be counted on to be friendly to you, to the animal in question, and to the environment. The safety of the animal is always the top priority, and you can trust the specialist to know any special methods used for relocation of certain species. The actual relocation of the animal is only the beginning; the specialist will also remove the nest and any factors that may be harmful to your home or your family. If any species of wildlife has set up residence in your home despite your greatest efforts for prevention, call a wildlife inspector today. They will know how to efficiently and safely handle the situation to ensure no harm comes to you or the animal.
Moths are tricky flying insects of the order Lepidoptera. There are 160,000 known species of moths, and many more that have yet to be discovered. The majority of moth species are nocturnal, so identifying an infestation can be an arduous task. Moths are very food-oriented, and can always be found near a food source. Moths are very particular about their diets, so much so that they can be separated into two distinct categories: food-eating and fabric-eating. Food-eating moths are the most common, and are usually located in food storage units. Fabric-eating moths are the less numerous variety, and are usually found in closets and dressers.
Moth prevention methods should be employed to fight all existing varieties. Always seal food containers tightly, not letting the irresistible smell attract moths to the scene. When moths find an open food source, they will lay eggs around or in it, giving the larva a nutrient-rich environment in which the larva will grow and develop. This disgusting thought can prove to be a nightmarish reality when proper methods of food storage are not employed.
The fabric-eating variety of moths is a destructive variety that subsists on fabrics within your closet. The only evidence for the presence of fabric-eating moths is, as would be expected, holes in your fabric. Preventative measures can be taken in the form of mothballs, which act as a pesticide for any moths looking for a quick meal in your closet. However, if such measures are unsuccessful, it is wise to contact a professional pest control specialist to deal with the problem.
Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes and millipedes are myriapods that are found all around the world. Here in the South, they are considered minor pests. Neither insect is particularly dangerous to humans except in special circumstances, but should be dealt with nonetheless if any member of the household is allergic to the venom of the centipede.
Centipedes are large insects that grow up to six inches long in the United States. Centipedes have fewer legs than millipedes, with only on pair per segment as opposed to the two per segment characteristic of millipedes. The legs of a centipede also poke out to the sides rather than being located directly under the insect. The legs are longer than those of the millipede and the centipede has the ability to move considerably faster than a millipede.
Centipedes and millipedes also differ considerably in their diet. Centipedes are natural predators, with venomous fangs meant to kill its arthropod prey. If a human is bitten by a centipede, it can cause considerable pain and inflammation. However, like with bees and wasps, an allergic reaction to the bite is common and dangerous. Millipedes are not venomous, but instead emit an odor akin to that of an opossum playing dead. They can also spray an irritant from their body that can cause blindness if it gets in the eye. These features are only used for defensive purposes however, as millipedes are purely herbivorous. This can also be a problem, as millipedes can destroy the roots of crops and garden plants.
Both millipedes and centipedes can be considered pests in many circumstances. Millipedes can destroy crops and centipedes pack a venomous bite that can be fatal in the case of an allergic reaction. If either of these are potential problems for your household, seek pest control services immediately upon seeing one of these insects.
Rodents are placental mammals that are almost the symbol for disease transmitted by mammals. Making up 40% of all mammal species worldwide, rodents were instrumental in the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the 1300s. The years have not cleansed the rodents of their nasty habits, and they still carry more than 35 diseases that they readily transmit to humans.
Individual rodents can often be easy to deal with. A simple mousetrap will suffice in most circumstances. However, rodents breed almost like insects, and an infestation is much harder to exterminate. Many species of rodents, rats prominent among them, learn quite fast, and traps will usually only work on a small number of individuals.
Rodents often do not spread disease alone. Insects that feed off of the blood of their hosts, most commonly fleas and mosquitoes, will spread disease from the rodent to another animal or human in the area. Also, bacteria love to breed within the nests of rodents, and any disturbance of the dust may throw up millions of pathogenic particles into the air you breathe.
Rodents are nothing to mess around with. They can cause structural damage due to their need to constantly gnaw on objects, and they are some of the most prominent disease carriers in the animal kingdom. If you think there may be a rodent infestation in your home, do not hesitate to call a pest control company to come investigate the issue. The investigator will deal with the rodents and the droppings and nests they may have left behind. Remember, the price of staying silent with rodent issues can be lethal.