Learning Center

Common Pests

Information about getting rid of pests that may invade your home can help you identify them and give you the advantage of early detection and to implement proper measures to avoid them from taking over your home. While there are pests that are more of a nuisance, there are also some that can transmit or cause serious diseases so it is always important to control them. Below is a list and description of common pests that can be found homes and other establishments.

Ants

Although small creatures, ants can cause extensive damage to plants and destroy structures. They also cause a painful sting and sore from their bite as their defense mechanism. A few species have venomous sting that are harmful to some people.

Ants are social insects living in groups or colonies. Usually you will see ants foraging for food but they comprise only about 5 to 10% of the colony which means successful ant control starts with the location of an ant colony.

Factors that can invite ants into your home are leftover food including small unnoticed crumbs, cracks or openings through walls, doors or windows and dry or wet wood that can serve as their nesting ground.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be a big nuisance causing sleepless nights and skin irritations. They are small insects that preferably feed on human blood usually attacking at night. They are most active just before dawn, with peak feeding times about an hour before sunrise. While sucking blood from a host they inject their saliva which causes itchiness and irritation.

They can be brought into your home through wild animals or from infested items such as clothing and furniture that are already infested. Bugs and eggs can be brought in from pets or from a human’s body, clothing or luggage coming from an infested area. They are usually found in places with poor sanitation, near animal nesting places and in crowded areas. Their small size (about 4-5 millimeters) and flat body allows them to hide in small crevices and furniture with beds and mattresses as favorite spots.

Because of their small size and ability to hide in the smallest places, bed bugs can go unnoticed until symptoms of their presence are known. Aside from itchy bites, look for fecal spots and blood stains on beddings, and molts. Once bed bugs infestation is suspected, call for professional pest control to successfully eradicate them.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches have the ability to adapt to different environments and earning them the reputation of true survivors. Some species can live up to months without food and water. They can live in dry or moist conditions and generally eat any variety of food but like to feed on decaying organic matter and fermenting foods. They are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

These insects leave an offensive odor in their trail which they use to attract other cockroaches or direct others for food and water. Aside from being annoying insects, cockroaches can cause human health risks because they can carry harmful microbes on their bodies.

To prevent cockroach infestations, keep areas clean, store human and pet food properly, seal garbage bins tightly, repair dripping taps and avoid having moist areas in dark places. Also make sure to prevent or close any possible openings through doors, windows, walls, floors, and cupboards. You can also use cockroach repellants which are readily available in stores for use in commonly infested areas.

Crickets

Crickets are harmless to humans but can be pests invading homes for food. They are harmless to humans but they do cause damage to food supply and may chew on silk and woolens, among others. They invade buildings most often during wet season and are active at night. They can be found under or behind appliances and cabinets usually in the kitchen.

Avoid crickets entering your home by sealing openings they might get into, properly storing food and keeping areas clean.

Fleas

Fleas live off blood from mammals and birds. They are very small parasites measuring about 1/16 to1/8 of an inch and are wingless but they have the ability to jump 7 to 8 inches far and about a foot horizontally. That is how they move from host to host engorging themselves in blood until they are full not just for survival. They thrive in their host’s body and also where the host sleeps and lives, hiding and reproducing in carpets, walls and furniture.

Flea bites cause itchiness and skin wounds on your pet that can become prone to allergies and irritations. They can also be vectors for diseases like bubonic plague and epidemic typhus. They can transmit diseases from animal to animals and even to humans.

Regular cleaning and vacuuming of your pet’s favorite areas can do a whole lot in preventing the infestation of fleas in your home. Also, consult your pet’s vet to find how to get rid of fleas on your pet.

Flies

Usually measuring up to a quarter of an inch long flies are small insects adapted for aerial movement. They have no teeth or organs for consuming solid food but they consume liquid food with mandibles or maxillae. House flies can live up to 3 weeks with females able to produce 50 to 100 eggs in a batch and about 500 during her lifetime. With their species’ multiple reproduction abilities compared to other insects, flies mate effectively and quickly allowing them to thrive in great populations in one area.

Flies are usually linked to death and decay. They feed and can be found in places where there is decaying organic matter. Larval flies or maggots are deposited in this matter which later becomes their food source after hatching. Hence the key to preventing fly infestations is to properly dispose of organic matter and to keep residual bins tightly closed and regularly cleaned.

Flies can be vectors that transmit other organisms carrying diseases to susceptible humans or other animals. Fly-borne diseases include dysentery, cholera and typhoid fever. Consult with a professional pest control company in San Diego to find the best solutions for how to get rid of flies in your home.

Mice and Rats

Mice and rats are mammals that belong to the order of rodents. While they share a few similar characteristics, these two common house pests are distinguished by size (mice being much smaller) and are actually not very fond of each other with mice usually becoming prey to rats. In body size, mice can be 3 to 4 inches long while rats measure 9 to 11 inches. They both however forage homes for food and shelter and can transmit harmful diseases from their feces and parasites.

Leftover human and pet food can attract mice and rats into your home. Avoid their attack by keeping or discarding food properly and sealing possible entryways. Their ability to gnaw through wood with their sharp teeth can make the smallest possible opening an easy way through your home or cupboards. They can also be found eating crops from your garden. Monitor any activity in your produce garden to prevent them from doing more damage.

Repellants can be bought from stores for getting rid of mice but serious infestation calls for professional pest control services.

Silverfish

Silverfish are harmless to human but can cause significant damage to your household items. They like to feed on wallpaper glue or paste, natural textiles, carpets, books and paper. They may also gnaw on cotton, linen and silk although they do not have the ability to digest them. You will find small holes in materials they have attacked. Preferring dark and moist environments, they can be commonly found in under sinks, bathtubs, in the laundry area and the basement and also in book shelves, behind floorboards, window or door frames and wallpaper.

These insects derive their name from their fish-like color, body shape and movement. They are also known as fishmoths and carpet sharks.

Although they bite, they cause no serious health risks to humans.

Spiders

Spiders can provide biological control on other pest problems but in homes they can also be considered pests themselves because of the inherent fear many people have of them. This fear has been magnified because of the common depiction of spiders in movies as venomous insects although there are only a few species that can be aggressive and cause serious medical conditions.

For complete safety though, homeowners may choose to eliminate spiders in their home. Spiders can be found in warm, dark places. Regular vacuuming and sealing possible entry through walls and under doors can be a way to prevent their infestation in the home. If you notice webs, immediately remove them and also avoid having woodpiles or compost piles outside your home. Finding a way to get rid of spiders in your home isn’t always as easy as it seems so make sure to consult with a professional spider pest control technician for proper spider extermination techniques.

Termites

Termites have been classified into an estimated 4,000 species. These insects mostly feed on dead plant material, leaf litter, soil or animal dung classified as soil-feeding, grass-eating and dampwood that actually contribute and provide ecological importance. But of the 4,000 species there are 10% of their kind—the subterranean and drywoods–that can cause serious structural damage to homes and vegetation. These 10% are considered major pests.

Termites are small insects measuring just from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch that do not cause harm to humans but can cause great damage to wooden structures. In the southwestern United States alone they cause close to $1.5B damage per year. Termites look a lot like flying ants but with only 2 distinctive body parts.

If you see sawdust-like droppings, discarded wings, mud tubes from the ground, cracked or bubbling paint, hollow parts on wooden structures, these may be signs of termite infestations. Call professional help immediately to exterminate the termite colony and remove existing and future access to the building.

Pest Prevention

Your efforts can help a great deal in avoiding possible and future pest infestations. Here are some suggestions to keep a pest-free environment.

  • Clean regularly. Vacuuming and cleaning the smallest spaces can do a lot to eliminate those unseen pests that may lurk in your home.
  • Keep or dispose food properly. Human or pet food left longer than necessary can attract many different pests foraging for food sources.
  • Tightly close or seal garbage receptacles. Avoid possible pests’ access to food sources.
  • Clean garbage receptacles regularly.
  • Seal possible pest entryways into your home. These can be cracks or small openings through doors, windows, and walls.
  • Keep doors closed and windows screened.
  • Avoid having possible sheltering sites such as woodpiles and compost piles close to your home.

Sometimes, even when you do your best, pests can still attack. For serious situations, call Joshua’s exterminator San Diego for professional pest control service to help you eliminate your problems.