German Cockroach - Adults are medium brown and approximately 1/2 " long. Distinguished by two dark stripes behind the head. German cockroaches reproduce quicker then any other common cockroach. Typically nesting within 12 ft of there food and water source within a homes Kitchen and Bathrooms, but will move thoughout the house as population grows. German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth. The insects are mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease, and meat products. In many locations, garbage is a principal food source. As with other species, German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates. During the day they hide in cracks and crevices and other dark sites that provide a warm and humid environment. Their relatively wide, flat bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease. They may be seen during the daytime, particularly if a heavy population is present or if there is some other stress, such as a lack of food or water or an application of pesticides.
Common Cockroaches in the Evansville, Indiana area:
When the conditions are right, preferably dark and damp, the cockroach can be found staking his claim on the food storage sites of homes and restaurants. This six-legged, winged creature can not only run and disappear in a flash but can be difficult to control in environments that provide the right resources to maintain its survival. Averaging 150 egg births per female, the cockroach can pose a great threat of infestation if offered the ability to thrive and multiply.
Warning - Cockroaches have been known to cause health concerns to humans in the cases of home infestations. When there are many cockroaches crawling along the floors and walls of a home, their feces becomes airborne once it has dried and hardened. Those susceptible to allergens can begin to have respiratory problems, which can develop into asthma. Another health risk associated with cockroaches is the spread of disease. Cockroaches walk through feces, raw meat and other unimaginable bacterial agents and can transfer these organisms to the food that you plan to eat. Therefore, humans have been known to contract illnesses as a direct result of cockroaches that are on the move.
Common misconceptions associated with cockroaches are that they only infiltrate homes that are dirty and in need of maintenance. This is not true. Cockroaches can enter even the most immaculate homes, by accident. Unsuspecting homeowners have been known to carry cockroaches into their home via cardboard boxes and grocery bags from retail stores that have a cockroach problem. This of course does not mean that there will be an infestation due to this unfortunate situation. And an immediate extermination will end the problem before it has a chance to escalate. But even if the meticulous homeowner does see a roach now and then, it could just mean that one entered from outside and is just making its way through. After all, if you don't supply it with what it needs to live, like clutter, dirt, dampness, and a food source, a cockroach won't want to stay.
American Cockroach - Large Reddish - brown ranging from 1 1/2 " to 2 ". Adults are weak flyers that rarely take off from the ground. American cockroaches are a “peridomestic species.” This means that they generally live outdoors. However, populations can also move indoors and live in human structures. American cockroaches usually live in warm, moist, humid environments but can survive in drier areas if they have access to water. They are frequently found in restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries. They are also associated with commercial kitchens, boiler rooms, sewers, and steam tunnels. In and around residential or commercial buildings, American cockroaches usually infest basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, and decorative landscaping. Indoor populations tend to forage outdoors during warm weather. Similarly, during the winter months, outdoor populations may move inside seeking warmth and moisture.
BrownBanded Cockroaches - Adult are approximately 1/2 inch long. Golden brown with pale brown horizontal bands that run across their wings. Both adults and nymphs can be distinguished by the two brownish, broad bands across the body at the base of the abdomen and at mid-abdomen. Both males and females are quite active; adult males fly readily when disturbed. Brownbanded cockroaches prefer warm and dry locations, such as near refrigerator motor housings, on the upper walls of cabinets, and inside pantries, closets, dressers, and furniture in general. They can also be found behind picture frames and beneath tables and chairs, and inside clocks, radios, light switch plates, doorframes, and dressers. It is common to find them hiding nearer the ceiling than the floor and away from water sources. Accurate identification is paramount to controlling brownbanded cockroaches. Control strategies for other cockroaches will not be efficacious for brownbanded cockroaches.
Here is just some of the more common Insects, Bugs, Spiders that we have here in the Evansville, Indiana area. We hope you think of and select PestAnators as your Affordable Pest Solutions, Pest Control Company to keep the little visitors from their unwelcome visit.
Oriental Cockroaches - Approximately 1 1/4" long. Dark Brown to shiny black. They do not fly. Oriental cockroaches are often called water bugs because of their preference for dark, damp, and cool areas such as those under sinks and washing machines, and in damp basements. This species, which is less wary and more sluggish than the others, of concern because it often travels through sewer pipes and lives on filth. Oriental cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas such as under porches, sewers, drains, crawl spaces, dark, damp basements, and floor drains. They can be found outdoors in abandoned cisterns and water valve pits; in yards; beneath leaves; in bark mulch around shrubs, flowers, and foundations; in dumps, stone walls, and crawl spaces; and in garbage and trash dumps and trash chutes.
Most Common Ants in the Evansville, Indiana area that invade homes
Ants have a wide variety of nesting habits and food preferences. Some ants build nests in soil, producing characteristic mounds while others nest in homes behind moldings, baseboards, countertops, and similar places. Still other ants nest in decaying or moisture damaged wood. Ants feed on different types of food, including starches, meats, fats, and sweets. Many ants also feed on honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Knowledge of ant food and nesting preferences is very important in controlling ant colonies.
Damage from ants varies. Most are primarily a nuisance and cause little damage. Some, such as Pharaoh ants, may infest food. Others, like carpenter ants, can weaken wood in structures. Generally, there are no disease problems associated with ants. In hospitals, Pharaoh ants can transmit disease organisms, such asStaphylococcus.
Carpenter Ants - Large, black ant measuring 1/4" to 1/2" long. They prefer to nest in wood damage by water or areas that are moist. They do not consume wood, they excavate it, creating areas to nest. Carpenter ants nest in moist wood including rotting trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards lying on or buried in the ground. They can also nest in moist or decayed wood inside buildings. Wood decay may be caused by exposure to leaks, condensation, or poor air circulation. Nests have been found behind bathroom tiles; around tubs, sinks, showers, and dishwashers; under roofing, in attic beams, and under subfloor insulation; and in hollow spaces such as doors, curtain rods, and wall voids. Carpenter ants may also nest in foam insulation.
Pavement Ants - Small, dark brown and approximately 1/8" long. Colonies can have tens of thousands of ants. Normally entering buildings forage for food. Nesting In soil under sidewalks, driveways, stones, logs and other concealed sites. Also commonly found under homes with concrete slab construction; ants enter homes through cracks in the concrete. Variety of foods including meats, pet food, sweets, bread, nuts, and insects.
Pharaoh Ants - Reddish gold approximately 1/16" long. Will nest in warm interior areas and may occupy virtually any crevice or structural void. Can remain active indoors, year around. Extremely large colonies contain several hundred thousand workers and multiple queens. They feed on a wide variety of foods, especially those containing grease or fats. They also feed on many types of sweets, dead insects, toothpaste, soap and other foods that other ants rarely attack. They often seek out water in kitchens and bathrooms. Pharaoh ants nest strictly indoors in the north central states; because of their tropical origins, they do not survive outdoors. They take advantage of their small size and nest in a wide variety of small spaces, cracks and crevices, including behind countertops, baseboards, in wall voids, and many other small voids. They often nest near dark, warm sites and near sources of moisture. Pharaoh ant nests are very difficult to find.
Odorous House Ants - Dark Brown to black approximately 1/8" long. When disturbed they move erratically and emit an unpleasant odor when crushed. Colonies can have over 100,000. can become a nuisance when foraging in homes. Environmental conditions or excessive rainfall cause them to move indoors. Odorous house ants give off an unpleasant smell when crushed; some people compare it to rotten coconuts. foods are Sweets, especially honeydew, and insects. When honeydew is in short supply, odorous house ants can forage indoors for sweets and other foods, including meats. Will nest In soil under stones, boards, patio blocks, mulching plastic, and nearly any other object laying on the ground. They can nest in homes in walls voids and under floors. Odorous house ants do not cause structural damage to buildings.
Red Velvet Ant - Named Red Velvet Ant for the fine layer of hairs on the body, it is also called Cow Killer for the venomous punch it packs when it stings. Actually, it is not an ant at all but one of the 475 species of Velvet Ant parasitic wasps in North America. The Cow Killer is a solitary wasp and does not live in a colony or have a nest of her own. She is not aggressive and will try to escape if disturbed. These beautiful wasps are not numerous and cause no damage to plants. No chemical control is needed. Teach others about them, appreciate them, and leave them alone as they have a purpose in keeping the bee and wasp population in check. My advice: Simply defend yourself against a painful sting and wear shoes in the garden.
Common Spiders in the Evansville, Indiana area
Spiders are predators, feeding mainly on insects. Spiders are considered beneficial because of the large number of insects they prey on, including a number of pest species. All spiders have venom and are therefore venomous. However, most spiders are harmless to people. They are very shy and usually remain hidden in undisturbed areas. Many are active only at night. They are not aggressive and they will try to escape when confronted. Few spiders bite, even when coaxed. Fortunately, the bites of most spiders are less painful than an average bee sting.
Spiders can be divided into one of two groups depending on how they capture their prey: hunting (sometimes known as wandering) spiders and web-building spiders. All spiders produce silk, but hunting spiders do not construct webs to capture food. Instead, they rely on their quickness and relatively good eyesight to capture prey. Web-building spiders construct webs in rather quiet, undisturbed places to capture their food. They live in or near their web and wait for food to come to them. They generally have poor eyesight and rely on sensing vibrations in their web to detect prey.
Spiders are common in homes during warm weather, although they can be found indoors any time during the year. Their numbers usually peak during late summer and fall, when they are sometimes found indoors searching for winter hibernation sites.
Spider control is usually challenging. It is difficult to eradicate all spiders from a home. It is also unnecessary. Properties located in areas favorable to spiders, such as by rivers, lakes, or fields, are more likely to have large numbers of spiders.
Brown Recluse Spider - Is light brown with a distinctive fiddle - shaped mark on its back head. It is a long - legged spiders with a body about 1/2". The brown recluse remains secluded during day, emerging at night to search for insect prey. Bites are rare, but should always seek medical attention when bitten. The brown recluse spider is nicknamed the fiddleback or violin spider because of the distinctive dark violin-shaped marking on top of the front body section. Notice the neck of the violin points toward the rear. The brown recluse is unusual in having six eyes instead of the usual eight. The spiders are tan to dark brown and nearly ½ inch in body size. Recluse spiders avoid areas where there is human activity, and prefer closets, guest rooms, basements, and attics. They frequently inhabit shoe boxes, clothing and furniture. These spiders are most active at night and feed on silverfish, crickets, and other insects. Most people are bitten on the hands or feet when they are handling infested items.
The bite of the brown recluse spider is usually painless. However, localized burning sensation often develops within the first hour and during the next 6-12 hours, a small pimple or blister forms. The surrounding tissue begins to darken and take a raised appearance. The venom of this spider can cause extensive tissue damage (necrotic reaction) and over the next 10-14 days, a sunken, open, ulcerated sore up to several centimeters in diameter. It normally takes 6-8 weeks for a brown recluse spider bite to heal. A large sunken scar may persist that requires surgery to repair. Not every brown recluse bite results in ulcer formation. In rare cases systemic complications such as liver or kidney damage result.
See your physician or emergency room as soon as you suspect a brown recluse spider bite. Capture the spider for later identification (crush the specimen, if necessary, but do so as gently as possible).
Black Widow Spiders - Adult female Black widow spider is readily identified by her shiny black color and rounded with red hourglass. Male is smaller and nondescript check our cool videos for a few clips. Construct irregular webs in undisturbed areas around building foundations and wood piles. The northern widow spider is infrequently found in the Upper Midwest. This species is one of the three closely related "black widows." Black widow spiders are shy and prefer secluded locations such as crawl spaces, attics, garages, and sheds where they construct a tangled, crisscross web. Common web locations are in stacked boards, firewood piles, in rubble, around water meters, under stones or other protected sites. Female northern widow spiders have round, shiny black abdomens, with two touching red triangles (the hour-glass marking) on the underside of the belly. They are up to ½ inch long. The female spends most of the day- light hours in a silken tunnel retreat and is helpless away from her web. Northern widow bites are often immediately painful. The most reliable evidence of a bite is two tiny red puncture marks around which the pain intensifies during the first three hours. The pain continues for 12-48 hours and then gradually subsides. "Black widow" venom contains a neurotoxin that can cause headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and often painful abdominal spasms and back pain. Rigidity of limbs, increased blood pressure, and profuse sweating are other symptoms. Death seldom occurs in healthy adults though children and adults in poor health may die within 12-32 hours from asphyxia. Anyone suspecting a spider bite should receive medical attention as soon as possible. A commercial antidote is available for black widow spider bites.
Yellow Sac Spiders - Small approximately 3/8" long and front legs that are noticeably loner than the rest. Generally straw - color. It is active at night, entering buildings when temperatures being to drop, but can enter thoughtout looking for prey. Sac Spiders construct silken tubes normally at the top of the wall and ceiling met.
Wolf Spider - Large body almost 1/2" long. Various pattens of gray, brown, black. Wolf Spiders are active hunters that sometimes wander into homes.
Cellar Spiders - The two more commonly seen species are the long-bodied and short-bodied cellar spiders. The female long-bodied cellar spider is
approximately 1/4-5/16 inch long with legs extending another 2 inches. The female short-bodied cellar spider has a 1/16 inch long body with legs extending about 5/16 inch. In instances where cellar spiders are pests, it is due
to the large amounts of webbing they produce. Many species of spiders consume their old web before making a new one, but cellar spiders do not. They continuously add to it, creating large amounts of webbing which becomes a nuisance to remove. Cellar spiders construct loose haphazard webs, often in corners, to catch insect prey. They hang upside down on the web until a food item gets tangled.
Rodents in the Evansville, Indiana area
House Mouse - The common house mouse weighs less than one ounce and is from 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. The body is grayish-brown above and lighter, never white, below. Generally, it is a permanent resident in homes and other buildings. Wild mice enter dwellings in late summer or fall, spend the winter, and leave in the spring. All mice are excellent climbers and can be found at all levels of the house from the basement to the attic. Mice can be controlled. Excluding the spread of food poisoning, house mice are not as important as rats as carriers of disease and parasites. Yet their potential cannot be overlooked. House mice and their parasites are implicated in the transmission of a number of diseases. Bacterial food poisoning, salmonellosis, can be spread
when some foods are contaminated with infected rodent feces. Mice are probably more responsible than rats for the spread of this disease. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis is a virus infection of house mice that may be transmitted to people (mainly to children) through contaminated food or dust.
Deer Mouse - These mice have white feet, usually white undersides, and brown or black fur. Their bicolored tails are relatively long and can be as long as the head and body. In comparison to house mouse, deer mice have larger eyes and ears. They are considered by most people to be more “attractive” than house mice, and they do not have the characteristic mousy odor of house mice. All species of Peromyscus cause similar problems and require similar solutions. The principal problem caused by deer mice is their tendency to enter homes, cabins and other structures that are not rodent-proofed. It is in these places that they build nests, store food and can cause considerable damage to upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, paper or other materials that they find suitable for their nest-building activities. Nests, droppings, and other signs left by these mice are similar to those of house mice. the deer mouse was first implicated as a potential reservoir a type of hantavirus responsible for an adult respiratory distress syndrome. The source of the disease is thought to be through human contact with urine, feces or saliva from infected rodents.
Norway Rat - Norway rats are husky, brownish rodents that weigh about 11 ounces. They are about 13 to 18 inches long including the 6 to 8 1/2 inch tail. Their fur is coarse and mostly brown with scattered black on the upper surfaces. The underside is typically grey to yellowish-white.
Rats will eat nearly any type of food, but they prefer high-quality foods such as meat and fresh grain. Rats require 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food. Rats have keen taste, hearing and sense of smell. They will climb to find food or shelter, and they can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than 1/2 inch across.
Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats reach reproductive maturity in about three months. Breeding is most active in spring and fall. The average female has four to six litters per year. Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
Wasps, Bees and other Stinging Pest in Evansville, Indiana area
Paper Wasps - Paper wasps are 3/4 to 1 inch long, slender, narrow-waisted wasps with smoky black wings that are folded lengthwise when at rest. Body coloration varies with species: Polistes exclamans is brown with yellow markings on the head, thorax and bands on the abdomen. Nests commonly occur around the home underneath eaves, in or on structures and plants; wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and each can sting repeatedly; stings typically cause localized pain and swelling, but in sensitive individuals or when many stings occur (as with most arthropod stings) whole body (systemic) effects can occur including allergic reactions that may result in death. Paper wasps are semi-social insects and colonies contain three castes: workers, queens and males. Fertilized queens, which appear similar to workers, overwinter in protected habitats such as cracks and crevices in structures or under tree bark. In the spring they select a nesting site and begin to build a nest. Eggs are laid singly in cells and hatch into legless grub-like larvae that develop through several stages (instars) before pupating.
Yellowjacket - Yellowjackets are boldly marked in yellow and black, with striped abdomen. They are approximately 1/2" long. Their nests are located underground or in structural voids. Yellowjackets are often considered the most dangerous stinging insects in the United States. They tend to be unpredictable and usually will sting if the nest is disturbed. Some also refer to them as ground hornets. During late summer and fall, yellowjacket colonies are nearing maturity and huge numbers of workers are out foraging for food for the developing queens. With insect prey (their usual diet) becoming scarce, yellowjackets scavenge for other sources of nutrition, especially sweets, e.g., fruits, ice cream, beer and soft drinks. Wasp, hornet and yellowjacket stings can be life-threatening to persons who are allergic to the venom. People who develop hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, wheezing, or similar symptoms of allergic reaction should seek medical attention immediately. Itching, pain and localized swelling can be somewhat reduced with antihistamines and an ice pack.
Mud Daubers - Mud daubers are solitary wasps that construct small nests of mud in or around homes, sheds, and barns and under open structures, bridges and similar sites. Several species exist in Indiana. These wasps are long and slender with a narrow, thread-like waist about 3/4" long. Some are a solid steel blue or black but others have additional yellow markings. This wasp group is named for the nests that are made from mud collected by the females. Mud is rolled into a ball, carried to the nest and molded into place with the wasp's mandibles. There are three different wasps that practice this behavior. The black and yellow mud dauber builds a series of cylindrical cells that are eventually plastered over with mud to form a smooth mud nest about the size of a fist. The organ-pipe mud dauber, a more robust, black species, builds cylindrical tubes resembling pipe-organ pipes. The third species is a beautiful metallic-blue wasp with blue wings. This one does not build its own mud nest but instead uses the abandoned nests of the black and yellow mud dauber. After completing the mud nest the female captures several insects or spiders to provision the cells. Prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest. A single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell, and the cell sealed with mud. After the wasp has finished a series of cells, she departs and does not return. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on the prey items left by the adult wasp. New adult wasps emerge to start the process over again. Wasps usually evoke a great deal of anxiety or fear. However, solitary wasps such as the mud daubers do not defend their nest the way social wasps such as hornets and yellowjackets do. Mud daubers are very unlikely to sting, even when thoroughly aroused. They may sting if mishandled.
Cicada Killers - At least 3 different species of wasps construct nests in the ground in Indiana. These "digger wasps" include the cicada killer wasp, the largest wasp found in Indiana. Cicada killer wasps may be up to 2 inches long. They are black with yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen and they have rusty colored wings. The great golden digger wasp is slightly smaller. The abdomen is reddish-orange except at the tip which is black. A third species is 1 inch long and completely black with iridescent blue wings. The cicada killer wasp and other digger wasps are solitary wasps; that is, they live independently rather than in colonies and do not depend on other members of a colony to share in the raising of young or the maintaining of a nest. Other solitary wasps include the mud daubers and potter wasps. Solitary wasps put paralyzed insects or spiders inside the nest as food for their offspring.
Female cicada killer wasps capture annual cicadas in July and August and place them in cells located at the ends of tunnels they have dug in the ground. Each tunnel is about the size of a quarter and extends 24 inches or more into the ground. One or two paralyzed cicadas are placed in each cell, and a single egg deposited before the cell is closed by the female, who flies away, never to return. The wasp grubs feed on the cicadas and develop into wasps that emerge the following summer. The cicada killer, like other solitary wasps, has the capability to sting, but won't unless handled or threatened. Only female wasps have the ability to sting. Stings inflicted by solitary wasps are usually not severe but reaction varies with each individual.
Baldfaced Hornet - Baldfaced hornets are large, black insects about 7/8 of an inch long with white to cream-colored markings on the front of the head and at the end of the abdomen. Hornets are beneficial predators that feed on other insects, particularly filth flies and blow flies. The hornet colony is contained inside the nest constructed of paper-like material made from chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva. The nest is composed of 3 or 4 tiers of combs within a thick, multilayered outer shell. A single opening at the bottom allows the hornets to fly in and out. Hornet nests are usually located in wooded areas, attached to a tree branch, but may be attached to shrubs, utility poles or house siding. The size of a hornet's nest and the hornets' reputation is often sufficient to alarm people. Fortunately, the aggressiveness of hornets does not match their appearance, although disturbing a nest or threatening an individual wasp will result in stings. Hornets are very protective of their colony and will usually attack if someone approaches within 3 feet of the nest. A nest located in a "high traffic" area such as along walks or near doorways justifies control to reduce the threat of being stung. Nests away from human activity should be left undisturbed.
European Hornets - The European Hornet is almost 1 1/2" long. It is brown with dull reddish stripes. The nests are typically located in a cavity, such as a hollow tree or wall void. They will rarely appear freely suspended like the football-shaped bald-faced hornet nests. The entrance toEuropean hornets' nests are frequently 2 meters (6 feet) or more above ground. In some instances, a portion of the gray, papery nest extends outside the cavity or void. the European hornet is the only true hornet in North America and is large and will aggressively defend their nests. It is not unusual for workers to bounce off of external lights or house windowpanes during summer nights. Although the workers will sting if handled, they are not normally aggressive unless the colony is threatened.
Honey Bee - Honey bees are 1/2" long, hairy, and golden brown and black. They typically nest outdoors but sometimes nest in wall voids. Unlike those of other bees and wasps, can persist for several years. Honey bees can sting, but are much less aggressive than wasps and hornets and can sting only once.
Bumble Bee - Bumble bees are 1/2" to 1" long, hairy, yellow and black insects that nest in the ground. Colony size is small compared to honey bees, only a few hundred individuals. Bumble bee nests in yards, flowers beds, wood piles, walls or other high traffic areas may create an unacceptable threat of being stung and justify treatment.
Carpenter Bee - Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, but the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black; bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings. Despite their similar appearance, the nesting habits of the two types of bees are quite different. Bumble bees usually nest in the ground whereas carpenter bees tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. Bare, unpainted or weathered softwoods are preferred, especially redwood, cedar, cypress and pine. Painted or pressure-treated wood is much less susceptible to attack. Common nesting sites include eaves, window trim, facia boards, siding, wooden shakes, decks and outdoor furniture. n the late-spring and early summer, homeowners often notice large, black bees hovering around the outside of their homes. These are probably carpenter bees searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests. Male carpenter bees are quite aggressive, often hovering in front of people who are around the nests. The males are quite harmless, however, since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can inflict a painful sting but seldom will unless they are handled or molested. Carpenter bees overwinter as adults in wood within abandoned nest tunnels. They emerge in the spring, usually in April or May. After mating, the fertilized females excavate tunnels in wood and lay their eggs within a series of small cells. The cells are provisioned with a ball of pollen on which the larvae feed, emerging as adults in late summer. The entrance hole and tunnels are perfectly round and about the diameter of your finger. Coarse sawdust the color of fresh cut wood will often be present beneath the entry hole, and burrowing sounds may be heard from within the wood. Female carpenter bees may excavate new tunnels for egglaying, or enlarge and reuse old ones. The extent of damage to wood which has been utilized for nesting year after year may be considerable.
Occasional Invaders in the Evansville, Indiana area.
Occasional invaders typically do not inhabit buildings. They find food, water, and shelter near buildings and are associated with trees, shrubs, mulch, etc. Occasional invaders enter buildings accidentally or in response to environmental changes such as excessive rainfall, drought, or extreme temperatures.
Camel Back Crickets - Camelbacks are brown, about an inch or two in length. There are also spotted camel crickets. They all have very long antennae and long, spider-like legs. Occasionally called spider crickets or humped-back crickets, they have no wings, but are powerful jumpers. The most damage that a camel cricket can do is to ruin some clothing stored in basements which they might nibble on. Camelback crickets like warm, dark, damp environments as found in caves or in woods under rocks. They also are frequently found in basements and cellars. If you hear cricket sounds coming from below your house it is not coming from camel crickets because camel crickets do not chirp. More likely, it is a field cricket that has found its way inside. Camelback crickets have poor eyesight, as do many insects that have adapted to live in darkness. When they see something large approaching them they sometimes jump towards it in an attempt to scare it. For many people this aggressive behavior is frightening because of how high and far the crickets can jump. They are like insects on pogo sticks. I should also mention that females have a long ovipositor which they use to lay eggs. It looks like a long stinger on their back end, but it is harmless.
Box Elder Beetle - Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black with orange or red markings, including three stripes on the prothorax, the area right behind the head. Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’. The immature nymphs are 1/16th-inch long and bright red when they first hatch. As they grow older and become larger, they are red and black. You can potentially see all stages at any given time during the summer. Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance because they enter homes and other buildings, often in large numbers. Fortunately, they do not bite people and are essentially harmless to property. When abundant, they can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement.
Silverfish - Silverfish and firebrats are wingless, flat insects with two long, slender antennae on the front and three long, slender "bristles" at the rear of a tapered, carrot-shaped body. They are 1/2 inch long when fully grown. Silverfish may be found almost anywhere in the house, but are most commonly found in moist, warm locations (such as around sinks and other plumbing fixtures). They are covered with shiny silver scales that give the body a metallic sheen. They are frequently found in sinks or bathtubs because they fall in seeking moisture and then cannot climb out. Silverfish are most active at night and run very swiftly with a wiggling motion that resembles the swimming action of a fish. Silverfish and firebrats are pests primarily because they are a nuisance and an annoyance. They may consume or stain foods, fabric, paper, books, or wallpaper. Damage to these items is significant, however, only in cases of very large infestations present over long periods of time.
Earwigs - are 1/2 - 3/4" long and reddish brown to black with a pincher like appendages at the tip of the abdomen. Earwigs are outdoor insects usually found in damp areas, such as under mulch, dead leaves, logs, and piles of firewood, boards, stones and other debris or in rotted wood where they feed on moist, decaying plant material. Like boxelder bugs, crickets and lady beetles, the earwig is a household pest as an accidental invader. They enter houses either by accident or when seeking shelter, especially in the fall or during periods of prolonged dry weather. Earwigs inside the house do not cause any harm or destruction. They are an annoyance or nuisance because of their presence. If disturbed, earwigs may produce a noticeable foul odor.
Centipedes - House centipedes (Scutigera) are common arthropods with long, flattened, segmented bodies with one pair of legs per segment. The house centipede is up to 1 1/2 inches long and has 15 pairs of very long, almost thread-like, slender legs. Each leg is encircled by dark and white bands. The body is brown to grayish-yellow and has three dark stripes on top. Though house centipedes are found both indoors and outdoors it is the occasional one on the bathroom or bedroom wall, or the one accidentally trapped in the bathtub, sink, or lavatory that causes the most concern. However, these locations are not where they normally originate. Centipedes prefer to live in damp portions of basements, closets, bathrooms, unexcavated areas under the house and beneath the bark of firewood stored indoors. They do not come up through the drain pipes. House centipedes feed on small insects, insect larvae, and on spiders. Thus they are beneficial, though most homeowners take a different point-of-view and consider them a nuisance. Technically, the house centipede could bite, but it is considered harmless to people.
Millipedes - Millipedes are brownish, elongated, cylindrical to slightly flattened creatures, with two (most common) or four pairs of tiny legs per body segment. Millipedes don't really have a thousand legs; even the largest ones have somewhat less than a hundred. When they walk, their legs move in an undulating wavelike manner. Adult millipedes vary from 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches in length. When prodded or at rest, most millipedes curl up. Millipedes normally live in and feed on rotting leaves and wood and other kinds of moist decaying plant matter. Generally, their role is a beneficial one in helping to break down dead plant matter. However, when they become numerous, they may damage sprouting seeds, seedlings, or strawberries and other ripening fruits in contact with the ground. Sometimes individual millipedes wander from their moist living places into homes, but they usually die quickly because of the dry conditions and lack of food. Occasionally, large numbers of millipedes migrate, often uphill, as their food supply dwindles or their living places become either too wet or too dry. They may fall into swimming pools and drown. When disturbed they do not bite, but some species exude a defensive liquid that can irritate skin or burn the eyes.
Asian Lady Bugs - The adult is oval-shaped and about ¼-inch long and about 3/16-inch wide. The color of the its back (elytra) genereally ranges from mustard yellow to bright red-orange. In some parts of the world, almost entirely black forms are found. The area on the insect's back just behind the head is called the pronotum. On Asian ladybeetles, it is straw-colored with four black spots that form a W- shape when viewed from the front or an "M" when viewed from behind. Unlike most lady beetles species, the number of black spots on its back may vary from zero to 20 or more. All of these beetles shown are Asian lady beetles.
Springtails - Springtails are only about 1 to 2 mm long but can rapidly move 3 to 4 inches in a single motion. This represents a distance of about 100 times their body length. Springtails move rapidly because of a "springing" device on their abdomen called a furcula. The furcula is a hinged appendage that is bent forward and is held in place by a latch mechanism called a tenaculum. When the furcula is released, it springs down, sending the springtail through the air. The soil contains sufficient moisture and food for springtails to survive. Their food includes decaying vegetation, fungi, bacteria, pollen, algae, lichens and insect feces. The feeding activities of springtails enrich the soil by breaking down these forms of organic matter and releasing the nutrients they contain. Because of these activities, springtails are considered to be a good indicator of soil health. Springtails invade structures in search of moisture when their usual habitat becomes dry. Their usual outdoor habitats include mulch, leaf litter, other decaying organic matter, firewood, logs and landscape timbers. They are attracted to light and are so small that they can enter houses through cracks and crevices around doors, utility pipes, window screens, etc. They can also be brought indoors in the soil of potted plants. Indoors, they are most often found in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, crawlspaces and basements. Moldy furniture is also able to support large infestations.
Sowbugs - sowbugs have many body segments, 7 pairs of legs, and chewing mouthparts. Like many crustaceans, sowbugs have 2 pairs of antennae, but 1 pair is tiny. Also called "roly-polies". Sowbugs are very common in moist, cool conditions, and are often found under rocks and logs. They feed on fungus and decaying plant material, usually moving and feeding at night. Sowbugs are preyed upon by many creatures, including spiders, centipedes, ground beetles, and small mammals. Some sowbugs have foul-smelling, foul-tasting defensive chemicals which provide some protection from predators. Pillbugs, of course, are also able to roll themselves into a ball for protection. Pillbugs and sowbugs are not normally pests, but they will sometimes enter buildings. They cannot hurt people and do not contaminate food or damage possessions.
Clover Mites - This pest is not an insect but a true mite, slightly smaller than the head of a pin with a reddish or reddish-brown body. When the mites are crushed, they leave rusty or blood-red spots. Clover mites actually do not damage a house, its furnishings, or even humans or animals. They feed primarily on the lawn where they suck sap from grasses, clover, and other plants. In the fall they sometimes gather in tremendous numbers on walls, windows, tree trunks, and other outside surfaces where they seek protected hiding places. They crawl into cracks around windows or in foundation walls and under siding, shingles, or shakes. This activity often leads many of the mites into houses where they can be seen on window sills, walls, tables, etc.—often in great numbers. But whether indoors or out, most of the mites will congregate on the sunny side of the house.
Field Cricket - are dark brown to black crickets, 9/16 to over 1 inch long. House crickets, are similar to field crickets but are smaller (about 3/4 inch long) and yellowish-brown with three dark bands on the head and prothorax. They can breed indoors. Crickets become very noticeable in the autumn. As the days shorten and the temperature drops, they focus on laying eggs for next year because all the adults will perish come winter. Crickets use sound to find a mate and so the loud choruses of chirping males begin. Because they typically inhabit cracks and crevices, they often find their way inside our houses by exploring around the foundations and exterior doorways of our houses. The warmth within is agreeable to them and, as far as a male cricket is concerned, our houses are good echo chambers to make themselves louder!
Parasetes of People and Pets around the Evansville, Indiana area.
Parasetes of People and Pets, Ticks, Fleas, Lice, and Bed Bugs are common parasites of people and animals. They feed on blood from their host. Fleas, Lice, and Bed Bugs are insects, but ticks are not.
Deer and Dog Tick - Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are actually arachnids like scorpions, spiders and mites. All members of this group have four pairs of legs as adults and have no antennae. Adult insects have three pairs of legs and one pair of antennae. Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks take several days to complete feeding. Ticks wait for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs (not from trees). When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks can only crawl; they cannot fly or jump. Ticks found on the scalp have usually crawled there from lower parts of the body. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Ticks can be active on winter days when the ground temperatures are about 45o Fahrenheit.
American Dog Tick - One of the most frequently encountered ticks is the American dog tick, also sometimes known as the wood tick. The larvae and nymphs feed on small warm-blooded animals such as mice and birds. The adult American dog tick will feed on humans and medium to large mammals such as raccoons and dogs.
Unfed males and females are reddish-brown and about 3/16-inch long. Females have a large silver-colored spot behind the head and will become ½-inch long after feeding or about the size of a small grape. Males have fine silver lines on the back and do not get much larger after feeding. Males are sometimes mistaken for other species of ticks because they appear so different from the female.
Blacklegged Tick, also known as the Deer Tick - All three active stages of the blacklegged / deer tick will feed on a variety of hosts including people. After the eggs hatch in the spring, the very tiny larvae feed primarily on white-footed mice or other small mammals. The following spring, the larvae molt into pinhead-sized, brown nymphs that will feed on mice, larger warm-blooded animals and people. In the fall, they molt into adults that feed primarily on deer, with the females laying eggs the following spring. Adults are reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long (or about one-half the size of the more familiar female American dog tick).
These ticks are found in wooded areas along trails. The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The blacklegged / deer tick can transmit Lyme disease and possibly ehrlichiosis to humans.
Cat Flea - Adult fleas are no larger than 1/8 inch long, so it is difficult to see a number of the characteristics used to describe them. These reddish-brown, wingless insects are laterally compressed, so they look as if they are walking on edge. Cat fleas have both pronotal and genal combs. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts through which they obtain blood meals from their hosts. Unlike most fleas, adult cat fleas remain on the host where feeding, mating, and egg laying occur. Females lay about 20 to 50 eggs per day. Cat flea eggs are pearly white, oval, and about 1/32 inch long. The eggs are smooth and readily fall from the pet and land on surfaces such as bedding and carpeting in the animal’s environment. They hatch in about 2 to 5 days.
Flea larvae are no larger than 3/16 inch long, hairy, and wormlike with a distinct, brownish head but no eyes or legs. The larvae feed on dried blood and excrement adult fleas produce while feeding on the pet. Larval development is restricted to protected places where there is at least 75% relative humidity. The larvae feed and crawl around for 8 to 15 days before building small, silken cocoons in which they pupate and develop into adults. Debris, such as pet hair or skin or carpet fibers, usually covers the pupae, providing visual camouflage.
Flea larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures, preferring areas that are 70° to 90°F. At cool temperatures, fully formed fleas can remain in their cocoons for up to 12 months. Warm temperatures and mechanical pressure caused by walking on or vacuuming carpet stimulate emergence from the cocoon. At normal room temperatures, the entire life cycle can occur in about 18 days.
An adult cat flea generally lives about 30 to 40 days on the host. When normal grooming activity is restricted, 85% of adult females survived for 50 days. You can find fleas on pets throughout the year, but numbers tend to increase dramatically during spring and early summer when conditions favor larval development.
Bottom Picture is a Sand Flea
Stored Product and Fabric Pest
Stored produst pest feed on stored foods such as whole grains, cereals, seeds, flour, nuts, candy, spices, pet food, etc. Stored product pest capable of feeding within whole gains are called internal feeders. Those that can feed only on the surface of stored foods are called external feeders. Fabric pest are attracted to clothes, carpets and other items made of cloth or fibers that the insects can comsume for food. The most important stored product pest and fabric pest are all either moths ot beetles, and they undergo complete metamorphosis.
The following stored product pest are the most commonly encountered in homes, grocery, warehouse, etc. in this area
Red Flour Beetle - Red flour beetle and confused flour beetle are similar in appearance and habits. Red flour beetle adults are about 1/8” (3-4mm) long. Adult has antennae with abrupt, 3-segmented club. Sides of the thorax are rounded. Wings are functional but commonly flies only short distances. Except for antennal and thorax differences, it is almost identical to the confused flour beetle. The red flour beetle is a reddish-brown. The red flour beetle gets its common name from its color and its habit of infesting flour. These beetles are unable to feed on whole kernels or undamaged grain. They have been recorded attacking grains and grain products, peas, beans, shelled nuts, dried fruits, spices, milk chocolate, drugs, snuff, and cayenne pepper. They are attracted to flour and high moisture content.The red flour beetle female deposits 300-500 clear-white sticky eggs on or among food materials and cracks, in bags, or through the mesh of sacks containing food. The female lays 2-3 eggs per day, but lives for 2-3 years. The eggs hatch in 5-12 days into brownish-white larvae, which go through 5-18 instars (usually 7-8) and reach maturity in about 30 days under optimal conditions. The life cycle (egg to egg) can be completed in only 7 weeks, or it may require 3 months or longer. In heated storage facilities and processing plants, there are 4-5 generations annually.
Top picture is Red flour beetles infested in food.
Picture on left is enlarged Red Flour Beetle.
Confused Flour Beetle - Approximately 1/8 " similar to the red flour beetle in appearance and habits. The Confused Flour Beetle apparently got its name from confusion with the similar Rust Red Flour Beetle. Like the Rust Red Flour Beetle, the Confused Flour Beetle is a significant pest of stored food products in mills, stores, food processing plants and homes. The beetle is reddish brown with antennae that gradually thicken into an indistinct club shape with four club segments. There is a distinct ridge above each eye. The sides of the thorax of the Red Flour Beetle are curved whereas those of the Confused Flour Beetle are more parallel. somewhat straighter. The Confused Flour Beetle does not usually fly. The Confused Flour Beetle is a pest species that attacks stored grain products such as flour, cereals, meal, beans and other dried food products. The female Confused Flour Beetle lays tiny white eggs. The larvae are slender and creamy yellow to light brown with two small pointed projections on the last body segment. The pupae are white to yellowish. The life cycle takes from 40 to 90 days from egg to adult. Adult beetles can live for three years.
Cigarette Beetle -The adult cigarette beetle is a small, red-brown to yellowish-brown beetle. When viewed from above it appears oval, and in profile humpbacked in shape (the head and pronotum are bent forward). It is 3 to 4 mm (1/10 to 1/8 inch) long. The antennae are serrate (the side edge of each antennal segment is pointed like a saw tooth). The wing coverings (elytra) are smooth without longitudinal grooves. They are strong fliers and attracted to light at night such as a lamp or TV set. It can be found throughout the year, but seems to be more common in the fall and winter months. The eggs are white, oval and too small to be easily seen with the naked eye. The larvae are white and grub-like; long hairs cover the bodies of the larvae and give them a fuzzy appearance. When full grown they are about 4 mm (1/8 inch) long. Larvae spin themselves into a cocoon prior to becoming pupae. Both adults and larvae are capable of readily penetrating many types of packaging material. Adults lay their eggs on the food material the larvae are to feed on. Adults live two to four weeks. Females lay up to 100 eggs; the development time from egg to adult is six to eight weeks. There are three to six generations/year. The minimum development temperature is 65 degrees F.
Cigarette beetles will infest a wide variety of food products:
Plant material - Aniseed, bamboo, beans, biscuits, cassava, chickpeas, cigars, cigarettes, cocoa beans, coffee beans, copra, coriander, cottonseed (before and after harvest), cottonseed meal, cumin, dates, dogfood, dried banana, dried cabbage, dried carrot, dried fruits, drugs, flax tow, flour, ginger, grain, herbs, herbarium specimens, insecticides containing pyrethrum, juniper seed, licorice root, paprika, peanuts, rhubarb, rice, seeds of various trees and plants, spices, and yeast.
Other food materials include dried insects, dried fish, fishmeal, and meatmeal. The cigarette beetle has also been recorded attacking leather, furniture stuffing, and bookbinders paste. It has also done incidental damage to cloth upholstery and paper books.
Drugstore Beetle - Drugstore beetles and Cigarette Beetles look similar as shown in pictur to the left. (A) Drugstore Beetle and (B) Cigarette Beetle. The cigarette and drugstore beetles are two of the most common pests of stored products in homes. Both species are found throughout the world. Adult beetles are rounded in profile, oval shaped, light-brown color, 1/16-1/8 inch-long. A hood-like prothorax encloses and conceals the head when viewed from above. The femora of each hind leg retracts into a groove in hind coxa. Cigarette and drugstore beetles can be distinguished by grooving on the wing covers and by their antennal shape. The drugstore beetle’s wing covers possess distinct striae, or grooves, and its antennae are clubbed with three elongated and broadened segments at the tips. The wing covers of cigarette beetles are very smooth, without distinct grooves; and the antennal segments are sawlike, or serrate.
Mature larvae are up to 3/16 inch-long, white, c-shaped and almost cylindrical, with all body segments similar in size. Each leg has 4-segments. Hairs, or setae, covering the bodies of larval cigarette beetles are longer and more apparent than those on drugstore beetle larvae. These two species are among the most common stored product pests homes. They feed on all kinds of plant material including tobacco, seeds, grain, nuts, beans, spices, cottonseed meal, dried fruits and vegetables, flour, spices, and dried herbarium specimens. Animal products such as dead insects, dried fish and fish meal, and leather may also be attacked. On grains, these insects are classified as external feeders. Adults and larvae feed primarily on the outside of the grain, though they may also chew through the outer coat and devour the insides. Both species are among the most common stored product pests both in homes and in commercial food processing and distribution facilities, worldwide. Neither of these beetles bite.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetle - Sawtoothed grain beetles are found around the world and for them, Home is food. Food is home!
Sawtoothed grain beetle adult is 1/8 in (2.5-3 mm) long; mature larva less than 1/8 in (3 mm) long. Adult has flattened body, 6 saw-like teeth on each side of prothorax. Length of region directly behind the eye is more than half the vertical diameter of the eye. Wings are present, developed, but this insect is not observed flying. Mature larva is long and fairly smooth, antennae with 3 segments (2nd segment the longest, 3rd segment very small). Adult is brown. Mature larva is yellowish white.
Diet is Foodstuffs, including grains, cereals, bread, pasta products, dried meat, dried fruit and nuts, sugar, chocolate, candy, tobacco products and drugs. The sawtoothed grain beetle female lays shiny white eggs singly or in small clusters in crevices in food material during a 2-5 month period. Depending upon temperature, the eggs hatch in 3-17 days. The larva goes through 3 molts, and makes a cocoon using food particles glued together with a sticky substance from its mouth. The cocoon hangs by its rear end from a solid object. Warm temperatures (86-95 degrees F/30-35 C) and 70%+ relative humidity may result in as many as 6-7 generations per year. Adults live about 6-10 months, but may live longer than 3 years. Destruction of stored materials in homes and in grocery stores. The flat body of the sawtoothed grain beetle allows it to enter food containers and poorly sealed packaging through very small cracks.
Granary Weevils - The Granary Weevil is a small dark brown weevil with a long snout, elongated oval dimples on the thorax and ridges along the wing covers. The head and thorax is nearly as long as the wing covers. It is similar to the Rice Weevil (Sitophilus oryzae) which is slightly smaller, and has four reddish brown spots on the wing covers and round dimples on the thorax rather than oval. The Granary Weevil is wingless whereas the Rice Weevil has wings and can fly. The larvae are white or creamy white grubs with a small light brown head. adult weevil length 3mm to 5mm. The Granary Weevil is a serious pest of grain including wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice and corn. The female weevil bores a tiny hole in the grain kernel and deposits an egg inside. The larva develops and pupates within the grain kernels and is rarely seen. The adult weevil emerges from the pupa and cuts an exit hole to emerge. The exit holes of the Granary weevil are larger than those of the Rice weevil, and are more ragged edged.
Rice Weevils - The rice weevil is small (1/10-inch), but has a long, curved snout almost one third of the total length of the insect. The body is red-brown to black in color with four light-yellow or red spots on the corners of the wing covers. Rice weevil larvae are white or cream-colored with a small tan-colored head capsule. They are legless, humpbacked and rarely seen because they stay inside the hollowed grain kernel. Adults chew into the grain kernels from the outside and lay their eggs inside the grain. Larvae develop through several instars and also pupate inside the grain kernels. They may complete a generation in a month in warm conditions. Adults often live for seven to eight months. There are usually four generations per year. Rice weevils are generally pests of wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice and corn. Adult females drill a hole into the grain kernel and lay their eggs in the cavity. The hole is plugged with a sap-like secretion. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae bore towards the center of the kernel where they feed and pupate.
Enlarged pictue of Rice Weevil
Indianmeal Moths - Adults are small (3/8-inch long) with a wingspan of about 5/8 inch. The overall body color is generally brown-gray, but the tip half of the wing is rust or bronze colored. Larvae have brown head capsule and are a dirty white or cream color. Sometimes, they may have a slight pink, green or yellow tint. They are approximately 2/3 inches long.
Female moths lay their eggs singly or in clusters on suitable larval food. The larvae hatch from the eggs and produce silken tunnels for protection while feeding. Larval development time varies with temperature and type of food material. Before pupating, the larvae leave the food source. There are four to six generations per year. Larval feeding is usually restricted to the top one or two inches in grain stores. Smaller larvae feed on finer materials within the grain and larger larvae feed on the grain germ itself. As the larvae mature, they leave behind silken threads that bind to food particles. This webbing is often what attracts attention. In stored grains, larvae must enter through a hole or at the seam. However, newly-hatched larvae can pass through mesh screens. Meal moth feeding reduces dry weight and diminishes the value of the product. In homes, any food products that are loosely sealed or in thin wrapping that have remained in a cupboard for long periods is more likely to be infested. Food products that are infested should be immediately discarded.
Carpet Beetles - One of most common household insects is the carpet beetle. There are several species, but the most familiar are the black and the varied carpet beetle. The brown, hairy larvae or cast skins of carpet beetles usually are found in stored woolens, carpeting, lint accumulations, cracks and corners of closets, dresser drawers, and occasionally, in stored food and cupboards. The larvae are quite active and may appear almost anywhere in the house. It is probable that every home has some carpet beetles, although finding just a few is not usually considered a problem.
Adult carpet beetles are small, oval, black, and approximately 1/8-inch long. The adult beetles feed on pollen. The larvae often feed on lint but can cause serious damage by feeding on animal fibers—wool, fur, feathers, hair, bristles, mohair—in clothing, carpeting, upholstery, and other household furnishings. They do not feed on synthetic fabrics. Carpet beetles can also be pests in dried food products, such as flour, corn meal, cereal, and other similar foods.
Top pictue - Black Carpet Beetle and larvae
Bottom picture - Varied carpet beetle
Clothes Moths - Clothes moths are well-known as pests of stored woolens, but they will eat a wide range of other fibers including hair, fur, silk, felt and feathers. Serious infestations of clothes moths can develop undetected in a home, causing significant damage to clothing, bedding, floor coverings and other articles. Clothes moths are small (about 1/2-inch), buff-colored moths. Two different species are common. The webbing clothes moth and the casemaking clothes moth. The webbing clothes moth is uniformly buff-colored, whereas the casemaking clothes moth is similar in appearance but has indistinct dark specks on the wings. Clothes moths are seldom seen because they avoid light. They prefer dark, undisturbed areas such as closets, basements and attics, and tend to live in corners or in folds of fabric. If you do see tiny moths flying about in the kitchen and other open areas, they are probably grain moths originating from some infested cereal, flour or stored food item. Clothes moth adults do not feed so they cause no injury to fabrics. However, the adults produce eggs which hatch into the fabric-eating larvae.
The larval stage of clothes moths are creamy-white caterpillars up to 1/2-inch long. Webbing clothes moth larvae spin silken feeding tunnels or patches of webbing as they move about on the surface of fabrics. The casemaking clothes moth encloses itself in a portable case that it drags about wherever it goes.
Damage to articles may consist of irregular surface feeding or holes eaten completely through the fabric. Oftentimes, the larvae leave the material they developed on and can be seen crawling slowly over walls or ceilings. The casemaking clothes moth, in particular, may travel considerable distances from the infested article to spin its cocoon in a protected crack, or along the juncture of a wall and ceiling.
As mentioned earlier, clothes moths feed on a variety of animal-based materials, including wool, fur, silk, feathers and leather. Items commonly infested include wool sweaters, coats, blankets, carpets, decorative items, down pillows and comforters, toys and animal trophies. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester and rayon are rarely attacked unless blended with wool, or if they are heavily soiled with food stains or body oils. The larvae prefer to feed in dark, undisturbed areas such as closets, attics, and within boxes where woolens and furs are stored for long periods.
Clothing and blankets in constant use are seldom damaged by clothes moths, nor are rugs that get a normal amount of traffic or are routinely vacuumed. Edges of carpeting next to walls or underneath furniture are often attacked.
Clothes moths may also be found infesting upholstered furniture (both inside and out), and in air ducts where the larvae may be feeding on lint, shed pet hair and other bits of debris. Infestations may also originate from bird or animal nests, or an animal carcass present in an attic, chimney or wall void.
Home Pest and Occasional Invaders
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