Pests

American Cockroach

Order: Blattodea
Family: Blattellidae
Scientific Name: Periplaneta americana

Appearance

 Often called a water bug, the American cockroach can grow to a length of 1” to 1½”. They are reddish brown in color and have a yellowish marking on the body region behind the head.  American Cockroaches can move in and around a structure by either crawling or flying.

Where Do They Live?

American cockroaches generally live in moist areas such as sewer lines, man holes, drains and wall voids, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold temperatures. 

Reproduction

Females produce egg cases and carry them protruding from the tip of the abdomen for about two days. Egg cases are then generally placed on a surface in a hidden location. Egg cases are about 3/8” long, brown colored, and purse-shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 3 to 6 months to mature.  Adult cockroaches can live up to one year, during which females can produce an average of 150 young.

Brown-banded Cockroach

Order: Blattodea
Family: Ectobiidae
Scientific Name: Supella longipalpa

Appearance

Brown-banded Cockroaches measure about a 1/2” long and are tan to light brown in color. They have two light-colored bands that run across their wings and abdomen, which can occasionally appear to be broken or irregular, but are generally quite noticeable. These bands may also be partly obscured by their wings.

Where Do They Live?

 Brown-banded cockroaches can sustain flight and can be found anywhere in an apartment or home.  They have been found on the legs of couches, inside kitchen tables and chairs, pianos, window treatments, bathroom vanities, and living room wall units. Moisture is not a major factor in the success and survival of this insect, but they are attracted to warmth.

Control

 Brown-banded cockroaches are very hard to control and can be mistaken for German cockroaches which will prolong the eradication program because many harborage areas will be neglected until the insect is properly identified and treatment areas are widened to the entire living space.

Carpenter Ant

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Scientific Name: Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Appearance

            Worker carpenter ants are wingless, dark shiny brown to black in color and are ¼” to ½” in length. Queen ants that have wings and can measure up to 1” in length. The characteristic that distinguishes a carpenter ant from another ant is their rounded thorax (the middle section of the body of an insect, bearing the legs and wings)  and a single triangular-shaped node that connects their thorax to their abdomen.     

Where Do They Live?            

Carpenter ants are a common invader of homes in the northeastern United States. In their natural habitat, carpenter ants aid in the decomposition of dead, decaying trees. Homes built in wooded areas are especially subject to infestation.  But in the home, carpenter ants seek out warm, moist environments where they can tunnel through rotting wood or soft materials, like the hollow of a wall behind a dishwasher, the space around bathtubs, sinks, or even near a ceiling leak.  Carpenter ants are nocturnal creatures and are known to cover long distances when foraging for food.  If you find carpenter ants in your home during the winter, that most likely means that you have an infestation in your home.   

German Cockroach

Order: Blattodea
Family: Ectobiidae
Scientific Name: Blattella germanica

Appearance

            The German cockroach is one of the most common and prominent household pests in the world.  Originally from Asia, measuring about 1/2″ to 5/8″ long, they are amber in color and have two dark parallel lines running from the back of their heads to the base of their wings. Yet despite having fully grown wings, they are unable to sustain flight.  These insects are hitchhikers by nature; they can be brought into any area by anyone.

Where Do They Live?

            The German cockroach thrives in moist and warm environments and is commonly found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves, and sinks) and bathrooms. They’re active at night, looking for mates and scavenging for food, eating anything from starches, to grease, meat, and sweets, and often feed on garbage.  Once they have established themselves in a structure, they have the ability to grow into vast numbers. 

Disease and Rapid Rate of Reproduction

            The female German cockroach carries its ootheca (egg case) just about to full term, ensuring the survival of its young. The egg case can carry as many as 50 nymphs.  This insect is known to carry many different dermal diseases such as the pathogens that cause tuberculosis, cholera, leprosy, dysentery, and typhoid, as well as over 40 other bacteria (like salmonella) or viruses that can cause disease. Their presence can also cause asthma as well as other serious health problems to all that live in a structure or frequent any food-handling establishment that has an infestation.

House Mouse

Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Scientific Name: Mus muculus

Appearance

            A house mouse a is small, lightly-furred mammal with big bare ears.  Their fur color can range from white to black and may even contain spots.  They are smaller in size to their relative, the rat, but are just as destructive and adaptable.  They have the ability to enter structures through openings a 1/4” wide by elongating their skeletons and squeezing through small spaces.

Where Do They Live

            House mice can commonly be found in furniture voids, beddings, hung ceiling voids, wall voids and inside food containers. When given the opportunity, mice will enter a structure at its weakest point and if allowed to thrive, can cause both major structural and electrical damage. Mouse droppings and dander can expose occupants to an array of airborne pathogens, gastrointestinal diseases, flea transmittable diseases and allergenic diseases.

Pavement Ants

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicadae
Scientific Name: Tetramorium caespitum

Appearance

            The pavement ant workers are about 1/8” to 1/16” long and vary in color from dark brown to black, with parallel furrows or lines on the head and thorax. The swarmers or reproductive ants are winged, about twice the size of the workers and also have a furrowed head and thorax.  Winged reproductive ants typically swarm in the spring but have been known to emerge any time of the year in heated structures. It is not uncommon to see swarming in late fall and into February even in colder climates.

Where Do They Live?

            The pavement ant is a soil-nesting species which is one of the most commonly encountered house-infesting ants in the northeast of the United States. Most pavement ant colonies are located under sidewalks, building slabs, and large rocks. They enter buildings through cracks in foundation walls and interior slabs. It is common to see sand piles and small soil particles in structures near cracks in concrete slabs or at the top of foundation walls where the ants deposit debris from excavated nests. Similar piles are seen in the warmer months at the cracks in sidewalks. Pavement ants feed on a wide variety of food including sweets like sugar, nectar, fruits, and syrups. However, they also forage for grease, dead insects, and small seeds which are collected and stored in their nest. Nearly any morsel of food that falls to the floor will be consumed by a pavement ant.

Norway Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus

            The Norway rat also goes by the name brown rat, black rat, and sewer rat.  It is probably the most infamous pest of New York City and is responsible for many shrieks on subway platforms.  Much more than a nuisance, the Norway rat has been around for millions of years and is one of the most adaptable and destructive animals on the planet. 

Appearance

            The Norway rat looks similar to its Rodentia relative, the house mouse, but there are a few disinguishing characterteristics.  The Norway rat’s body is heavier and thicker and has ears that are proportional to their larger bodies, while the mouse has disproportionately large, floppy ears. The rat’s tail tends to be scaly and hairless compared to the mouse’s long, thin one.  

Where Do They Live?

            Norway rats prefer to live underground in burrows, but when given the opportunity, they will enter a structure at its weakest point and have the potential to cause both major structural and electrical damage.  A rat infestation can also pose a major health hazard, as their urine and droppings can expose occupants to an extreme amount of transmittable airborne pathogens.  Other health risks that are linked with exposure to rats are gastrointestinal diseases, diseases transmittable by fleas, allergenic diseases caused by the shedding of hair, and in a rare cases, getting bitten by a rat.  Rats are at their best when sanitary conditions are at their worst.

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