Insect Info

bugyman helps protect your home from pests

Positive and accurate identification many times is the key to success of any program due to the fact that all pests are different in nature and habitat. All pests have unique characteristics which makes them a pest. For example, one pest may only cause problems while in the beginning of their life cycle, others may be a concern only while laying their eggs on items which may become more damaged, while others are a concern and health hazard throughout all stages of their existence. With insect information, you will learn their appearance, eating habits, life cycle, general and management details.

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Know Your Pests

Ants

Appearance:

Ant species come in a wide range of colors (black, brown, red, yellowish and combinations of these), and sizes (1/16 to 1 inch in length). All species of ants have a larger and wider forewing and a smaller hindwing. This characteristic makes it easy to distinguish an ant from other species such as termites (both the front and hind termite wings are even in length).

Habitat:

Ants are social insects and live in colonies which may have as many as 100,000 individuals. They live in colonies in underground tunnels or in galleries in dead wood.

Food:
Adults are unable to digest hard, solid food. They ingest only liquids which are sucked from the food material. Young larvae must feed on liquids. Most species and their colony feed on different types of food during the spring to fall seasons. Generally most species collect carbohydrate rich foods in early spring while changing their diet to protein based foods up to and through the cooler fall months.

Life Cycle:

Complete metamorphosis (egg; larvae; pupa; adult)

1. Eggs are microscopic and are carried about the colony by the workers.

2. Larvae are usually very soft, pear shaped, legless, and off-white.

3. Pupa are naked or are enclosed in a silken tube, depending on the species.

Pupa resemble adults except are white and do not move about or feed.

4. Six to eight weeks to maturity from egg to adult.

Ant colonies normally have three distinct adult members:

a. Workers-sterile females, all vary in size.

b. Queens-generally the largest of a colony. Unmated queens usually retain their wings until mated.

c. Males-they do nothing but mate with the queen. The male dies after mating.

General Information:
Ants communicate by touch and smell. They lay down chemical trails and constantly touch each other to pass on their nest odor. Ants use their antennae to pick up the sent. When some species bite, they are able to squirt formic acid from the end of their abdomen into the wound — making it even more painful. When ants find food, they lay down a chemical trail, called a pheromone, so that other ants can find their way from the nest to the food source. The scent trail is long lasting and invisible to our sight. Foraging ants pass food by a mouth-to-mouth process called trophallaxis.

Management:
Colony eradication provides permanent relief, so it is important to remember that the first priority of an ant management job is to locate the nest or nests and treat them with a baits, granules, or liquid.

Bedbug

Appearance:

1/5 inches long and 1/8 inches wide. Its reddish-brown colored body is greatly flattened and oval-shaped. After feeding, the bug’s body enlarges considerably, becoming longer and much less flattened.

Habitat:

Bed bugs general hide in cracks and crevices during normal daylight hours. Typical hiding places are in the folds and tufts of mattresses, coils of springs, cracks and hollow posts of bedsteads, and upholstery of chairs and sofas.

Food:

Blood of warm blooded animals.

Life Cycle:

Piercing-sucking mouth parts. The nymphs undergo a gradual metamorphosis through five instars before becoming adults. Bed bug eggs are elongated and usually attached to an available surface when laid. Eggs are not known to be placed directly upon the host’s body, but are typically found on surfaces nearby to where the host sleeps or nests. Nymphs must have a blood meal during each instar (growth stage) in order to develop to the next instar. Each female will lay about two eggs a day until she has laid approximately two hundred. At normal room temperatures these will hatch in 6 to 17 days, each producing small, almost colorless nymphs which have the general body appearance of the adult. Bed bugs will mate soon after becoming mature, so the time from egg hatch to egg laying will often be 4 to 9 weeks.

General Information:

Bed bugs are very hardy insects. They can survive prolonged periods without food or under adverse temperature conditions. In laboratory tests, bed bugs have been found to carry the causative agents for several diseases such as anthrax, plage, tularemia, yellow fever, relapsing fever, and typhus. However, there is little evidence that they carry these disease organisms under normal conditions, so they are not considered an important factor in disease transmission.

Bed Bug Management:

The Bugyman Exterminators is proud to offer one of the most experienced Bedbug Management programs in the Southwest. Please visit our Bedbug Management Page for more information.

Boxelder Bugs

Appearance:

Boxelder bugs are about one half inch long and elongate oval in shape with the dorsal side flattened. Their color is dark and dull gray with red lines along the sides of the prothorax forming a distinct “X” on the top.

Habitat:

Primarily around woods, Trees and gardens. When in dry environments, the Boxelder Bug can be found invading any structure which will offer needed moisture. Brick walls, wall voids, decaying plant mater and mulch can often be inspected to find large numbers coexisting.

Food:

Principally sucking juices from the boxelder tree, but are found on maples,

and fallen leaves from fruit trees.

Life Cycle:

Gradual metamorphoses, with piercing-sucking mouth parts. Eggs are hidden in bark crevices or left on leaves and sometimes on seed pods in spring. Nymphs appear in late spring or early summer and develop rapidly. Adult females overwinter. 1 or 2 generations a year

General Information:

Although this insect does little damage to trees, it causes deformities and blemishes in fruit. They may stain curtains and other resting sites with fecal spots and produce a foul odor when crushed. In autumn, huge swarms of females can be seen near buildings, looking for a place to overwinter.

Boxelder Bug Management:

Since the box elder mostly feeds on box elder and maple trees, planting a male box elder tree will eliminate the food source and the trees will become less attractive. Insecticides are only somewhat successful, meanwhile the box elder does little damage to the tree itself spraying is truly not necessary. Still, by treating the area where they collect can reduce the number of box elders entering the home.

Centipede

Appearance:

Centipede’s have long antennae. Their back legs are much longer than the rest in order to help them project backwards.

Habitat:

Usually live outdoors in damp areas such as under leaves, stones, boards, tree bark, or in mulch around outdoor plantings. When these centipede habitats are near a home’s foundation, centipedes will wander inside where they may be found at floor level almost anywhere.

Food:

Centipedes eat only insects (carnivorous) such as spiders and ants, which can be beneficial to have them around if they can be tolerated.

Life Cycle:

They develop by gradual metamorphosis, so immature have a similar appearance to adults, but are smaller. Eggs are laid in the damp places that they live in, as well as behind sheaving, shingling, mulch and floor covering of landscaped areas, rocks and beneath bark on firewood. All life stages can be observed running rapidly across floors or accidentally trapped in bathtubs, sinks, and lavatories.

General Information:

Accidentally injured, larger centipedes may bite, causing some pain and slight swelling. Actually, their ‘bites’ are not caused by their jaws or mouthparts, but by the front legs which are modified to look and function like jaws and contain venom glands. Smaller species are not large enough to penetrate human skin. Centipede bites are usually not serious, but an antiseptic should be used and a physician consulted when the skin is punctured.

Centipede Management:

Controlling the debris that provides them shelter, and controlling the other insects that they eat will help reduce their population.

Cockroach

American Roach                    German Roach                          Turkestan Roach

german roach

Appearance:

Other than size, the general shape of a cockroach is quite similar among all the species. A pronotum (a shield-like covering) projects forward over the head. Their mouthparts are of the chewing type. They have specialized pads on the end of their legs which allows them to easily scale glass windows or walk on a ceiling.

Habitat:

Cockroaches ordinarily prefer a moist environment and relatively high degree of warmth. Cockroaches usually choose to live in protected cracks and crevices which provide a warm and humid environment. Unlike wasps, bees and ants, Cockroaches are not social insects. Even though they are often found in groups in their daytime hiding or resting areas (called “harborage”), and can be found feeding in groups at night, they do not share the food with each other.

Food:

Cockroaches that invade buildings will consume a wide variety of food and nonfood items, such as: starches sweets grease plant materials meat products cheese leather bakery products forms of glue hair dead animals beer flakes of dried skin starch in book bindings.

Life Cycle:

Cockroaches develop by a gradual metamorphosis that consists of three stages:
1. Egg; the female produces a purse shaped egg capsule, called an ootheca.

2. Nymph; nymphs hatch out of the egg capsule by working together to break open the capsule. When the egg capsule is opened, the tiny nymphs emerge to begin their life. The nymphs generally resemble the adults in appearance and behavior, but are smaller, do not have wings or wing pads, and usually have a different color. Newly molted nymphs are white, but will darken to the normal color within a few hours.

3. Adults; depending on the species, the wings of an adult may be long. Some species have very short wings, which appear to be “wingless”. The length of time required for the eggs to hatch, for nymphs to develop, and the life span of adults will vary due to temperature, humidity, the quality of their diet, and other environmental conditions.

General Information:

Cockroaches are among the most common insects. Based on fossil evidence cockroaches are known to have been present on Earth for 300 million years. There are approximately 3500 species of cockroaches worldwide – about 60 species are found in the United States. Cockroaches produce odorous secretions from various points in their bodies which can affect the flavor of various foods. Although disease producing organisms such as bacteria have been found on cockroach bodies, the principal disease transmitted by cockroaches are gastroenteritis diseases. These include food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea and other illnesses. For the most part, however, cockroaches usually are not associated with severe illnesses or disease outbreaks.

Although cockroaches are able to move around quite easily, and some are able to fly, cockroaches are well known for moving to new areas via “hitchhiking”. Cockroaches are mostly active at night, during which time they forage for food, water and mates. They may be seen in the daytime, usually when a heavy population is present or when some other stress is placed on them (such as lack of food or water).

Management:

Since there are different species of roaches, there is different management services. The Turkistan and American Roach require “general pest management“, German Roaches require a “specialized service“. However, control of food, moisture and sanitation plays a part of general management.

Earwigs

Appearance:

Earwigs have pinchers or forcep-like appendages at the end of the abdomen. Its size can vary between to 3/4 inch long and can be a dark reddish-brown to jet black in color.

Habitat:

They are active at night, and some species are attracted to lights in large numbers. During the day, they usually find shelter beneath stones, boards, and debris.

Food:

Earwigs are primarily scavengers on dead animal and plant material. Plants and ground litter, and perhaps foodstuffs found in homes and grain warehouses are also attractive.

Life Cycle:

Gradual metamorphosis. Nymphs, which have same appearance except smaller than adults grow to maturity in a few months and can live up to a year.

General Information:

Earwigs are often transported great distances in potted plants, nursery stock, or other plant material. Earwigs received their common name by early settlers “old wives tail” that an earwig will crawl into your ear and cause a person to go insane.

Earwig Management:

Habitat removal procedures will greatly aid in suppressing problems with earwigs indoors. Granular insecticide applications in grass can give excellent results.

Fleas

Appearance:

Size : 1/12 to 1/6 inch long, but can vary from as small as 1/25 to 1/3 inch long. Their appearance, When viewed from the front, head on, the flea’s body is narrow from side to side. This allows them to move readily between hairs in an animal’s fur or in carpeting. Their bodies are covered with spines which project backward, making them well adapted for moving forward between the hairs or feathers of the host’s body. These spines make removal of the fleas shaking or scratching dogs rather difficult.

Habitat:

Adults live in hair and clothing. Larvae are found under rugs and among accumulated lint incorporating organic matter, including the contents of carpet sweepers and vacuum cleaners.

Food:

Adult feeds on blood from humans, pigs, rodents, dogs, coyotes, cats, mules, and deer. Larva eats organic debris, scavenged from hosts.

Life Cycle:

Fleas have a complete metamorphosis. Eggs are frequently laid on the host animal, but may be laid by adults which have fallen to the ground. Female fleas scatter about 500 eggs during her lifetime, which may be 18 months if well fed, 4 months if starved. These eggs will hatch in anywhere from 1 day to several weeks, and will feed for 8-32 days. They pupate in cracks for 3-35 days but may wait months to emerge, aroused by vibrations from a passing potential host. Flea larvae are rarely seen due to their size. They frequently become entwined within the carpet, and resist the pull of a vacuum. The mature larva spins a cocoon for pupation, This cocoon becomes covered with grains of sand, lint, dust, or other debris from the substrate, so will be well camouflaged in the substrate.

Note:  This is why a family may find their new home, or long visited condo infested with fleas, whether they do or do not have pets.

General Information:

Fleas have powerful legs which permit them to jump as much as 7-8 inches upward and 14-16 inches horizontally. Fleas have piercing-sucking mouthparts to penetrate the skin of the host and suck blood.

A parasite is an organism that obtains nourishment during all or part of its life upon another organism, but usually not directly causing the death of the organism upon which it feeds. Fleas are an ectoparasite, which is a parasite which feed from the external surface of the host. Diseases which fleas can carry are bacteria, protozoans, rickettsia or viruses. When parasites, such as fleas carry another disease, they are called a vector of disease.

Flea Management:

The Bugyman Exterminators is proud to offer a proven management process that is guaranteed to control your infestation in 2-3 treatments. For more information please visit our Flea Management Services page.

Pill Bugs and Sowbugs

Appearance:

The sowbug possess two tail-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen and are incapable of rolling into a tight ball. The common pillbug lacks such appendages at the tip of the abdomen and can roll itself into a ball. This habit is the reason they are often called “roly polies”.

Food:

Both pillbugs and sowbugs feed upon decaying vegetable matter.

General Information:

Are found under mulch or vegetable debris of all kinds and beneath objects on damp ground. They frequently invade damp basements and crawl spaces and may infest potted plants. A heavy infestation indoors generally indicates that there is a large population immediately outside the building.


Pillbug and Sowbug Management:

Pillbugs/sowbugs feed and reproduce in decaying organic matter, so it may be necessary to remove plant mulch and leaves around the foundation in order to obtain control.

Millipedes

Appearance:

1/2 to 1-1/2 inch long, and tend to coil up when resting. They are brownish, oval, elongate animals with two pair of legs attached to most segments.

Habitat:

Millipedes normally live outdoors in damp places such as under decaying leaves and in mulch around outdoor plantings. In wooded areas millipedes live in piles of leaf litter. In dry weather they will migrate out of the litter piles as the leaves dry, and may enter buildings in large numbers.

Food:

They feed on damp and decaying vegetable matter as well as new roots and green leaves.

Millipede Management:

Since the millipede needs high moisture, reducing the unnecessary moisture would help reduce the appeal of an area. Millipedes feed and reproduce in decaying organic matter, so it may be necessary to remove plant mulch and leaves around the foundation in order to obtain complete control.

Flies

Appearance:

1/8-1/4 inch. Gray with 4 black lengthwise stripes on thorax. Abdomen is grey or yellowish with dark midline and irregular dark markings on sides. The eyes are reddish. The mouthparts are of the sponging type, suitable for sponging up food.

Habitat:
Near animal manure, garbage, or exposed food.

Food:

Adults suck liquids containing sweet or decaying substances. Larva feeds on moist food rich in organic matter. Although they are attracted to a variety of food material, house flies have mouthparts which enable them to ingest only liquid materials. Solid food materials are liquefied by means of regurgitated saliva. This liquefied food is then drawn up by the mouthparts and passed into the digestive tract.

Life Cycle:

Female lays 5-6 batches of 75-120 oval, white eggs on moist manure or garbage. Eggs hatch in 10-24 hours. Larvae reach full size in 5 days emerging as adults about 5 days latter. They are ready to mate within a few hours after emerging. During warm weather two or more generations may be completed in a month. Males live for 15 days, females up to 26 if they have access to milk, sugar, and water.

General Information:

98 percent or more of the flies caught in houses are house flies. Because they can transmit typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, pinworm, hookworms, and some tapeworms, house flies are regarded as a grater threat to human health than most other insects. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts and other body parts, through their vomitus or through their feces to human and animal food. The larger and darker face fly (M. Autumnalis), 1/4-3/8 inch resembles the house fly but settles on cows rather than manure from other animals. It creeps into the nostrils and eyes of cattle and into horse fly wounds.

Fly Management:

UV light attractant fly stations can be purchased or leased and then maintained by the field rep. Sanitation plays a large part in controlling this insect. Inspecting the building for any entry points would also be done.

Rodent

General Information:

Rats and mice attack our food in a variety of ways and places. Such places are farm fields, orchards, and livestock facilities, during its processing, storage and transport, and while it is in our supermarkets, restaurants and homes. And what the rats and mice don’t eat, they spoil by contaminating it with their urine, feces, or fur. Experts estimate that rats and mice destroy enough food each year to feed 200 million people.
In buildings, rodents damage doors, floors, ceilings and walls as a result of their burrowing and gnawing activity.

Rodents have been responsible for the spread of various diseases to people and domestic animals. Some of those diseases are the Plague, which killed 25,000,000 people in Europe during the 14th century, Murine typhus, Rickettsial pox, Salmonellosis (food poisoning), Rat-bite fever, Weils disease or leptospirosis.

Management:

The Bugyman Exterminators does not offer a “liquid” or “spray” that will repel rodents, but we do offer several options of control, please visit our Rodent Management Services page  for more details.

Learn more about rodents

Scorpion

Appearance:
1.5 – 2 3/4 inches in length. Dark brown to tan, often striped with greenish yellow along the back. Abdomen is slender, constricted at each segment, pale or dark depending on the species.

Habitat:

Most scorpions are active at night. During the day they hide under dark crevices, under bark, stones, and litter on the ground. In houses, they are most often found in undisturbed areas such as closets, seldom-used shoes, or folded clothing.

Food:

Small, soft bodied insects and spiders. They will eat other species of scorpions and even small individuals of their own species. Small insects are eaten immediately, but larger prey are stung and eaten after they cease to struggle.

Life Cycle:

Female keeps eggs in sac, then carries hatchlings on back until they can fend for themselves. Male uses pincers to pull female on top of him to mate.

General Information:

They have poor eyesight, so do not stalk or chase prey, but lie in waiting to grab it with their pincers. Most species which enter houses are not very poisonous, their stings being comparable to those of bees or wasp. However, certain species in Arizona and New Mexico can be dangerous, such as the Centruroides gertschi Stahnke and Centruroides sculpteratus Ewing, which can reach lengths of 2 to 3 inches.

Management:

The first step in managing scorpions around dwellings is to remove all debris such as loose boards, rocks, stacked wood or any other materials under which they can hide. This will greatly reduce the numbers of scorpions which will be found in the area. 

Silverfish and Firebrats

Appearance:

These insects of this order have the same characteristic shape. Their bodies are flattened, long and slender, slender appendages are found at the rear of the body. All silverfish and firebrats are wingless. The young look like small adults.

Silverfish: 3/8-1/2 inch. Tapering, carrot-shaped. Silver-grey, coated with scales. Threadlike antennae and 3 tail filaments, all shorter than body. Small black eyes.

Firebrats: 3/8-1/2 inch. Mottled gray and tan or brown. Threadlike antennae, longer than body, usually swept back parallel to sides. 3 tail filaments.

Habitat:

Indoors in warm, dry places, including closets, bookcases, behind baseboards, in partitions, or in bathtubs, (Firebrats: near ovens, heating pipes, and furnaces.) Silverfish and firebrats are most active at night and can run very swiftly.

Food:

Silverfish: Dried cereals, flour, glue, and starch, including stiffeners used in clothing and bound books, and coated papers used in magazines.

Firebrats: Crumbs and scraps of dry human food near cooking and heating devices.

Life Cycle:

Silverfish: No metamorphosis. Oval white eggs are dropped in a few places week after week. Eggs hatch in 2-8 weeks. Nymphs have the same body form as adults. Full size is attained in about 2 years,

Firebrats: No metamorphosis. At intervals female lays spherical white eggs with soft shells in clusters of 50 or more. Hatching and subsequent growth take weeks or many months, depending on temperature, humidity, and food supply. Nymphs take up to 2 years and about 40 molts to reach full size. Maximum life-span in warm situations is about 30 months.

General Information:

Silverfish and firebrats have very weak jaws, which causes them to scrape, instead of bite, the surface of a piece of paper. They tend to crowd together in a central hiding place during the day to rest, and help regulate the temperature and humidity around the eggs and young nymphs.

Silverfish and Firebrat Management:

Since these insects can travel long distances while looking for food, it can be difficult to locate the infestation source. By keeping areas clean, dry, and clutter free, and along with repairing leaks and drips will help provide effective management.

Spiders

Appearance:

Spiders have characteristic appearance which is easily recognizable. They possess eight legs which immediately separate them from insects, which have only six legs. Their bodies have two regions: a cephalothorax (fused head and thorax) and an abdomen.

Brown Recluse

Many spiders are associated with moister and, therefore, are found in basements, crawl spaces, and other damp parts of buildings. Others live in warm, dry places so are found in subfloor air-vents, in upper corners of rooms or in attics. Most species hide in cracks, darkened areas, or other retreats which they construct of silk.

Food:

Small insects.

Life Cycle:

Young spiders, or spiderlings, resemble the adults except for size and, sometimes, coloration.

General Information:

Black Widow

All spiders have a pair of jaw-like structures, called chelicerae. At the end of each is a hollow, claw-like fang. Each fang has a small opening in the end through which venom is injected into the prey. Spinnerets, located at the tip end of the abdomen, are silk spinning glands used for web making. Many species of spiders are common household pests. Remember that every “cobweb” was made by a spider. Although all spiders use venom when they bite and kill their prey, the black widow and the brown recluse spiders are the only North American species consistently dangerous to humans. Under most conditions outdoors, spiders are considered beneficial because they feed on insects.

Management:

By reducing clutter will help eliminate hiding spots. Always wear heavy gloves when moving things that have been stored for awhile. There are only two spiders in the southern and western United States that are seriously harmful when accidentally disturbed, and that is the black widow and brown recluse.

Ticks

Appearance:
Adult males are flat, about 1/8 inch long, and uniformly red-brown with tiny pits scattered over the back. They do not enlarge as much upon feeding as the females do. Adult females resemble the males in size, shape and color before feeding. As they feed, females become engorged and swell to inch long and 1/4 inch wide. The legs, mouthparts and shield area behind the head remain redish-brown, but the enlarged portion of the body becomes gray-blue to olive.Immature stage Larvae, sometimes called “seed ticks”, have only six legs. Once they attach themselves to a host and get a blood meal, they will drop off, shed their skin and emerge with 8 legs.

Habitat:

Ticks can be found outdoors in southern United States during any time of the year, Ticks spend the bulk of their life on or near the ground. Since they cannot run, hop, fly, or move quickly, they must climb onto objects to wait for a host to pass by. Outdoors, ticks can be found in tall grass, shrubs, weeds, wood piles, brick and rock walls, under skirting of mobile homes, dog houses, as well as any place that a host may sleep and lounge on. Indoors, ticks can be found in and around the area that a host animal may rest and lounge, under corners of rugs and carpet, in folds of sofas, lounge chairs and cushions.

Food:

Blood

Life Cycle:

Ticks have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Adult ticks may require several days of feeding before they are able to reproduce. Male hard ticks usually die soon after mating, and females die soon after laying their eggs. Egg-laying begins about three days after the engorged adult female drops from the host. She may deposit as many as 5000 eggs in places such as between boards, under plaster, or carpeting or in other cracks and crevices. The eggs hatch in three weeks to several months, depending on the weather. They can live up to eight months while waiting for a host. Adults can live up to 1-1/2 years without feeding, but must feed before mating. After mating, the female will completely engorge herself with blood and then drops off the host to lay eggs. Mating usually occurs while adult ticks are on the body of the host animal. Adult females need only to feed once before laying one large batch of eggs.

General Information:

A home can become heavily infested if the family dog picks up ticks from an infested residence, boarding kennel, open fields, or similar place where other infested dogs have been located.

Management:

The Bugyman Exterminators is proud to offer a proven management process that is guaranteed to control your infestation in 2-4 treatments. For more information please visit our Tick Management Services page.

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