Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown in color, oval in shape, and up to 3/16 inches long. They will become swollen and reddish after a blood meal. Bed bugs live within cracks and crevices, including mattresses, seams and other areas around the bed. They feed only on blood, and prefer human over animal. Female bed bugs can deposit one to five eggs a day, and can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food source, bed bugs can live for up to a year.
Subterranean Termite Swarmer
The subterranean termite swarmer’s body is dark brown/almost black in color, and about 3/8 inch long including the wings. They have two wings that are translucent with veins present. The swarmers are the type of termite that most homeowners may see when they swarm. A swarm typically happens in the spring during mid-afternoon, signaling a well-developed colony. After shedding their wings, swarmers pare off, burrow into the soil and begin a new colony.
There are three different casts of a termite colony. Worker termites are approximately 1/4 inches long, light in color, and are wingless. Soldier termites have elongated heads with mandibles. Supplementary reproductive termites are light-colored and wingless, or have very short non-functional wings. They live in colonies underground where they build tunnels in search of food. Subterranean termites consume wood and other cellulose material. There is one queen per colony, which can lay tens of thousands of eggs in a lifetime. Most eggs are laid by supplementary reproductive termites in an established colony.
Among the largest of the ants, measuring from 1/4 to 1 inches long. Most commonly black in color, and found nesting in wood products. Carpenter ants will not consume the wood, but rather cut into it to build a nest for their colony. Their diets will consist of any thing a human would consume, such as meats and sweets. These ants are also known to feed on other insects, or dead ants within their own colony.
Light-to-medium brown with 2 dark black streaks on the thorax. They are nocturnal and will infest in areas close to food, moisture, and warmth. German cockroaches are the most common cockroach found in homes and businesses, and will eat almost anything. Adult females can produce 1 egg capsule every 25 days, with each egg capsule having up to 45 cockroaches.
Oriental cockroaches are dark brown-to-black in color, and often enter buildings through sewer pipes. They prefer to live in cool, damp areas, such as a basement. Known to eat anything, they are often found eating sewage and decaying organic matter. An adult female will lay up to 8 eggs in a lifetime, with each egg capsule containing up to 16 roaches.
House mice are light brown or light grey in color, 3-4 inches long, have large ears, small eyes, and a pointed nose. They nest within structures and burrows, and establish a territory near food sources that are generally 10-30 feet from their nest. House mice are inquisitive but very wary, and are excellent climbers. They prefer to eat cereals and grains, but are omnivorous. They are prolific breeders by 2 months of age, and can have litters as often as every 40-50 days, with about 4-7 young per litter. An adult can live for up to a year.
Norway rats are brown in color, heavy bodied, 6-8 inches long, have small eyes, small ears, and a blunt nose. Their tails are shorter than the head and body. They nest in underground burrows and voids in structures, and tend to remain in hiding during the day. They prefer meat, but are omnivorous and cannot go long without water. Norway rats reach sexual maturity in 2 months, and can have litter sizes from 8-12. Females can have 4-7 litters per year.
Wolf Spiders are 1/2 inch – 2 inches in length, hairy, and are typically brown to gray in color with various markings. Females carry their large egg sacs around with them. When spiderlings hatch, they climb onto their mothers back and ride around until partially grown. They are not poisonous, but as with all spiders, bites may cause reactions in certain individuals. Wolf spiders are common household pests in the fall when they are looking for a warm place to overwinter. They do not spin webs, but roam at night to hunt for food. They are commonly confused with brown recluse spiders, but they lack the unmistakable violin-shaped marking behind the head.
Yellow and black in color, 1/2 – 1 inch long, waist is thin and defined with wings elongated and the same size as the head and body. Yellow jackets are very aggressive defenders of their colonies. Their sting is painful, and each wasp is capable of stinging multiple times. They ground nest and make their nests of wall voids inside structures. They are pollinators. Yellow jackets will eat other insects but are also scavengers, which make them a large nuisance. In late summer, the colony produces many queens that overwinter and start new colonies in the spring.
Bald Faced Hornet
Bald-faced hornets are black in color with white markings on the body and face, and are 1/2 – 1 inch long. They build football-shaped hanging nests that can grow to be as large around as a basketball. Their colonies begin in spring, and can have as many as 700 workers. They prey on insects. The workers are very aggressive when disturbed. Bald-faced hornet nests should never be permitted to develop near a home, and should not be handled without the assistance of a pest-control professional.
Adult cat fleas are the most common flea in North America. They are approximately 1/8 inch long, and are a shiny, reddish-brown hue. Fleas attach themselves to a host, and the female flea lays her eggs on the surface of the host. Eggs can then drop off the host and infest in carpets, flooring and bedding, and will hatch within 14 days. Fleas establish large populations where pets and other animals are present. Fleas also feed on humans, and some people can exhibit flea allergies. Fleas may also carry human diseases.
Common North American species are brown-to-black in color, and are about an inch and a half long. Their bodies are segmented with 2 pairs of legs per segment. They prefer damp, decaying wood and plant matter. Eggs are deposited in the soil. Most species of millipede reach sexual maturity in the second year, and live several years after that. There are occasions when thousands of millipedes will populate and area, sometimes carpeting the ground and side of buildings with their bodies.
Centipedes are elongated with flat segmented bodies that contain a pair of legs for all but one segment. Adults are brown, and measure over one inch in length. Their heads have a pair of long, sensitive antennae. They have small mouths and large claw like structures that contain venom glands. They are carnivorous creatures that forage for food at night using their claws to paralyze their victims. House centipedes live in dark moist areas and can live up to six years.
Earwigs range in size from 1/4 – 1 inch long. They are slender insects, with two pairs of wings and pinchers on the back used for defense and catching prey. Earwigs are active at night, and hide in cracks in damp areas during the day. They eat plants and insects. In the spring, the female lays eggs in burrows. She tends to the eggs until they hatch, and then cares for the nymphs until they can find their own food. Earwigs are attracted to lights, and move into homes to find food or because of a change in the weather.