Pest Identification Guide
Latin Name: Iridomyrmex humilis (Mayr)- also found as Linepithema humilis
Common Family Name: Ants
Latin Family Name: Formicidae
Origin: Thought to have arrived from Brazil in ships transporting coffee around 1891, and now found throughout North America, in Hawaii, and on most other continents throughout the world.
Biology: Though the Argentine Ant is a small, non-stinging ant, it is a very territorial and aggressive ant that will drive away or kill competing ant species. Neighboring colonies of Argentine ants appear not to be aggressive toward each other, allowing for the rapid spread and domination by this species. Colonies contain thousands of workers and many queens, and mating will take place within the confines of the colony. New colonies are often formed by budding off from the parent colony. Nesting is usually in the soil, commonly under concrete slabs, but may also be found in any other convenient void, such as in trees, wall voids, under insulation, or under debris on the soil. Soil nests are generally very shallow. While protein foods are part of their diet, their preferred foods are sugars, including household food products, fruits in gardens, and honeydew.
Identification: This is a single-node species with small workers only about 2.5 mm long, and with all workers the same size. The Argentine can be separated from the similar Odorous House ant by its visible node and by its dull gray-black to gray-brown color. When viewed from the side the Argentine Ant has a distinct dip in the top of the thorax. There is no circle of hairs around the anal opening. The first segment of the antenna is not longer than the head, and the legs are not noticeably long, as compared with the crazy ant.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control of most ants includes correction of the attractions that drew them to a property, including harborage sites, food sources, and moisture conditions. Elimination of insects that provide protein or honeydew sources reduces ant foraging in an area, very important for this species, and cleanup of unnecessary debris or objects on the soil that provide harborage eliminates nesting. Ant bait products in granular, liquid, or gel formulations can be effective, and carbohydrate baits may be preferred. Locating the nest of these ants is critical, and if it is found treatment directly into the nest with a residual dust insecticide can be effective.
Latin Name: Blattella germanica (L.)
Common Family Name: Wood cockroaches
Latin Family Name: Blattellidae
Other Names: Steam fly, water bug
Origin: Apparently the German roach originated in Africa, but was transported through early commerce to Europe and now is found throughout the world.
Biology: The German roach is a nocturnal animal, strongly avoids light, cannot fly, and in almost all situations will be found indoors. Infestations normally begin by the introduction of roaches in packages. The biological potential of this species is enormous, with females producing an average of 5 egg capsules in their lifetime, each with an average of 30 eggs in it. The time from egg to mature adult averages about 3 months, allowing 4 generations of the insects each year. Female adult roaches live for about 200 days. Females carry the egg capsule until one day before the eggs are to hatch, providing necessary moisture into the eggs. Her activity level is low while she is in this “gravid” stage. This species has a higher moisture requirement than many other species, and is most likely to be living near moisture sources and in humid areas. First instar nymphs often remain in hiding, feeding on the fecal material of other roaches. Older roaches are extremely variable in their diets, feeding on virtually any materials in a food environment. They may also nibble on human hair or finger and toenails.
Identification: The German roach is typical of the genus Blattella, with a tan to brownish color, small size, and two dark, longitudinal stripes on its prothorax. Adults reach about 1 ½ inches in length, with wings that reach the end of the abdomen in females and just beyond the tip of the abdomen in males. Neither is capable of flight. Nymphs begin as extremely small insects and without any hint of wings. However, they do have the dark markings on the prothorax. This species may be distinguished from the Field roach by the color of the face, which is light brown in the German.
Characteristics Important in Control: Successful control relies heavily on habitat modification to eliminate food and water resources and to close access to harborage sites. It also is dependent on an inspection to discover all harborages that need to be treated or eliminated. Crack and crevice applications of a residual insecticide are effective, along with treatment of voids with a void injector or dust application. Bait products introduced in the 1990s have beeh highly successful against the German Roach.
Latin Name: Periplaneta americana (L.)
Common Family Name: Blattid cockroaches
Latin Family Name: Blattidae
Other Names: Palmetto bug, Bombay canary
Origin: Possibly from northern Africa or Asia, but found worldwide for many centuries now. It occurs throughout the United States as a common indoor and outdoor cockroach, and in some areas may be more common than the German roach.
Biology: This species is common outdoors in landscape plantings, in sewers or storm drain systems, and in lower areas of buildings where moisture may be greater. It may inhabit storm drains in huge numbers, emerging though man-hole covers at night to invade buildings. They will feed on most carbohydrate or protein based materials, including human hair or finger and toenails. Each female produces around 10 egg capsules, carrying the capsule for a day or two and then carefully placing it in a protected location. Each egg capsule has an average of 15 eggs in it and these hatch in about 45 days. Development to the adult stage averages about 450 days, but may take well over 2 years in colder climates. Adults live an average of around 1 year, but potentially can live almost 3 years.
Identification: The American roach adult has fully developed wings and is capable of some flight, usually from an upper location to a lower surface. It is reddish brown with a yellow ring around the prothorax. Adults may be up to 1.5 inches long from head to tail, with extremely long antennae. The cerci are long and thin, a character that separates the nymphs of American roaches from those of Oriental roaches.
Characteristics Important in Control: Since this species is abundant outdoors, control begins with habit management in the outdoor areas. Removal of harborage sites under debris or piles of wood and discarded materials will reduce populations near a structure. Control of food and moisture sources outdoors and indoors are important. Granular insect baits are well accepted, and the use of a perimeter treatment with a residual insecticide will intercept many individuals that attempt to access a structure.
Latin Name: Cimex lectularius L.
Common Family Name: Bed bugs
Latin Family Name: Cimicidae
Other Names: Chintzes, chinches, mahogany flats, red coats, crimson ramblers
Origin: It is believed that this bug originally evolved with bats living in caves in the Middle East, but in the United States it appears now to be wholly a human pest. It has been associated with humans for thousands of years.
Biology: While this species is not associated with the spread of any diseases, its bite can have a serious effect on people who are sensitive to its saliva, and swelling and severe itching or other immune system reactions may be common. The bite itself is generally painless. The Human bed bug is nocturnal, feeding only at night when people are asleep. During the daylight hours it hides in any available crack or hole in the immediate area. The presence of bedbugs may be determined by an unusual “sweet” odor in the room. Females lay their eggs by gluing them to hidden surfaces, laying several eggs each day with a total of about 200 eggs. There are 5 instar stages to the nymphs, and the growth to the adult stage takes about a month and a half, although in the absence of a blood source the nymph may lay dormant for long periods. The adults can live over a year, and in the absence of human hosts they have been known to feed on birds and rodents.
Identification: Bed bugs in general are wingless insects with an extremely flattened body from top to bottom, except when they are engorged with blood. They have a large, round abdomen, long 4-segmented antennae, and a small prothorax that flares to the sides. Their mouth is a short, 3-segmented proboscis that is held below the body when at rest. The human bed bug is distinguished from other species by the antennae, where the last segment is shorter than the segment before it, the fringe of hairs along the sides of the pronotum are very short, and the front of the pronotum is deeply concave. Evidence may include bites on occupants of the structure, although a PMP should not attempt to diagnose a bite mark. There also are often small spots of blood on sheets or mattresses, left by the departing bug following its meal. Feeding by adults may last for around 15 minutes.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control relies on a thorough inspection of a structure to determine hiding places of the bugs, thorough cleaning of mattresses and bed coverings, and a thorough application of a residual insecticide to all possible cracks, crevices, holes, or other hiding places in the room. Vacuuming with a high-powered vacuum will help to remove many of the pests that are hiding.
Latin Name: Rattus rattus
Common Family Name: Rats and Mice
Latin Family Name: Muridae
Other Names: Black rat, ship rat, house rat, tree rat, climbing rat, white-bellied rat. Also as two subspecies called the fruit rat (Rattus rattus frugivorous) and the Alexandrine Rat (R. r. alexandrinus).
Origin: Native to forested areas in Southeast Asia, but transported into Europe by caravans as early as the 11th century. It was the common structural rat in Europe during the Black Death episode in the 14th Century. It arrived in the United States somewhere in the 1500s, although this is not certain. In the U.S. it is not as widespread as the Norway Rat, generally staying within 100 miles of a coastline, and occurring throughout cities from Washington to southern California, along the Gulf Coast and up the entire eastern seaboard.
Biology: The Roof Rat is an “arboreal” animal, preferring to live above ground level in trees, although it has adapted well to upper areas of structures as well, living in attics and traveling by means of wires and cables attached to homes. It is nocturnal and secretive, staying out of view within the foliage provided in landscaped environments, and feeding heavily on the fruits, nuts, vegetables, or garden snails found there. Like the Norway Rat is also is shy about new objects in its familiar environment, and may avoid control measures such as traps or bait stations. A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, ranging from 5 to 18 months. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have 3 to 4 litters in her one year, being somewhat less prolific than the Norway Rat. Peaks in breeding occur in the spring and the fall. Problems from Roof Rats include the potential for disease, such as plague, spread by their fleas. They are extremely destructive to stored food products in structures, crops in residential areas, and cause tremendous damage due to their gnawing on structural members, pipes, and electrical wires.
Identification: The Roof Rat is a smaller, slimmer rat than the Norway Rat, and cannot compete with the Norway when space is limited. Its tail is noticeably longer than its body length, the best ID characteristic in the field. In relation to its head it has a pointed nose, large eyes, and large ears. Its color is dark gray to black with a lighter grayish belly, and it ranges to a lighter brown depending on which “subspecies” is present.
Characteristics Important in Control: Exclusion from structures is of high importance in preventing entry and damage from this rat. They can enter through any opening wider than one half inch, swim well, and can climb any rough surface, along wires and cables, and can jump vertically about 3 feet. Glue trays work very well for Roof Rats, along with snap traps placed in runways and bait stations using various formulations. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.
Latin Name: Rattus norvegicus
Common Family Name: Rats and Mice
Latin Family Name: Muridae
Other Names: Brown rat, ship rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, gray rat, barn rat, burrowing rat, water rat, common rat, house rat, migratory rat, wander-rat
Origin: Evolved in Central Asia, but reached Europe in the 1700s, the United States later that century, and now it is found throughout the world. It is a rodent of cooler climates, but now also infests many tropical environments as well, primarily in the seaport areas.
Biology: This rat is commonly sold as a “pet rat”, and has been bred for white coloration as “lab rats” as well, leading to the occurrence of white and brown marked races. It is primarily a ground dweller, although it can climb very well, and prefers to reside in burrows. It swims very well and often lives in sewers and other underground water systems. It is primarily a nocturnal animal, and will restrict its range of movement only to that which is needed to find food and water, perhaps only 20 or 30 from home. Norway Rats are omnivores and opportunistic feeders, feeding on any natural or human foods available. They are neophobic and may avoid new objects placed in their environment for some time. A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, although when cared for they may live several years. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have several litters in her one year. Damage from gnawing can be extensive, as they chew on pipes of plastic or metal, wires, wood, or furnishings and walls, and commonly bite humans. While not the primary reservoir of bubonic plague, they have the potential to spread this disease, along with several others as well as filth infections.
Identification: Adult rats are large and robust, being up to 16 inches from nose to tip of tail. Their tail length is shorter than their body length, and it is scaly and almost without hairs. Colors range from white to brown to mottled, or blackish gray, reddish brown, and other variations. In relation to its head it has a blunt nose, small eyes, and small ears.
Characteristics Important in Control: Habitat modification to eliminate harborage sites is effective, along with proper building maintenance to exclude their entry. Elimination of available interior and exterior food and water supplies is needed. Burrows may be treated by fumigation in some circumstances, and the use of traps and baiting are highly effective. The shyness these rats exhibit toward new objects can affect the response to bait boxes and traps. Glue trays may not be highly effective due to the strength of this species, and its ability to pull free from the glue. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.
Latin Name: Thomomys sp.
Common Family Name: Pocket Gophers
Latin Family Name: Geomyidae
Origin: There are 35 species of gophers, in 5 different genera, in North America, extending from Canada throughout Central America. They are native animals in North America.
Biology: Gophers lead a subterranean life (called fossorial) in meandering burrows they dig with their teeth and front legs. They are active above ground only when young are leaving their mothers burrow system or when males seek females for mating. Except for these two times gophers are aggressively solitary animals. They are vegetarians, feeding primarily on plant roots and tubers. Gophers do not hibernate, and will be active year-round, although activity in hot weather is minimal and is high in spring and fall. In most natural areas there is a single litter per year, with 5 to 6 young per litter.
Identification: The name “pocket” gopher is given due to the two fur-lined pouches on the cheeks outside of the mouth, in which they carry food materials. Adult gophers are about the size of small rats, but have dark brown fur, very short tails, and very large, broad front feet with enlarged claws. They have large heads and powerful necks, along with the fur-lined pouches on the outside of the cheeks. The short tail is fairly bare and is used for sensing the frequent backward movement of the animal in its burrow system. Gopher activity is identified by the mounds of soil pushed to the surface from below. It typically has a low, horseshoe-shape with a “plug” of fresher looking soil in the arc. The gopher pushes dirt out of the burrow onto the expanding horseshoe, plugging the hole with fresh soil each time it goes back underground.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control may be by baiting, trapping, or fumigation. These are suspicious animals, and care must be taken to keep light from entering the burrow. It is most successful in spring or fall when gopher activity is at its highest. Fumigation may be preferred for large populations of the rodents to reduce the time factor needed for trapping programs.
Latin Name: Kalotermes approximatus Snyder
Common Family Name: Drywood termites
Latin Family Name: Kalotermitidae
Other Names: Dark southeastern drywood termite
Origin: Native to the southeastern United States, and found from Louisiana to Florida and north to Virginia.
Biology: The genus Kalotermes once included all 10 species of Drywood termites, but now has a single species in it for North American termites, as the other nine species have been delegated to four other genera. Alates swarm during the daytime, usually in late summer. This species infests dead wood in outdoor settings as well as the wood of structures somewhat infrequently.
Identification: Typical of the Drywood termites the alates have no fontanelle, but they do have a single ocellus next to each compound eye. The body color is dark reddish orange and the wings have a dark tint to them. The antennae have less than 22 segments. On the wings there are 3 thickened veins that run from the base to the wing tip along the leading edge, and all three veins run parallel to each other to the tip. The soldiers have a large pair of jaws protruding out in front of the head, and the jaws are not symmetrical, as they have unequal numbers of teeth or projections along their inner margin. The antennae are composed of from 12 to 13 segments, and the third segment is not at long as the fourth and fifth combined.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control is by either fumigation of structures or infested objects, or by injection of a residual insecticide into the galleries in the wood.
Latin Name: Reticulitermes spp.
Common Family Name: Subterranean termites
Latin Family Name: Rhinotermitidae
Origin: Six species of native termites in this genus occur in North America, occurring throughout the country in all states and in Canada. These are the common and destructive soil-dwelling termites.
Biology: With very rare exception colonies are located in the ground, with foraging done from these colonies into structures or other wood sources. There is a true worker caste, with adult workers, soldiers, and alates in the colony. It is possible that a colony can have up to two hundred thousand workers or more, and several separate colonies may exist near and be foraging in a single structure. Swarming by the alates may consist of many hundreds of alates from the colony, and many colonies in an area releasing swarmers simultaneously. This usually occurs in late morning to mid-day on a sunny day following a rainfall. Most swarming is in the spring, but fall swarms are also common, and a colony will be at least 3 years old before it produces swarmers. The wings are shed shortly after the flight takes place.
Identification: Alates are a shiny dark brown to black, and have both a fontanelle as well as a single ocellus near each compound eye. The antennae have less than 18 segments. The wings are very light colored to white and are without hairs on them. There are 2 thickened veins that run parallel to each other from the base to the tip along the leading edge of the wing, and numerous short veins connect these two long veins. Soldiers have head capsules that are as long as the rest of the body, and the sides of the head are parallel. The jaws are symmetrical and without teeth along their inner margin, and they remain parallel to each other without having the tips crossing.
Characteristics Important in Control: Control is primarily by soil applications of residual insecticides, either as pretreatments or as treatment post-construction. Termite bait products may prove to be effective in eliminating underground colonies altogether. Control of excessive moisture conditions and unnecessary wood materials under or near the structure are preventive measures.
Latin Name: Lepisma saccharina L. = silverfish / Thermobia domestica (Pack.) = firebrat
Common Family Name: Silverfish
Latin Family Name: Lepismatidae
Other Names: Fish-moth, bristletail
Origin: Not known for certain, but for both species it is believed their origin is a tropical country. They are found worldwide, and have been for so long that their origin is now unknown.
Biology: These are primitive insects that undergo simple metamorphosis, molting as much as 50 times before reaching the adult stage. The development to the adult stage can be anywhere from a few months to as long as 3 years, depending on the conditions it is living in. They generally live for several years. Both species feed on a wide variety of materials, including human foods, paper products, fabrics, or glue in books and wallpaper. They are common outdoors in woodpiles or fences. The firebrat is so named because it prefers a habitat of higher temperatures, preferably above 90 degrees, and they may be common in attics in the summer. These insects are both covered with scales, they are flattened from top to bottom, and are able to squeeze into tiny cracks to hide or to gain entry.
Identification: There are several species of silverfish, including some that closely resemble the firebrat. These are elongate insects with very long, thin antennae and with three long appendages at their rear end â€“ a pair of long, thin cerci that project out sideways and a central, longer filament. Colors range from silvery gray to dark gray with darker lines running front to back on top, giving these insects common names such as “silver” fish or “four-lined” silverfish. Evidence of their presence commonly will be the black, pepper-like fecal droppings that they leave everywhere the roam. Attics often have a huge abundance of the feces lying on insulation or rafters. Evidence of their damage will be holes made by their rasping mouthparts.
Characteristics Important in Control: Silverfish commonly invade a structure from the outside, and elimination of harborage sites near the structure will be important in preventing their presence. Inspection of incoming materials also helps to prevent their presence inside. For interior infestations treatment of attics and wall voids with a residual dust insecticide will be effective, and an exterior treatment around the foundation with a residual insecticide also helps to prevent their entry.
Latin Name: Forficula auricularia L.
Common Family Name: Earwigs
Latin Family Name: Order Dermaptera
Other Names: Pincher bugs
Origin: Probably from Europe or Asia, but this species is now found throughout the world. It was first found in the U.S. around 1907 near Seattle, Washington.
Biology: One of about 7 species of pest earwigs in the U.S., the European Earwig is the most common. It has a simple life cycle, requiring 3 to 5 months to go from egg to adult, depending on temperatures. Adults generally live only about one year. Adults are capable of some flight. Earwigs feed primarily on plant material, but also are predators on many other insects.
Identification: Earwigs are most easily identified by the strong “pincers” at the hind end, as modifications of their cerci. These are used for defense, food capture, and some other uses. Wings on adults consist of the hind pair used for flight, and a very short front pair used as a cover for the folded hind wings. The European Earwig is distinguished from other U.S. species by having the second tarsal segment elongated under the first segment.
Characteristics Important in Control: Reduction of exterior harborage sites is vital, such as lumber or firewood piles, yard debris, or other unnecessary piled materials on the soil. Control of moisture also reduces the favorable habitats for earwigs. Granular insect baits are accepted in exterior locations, and pyrethroid insecticide applications will intercept wandering earwigs along pathways and around foundations.
Latin Name: Latrodectus spp.
Common Family Name: Comb-footed spiders
Latin Family Name: Theridiidae
Other Names: Brown widow
Origin: Five species of these native spiders occur in North America, being found in all states and in southern Canada. Other species may be found worldwide.
Biology: The black widow spiders are the most dangerous spiders with respect to human health in the U.S. They are one of the few spiders capable of biting humans that inject a neurotoxin, and the effect of the bite can be serious and potentially fatal. Only females bite humans, but both males and females construct webs to capture other prey, primarily flying insects. Males also enter a females web for mating, and if the female is not receptive the male may be eaten. The life span of black widow females averages around 180 days as an adult, taking about 3 months to reach maturity. Males mature in about 70 days and live only about 30 days after that. The female may produce up to 9 egg sacs with about 350 eggs per sac on average. She will be most aggressive and defensive of her webbing while she is guarding these eggs, as well as being more hungry following egg production. The new spiderlings emerge from the sac and remain near it for a day or two, but then they undergo “ballooning” to disperse, creating long silk strands that are carried away by the wind. Black widows are generally reclusive spiders that create their webs in areas of inactivity. The web is made of extremely strong silk that is very sticky, and it has a very haphazard appearance without the symmetry of some other spiders.
Identification: Females are the most recognized spider in North America, with their shiny black body, long thin legs, large oval abdomen, and red “hourglass” pattern on the underside of the abdomen. This hourglass pattern may not always be there. Males also have the same pattern, but it is white, and their body color is mottled brown and white. Immature spiders begin very light colored and progress to the adult color in stages as they pass through their instars, gradually becoming more black if they are females. The female tends to hang upside down in her web due to the weight of the abdomen. Eggs sacs of black widows are about Â½ inch in diameter and are smooth surfaced. The eyes of comb-footed spiders are typically a total of eight eyes arranged in two rows of four eyes, one row above the other and with the outside eyes so close together that they touch each other.
Characteristics Important in Control: Elimination of unnecessary debris in storage or on the exterior will reduce harborage sites, including lumber or firewood piles, boards or other materials on the ground, and yard debris. Materials stored in garages or other interior storage areas can be kept off the floor and in a condition that allows access to the areas behind them. The individual spider inside may be eliminated by vacuuming, and the webbing then removed with a sweep. For chemical control the pyrethroid insecticides are excellent, giving quick knockdown and kill and a lengthy residual.
Latin Name: Columba livia
Common Family Name: Pigeons and Doves
Latin Family Name: Columbidae
Other Names: Rock dove, Feral pigeon, Rock pigeon, Domestic pigeon
Origin: Possibly originally native to eastern Asia, and taken to Europe for sporting uses many centuries ago. European immigrants then brought the pigeon to North America in the early 1600s, where it now is found throughout the U.S and into southern Canada, south throughout Mexico, and essentially worldwide.
Biology: The domesticated pigeon is often called a “feral” pigeon when it returns to a wild existence, and it is well adapted for living in close association with humans and our urban areas. Enormous numbers of pigeons now live a feral life. Nests are built on any convenient ledge using twigs, string, paper, cloth, or other materials. Females commonly have multiple broods each year, with 1-2 eggs per brood, an incubation period of less than 3 weeks, and the young leaving the nest in just over 1 month. Average life span is 5 to 7 years, but capable of over 15 years. Pest status is due to the many arthropod parasites associated with pigeon nests, and the potential for pathogens to live in both pigeons and their fecal accumulations. Major diseases include histoplasmosis, ornithosis, toxoplasmosis, and cryptococcosis. Droppings deface and damage surfaces, and contaminate human food and water.
Identification: A large bird of variable coloration. Wild birds are normally mixed dark and light gray, rump is white, tail is rounded and with a dark tip. Wings are pale gray with 2 black bars across them, and are broad with pointed tips. Often with a violet iridescence around the neck. Nests are large and messy, and constructed on ledges or other protected locations of structures. Nests are often reused, with an accumulating fecal layer that turns the nest into a hard, pot-like structure that may even include old eggs and dead young.
Characteristics Important in Control: Feral pigeons are not protected by any federal or state statutes, but control may be subject to local ordinances and public opinion. Generally speaking they may be controlled in any manner at any time. Dispersal of flocks is effective with Avitrol, but long term elimination of them from structures should rely on exclusion to prevent their ability to access ledges and other roosting and nesting locations.
Latin Name: Plodia interpunctella (Hbn.)
Common Family Name: Pyralid moths
Latin Family Name: Pyralidae
Origin: A native of Europe and Asia, but now found throughout the world. The common name was given to the moth by an American entomologist who found it infesting cornmeal, or “Indian” corn.
Biology: This moth species can be found infesting possibly the widest range of food products of any moth, from nuts to grain products to fresh or dried fruit. It will infest virtually any processed food of vegetable origin, including candy bars, pet foods, and spices. It infests seeds and commonly will be in dried flower arrangements. It is a major pest of commercial dried fruit and nut industries. Females can lay up to 400 eggs on the food material, over a 2 to 3 week period, and usually at night. Adult moths tend to avoid lights. The larvae feed in seclusion, spinning silk webbing over themselves and the food material as they feed and move about. The period from egg to adult can be less than one month or up to almost a year, depending primarily on temperature and humidity. Under favorable conditions there can be as many as 8 generations per year. The larvae typically leave the infested food and wander long distances to seek a protected spot to pupate, and their thin silk cocoons can be found in rooms far away from the infested material.
Identification: The adult moth is very distinctive, with a coppery red outer half to each forewing, and a creamy white basal half. They are small moths with a wingspan of only about 20 mm or less. The larvae are small and typically lepidoptera, with their color ranging from tan to white to pink to even a greenish tint. The larva has no spots along its body, distinguishing it from similar food pest moth species.
Characteristics Important in Control: Typical of most stored food moth infestations, an inspection must be made to determine which materials are infested, including areas of the structure where foods may not typically be found, such as garages or closets. Disposal of the infested material, followed by a thorough cleaning of the area and possible application of a residual insecticide to intercept any larvae that may have left the food material are needed. Special consideration must be made to unusual possibilities such as dried flowers, and also to the discovery and removal of larvae and pupae some distance from the infested materials.
Latin Name: Apis mellifera L.
Common Family Name: Bees
Latin Family Name: Apidae
Other Names: Several subspecies exist, including the Italian, German, and Africanized honeybees.
Origin: A native of Europe and Asia, the honeybee was introduced to the United States for honey production and pollination of crops. The Africanized honeybee (a.k.a. “killer bee”) evolved in Africa, was introduced to South America, and found its way north into the U.S.
Biology: Honeybees are social bees, with colonies composed of a single Queen and many hundreds of workers. New colonies are begun when additional Queens are produced in a colony and all but one leave, each newly fertilized Queen taking a consort of workers with her. Males (drones) are produced only for mating with these new queens, and the males then die. Only the females can sting, but all workers are females and all of the working members of the hive can sting. Honeybees can sting humans only once, losing their stinger in the process. Larvae are fed pollen and honey, and the honey is created by continual mastication and dehydration of the nectar and other sugary fluids the workers gather. Honeybee hives remain active year-round, and often will be located within structures. Queens may live as long as 5 years while workers live less than 2 months in the active summer months.
Identification: The workers are about a half inch long and are various shades of brown and black colors, with very dark head, legs, and antennae. They are densely covered with short, pale hairs. The antennae are bent at their middle, or “elbowed”. The mouth is an elongate tongue formed by several parts, and enables the bees to reach into fairly deep flowers to take up the nectar there. The bees have 2 pairs of wings, separating them from some similar flies that mimic the bee’s appearance.
Characteristics Important in Control: Bee activity may be reduced around eating areas with good sanitation, by keeping food spills cleaned up and keeping trash receptacles closed. Colonies located within walls or other voids may be removed by professional beekeepers if possible. If necessary they may be treated with a dust insecticide to kill the bees, and the hive should then be removed. If the hive is left future problems will occur from melting wax and honey, as well as the attraction of the materials to ants and carpet beetles.