Insect Pests

     There are several relevant insect pests that effect households. The first, and most common, would be the cockroach. The American cockroach can grow to be about 1.2 inches long and is just one of about 4000 species of cockroach. The American Cockroach prefers warm climates, such as found inside of buildings. They leave chemical trails in their feces which allow other cockroaches to follow them to discover sources of food and water. They are mainly nocturnal and will run away from light, except for the Asian Cockroach, which is attracted to light. In the course of one year, the average lifespan, a female can produce between 300 to 400 offspring.
    Cockroaches are one of the hardiest insects on the planet, able to remain active for a month without food and are able to survive on resources like the glue from a postage stamp. Some cockroaches are hardy enough to go without air for 45 minutes or longer, and some cockroaches can slow down their heart rate to help them to survive. Preventative measures include keeping food sealed away, using garbage cans with tight lids, cleaning the kitchen frequently, and regular vacuuming. Water leaks should be repaired, and entry points should be sealed. If you do have an infestation there is a new homemade type of trap called the Vegas Roach Trap which we have provided instructions on how to make further in the newsletter!

     Another common pest is the termite. Termites are a much feared type of pest, purely for the amount of damage that they can cause to unprotected buildings and other wooden structures. Once in¬side a building, termites do not limit themselves to wood; they also damage paper, cloth, carpets, and other materials that contain cellulose materials. Termites and Ants are often commonly confused. Ants have a narrow waist, termites do not. Antsʼ front wings are longer than their back wings, but termite wings are the same length and fold straight back down the length of the body. Ant antennae bend, while termite antennae do not.
     To help prevent termite infestations, there are several things you can do. You can avoid contact of susceptible timber with the ground by using termite-resistant concrete, steel, or masonry foundation with barriers. You can treat the timber with pesticides and insecticides. Once a colony has penetrated a building, the first step is to destroy the colony with insecticides before removing the termitesʼ means of access and fixing the problems that encouraged them in the first place.
      To tell if you have an infestation, look for wings shed on windowsills or near lights. Termite damage fol¬lows the grain of the wood and the damage is often lined with soil. Termites also will dig up cinder blocks, concrete, brick, and other surfaces to get to wood. If you hit the wood in your house with a hammer and it sounds dull, there may be termite activity inside.
     In some areas of the country, carpenter ants cause more damage to structures than termites. Termites eat wood, whereas carpenter ants excavate galleries to use as nesting sites. Homes located near wooded areas or brush covered vacant lots are good candidates for infestation, and ant colonies are inclined to seek a new home if they are disturbed. There are several common signs of infestations such as frass, which is made of wood shavings, bits of soil, dead ants, and parts of insects. Frass is often piled up outside of nest openings and on window sills. Clicking or rustling can sometimes be heard from nests. Tap against a suspected area with a screwdriver, and you may hear a response. Generally though, the first sign of an infestation is the sighting of workers throughout the home. These workers look like big black ants. The ants can enter the home through foundation or attic vents, cracks, plumbing holes, entrances for telephone or cable and more.
     To eliminate a carpenter ant problem, it is best to use baits. Baits work by decreasing the population of ants in the area, reducing their potential for entering a structure. Never treat the same area with bait and a spray as it will decrease the effectiveness. Professional services have access to better baits than you can find at your supermarket.