Sowbugs and Pillbugs
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Sowbugs and pillbugs are the only two crustaceans that have adapted themselves entirely to land. They actually have gills instead of a trachea (insect lungs) with which they breathe.
Sowbugs are virtually the same as pillbugs but have a wider body and cannot roll themselves into a ball. Sowbugs have two appendages that protrude from the rear of the body. They have oval bodies which have 7 overlapping plates, as well as 7 pairs of legs. Head and abdomen are small compared to rest of body and they can reach 3/4 inch in length. Pillbugs can roll up into a tight ball.
Both are scavengers which feed on decaying organic matter and can injure young plants. They like moist locations and are found under objects on the damp ground, as well as under vegetable debris of all kind.
They may bury themselves several inches into the soil and are active mostly at night.
Pillbugs and sowbugs are best controlled by eliminating the moist environment that initially attracts them. Piles of organic matter, dense ground cover near foundations, or ground level windows, boards, stones, flower pots, firewood, and other materials resting on the ground, serve as food sources, and harborage areas for pillbugs and sowbugs and they should be removed or modified to reduce the pillbug or sowbug population.
Entry into building should be prevented by sealing and caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, wires, etc. Large numbers of these structure-invading pests are easily controlled by vacuuming and discarding the collected material. Unfinished basements and crawlspaces should be well-ventilated to reduce moisture which is attractive to these pests.
There are several kinds of spider beetles, the one pictured is the brown spider beetle. They all look mostly alike, with the same
same oval body conformation, just different coloring. Spider beetles are very small, less than three sixteenths of an inch long, with oval bodies, long legs and bodies covered with short hairs and rows of small pits running the length of their wing covers. The head is invisible, viewed from above. They look like very small spiders.
Spider beetles can remain active during cold weather, and can be difficult to control because they also infest such a wide variety of products. The larvae develop on the foods they eat and old storage buildings can harbor infestations in collections of stored products. They can also bore into wooden and cardboard items to pupate.
Stored food / pantry / product pests
Springtails are minute insects without wings in the Order Collembola.
They occur in large numbers in moist soil and are found in homes with high humidity, organic debris, or mold.
Homeowners sometimes discover these insects in large numbers in swimming pools, potted plants, or in moist soil and mulch.
They feed on decaying, damp vegetation causing organic material
and other nutrients to return to the soil which are later used by plants. Occasionally, springtails attack young seedling and may damage
the roots and stems. 650 species in North America. Worldwide, 3600 species have been discovered.
Springtails are pests due to their large numbers. They do not bite nor transmit diseases. They can easily climb the sides of houses and are
attracted to lights.
Homeowners may first encounter springtails inside the home. The insects invade buildings in search of moisture or dryness, in times of dry weather or heavy rains. They may also breed indoors with high levels of humidity that occur near leaks and cracks.
Syrphid fly or Flower Flies
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Syrphid flies are sometimes called flower flies. They are normally brightly colored in yellows and blacks. Many people mistake these for bees. Larvae of syrphid flies occur in a variety of habitats. Many of them feed on aphids but some occur in sewage and others in decaying wood.
Syrphid fly larva
Photo © NDSU Extension Service
Tarantulas occur worldwide . Those found in North America occur in the southern and southwestern states, including the dry and warmer parts of the southern California. These are smaller and generally have a body length of less than 2 inches and a leg span of from 3 to 4 inches.
The Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) grows 2 to 3 inches long and is colored gray to dark brown. It is common to the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.
The most common North American tarantula is Eurypelma californicum, found in California, Texas, and Arizona. A 30-year life span has been recorded for one individual of this species. Certain South American tarantulas, which have a body length of up to almost 3 in., build large webs and eat small birds.
The majority of tarantulas are black or brown but some species exhibit striking colors. The Mexican Red-legged Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) has bright-red leg markings and, Cobalt Blue Tarantula (Haplopelma lividum) has legs colored deep blue.
The tarantula family includes the largest spiders known. The Goliath Tarantula (Theraposa leblondi) which inhabits South America, reaches a body length of 5 inches with a leg span of up to 12 inches . Even the small tarantulas reach a relatively large body length of 1.5 inches (4 centimeters).
The tarantula is a nocturnal hunter. It does not spin a web to capture its prey, but catches food it by speed It will take virtually anything of the right size that moves within range, but feeds primarily on small insects like grasshoppers, beetles, sow bugs, other small spiders and sometimes small lizards.
The tarantula strikes with its fangs, injecting venom and grasping the prey with its palps, armlike appendages between the mouth and legs. Then the Tarantula grinds its victim into a ball, secretes digestive juices onto it, and sucks up the liquefied prey. It may also wrap the ball in silk for a later meal.
Even if through carelessness a bite should occur, the venom when injected into man causes only slight swelling, with some numbness and itching which disappears in a short time. The chances of being bitten are so slight that one has little need to worry.
Tarantulas are harmless to humans and are often trained as pets, although they can inflict painful bites if provoked.
Although both males and females are capable of inflicting a bite when threatened, they rarely do so and their venom is considered to be non-toxic to humans.
Bites are unlikely to cause problems other than pain at the site. Skin exposure to the urticating hairs will cause itching and a rash.
First Aid: Clean the bite site with soap and water and protect against infection. Skin exposures to the urticating hairs are managed by removing the hairs with tape.
more information about Tarantulas visit Desert USA.
Thief Ants get their name from their habit of living in colonies of larger ants and feeding on the large ants' larvae. In homes, they tend to prefer fatty or greasy foods like meat, cheese, buttery pastries, lard, and pet foods. They are so tiny -- about 1/20 of an inch -- that they often go unnoticed and may be accidentally eaten by humans along with the foods that the ants are infesting.
Turkestan cockroach Blatta lateralis (walker)
The common name comes from its having been collected in the Asian province of Turkestan. Its distribution is Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, the Soviet Central Asia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and the United States. In the United States it is established in San Joaqnin, California , El Paso, Texas, and Maricopa and Pima county, Arizona. This species was introduced into California and Texas with the household goods of military personnel when they returned from the Middle East.
Little is known about this species, but its biology is reported to be similar to that of the oriental cockroach.
Adult males about 1/2-7/8" long whereas, females about 3/4-1"long. Male with wings brownish yellow, female body dark brown to black.
The Turkestan cockroach is a desert species which also inhabits semi-desert locations and sometimes lives under moist conditions. It is found both outdoors and inside structures. This species is common in sewer systems.
Varied Carpet beetle
VARIED CARPET BEETLE
Adult carpet beetles are about an eighth of an inch long, and round in appearance. The backs of the insects have much the same color scheme as the larvae. The larvae have small, hairy, soft bodies about a quarter inch long, depending on the instar. The larvae feed on a wide variety of foods, including carpets, furs, woolens, skins, stuffed
animals, leather, feathers, silk and many plant products. The adults feed on nothing except pollen and nectar from flowers outside.
In spring and early summer, the adult will lay up to a hundred eggs, usually cemented to the product, or on furs, woolens or any dried natural or animal material. The eggs hatch in about three weeks.
The larval stage can withstand a long period of no food, and can molt as many as 30 times. They also prefer clothes or fabrics soiled with perspiration, body oils and urine. As with Black Carpet beetles, the adults will pupate in the last larval skin and use the last skin to hide in for as long as a month.
Fabric and carpet
These insects are about 3/4 inch long and are usually black and red. They have a fuzzy body and look like a large ant.
Family Mutilidae. These are actually wasps, but appear to be ants. They are parasites in the nests of ground-nesting wasps such as yellowjackets and sometimes solitary bees. They can be somewhat aggressive and can sting if handled.
They don't infest houses and are not a threat to people or pets, so there is not need for extensive control measures. Individuals can be controlled with an aerosol spray.
Western conifer seed bug
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The western conifer seed bug are commonly called leaf-footed bugs, and like many members of
the Coreidae family, it has a flattened, leaf-like expansion of the hind legs. The adult is about 3/4 inch in length and is a dull brownish color.. There is a faint white zig-zag stripe across the midpoint of its upper surface. When the insect takes flight, it lifts the wings to reveal bright yellowish orange areas on its back.
The leaf-footed bugs use piercing sucking mouthparts to pierce the scales of conifer seeds and suck out the seed pulp. The list of host plants includes white pine, red pine, Scots pine, Austrian pine, mugo pine, white spruce, Douglas-fir and hemlock. Often these trees are planted or growing near homes, and if that is the case, the bugs may seek the nearby buildings as an overwintering site.
In the spring these bugs move out of doors to coniferous trees nearby. The bugs then feed on the developing seeds and early flowers of different species of conifers. Females are reported to lay rows of eggs on needles of the host trees, which hatch in about ten days. Young nymphs then begin to feed on tender cone scales and sometimes the needles. The nymphs are orange and brown, becoming reddish-brown to brown as they develop. Nymphs pass through five instars and reach full adulthood by late August. The adults will feed on ripening seed until they seek overwintering quarters.
If these bugs are a problem in your area, be sure to screen attic or wall vents, chimneys and fireplaces to mechanically block their points of entry. Eliminate or caulk gaps around door and window frames and soffits, and tighten up loose fitting screens, windows or doors.
Western drywood termites
Swarmer of western drywood termite are about 7/16-1/2 inch long the head and pronotum are orange brown, abdomen is dark brown, wing membrane and pigmented veins are blackish. The Soldiers head is orange to reddish brown with a whitish eye spot.
The western drywood termite produces usually hard pellets, less than 1/32 inch long, long, oval shaped with rounded ends, 6 concave sides. They are found in the Southwestern U.S., Northwestern Mexico and may also be established in Florida. Western drywood termites infest wood with a moisture content of 12% or less.
Drywood termites do not live in the ground, do not build mud tubes, nor require ground contact ground. Colonies are located in the wood they eat, and are smaller than those of subterranean termites. There is no worker caste; immatures and nymphs do the work. After swarming, they find cracks or knotholes in nearby wood, gnaw a small tunnel, close it, excavate a chamber, and mate. The pair may remain dormant for nearly a year, or lay up to 5 eggs, 20 nymphs and 1 soldier. At the end of the 2nd year, the colony may have 6-40 nymphs and 1 soldier; by the 3rd year there may be 40-165 individuals; by the 4th year, 70-700 individuals, at which time the first swarmers may be realized. Swarming of drywood termites, in dozens or occasionally hundreds, typically happens in September/October, at mid-day in warm, sunny weather 80 degrees F, peaking after a sudden temperature increase. In Arizona, drywood termites swarm at night in July.
These swarmers are attracted to light. Drywood termites are distributed by human activity, like the shipping of infested furniture, picture frames, and lumber, to new areas. Swarmers drywood termites fly into structures, directly infesting the wood, first in exposed places such as door and window frames, eaves, attics, and molding, or where shingles and paper overhang timber, finding a protected joint or crevice. They often re-infest the same structure when swarming.
Wheeler's termites do not cause structural damage to homes
Both Wheeler's (Amitermes wheeleri) and the tube-building termite (Gnathamitermes perplexus) are thought to be "true" desert termites, because they attack a wide variety of desert plants and materials such as fences, dead grass, or weeds. They construct wide plaster-like earthen tubes on palm trees or wooden structures where they feed by scraping dead wood off the exterior.
The homeowner may find these tubes or plates unsightly, but Wheeler's termites do not cause structural damage to homes. Winged reproductives of both species swarm in the summer following rain showers.
General Exterminating, Inc.
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Windscorpions, sometimes called sun spiders or solpugids. The body is as much as an inch and a half long, with a pair of heavy pinchers. Windscorpions get the name from their speed and general resemblance to scorpions. They subdue their prey with their pinchers, which lack poison glands.
Photo © University of Michigan
The adults of the wood cockroach are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, brown, and the outer edges of the wings are pale. The adult cockroaches are capable flyers, and they frequently fly to lights at night-especially the warm nights of early spring and fall.
The wood cockroach lives outdoors in the leaf litter and debris of wooded areas. The adult cockroaches are active during the spring and fall, and are frequently found in houses at this time. In the spring these insects are probably attracted to outside lights at night. In the fall the adults are probably brought into the house with firewood.
Females deposit egg cases outdoors under bark of old logs and stumps. Females produce about 30 capsules containing up to 32 eggs each. The egg incubation period is about one month, with nymphs hatching in the summer, overwintering and maturing the following spring. In some cases the life cycle takes about two years.
Do not infest houses-they are simply casual or accidental invaders.
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Yellow jacket wasps
Yellowjackets, part of the wasp family are smallish insects, and very aggressive. They are actually “beneficial” insects, preying on small insects which they will feed to their young. Yellowjackets nest in the ground, wall voids, and will even construct nests in the open. Treatment should be done at night, when they are less active and most of the colony is inside the nest. As with all wasps, the nest dies at the end of the year after producing queens for next year’s nests. These queens will overwinter in protected areas, waiting for spring.
Yellow meal worms
YELLOW MEAL WORM
The rather large Yellow meal worm, are shiny black beetles, a half inch long, with well-developed wings, are accomplished fliers and are attracted to light. They are named for the larva, which are more than an inch long, hard-bodied and are bright yellow.
Seldom a pest in homes, they are, however, major pests in storage facilities, in dark, undisturbed locations. They feed on these forgotten residues, overwinter in the larval stage and emerge, in the spring, to begin feeding on the food they are infesting. The adults can lay up to 300 eggs and will live about three months. The entire life cycle takes a year.
Since the larvae will often crawl away from the egg site, infestations can continue in other years. Thorough clean up is absolutely required.
Stored food / pantry / product pests