Know Your Pest Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Casner Exterminating
Central Coast 800-655-4044

Argentine Ant

Family Structure

  • Multiple queens (as many as 8 for every 1,000 workers)
  • Queens forage for food along with workers

Appearance

  • Dark color

Where Found

  • Native: South America
  • Transported to South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Easter Island, Australia, Hawaii, Europe, and the United States.

Habitat

  • Nest in colonies

Characteristics

  • Common household pests
  • Enter structures in search of food or water (particularly when it is dry or hot) or to find shelter from flooded nests when it is raining heavily

Contact Us            

Contact us for help with an Argentine Ant problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Name: Can literally drill through wood to make nest
  • Drilling creates a 1/2″ hole that is nearly perfect
  • Hole is usually located on the underside of any wood surface (e.g., fascia, siding, soffits, etc.)
  • Female will then form a channel from about 6 inches to 4 feet where her eggs can grow.
  • Male acts as the lookout or guard. Ironically, he has no stinger! Only the female can sting.

Appearance

  • Approximately 1 inch
  • Yellow and black
  • Become active in early spring
  • Resemble bumble bees, but have fewer hairs, shiny black abdomen, and no pollen sacs on the hind legs
  • Do not live in colonies
  • Rare to be stung by one, but sheer size is scary. People generally stay clear of them.

Habitat

  • Nests, if left untreated, will result in widespread structural damage and expensive repairs within a few years.
  • Female goes in and out of the nest, so be patient and you will find the entrance

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Carpenter Bee problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Appearance

  • Look very delicate

Habitat

  • Live in colonies in wood or soil

Diet

  • Eat wood and convert wood fiber into sugar

Characteristics

  • Very social insects
  • Colonies are ordered into castes (right) with large “reproductives” and smaller workers and soldiers
  • Workers feed everyone and care for the queen
  • Soldiers defend from aggressors, e.g. ants.
  • Highly organized colonies; together, termites become efficient and extremely destructive when they attack our structures
  • Mistaken for “white ants” or “flying ants” while swarming
  • Colony does massive damage to any building made of wood
  • Frequently destroy wood from the inside out; internally damaged wood can appear perfectly normal

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Subterranean Termites. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Mature in about two months
  • Immediately start enlarging the nest
  • First year broods are small, with only 10 to 20 workers
  • Quickly matures to thousands in the colony

Appearance

  • Approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ long
  • May occur in several colors, although the most important species are black

Habitat

  • A member of one of the largest ant species
  • Name comes from the fact that they “chew” passageways in wood
  • As they chew, they place the debris outside the nest in piles that look like sawdust
  • These piles, called “frass,” may be first visible sign of carpenter ants
  • Left unchecked for a period of time, these passageways can become quite large
  • Like homes built in heavily wooded areas or low, shady places where the ground stays damp
  • In your home:
    • Around a sink in the kitchen or bathroom
    • Around plumbing leaks, clogged gutters and downspouts
    • In any dark void – hollow curtain rods, hollow-core doors, ceilings, dead wall space, etc.

Diet

  • Scavenge your house for food crumbs and insects
  • First thing they do is look for food
  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood
  • Eat thick sugars like jelly or honey, fruits, meats, grease, fat, and other domestic foods
  • Will also eat insects (dead or alive) or any other type of organic matter

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Carpenter Ant problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Appearance

Norway Rats

  • Other Names: sewer or brown rats
  • Stocky rodents, burrow – larger than Roof Rats

Roof Rats

  • Other names: black rats
  • A little smaller than Norway Rats
  • Long tails (tails are longer than their heads and bodies combined)

Habitat

Norway Rats

  • Burrows along foundations of buildings, under trash or wood piles, and in moist soil around fields and gardens
  • Line their nests with cloth, shredded paper, or other fibrous material
  • Usually remain in basements or on ground floor
  • Found throughout the United States. Prefer lower elevations; may exist wherever people live.

Roof Rats

  • Very nimble climbers
  • Prefer to live in trees or shrubs or dense vegetation (e.g. ivy)
  • Usually found in enclosed or elevated spaces like walls, false ceilings, attics, and cabinets
  • Found in a limited geographical range
  • Prefer Oceanside, warmer climates

Characteristics

  • Either eat or contaminate food
  • Damage structures and property by gnawing
  • Serve as hosts to transfer parasites and diseases to other animals and humans
  • Signs of their presence (see sidebar)
  • Together, the biggest pests in California: Roof Rat and Norway Rat
  • Important to recognize which species of rat is present in order to place traps or bait in the most effective locations

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Roof Rats or Pharaoh Rats. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Appearance

  • About 1/2 inch long
  • Bright red or black in color
  • Narrow reddish lines on their back
  • Reproduce year-round in warm areas – your home!

Where Found

  • Much of the United States.

Habitat

  • Enter homes in the fall, seeking winter shelter
  • Like protected areas, often in wall voids or in attics
  • Come out in the spring to find host trees to feed and lay eggs

Diet

  • Suck juices from boxelder tree
  • Not unusual to find them feeding on other plants as well

Characteristics

  • Cause no major damage inside homes; droppings stain curtains and other resting sites
  • Do not bite; piercing, sucking mouthparts may penetrate skin and cause a little irritation
  • Emit a foul odor when crushed

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Boxelder Bug problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Family Structure

  • Queens: As many as 200 per Colony
  • Workers: One colony can have as many as one to two thousand
  • Because of the density of their nests, it looks like they live in huge colonies
  • Live well with other neighboring insect colonies
  • Usually produce new reproductive individuals twice a year; however, laboratory colonies have produced reproductives whenever they wanted.

Diet

  • Feed: Pretty much everything – sugars, baked goods, fruits, greases, other insects – even shoe polish.

Characteristics

  • Pests will chew holes in anything made of rayon, silk or rubber.
  • Colonies multiply by sending a team of queens, workers, eggs, larvae and pupae to another nest to begin a new colony
  • Budding is why Pharaoh ants are so invasive. One seed colony can take over a large office block in less than six months.
  • Control of these pests is difficult because the multiple colonies can separate into smaller colonies to survive a baiting program; then they repopulate after the bait is gone.
  • Major hazard in hospitals: because they are so small, they can invade wounds, drip lines, and instruments, leading to the spread of infection

Pharaoh ants are a very critical problem in hospitals, rest homes, apartment dwellings, hotels, grocery stores, food establishments and other buildings.

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a problem with Pharaoh Ants. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Appearance

  • Between 8 and 12 mm; 45 mm with its legs stretched.
  • Brown
  • Cephalothorax lighter than abdomen
  • Distinctive dark spot in the shape of a violin with the base heading forward
  • Most definitive physical feature: Eyes
    • Six equal-sized eyes arranged in three pairs (known as “dyads”)
    • One dyad at the front of the cephalothorax (the first main body part to which the legs attach)
    • As second dyad is found further back with a space separating the dyads from one another

Other Names

  • Also known as: “violin”, “fiddleback”, and “brown” spiders
  • Official name: “recluse spiders”

Where Found

  • United States

Habitat

  • Prefer to live inside houses and other buildings
  • Weave a web in high and dark corners, behind paintings, or inside closets

Rumors about Its Bite

Stories of being bitten by Brown Recluse Spiders are greatly exaggerated, perhaps due to incorrect identification. While populations of Brown Recluse Spiders are rare, there are other species of recluse spiders.

When one bites, it is in self-defense. Interestingly, the majority of bite cases involve rolling on the spider while you sleep (38%) or while you are getting dressed (32%), usually in clothes that had been hanging for a long time.

Contact Us

Contact us for help with a Brown Recluse Spider problem. You may also call either our Central Coast office or our Ventura County office.

Get Started
Know Your Pest blog

KNOW YOUR PEST

Hornets

Habitat More dangerous and harder to control than Paper Wasps Nests look like a large, upside-down, teardrop-shaped ball; usually attached to a tree, bush or the sideREAD MORE