American cockroaches are one of the most common insect pests found in urban areas throughout the world. This species of cockroach prefers to live in humid environments, similar to the conditions created by humans. When this pest appears in our homes, schools, and offices, we can use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to exclude and eliminate cockroaches. Scientists have found cockroach fossils that date as far back as 300 million years, making cockroaches about 300 times older than humans.
A bed bug has 6 legs. Its antennae point forward and are about half as long as the body—not longer. Its head is broadly attached to its body and it has no wings. Eight legs indicate a tick or mite. Six legs and long antennae with two spikes coming off the back (cerci) might be a roach nymph. Carpet beetle larvae have hairs all over their bodies. Carpet beetle adults have two hard wings. A “drop of blood with legs” is probably a recently fed bed bug. It will be red, plump, and oval. After it digests its meal, it’ll be mahogany-colored, round, and flat. Unfed nymphs are tan. Eggs are oval, white, and stick to whatever they’re laid on. Bed bugs crawl—scurrying into dark, tight spaces to hide—they move as fast as an ant. They can’t jump or fly and you’ll never find them burrowing into your skin. If the insect you have came out on its own accord at night when the lights were out near the bed or a couch, it was probably a bed bug looking for a meal. Bed bugs aren’t social insects like ants, so they don’t need a colony. But while they group together in good hiding spots, loners could be hiding elsewhere.
Beetles of several species infest packages of whole grain and grain products. The infestation may begin at the time of manufacture or processing, in the warehouses of food distributors, in transit, on the grocers' shelves, or in the home. Most food processors and handlers make every effort to avoid insect infestations, but occasionally the efforts fail. Infestations are usually discovered when an infested package is opened for use, or when small brown beetles are found in the kitchen near containers of stored grain products. A wide variety of foods may be infested, including flour, cereal, dried fruits, dehydrated vegetables, shelled nuts, chocolate, spices, candies, pet foods, and bird seed. Eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults of the beetles may occur in infested foods.
Blow flies are a type of “filth fly” recognized by the metallic blue, green, or bronze color of their body. One group of blow flies, the blue bottle flies, are sometimes found inside buildings in the Northeast, appearing suddenly in groups of a few, to dozens at a time.
Carpenter ants are the most common ant pest found in the Northeastern United States. They cause structural damage when they excavate wood for nest sites. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but rather scavenge on dead insects and collect sugary secretions (“honeydew”) produced by other insects such as aphids. Carpenter ants are a nuisance pest when workers are spotted inside foraging for food and when winged swarmers are found inside.
Drain flies, also called filter flies, moth flies, and sewage gnats, are nuisance pests. We are most concerned with these flies when they appear in our houses or buildings, creating annoyance. The larvae breed in moist organic matter and feed principally on algae. The muck of gelatinous material that accumulates on the sides of drains and overflow pipes in houses may provide suitable breeding sites. Some species are able to survive hot water and soap.
Virtually harmless to humans, earwigs do not spread diseases and their mouths are too small to bite. Some species will use their rear pincher-like appendages to protect themselves, giving them a fierce reputation exaggerated beyond their actual threat. Most earwig species live in moist areas outdoors where they feed on decaying vegetation and other arthropods. These common insects are found worldwide, with the greatest diversity located in the tropics.
Fleas have sucking mouthparts, and as adults, feed on the blood of mammals or birds. Many species are very annoying because of their bites, and a few act as vectors for disease. Some people and pets are known to develop allergic reactions to flea bites. Fleas become pests when they get into our houses. Fleas in houses are usually linked with a pet or a visiting cat or dog. Wild animals have fleas also, and if such animals are living in the homes, fleas may become a problem. Flea problems often occur when the host animal had been absent for a period of time, such as when the family goes on vacation, taking or boarding the pet. Fleas may also be driven into the house during prolonged periods of wet weather.
In houses the flies are found around overripe fruits and vegetables, especially when they begin to ferment. They may also be attracted to bread or other baked goods containing yeast, and to beverages including fruit juices, soda pop, beer, and to vinegar. On occasion you may see one on a moist wash cloth or sponge near the sink getting a drink of water. They can be annoying flying around, but they do not bite. Many species have red eyes. They generally are found around decaying vegetables and fruits. The larvae are seldom seen, but occur inside the decaying food and are whitish in color and wormlike in appearance.
Adult fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are small (approx. 1/8 inch long), blackish grey, gnat-like flies with long gangly legs, many-segmented antennae which are longer than their heads.
German cockroaches are one of the most common insect pests found in urban areas throughout the world, and are the number one cockroach pest species worldwide. They are well-adapted to human environments, even enjoying similar humidity and temperature levels as us. Integrated Pest Management techniques can be used to exclude and eliminate this pest from our homes, schools, restaurants, ships and greenhouses.
High populations of the little house fly may occur on poultry farms, and it may become the predominant fly pest in some areas. The little house fly resembles the house fly but is smaller (about 3/16 inch) and has three brown stripes on the thorax. This fly is normally associated with housing that has litter-covered floors and open window ventilation. Like the house fly, the little house fly may invade homes in nearby residential areas, but it tends to be less annoying since it does not settle as readily on food or people. Both sexes can be found resting on weeds, branches, or sides of buildings.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the most frequently encountered rodent pests found near people and buildings. Unchecked, it can become a long-term inhabitant of your home. Less common rodent house guests include the Norway rat (Rattus norwegicus), deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), and white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). Together, mice, rats, and their parasites transmit dozens of diseases to humans; several pose serious health risks and some are potentially epidemic. House mice may also cause fires and incapacitate appliances by chewing on electrical wires. Their urine, musky odor, and gnawing can ruin food, clothing, papers, woodwork, insulation, and plumbing.
Mosquitoes are very common insects of the family Culicidae. There are about 3,500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world, of which approximately 230 species can be found in the United States. The three most common mosquitoes found in the United States are Aedes albopictus, Culex pipens, and Anopheles quadrimaculatus.
Pavement ants are native to Europe and were introduced into the United States during the 1700’s. Today, they are one of the most common indoor ant pests in the northeastern United States. Pavement ants are small, brown or brownish-black in color and forage indoors for sweets and high-protein foods.
Silverfish and firebrats are common indoors throughout the United States. Both are active at night and hide during the day. In apartment buildings these insects follow pipelines from the basement to the rooms on lower floors where they find food. They may be found in bookcases, around closet shelves, behind baseboards, and behind window and doorframes. Silverfish live in damp, cool places, especially basements. Large numbers can sometimes be found in new buildings if there are plaster walls that are still damp. Firebrats live in warmer, dark places such as around furnaces, fireplaces, and in insulation around hot water and heat pipes.
The spiders are a large, distinct and widespread group of Arachnids occurring in many types of habitats. Many people think that all spiders are very poisonous; however, although all spiders have venom glands, they very seldom bite people. Most spiders are beneficial because they feed on insects. A spider’s body is divided into two sections: the cephalothorax, which bears the eyes, mouthparts, and legs; and the abdomen, which bears the genital structures, spiracles and anus. Unlike insects, spiders have eight legs and no antennae.
This bushy-tailed rodent is a common resident in New York State. Although the usual color phase is gray, melanistic (black) squirrels are found in some localities. True albinos (white fur, pink eyes) occur rarely. There are four other species of arboreal (tree climbing) squirrels in New York: fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) and northern flying squirrel (G. sabrinus).
Eastern Subterranean Termites Introduction: Eastern subterranean termites are present on Long Island and often damage structural timbers in buildings. When this damage becomes evident, it is usually the result of a few years of infestation. Although damage by termites is a serious problem it is not a sudden onslaught that will cause a building to collapse in a few days. Generally, termite problems occur some years after construction. The risk of infestations can be reduced by avoiding certain faults or errors in construction, site grading and maintenance, or controlled through the application of insecticides. Read the label before applying any pesticide.
The deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick, is the principal vector of Lyme disease in the northeastern and north central United States. Lyme disease is an illness caused by a spirochete (a corkscrew-shaped bacterium). The Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted primarily by the deer tick, which normally feeds on mice, deer, and other small and medium-sized mammals and birds. If a human is bitten by an infected tick and consequently infected with the spirochete, the individual may develop Lyme disease.
Wasps & Bees
Bees are essential to the environment because they pollinate plants, flowers and trees. But all bees and wasps have stinging potential. Honeybees are our top pollinators and usually won’t sting if you leave them alone. However, non-pollinating wasps, such as hornets and yellow jackets, are typically more aggressive and invasive.