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Tree & Lawn Pests
Clover mites sometimes invade homes in enormous numbers. They’ll come in early spring and late autumn, overrunning floors, walls, drapes, window sills, and furniture, even occasionally getting into beds and clothing. They may become troublesome in hospitals, nursing homes, apartments, food processing facilities, etc.
Bagworm larvae damage their hosts by feeding on the foliage. Heavy infestations can completely defoliate small plants. Defoliation usually kills hosts such as red cedar and other junipers.
The cat flea is one of the most abundant and widespread species of flea on Earth.
Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass where they will wait to attach to a passing host.
The hatching of gypsy moth eggs coincides with budding of most hardwood trees. Larvae feed continuously day and night, so when population numbers are dense the foliage of the host tree can be completely stripped. Afterwards, they crawl in search of new sources of food.
Eastern Tent Caterpillars
Eastern tent caterpillar nests are commonly found on wild cherry, apple, and crabapple trees, but may be found on hawthorn, maple, cherry, peach, pear, and plum trees as well. While tent caterpillars can nearly defoliate a tree when numerous, the tree will usually recover and put out a new crop of leaves. The silken nests are built in the crotches of limbs and can become quite large.
Bees & Wasps
Wasps become a problem only when they threaten to sting humans. One of the most troublesome of the social wasps is the Yellow Jacket. Yellow Jackets, especially ground and cavity-nesting ones, tend to defend their nests vigorously when disturbed. Defensive behavior increases as the season progresses, when colony populations become larger and food becomes scarcer.
Bees play an important role in pollinating flowering plants and are the major type of pollinator in ecosystems that contain flowering plants. Removal by recommended beekeepers is the most common control method.
These are best known for their large football-shaped paper nest, which they build in the spring for raising their young. These nests can sometimes reach three feet tall. Bald-faced hornets are protective of their nests, and will sting repeatedly if the nest is physically disturbed. They are more aggressive than either wasps or yellow jackets.
Cicada Killer Wasps
These are large, solitary, ground dwelling, and predatory wasps. They are so named because they hunt cicadas and will provision their nests with them. The Cicada Killer Wasps attract attention due to their large size, the burrows they dig in lawns, and their loud buzzing flights. In spite of their large size, the wasps usually ignore people, but they can give a painful sting if bothered.
Wood Destroying Insects
Eastern Subterranean Termites
The Eastern Subterranean Termite is the most widespread termite in the U.S., found throughout the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern states. The far-reaching distribution of this pest leads experts to estimate it causes more structural damage nationwide than any other termite species.
Carpenter Bees tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. Bare, unpainted, or weathered softwoods are preferred—especially redwood, cedar, cypress, and pine. Painted or pressure-treated wood is much less susceptible to attack. Common nesting sites include eaves, window trim, fascia boards, siding, wooden shakes, decks, and outdoor furniture.
Carpenter Ants vary in size and color but are usually large (¼–½ inch) and blackish. Besides being objectionable by their presence, carpenter ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. They excavate galleries in wood, which have a smooth, sandpapered appearance. Wood that has been damaged by carpenter ants contains no mud-like material, as is the case with termites.
Wood Destroying Beetles
Many small beetles attack wood. Most attack wood that is alive (i.e., trees or green lumber), but a few will attack seasoned wood, like furniture, flooring, paneling, and stored lumber.
Ants are among the most prevalent pests in households. They are also found in restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and other buildings where they can find food and water.
Several species of Carpenter Ant are capable of damaging wood in buildings and other structures. They will enter buildings in search of nesting sites or moisture, and can build nests containing several thousand ants. Typically, the nests they construct indoors are satellites of a larger, parent nest located outside in a live or dead tree, a woodpile, or landscaping materials.
Bedbugs are small parasitic insects. The term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood. In the developed world, bed bugs were largely eradicated as pests in the early 1940s, but have increased in prevalence since about 1995. Because infestation of human habitats has been on the increase, bedbug bites and related conditions have been on the rise as well.
The house mouse is remarkably well adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments, and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter. Once mice become established inside a building, they can be extremely difficult to control. Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage.
The Norway rat, also called the brown rat or sewer rat, is a destructive pest found in urban and suburban neighborhoods. These rodents eat and contaminate food, and damage buildings and other property by gnawing and burrowing, and may spread diseases that affect people and pets. Norway rats are husky, brownish rodents that weigh about 11 ounces.
A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, and smaller ears and eyes. Voles will often eat succulent root systems, and will burrow under plants or ground cover they are particularly fond of and eat away until the plant is dead. In-ground bulbs are another favorite target for voles.
These pests breed in animal wastes and decaying organic material from which they can pick up bacteria and viruses that may cause human diseases. In addition, adult stable flies (sometimes called “biting flies”) feed on mammalian blood and can give a painful bite.
Drain flies sometimes appear suddenly and mysteriously, becoming a nuisance in both homes and sewage disposal plants. Adult flies may become so numerous indoors that they congregate at windows, darken lampshades at night, fall into food, and accumulate around showers, bathtubs, sinks, and floor drains. They especially like the basement.
Bottle flies usually have a metallic blue or green color or both on the thorax and abdomen. Flies can breed on dead rodents and birds in attics or wall voids of houses. They usually breed in meat scraps, animal excrement, and decaying animal matter around houses. The adult flies are quite active inside and are strongly attracted to light.
Fruit flies are nuisance pests and contaminators of food. Fruit flies usually breed in fruit, dirty garbage containers, or slime in drains.
Most stinkbugs are herbivorous and use their piercing and sucking mouthparts to feed on plant juices. When handled or disturbed, stinkbugs are able to secrete a bad-smelling, bad-tasting fluid from pores on the sides of their bodies. If stinkbugs have already entered a home or building, a vacuum cleaner can aid in the removal of live or dead stinkbugs. The bag must be disposed of immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area.
Box Elder bugs are primarily a nuisance because they enter homes and other buildings, often in large numbers. Fortunately, they do not bite people and are essentially harmless to property. When abundant, they can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement. Adult Box Elder bugs are about ½ inch long and are black with orange or red markings, which include three stripes.