Pest Information
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About Carpenter Ants & Other Pests

Carpenter ants excavate wood, not as a source of food, but merely for nesting. Carpenter ant galleries have a sandpapered appearance and never contain soil, mud, or pellets. Piles of fibrous sawdust containing bits of dead ants or other insects often accumulate below-infested wood. The powder produced by wood-boring beetles does not have a fibrous, shredded consistency and does not contain evidence of dead insects. Carpenter ants have one segmented petiole in the form of a vertical scale and a terminal acidpore with a circular orifice fringed with hairs. The workers are polymorphic and characterized by their evenly convex thoracic dorsum. The most common species on the west coast is the Western Black Carpenter Ant and is the principal structural pest.

Biology and Habits

Carpenter ants enter buildings to nest and forage. They are called “carpenters” because they excavate their nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels and galleries. They generally excavate in wood that is decayed or damaged by other insects; however, they can also be found in wood that is structurally sound. The colonies begin with a single queen. She often starts the nest in a small cavity in a dead or live tree where she lays her first eggs. In two to three weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae that the queen feeds. They pupate and later emerge as minor workers at the end of larval development, numbering 10 to 25 individuals. The minors begin foraging, excavating, and brood-rearing for the colony. In two years, a population of workers ranging in size from large to small minors will be present. Carpenter ants are polymorphic, meaning the colony has many sizes of workers. More than 50,000 workers have been found in colonies. This is relatively small compared to Odorous House Ant colonies that can reach upwards of 100,000 workers with as many as 41 functional queens. Mature, or parent colonies, establish satellite colonies nearby whenever a need exists for more territory, more resources, or a drier, warmer nesting site. The queen, workers, and tiny larvae are always present in the parent colony, whereas the satellite colonies contain workers, large larvae, and pupae. Workers can travel between the various satellites of a colony on well-defined trails. The d distance between parent and satellite nests varies, but has been measured as far as 750 ft. Colonies are perennial and may exist for more than twenty years. Carpenter ants with wings are known as “swarmers”. They are the reproducers and are responsible for setting up satellite colonies.

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Rats

General Rat Biology

In general, Norway rats and black rats have litter sizes of six to twelve young, but up to 22 pups have been recorded. The gestation period ranges from 21 to 25 days. Assuming she lives for a year, the adult female typically produces three to six litters, although, under exceptionally good conditions, as many as 12 litters are possible. The number of litter per year and the number of pups per litter depend on the food supply, harborage, age and condition of the female, competition, temperature, climate, and other factors. For example, in warmer temperature climates, the roof rat is more fecund; whereas the Norway rat is more fertile in colder temperature regions. In general, rats are capable of breeding every month of the year.

The pink young are helpless, blind, and naked at birth with their external ears sealed down. Fine hair appears on the body in about a week. The eyes and ears open in 12 to 14 days. Young rats become sexually mature at about three months of age, at which time they are mostly independent of their mother. The sexually active males are receptive to mating at any time, but the females are receptive only during part of a four to six-day regular estrous cycle. The female may be impregnated a few hours after the birth of a litter. Under ideal conditions, the females can give birth every 24 to 28 days, but this is rare.

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Termitech Pest Control

Spiders

The Hobo Spider is one of the five species of this genus found in North America., only one of which is native to the US. In Portland, Oregon, the Hobo occurs quite often. The Hobo Spider has also been called the aggressive house spider and was introduced into the port of Seattle in the late 1920s. By the mid-1960s, it had become established in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. Current distribution is also in Montana, northern Utah, western Wyoming, and two isolated populations in Colorado.

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Beetle

Lyctinae (one specific subfamily of the powder-post beetle) are referred to as true powder post beetles because they produce very fine, powdery, talc-like frass that contains no grains or pellets. It has been reported that in the US, the Lyctinae are second only to termites in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

These beetles are strong fliers and are attracted to light. Thus, adults are often found near windows or on windowsills when an infestation occurs indoors. Adults mate and begin laying eggs soon after they emerge. The greatest period of activity occurs during the warm season. During the day, adults may conceal themselves in cracks and crevices in the wood. They are active on the surface of the wood for several hours after dusk. During spring, females usually lay eggs in pores of selected woods and old adult emergence holes. They cannot lay eggs in the wood where pores are sealed by various wood finishes (i.e., varnish).

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Termitech Pest Control
Termitech Pest Control

The Cockroach

From an evolutionary standpoint, cockroaches are among the most successful animals on Earth and are the oldest surviving insect form on the planet. They predate humans by more than 300 million years. Still plentiful today, more than 3,500 species of cockroaches have been identified, and scientists believe more than 5,000 remain undiscovered. However, of the thousands of cockroaches, fewer than a hundred live close enough to humans to be seen by them.

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Bees and Wasps

The European or giant hornet, the bald-faced or white-faced hornet, and the yellow jacket are the most important structure-infesting wasps. These beneficial social wasps live in colonies that number thousands of individuals and would not threaten humans except for their opportunistic behavior of nesting in structural voids, attics, and cavities associated with landscaping features. They scavenge in trash receptacles and forage upon food, and beverage people try to enjoy outdoors. They feast on ripe fruit in our gardens, farms, and vineyards. Finally, when the outside temperature cools in the autumn, food becomes scarce, nest population and expansion is greatest, and newly emerged reproductive wasps seek warmth and light; they invade our living and workspaces. Colonies of these wasps are not generally noticed until late summer and fall, when colony numbers are their greatest. The gaster patterns of hornets and yellow jackets are shown in the figure below:

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Termitech Pest Control
Termitech Pest Control

Flies

The house fly is one of the most familiar of all insects and is cosmopolitan in distribution. The size of the female is usually larger than the male. Fermenting, fresh animal manure is a favorite breeding medium of the house fly. The most important breeding sites, in descending order, are horse manure, human excreta, cow manure, fermenting vegetable refuse, dumpsters, and refuse containers, and household garbage. House flies overwinter as larvae and pupae in or under manure, and that the adults emerge during mild weather in the winter, but the percentage that survives winter is small. Flies also overwinter by continually breeding inside barns where manure and warm bedding is plentiful.

Raccoons

Even though they usually are easily frightened from one’s garden, raccoon’s fierce fighters when cornered, in such instances, they have been known to inflict fatal wounds on even relatively large dogs. Raccoons, like skunks and armadillos, can be destructive to lawns and other grounds landscaped in cultured turfgrass due to a propensity for grubbing behavior, as they dig for scarab beetle larvae on which to feed. Multiple, large areas of sod in a lawn can be torn up overnight due to raccoon grubbing.

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Termitech Pest Control

Starlings

Starlings are disliked in urbanized areas because of their raucous vocalizations made at roosting time and because of the filth, they leave behind. Starlings also create problems by nesting on or inside buildings. They utilize a multitude of nesting sites, including building ledges, lighted signs, marquees, billboard bracing, hollow lamp posts, soffits, and dryer and stove exhaust ducts and vents. Thousands of starlings may invade a city at dusk and roost side by side, forming solid rows of birds. These birds are known to transmit diseases such as encephalitis, ornithosis, and histoplasmosis.

In addition to consuming large amounts of poultry, hog, and cattle feed, Starlings are implicated in the spread of diseases of livestock via fecal contamination.

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