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How Do Bait Systems Eliminate Indoor Cockroach Infestations?

It is well known that termites and ants are particularly difficult to control in terms of both preventative and remedial pest management tactics. However, cockroaches were the most significant insect pests of homes and buildings during the 20th century and before, as they were largely immune to the professional-grade control measures that existed at the time. Luckily, the late 20th century saw the advent of effective cockroach baits that remain the industry standard to this day.

Since numerous cockroach pests inhabit single nests that are obscured within inaccessible indoor areas, such as wall voids, there is no easy way to destroy or remove cockroaches from an infested home. Early roach baiting systems only killed the few individual roaches that ventured out of their nests and consumed the poison bait, but today’s roach baiting systems contain a slow acting poison that becomes fatal hours after being ingested by roach pests. This delayed reaction allows affected roaches to return to their nest where they spread the poison to their nestmates, eventually leading to the complete destruction of the nest.

These improved baits work by exploiting several cockroach behaviors, particularly foraging, mutual fecal consumption in nests, and vomit consumption in nests. For example, each hidden cockroach nest within a home sees a small proportion of individuals leave during the nighttime hours in order to gather food sources from open living areas. These foraging roaches consume poison bait from bait stations placed throughout a home before returning to their nests.

Cockroaches naturally indulge in the consumption of their nestmates’ feces, and therefore, the contaminated feces of poisoned roaches are readily eaten by nestmates, allowing the poison to spread throughout a nest. The poison is also spread via cannibalism, which is a normal cockroach behavior. Lastly, studies have shown that foraging roaches vomit before dying from the toxic effects of the bait, which prompts healthy nestmates to consume the toxic vomit, further facilitating the spread of fatal toxins throughout a nest.

Have you ever resorted to cockroach baits to eliminate an infection?

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Several Common Arthropod Pests That Infest Homes Can Also Spread Disease To Humans, But One Pest Is Capable Of Spreading Disease Only Within Southern Arizona Homes

Several Common Arthropod Pests That Infest Homes Can Also Spread Disease To Humans, But One Pest Is Capable Of Spreading Disease Only Within Southern Arizona Homes

Disease-spreading arthropod pests can be found throughout the US, the most common of which include mosquitoes, fleas, flies and cockroaches. Unlike mosquitoes and fleas, flies and cockroaches are “mechanical disease vectors,” which means that disease-causing pathogens do not live in concert with their physiology; instead, flies and cockroaches acquire pathogens from filthy conditions, such as sewers, porta potties, manure, and in the case of blow flies, rotting animal carcasses. The many pathogenic organisms that collect on the exterior body of flies and cockroaches are easily smeared on indoor surfaces, human food sources, and on humans themselves. This is why people should think twice before consuming food that has been exposed to even one fly or cockroach.

Mosquitoes and fleas acquire pathogens from the blood-meals they collect from infected birds and other animals. These pathogens rely on the biology of mosquitoes and fleas in order to survive and develop into infectious microorganisms. Infected mosquitoes and fleas transmit pathogens into the human bloodstream with their bites, causing disease. This makes fleas and mosquitoes “biological disease vectors.” Ticks are the most significant arthropod vectors in the US, as they transmit diseases to humans more frequently than any other arthropod vector in the country. For example, during 2013, the most common tick-borne disease, lyme disease, infected more than 36,000 people in the US, while the most common mosquito-borne disease, the west Nile virus, infected only 2,469 people in the country. Although lyme disease is not a threat in Arizona, the state currently sees the greatest number of people infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) when compared to all other US states.

The only tick species that establishes infestations in homes is the brown dog tick, but luckily for most Americans, this species generally does not spread disease to humans. However, brown dog ticks spread RMSF in a region of northern Mexico and southern Arizona, and this is the only area in the US were brown dog ticks spread disease to humans. Researchers have collected infected brown dog tick specimens from southern Arizona homes, and this species’ ability to spread disease within homes may explain the high rate of Rocky Mountain spotted fever infections in the state.

Have you ever found ticks in your home?

 

 

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The Small Honey Ant Thrives In Cold Temperatures And They Swarm Within Homes During The Winter Season

The Small Honey Ant Thrives In Cold Temperatures And They Swarm Within Homes During The Winter Season

A great number of ant pests are well known for invading Arizona homes during the spring, summer and fall seasons, but once the winter season arrives, ant pests become a rare sight within homes in the state. However, one ant species, Prenolepis imparis, is unique for being most active during the winter when both workers and swarming alates are frequently found within and around Arizona homes. This ant species is more commonly known as the honey pot ant, and most infestations see workers invade homes in large numbers from outside nests, but they are also known for frequently establishing indoor nests. Honey pot ant workers invade homes to seek out human food sources, and while these ants have a preference for sugar-rich foods, they frequently consume pantry items containing vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats.

Honey pot ant workers forage within homes during the winter months, and the common emergence of swarming alates in homes during January through March indicates that these ant pests also establish nests within hidden indoor areas during the winter. Unlike many other ant pest species commonly found in Arizona homes, such as southern fire ants and harvester ants, honey pot ants do not sting and they rarely inflict bites to humans. Surprisingly, honey pot ants become most active outdoors when temperatures range from 35 to 55 degrees, and they have been spotted emerging from subterranean nests during bouts of winter cold that see temperatures drop to the single digits. While these ants are common household pests during the winter, honey pot ant mating swarms are most frequent during the spring, but new colonies can also be formed by ground-dwelling reproductive specimens. These ants are relatively small, and workers may be pale, brown or jet black, but their head is generally lighter in color than their abdomen.

Have you ever encountered ants in your home during the winter?

 

 

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Where Do Massive Cluster Fly Swarms Disappear To Within Arizona Homes During The Fall And Winter? Will The Flies Reemerge Unexpectedly At Some Point?

Where Do Massive Cluster Fly Swarms Disappear To Within Arizona Homes During The Fall And Winter? Will The Flies Reemerge Unexpectedly At Some Point?

Many fly pest species that closely resemble domestic houseflies are well established throughout the United States, and many of these species spread numerous disease-causing microorganisms. A large number of fly pests, such as stable flies, horse flies and deer flies, inflict painful bites to humans, but luckily, biting fly pests rarely establish indoor infestations. However, indoor fly pest issues are by no means uncommon anywhere in the US, especially Arizona. Unfortunately, many of the most common indoor fly pest species, including domestic house flies, blowflies and fruit flies, acquire dozens of dangerous pathogens from decaying organic matter in outdoor environments before entering homes where they may contaminate human food sources and indoor surfaces. Despite their filthy breeding, feeding and nesting habits, indoor fly pests rarely transmit pathogens to humans, but they can become a tremendous nuisance to homeowners, especially in Arizona where the climate allows fly pests to remain active all year round. One of the most common nuisance fly pest species, Pollenia rudis, is one of the few fly species that invades homes in large numbers in order to overwinter.

rudis is more commonly known as the “cluster fly,” or “attic fly” due to this species’ habit of clustering within obscure and hard-to-access indoor areas, particularly attic spaces. P. rudis is a type of blowfly, and although this species is traditionally regarded as the definitive cluster fly species, many other blow fly pest species in Arizona and elsewhere have become known by this common name. Cluster flies can invade homes during any time of year in the southwest, but they tend to swarm indoors during the fall and winter seasons in response to dropping temperatures. These fly pests often cluster in overwhelming numbers on the exterior walls of houses, especially in areas that are most heavily exposed to sunlight. After gaining access indoors through small cracks, crevices, attic vents and other exterior entry points, cluster flies tend to gather in wall voids and other inaccessible areas before entering a state of dormancy for the winter. Once spring arrives, the flies naturally emerge from their indoor refuges in order to swarm back outdoors, resulting in unexpected nuisance swarms within homes, often on unseasonably warm winter days. Liberal amounts of soil insecticide effectively eliminate cluster fly larvae before they emerge as adults.

Have you ever witnessed flies swarming near residential structures?

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Why Some Homes See Repeated Spider Infestations While Others Don’t

Spiders do not generally establish extensive infestations within houses and buildings, but a few species are known for congregating in certain areas within homes. Since Arizona is home to the medically significant western black widow species, as well as five recluse spider species, not including the brown recluse, it is important for residents to identify the species of any spider/s that makes repeated appearances indoors. The relative abundance of vegetation, especially overgrown vegetation, surrounding homes is, perhaps, the most significant factor that can influence spider pest infestations within homes.

Spiders are attracted to residential yards due to the prevalence of their insect prey in gardens and lawn-grass. Some spiders capture insect prey with webs, while others have adapted to hunting down spiders on foot. Web-spinning spiders that are frequently found around and within homes include orb weavers, funnel weavers, cobweb spiders, house spiders, and black widows. Hunting spiders that are commonly found around homes include wolf spiders, crab spiders, wandering spiders, ground spiders and tarantulas. Web spinning spiders attach their silken webs to garden plants, tall overgrown weeds, shrubs and other forms of vegetation, while hunting spiders maintain a presence in yards and around gardens due to the abundance of insect food sources in vegetation-rich areas.

Spiders of all kinds are constantly present within all yards, and even in homes, but they become particularly numerous in yards where an abundance of vegetation indicates a high population of insect food sources. When vegetation becomes abundant around a home’s foundation, spiders often find a way indoors through cracks, crevices, crawl spaces, vents and a variety of other external entry points. This is why keeping shrubs and other forms of vegetation around a home’s foundation neatly trimmed will help to prevent spiders from wandering indoors.

Garden beds should be located about a foot away from a home’s foundation, and firewood should never be stacked against a home’s exterior walls. Outdoor lighting attracts insect pests, which in turn, attracts spider pests to homes, but using yellow incandescent and sodium vapor lamps in place of white incandescent and mercury vapor lamps will help to reduce both insect and spider population numbers on a property.

Have you had success at reducing arthropod pests around your home with yellow light bulbs?

 

 

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El Mirage Home Infested With Hundreds Of Cockroaches And Other Bugs

El Mirage Home Infested With Hundreds Of Cockroaches And Other Bugs

If you ever want to make your home completely unlivable, get arrested for endangering human lives, and fill it with so many cockroaches that the floor crunches when you walk on it, then do exactly what these two women living in El Mirage did. A mother and her adult daughter were arrested by the police recently and are being charged with child abuse, as their were also young children living with them, because their house had basically been turned into a literal pig sty.

Carmen Sanfie, age 52, her daughter Connie Marie Valencia, age 35, and their three young girls, ranging in age from 7 to 14 years old, were visited by police after they were informed of a possible incident of domestic violence. Police were horrified at what they saw when they entered the home. It was absolutely filthy, filled with feces and a massive infestation of hundreds of cockroaches. The police were shocked at the amount of animal urine and feces, provided by the family’s five cats and three dogs, they found all over the home. It was smeared on the floor and lay in piles all throughout the house. The unsanitary nature of the home made it a perfect habitat for cockroaches. Cockroaches seek out unsanitary conditions when looking for places to colonize, and these ones had officially found the jackpot. This is why the infestation was so massive. They had basically found a dumpster to live and breed in. The number of cockroach infestation was comfortably in the hundreds, with so many cockroaches, as well as other insects that had jumped on this opportunity, that when the police walked inside, the floor crunched under their feet as they walked on a carpet of roaches. It is no surprise that these two women are being charged with child abuse since the three children were witnessed by the police walking barefoot around the feces and roach-covered floor.

What is the largest cockroach infestation you have ever seen?

 

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You May Be Surprised To Learn Which Insects Are Most Problematic For Arizona Residents

Many people living in the northern United States prefer to avoid the freezing cold climate in their region by traveling south for the season. Arizona is a popular destination for these “snowbirds” during the winter, but during the summer, most Arizona cities become too hot for most people’s comfort. Due to Arizona’s extreme desert heat, residents of the state seek refuge within their air conditioned homes, but unfortunately, so do arachnids and insects. According to Dr. Kirk Smith with the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department, there are five different bugs that Arizona natives often find within their homes during the summer, and one or two of these common household bugs may come as a surprise to even Arizonans.

It is no secret that scorpions are well adapted to the desert landscape in Arizona, but even these arachnids have a hard time tolerating the hottest summer days in the state. Cotton plantations and citrus trees were a common feature of the pre-urban Arizona landscape, and it is believed that scorpions established habitats in these areas. Despite the proliferation of urban developments, scorpion habitats remain largely unchanged in the state, which is why certain urban and suburban areas of Arizona are more vulnerable to scorpion infestations and envenomations than other areas. For example, several neighborhoods in Mesa still contain clusters of citrus trees, and not surprisingly, scorpions are often found in the homes located near these trees.

Many people assume that mosquitoes are not an issue in Arizona due to the dry climate in the state, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Maricopa County officials have anti-mosquito foggings conducted regularly just to keep the bloodsucking insect populations in check. And since Arizona does not usually undergo a seasonal freeze, mosquito populations are not killed off during the winter season, resulting in high mosquito populations come spring. Dr. Smith also placed ticks on his list of top five bugs to look out for during Arizona summers, as ticks have been found within high elevation cities, such as Sedona, Payson and Flagstaff. So ticks are not just a problem for New Englanders, as many assume.

Have you ever spotted a tick embedded within your skin in Arizona?

 

 

 

 

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Avoiding Issues With Indoor Insect Pests Means Becoming A Good Housekeeper And Handyman

Avoiding Issues With Indoor Insect Pests Means Becoming A Good Housekeeper And Handyman

Modern pest management focuses more on the prevention of insect pest infestations rather than eradicating existing infestations. When homeowners keep their indoor living space sanitary and free from structural defects, insect infestations are highly unlikely to occur. Generally, insect pests prefer to remain within their natural outdoor habitat, but they will invade homes when indoor conditions are more hospitable than their natural habitat. Homes contain all the resources that most insect pest species need to survive, such as food, water, shelter, and agreeable temperatures. This is why homeowners and apartment tenants should learn to be conscientious housekeepers, and if possible, knowledgeable of common home repair techniques.

It should be no surprise to anyone that unsanitary homes are particularly vulnerable to insect pest infestations. Homes that contain piles of dirty dishes, overflowing garbage bins, empty soda cans, food crumbs, pets’ bodily waste, piles of dirty laundry, clogged drains, and improperly stored foods attract a variety of insect pest species. The most common insect pests that thrive within unsanitary homes include several cockroach species, filth flies, ants, gnats, midges, mosquitoes and wasps. Also, failure to keep stored food items and pet food properly sealed will invite a variety of pests of stored food products, including Indian meal moths, black carpet beetles and a variety of larval moth species.

Another essential form of pest infestation prevention involves the removal of clutter that provides insect pests with abundant forms of shelter where they can easily remain hidden from a home’s occupants. Insect pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, crickets, pantry pets, clothes moths, and although they are technically arachnids, spiders and scorpions, particularly black widows and Arizona bark scorpions, rely on indoor clutter for successfully maintaining a presence within homes. Also, many insect pests, like termites, silverfish, ants and cockroaches, prefer to dwell in dark and moist conditions where they can remain obscured from human view. This makes homes with plumbing leaks, defective gutters, and rainwater leaks particularly attractive to insect pests.

Could you do more to make your home less inviting to insect pests?

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Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish are bizarre looking and common insect pests in homes and buildings all over the world. Like their common name suggests, silverfish closely resemble fish, or shrimp-like crustaceans, and they grow to be a relatively sizable ¾ of an inch in body length. Silverfish are capable of living in homes and buildings throughout their life cycle, and females deposit their eggs within indoor cracks and crevices in walls and ledges. Larvae emerge from their eggs within a period of three weeks, and it takes 4 to 6 weeks before larvae develop into adults. Females lay around 100 eggs during their lifetime, and considering that eggs can develop into adults in less than two months, silverfish can become abundant within homes in a relatively short amount of time. Silverfish are particularly common in homes located in dry areas, making silverfish frequent home-invaders in Arizona. While silverfish are largely considered nuisance pests within homes, they can have an economic impact as well, due to their habit of chewing away at certain items, such as paper and stored food.

Silverfish have long lifespans for insects, as they live for a period of 6 to 8 years, and they are able to survive without food for over a year before succumbing to starvation. These pests can survive long periods within homes without being noticed by residents, as silverfish forage at night, and they are able to skitter along floors at fast speeds. However, silverfish require specific conditions in order to survive indoors, and they generally remain on the first floor of homes or in crawl spaces, cellars, and basements. Occasionally silverfish are found in large numbers in attics, but only under certain environmental conditions. These insects prefer to dwell in environments where the temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees, and they are particularly sensitive to moisture, as they require 70 to 90 percent humidity levels in order to survive.

Silverfish are unpleasant to look at and they can become a nuisance in a home when large numbers congregate indoors, but silverfish are also in the habit of seeking out and consuming human food, even unopened packages of stored food items. Silverfish prefer to consume human foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein, such as flower, dried meat, oatmeal and cereals. These pests also feed on just about any item containing paper, such as books, important documents, photo albums and cardboard boxes. Silverfish also seem to have a taste for glue, which makes the binding of books a preferred snack for the pests.

Have you ever found items in your home that you believe had been damaged by silverfish?

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Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Termites are not the only wood-infesting insect pests in the United States, as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and several beetle species in the country are well known for nesting within the structural wood in homes and buildings. Hemicoelus gibbicollis, is one wood-boring beetle species that is common in the southwest. This species is commonly referred to as the Pacific deathwatch beetle, and they are sometimes referred to as powderpost beetles despite this common name being attached to another wood-boring beetle species. Deathwatch beetles prefer to nest within softwoods, such as fir, or within weak, damp and decaying wood sources, which is why infestations are often found in high-moisture areas around homes, particularly in basements, cellars and crawl spaces. However, infestations can occur in a variety of indoor locations including floors, door frames, window sills, rafters, beams, stair railings and furniture. The damage these beetles inflict to wood can be devastating if infestations are not noticed for a long period of time, as infested structural wood has been known to collapse as a result of being hollowed out by deathwatch beetle larvae.

Once adult deathwatch beetles emerge from pupation during the spring, females place their eggs within narrow cracks and pores on natural and structural wood sources. Once larvae emerge from the eggs, they bore into wood where they excavate long tunnels, eventually causing infested wood to become hollow and in urgent need of replacement. Deathwatch beetles can remain in their larval stage for months or even years depending on environmental conditions, and larvae can also overwinter within structural wood before emerging. Larval feeding within wood produces a sawdust-like material that the larvae tightly pack within their tunnels, sometimes resulting in a blistered appearance on the surface of infested wood. Eventually, pupation takes place within the tunnels, causing newly formed adults to break through the surface of wood in order to fly away. Larvae inhabiting structural wood communicate with each other through tapping sounds which can be heard under some circumstances within infested homes. Centuries ago, many people interpreted this tapping as the ticking sounds made by a clock. This “ticking” indicated that an elderly or sickly person’s death was fast approaching, and this is how the insect pests got their common name.

Have you ever heard sounds produced by any type of insect pest within a home, with the exception of chirping crickets?