House Mouse

Identification: This small rodent weighs ½ to 1 ounce and is generally 6 to 7 inches long from nose to tail. The tail is usually a little longer than the body. The fur is generally brownish gray with belly fur of white to dark gray. Droppings are small, 3-6 mm in length.

Biology: Mice reproduce more than any other rodents. Females reach sexual maturity in 6-10 weeks and gestation period of about 21 days. Five to eleven litters per year average four to seven young per litter. Young mice are weaned in 21 days. Most breeding occurs between February and September; once inside however, mice can breed through out the year.

Habits: Mice are omnivorous feeders with a preference for seeds and grains. They like high protein and fat foods, such as lard, butter, nuts, bacon, cake and chocolate. They eat grass seeds, insects, cereals, and weed seeds. Mice eat small amounts over a limited area. Mice consume about 1/10 ounce of food per day and primarily at night. Water is not essential in their diet, especially if food with high water content is consumed. If available, they will consume .03 ounces of water per day.

Mice are very inquisitive rodents and will explore. Their territories are small and they often travel only 12-15 feet from where they were born over an entire lifetime.

Mice are the second most destructive vertebrates in the world after rats. Mouse damage is enormous by constant gnawing. They gnaw on food packages, furniture, wires, and stored items. Many fires listed as “cause unknown” are often mouse related. In six months one pair of mice can eat up to 4 pounds of food and deposit up to 18,000 droppings. The greatest concern, however, is contamination. Mice spread diseases such as salmonella, bacterial food poisoning, and are carriers of ratbite fever and tularemia.

Control: Mouse control is only accomplished using a variety of techniques including exclusion, sanitation, baiting and trapping.

Sanitation and Exclusion: Proper sanitation is basic to mouse control. Sealed food containers, covered trash cans and debris removal are very important. In order to exclude mice from buildings, openings as small as ½ inch must be sealed. Filling access openings with course grade steel wool, caulk or cement is an excellent preventive measure.

Baits and Traps: Rodenticide baits are a very effective method of mouse control. Mice often enter structures seeking food inside when outside food becomes limited. Baits placed in hidden areas such as attics, false ceilings, wall voids and basements are most effective. Traps, including glue boards, mechanical traps and snap traps are also very effective. These traps work best when placed along walls where mice tend to run. It is important to use a combination of products to determine which will work best. In either case, lots of placements are necessary.


Fruit Fly

Identification: Adults are very small, about 1/8" long. Their body color is usually light yellow to tan or brownish black. A distinguishing feature is their red eyes. Vinegar flies are similar in appearance and habits.

Biology: The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous. Female fruit flies can lay as many as 500 eggs at a time. A newly emerged adult can mate in as little as 2 days. Just a few fruit flies can develop into a major infestation in a short period of time.

Habits: Female fruit flies lay their eggs on the surface of fruits and vegetables. Bananas, grapes, tomatoes and potatoes are commonly infested. Fruit flies will also lay their eggs in damp organic decomposition. Dirty mops, sponges and rags, are very attractive to adult fruit flies. Spilled pop, juice, beer or areas where mop water has not dried completely are also places where fruit flies will lay their eggs. Any crack where dampness exists could be a potential breeding area.

Fruit fly larvae feed on the decomposing organic material. When the full grown larvae are ready to pupate, move to dryer areas. The time required to complete one life cycle is mainly dependent on the temperature of the surrounding air. At 64 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes 18-20 days for complete growth from egg to adult. At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, only 8-10 days are required to complete the stages of development!

Control: Sanitation is essential to the elimination of a fruit fly infestation. Detecting and eliminating, cleaning or removing all possible areas in which fruit flies have laid their eggs is critical to solving a fruit fly infestation. Dampness under equipment legs, edges of garbage disposals and cracks in counter tops should be dried out completely. Mops should be hung to dry, rags and sponges should be cleaned daily. Floor drain covers should be removed and cleaned. Garbage can liners should be changed daily. All garbage cans should be washed and cleaned. Dumpsters and entrance areas should be hosed down daily. Remove any overripe fruits or vegetables. If fruits and vegetables are to be kept for an extended period of time, keep them in the refrigerator or tightly sealed container.

Insecticides alone without removing fruit fly breeding areas will not eliminate an infestation, however, insecticides can be a helpful tool. Liquid insecticides can be treated to breeding areas while aerosol insecticides can be used to eliminate any lingering adult fruit flies. Light traps and flypaper should only be used as part of a complete fly program.


German Cockroach

Identification: Adults are about 5/8" long (17mm); Color is light brown, except for the shield behind the head marked with two dark stripes which run lengthwise on the body. Young roaches are wingless and nearly black with a single light stripe running down the middle of the back. Egg capsules are light tan.

Biology: German cockroach females, unlike most other roaches, carry the egg capsule protruding from their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The capsule is then placed in a secluded location with the nymphs emerging one to two days later. A female may produce four to six cases during her lifetime, each containing 30 to 40 eggs. Eggs hatch in 28 to 30 days, and nymphs develop in 40 to 125 days. Female roaches live about 200 days and males not as long. The German roach produces more eggs and has more generations per year (three to four) than other roaches, and only a few are needed to develop into troublesome infestations.

Habits: German cockroaches, Blattella germanica (L.), are the most common roaches found in houses and restaurants. German cockroaches have a flattened, oval shape, spiny legs, and long antennae. Immature stages are smaller, have undeveloped wings and resemble the adults. They eat food of all kinds. German cockroaches may hitchhike into the house on egg cartons, soft drink cartons, potatoes, onions, furniture, or people.

German cockroaches can develop into large populations and live throughout the structure but often move to kitchens and bathrooms. During the day, these roaches may be found hiding behind baseboards, moldings, in cracks around cabinets, closets or pantries, in and under stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers.

Roaches can ruin food, damage wallpaper and books, eat glue from furniture, and produce an unpleasant odor. Some people are allergic to roaches. These pests can contaminate food with certain bacteria that can result in food poisoning.

Control: Inspect bags, cartons and boxes brought into the house, and destroy any roaches. Sanitation is critical in roach control. Clean up spilled foods and liquids, avoid leaving scraps of food on unwashed dishes and counter tops, keep food in tightly sealed containers, rinse cans and bottles before putting them in trash and transfer garbage outdoors into receptacles immediately.

A combination of several different types of insecticides, including liquids, aerosols, dusts, baits and traps are helpful. Apply these products directly into cockroach harborage areas, such as behind loose baseboards or molding strips and around pipes which run along and through the walls. Roaches may hide around the kitchen sink, in cracks underneath cupboards and cabinets, inside the motor compartment of refrigerators, behind window and door frames, in radio and TV cabinets, and around closet and bookcase shelves. Surfaces where food is prepared should not be treated. Roaches in buildings with multiple dwellings usually require the treatment of other units as well.

Service: Proper usage of pesticides is essential! Visit our retail center (4141 Pearl Road), so we can provide you with the proper information. To insure a proper application, schedule an appointment with one of our licensed service technicians.


Yellow Jacket

Identification: Yellow jackets are approximately 5/8 to 1 inch in length. They are black and yellow in color. Yellow jackets are wasps with a definite waist.

Biology: In late summer, yellow jacket colonies have attained their largest size. Thousands of yellow jackets can live in a single nest! Foraging workers may become serious pests as they search for food--usually food that is eaten or discarded by people. If a colony is disturbed, worker yellow jackets will aggressively defend their colony by stinging. A single sting to some allergic individuals may result in a serious reaction.

Habits: Like all wasps, yellow jackets prey on a wide variety of insects and other arthropods. Yellow jackets are unusual in that workers also forage on foods consumed by people, especially sweets and meats.

Control: Destruction of all yellow jackets in and around a recreational area is advised to reduce the possibility of a dangerous sting. Nests should be located during the day when the workers are coming and going regularly and the location of the nest should be marked. Return late at night to treat the nest with an appropriate insecticide. Effective control of a nest is achieved by treating directly into the colony. Aerosol insecticides work well as they flow deep into the colony while dust insecticides provide long lasting residual. Continue to observe the nest during the day and retreat again to eliminate those yellow jackets that were out of the nest at the time of treatment.

Effective management of yellow jackets can be achieved by rigorous sanitation and use of physical exclusion from a food source. The principle behind these practices is the denial of attractive food to the foraging worker wasps. If begun early in the summer and carried out through mid-autumn, proper sanitation will help to reduce the buildup of foraging yellow jackets in an area. Trash containers should be kept closed whenever possible; open containers should be emptied regularly. Use an aerosol insecticide to remove yellow jackets present around trash cans in order to empty them. Using traps can be helpful to reduce forging yellow jackets around picnic and patio areas.

Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.


Pavement Ant

Identification: Pavement ants are small brown ants. Workers are about 1/16”- 1/8” long. Queens are about 3/8” long. The most distinguishing characteristics of pavement ants are the small grooves or parallel lines that exist on the head and thorax. These lines are visible under light magnification.

Biology: Pavement Ant Colonies are large, 3,000 – 4,000 workers may exist in a single nest. Reproducers swarm from the existing colony to create new colonies. These swarmers usually appear in late summer but can often be found in the winter if the nest is near a heat source.

Habits: Pavement ants commonly nest under sidewalks, driveways, or slab homes which is how they get their name. They crawl through cracks in concrete and foundations to make their nests. Nests also exist under rocks, bricks, logs, and other areas outside. These ants are often found in great numbers as they trail along seeking out food and returning to their nest. They feed on many types of food including: dead insects, honeydew, seeds, plant sap, meat and cheese while greasy and sweet foods are preferred. Workers forage up to 30 feet from the colony to find food.

Control: Location of the nest is helpful but often impossible. Residual treatment with an appropriate liquid spray to cracks and crevices, trails, and the exterior foundation is important. Dusts are very helpful when treated into foundation voids and other entry points. Gel baits are a good supplement to any control method. Small dots of bait can be placed along baseboards, near heat ducts and along other areas where ants are foraging.

Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.


Asian Lady Beetle

Identification: The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is yellow-orange in color. This species is sometimes called the Pumpkin or Halloween Ladybug because it often appears in great numbers in late October. This insect originates in Japan, Korea and elsewhere in the Orient.

History: The Asian Lady Beetle is a very beneficial insect. They feed on aphids and mites that attack and destroy crops, trees, and gardens. The Asian Lady Beetle is so beneficial to protecting crops and plants without the use of chemicals, that they were intentionally released in the United States. The first species introduced date as far back as 1916 and were re-introduced in the 70’s and 80’s.

Habits: During the summer, Asian Lady Beetles live in trees, gardens and most importantly in soybean and crop fields, where they easily find food. When temperatures begin to fall, ladybugs look for areas to overwinter. In nature this would be under leaves, under ground debris, behind the bark of trees, or other similar hiding places.

Buildings and structures have given ladybugs warmer areas to survive the winter. They land on the exterior of a sunny surface, moving upward, eventually finding their way in. Un-sealed windows, attic vents, soffit vents, or spaces between the siding create openings for them to enter. Once inside, they huddle in corners of attics and wall voids waiting for spring to return. During this overwintering state ladybugs do not reproduce. In fact they do not eat at all, but rely on food reserves accummulated throughout the summer. Although rare, ladybugs may bite people as they search a surface for food, but never break skin or draw blood.

Control: Asian Lady Beetle control begins outside. Gaps must be sealed to stop them from entering. Cracks around windows, siding, and utility lines should be sealed with a good silicone caulk. Attic vents, roof vents, soffit vents and exhaust vents should be sealed with insect screen. Garage and outside doors should be fitted with weather stripping and tight fitting sweeps.

Pesticide treatments to the exterior of the home in late September or early October provide the most effective preventative treatment. Applications must be very thorough to sufficiently cover all possible points of entry.

Interior insecticide treatments should be localized to specific areas where ladybugs are persistent. Interior treatments often have little impact, as larger numbers often are hiding in wall voids and other inaccessible areas. Sticky paper placed on windowsills may provide some relief from ladybugs inside. Vacuum cleaning is often the most effective method of interior treatment. Bag the insects and throw them away outside.


Carpenter Ant

Identification: Carpenter Ants are large - from 1/4 inch (6.4mm) for a worker up to 3/4 inch (19.9mm) for a queen; Color is black or sometimes red and black.

Habits: Carpenter ants are active indoors during many months of the year, usually during the spring and summer. When ants are active in the house during late winter or early spring, the nest is probably in the structure. When carpenter ants are first seen in the spring and summer, the nest is likely outdoors and the ants are simply coming in, forging for food and water. The natural food of the ants consists of honeydew from aphids, other insects, and plant juices, but they will readily forage for water and food scraps within the house.

Carpenter ants nest in live or dead trees, under logs and stumps. They will also construct their nests in houses, in places such as hollow doors, under siding, in roofs or under floor coverings. Nests are commonly found in porch pillars, window sills, and wood in contact with soil. Nests generally begin in wood which has been exposed to moisture.

The carpenter ant colony is started by a single fertilized queen. She establishes a nesting site in a small cavity and then rears her first brood of workers, feeding them salivary secretions. She does not leave the nest nor feed herself throughout his period. The workers which are reared first assume the task of gathering food with which to feed the younger larvae. As the food supply becomes more constant, the colony population grows very rapidly. A colony does not reach maturity and become capable of producing young queens and males until it contains 2,000 or more workers. It may take a colony from three to six years or more to reach this stage. Each year thereafter, the colony will continue to produce winged queens and males, which leave their nest and conduct mating flights from May through July. Carpenter ants rarely cause structural damage to buildings, although they can cause significant damage over a period of years because nests are so long lived.

Control: Finding the nest or nests is essential to the control of carpenter ants. This is accomplished by inspecting or probing all possible nesting sites. Pyrethrin based aerosols should be injected into these areas. A liquid residual insecticide should also be applied to the foundation, windowsills, and doorways to stop foraging carpenter ants. Interior treatments can also be made to baseboards and other areas where ants have been seen.

Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.


Cluster Fly

Identification: Adults are about 3/8" long. Color is dark gray, non-metallic; thorax is lacking distinct stripes but with numerous short golden hairs; abdomen has irregular lighter areas.

Biology: Adults overwinter in sheltered places, emerging in the spring to mate. Eggs are laid in soil cracks and hatch in about 3 days. The larvae are parasitoid upon the earthworm host, entering at almost any point along the body wall. Developmental time (egg to adult) varies from 27-39 days. There are usually 4 generations per year.

This species gets its common name from its habit of forming compact clusters of hibernating individuals, commonly found in wall voids or attics. Cluster flies occur wherever their host earthworm is readily available.

Habits: In early fall, cluster flies often enter structures to overwinter. They usually occupy attics and/or the wall voids which receive the most sunlight, usually the south and possibly the east or west walls. Typically they use the same structure year after year. They do not multiply within structures.

They can be a problem or nuisance in the autumn, winter, and/or spring. In the autumn they enter to hibernate. On warm sunny winter days, and in the spring, they attempt to leave the structure, often entering the inside where it is warmer. Actually, they can be stimulated by warmth to resume activity almost anytime. Sometimes it takes no more than the furnace to be turned on and thoroughly warm the inside of the structure to start activity, but it usually requires a bright sunny day to warm the walls from the outside. Once stimulated, cluster flies seek light. They exit their harborage areas around loose-fitting wall switches and outlets, ceiling fixtures, window and door frames, or window pulleys. Once inside, they are usually found around windows, lamps or other bright lights.

Control Outside: Control procedures should begin before flies begin to enter. Reducing the outside population is impractical for cluster flies since their larvae breed in earthworms. Therefore, use of preventative physical and chemical barriers aimed at adults before they congregate and attempt to enter buildings is recommended. Physical barriers involve exclusion. Although total exclusion is probably not possible, all vents (roof, overhang, weepholes, etc.) should be screened with at least 16-mesh screening. Caulk around cable entrances, windows, doors, and overhangs.

For preventative chemical barriers, apply long-lasting residual pesticides to all outside vertical walls and adjacent overhangs. This application should be made in late summer, before adult cluster flies begin to enter the structure.

Control inside: To eliminate overwintering adults, interior applications of Pyrethrin-based products must be made directly into cluster fly overwintering areas, such as attics, false ceilings and wall voids.

Service: Products are available at Speed Exterminating Company’s retail store, 4141 Pearl Road, or appointments may be scheduled with a licensed service technician.


Bed Bugs

Identification: Adult bed bugs are small, about 3/16” long. Their color is brown to reddish brown, with a flat, oval shaped body. The body becomes larger and darker when engorged with blood.

Biology: Female bed bugs can lay up to twelve eggs in a day. Eggs are small, approximately 1mm long, and white in color. The eggs are deposited in cracks or crevices where they hatch in 6 to 17 days. The young nymphs can begin feeding immediately and must have blood meals in order to continue to grow. They also require a blood meal before they can lay eggs. They feed only on blood from birds and mammals. Bed bugs can live for several months without food.

Habits: Bed bugs feed at night when people are sleeping. They are crawling insects, which hide near places where their host will return. Cracks and seams of mattresses and box springs make great hiding places. They may also hide in nightstands, headboards, furniture, crown molding, doorframes, pictures or behind loose wallpaper. Bed bugs often bite people in rows of three. These welts become more irritated as they are scratched, often causing infections. No known disease is transmitted by bed bugs.

Bed bugs leave small red dots or fecal spots on bedding and walls. Bed bugs are most often found in buildings where people move in and out frequently. Bed bugs are transported on luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture.

Control: Bed bugs can only be controlled using a variety of techniques. Follow the list below to achieve control of bed bugs.

  • Vacuum the mattress and surrounding areas putting the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag then discarding it outside.
  • Wash all clothing, pillow cases, mattress covers, etc. in hot water.
  • Use a hard brush to scrub the mattress and other hiding areas to dislodge eggs.
  • Caulk and seal cracks in the walls and adjoining areas to eliminate hiding areas.
  • Use sticky traps along baseboards, and under night stands to trap moving bed bugs.
  • Use an appropriate labeled insecticide to treat all identified hiding areas. Mattress treatment should be limited to tufts and folds where people will not have direct contact. Carefully follow the directions on the label of any insecticide.
  • Use insecticide dusts in electrical outlets or similar voids.
  • Treat the area at least one more time after two weeks. Insecticides should only be treated as per labeled directions. Continue cleaning and washing as often as possible.