Identify A Pest
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Carpenter Ants are relatively large. Known mostly by their size and color, carpenter ants are commonly black, however their color can range from black to red or even solid red. They have one segment to their waist and a long abdomen containing lightly-colored dull hairs.
Carpenter ants are mostly black, but their colors can also range from black and red or even solid red. Though their name suggests otherwise, they do not eat wood and instead feed on plant juices and other insects.
Black Carpenter Ants do bite and can spray formic acid, but they do not possess the ability to sting their prey. Habits: Most carpenter ant species establish their first nest in decayed wood and later expand or enlarge this into sound wood. Inside structures, nests are located in wood (preferably softened by fungus rot or water damage) in insulation, and/or wall voids.
Worker carpenter ants are a nuisance when out searching for food but are destructive to timbers utilized for nesting activities. Outside structures, nests are typically found in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of standing trees, and under stones or fallen logs.
Swarming carpenter ants can appear inside or outside homes and structures from spring to fall in central Missouri.
Swarming black carpenter ants can easily be mistaken for swarming termites if found inside homes and structures.
Mosquitoes are gray to black in color with 2 long narrow wings and a long proboscis or beak. They are of concern because of the deadly diseases that they can transmit to humans such as malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile. The use of insect repellants is quite effective in preventing mosquito bites. Mosquito larvae lives in standing water, so emptying or eliminating containers that may hold water around your yard will greatly reduce the number or mosquitoes around the home.
Eastern Subterranean Termites are a social insects that come from a colony located underground between 3-12 feet beneath the surface. The colony starts with a king and a queen. The queen can live up to 50 years and can lay an egg about every 15 seconds! From the egg she’ll produce one of three main members: a worker, soldier, or a reproductive. Workers can live 4-5 years and will continuously forage underground (up to 400 feet around the colony and 30 feet of depth) searching for cellulose.
Worker Termites actually consume, swallow, and defecate the soil to make trails that are pheromone scented. One they find wood they consume it, return to their colony and regurgitate it to feed the others. A large colony can consist of over 1 million workers. An established colony can consume the equivalent of approximately 5 to 15 feet of 2×4’s per year!
Termite Soldiers resemble a worker in size but have an orange- brownish head with large mandibles. Their job is to defend the colony, food gathering area and the workers. Their mouth parts are not designed to directly eat wood and must be fed regurgitated cellulose by a worker.
Winged Reproductive Termites or “swarmers” are only produced by the queen once the colony is well established, usually once the colony is 4-5 years old or approximately 100,000 in population. The queen can produce as many as 20,000-30,000 swarmers per year! In the spring these swarmers will instinctively leave the colony by following active mud trails made by the workers and will emerge from an active termite infested area. The swarmers will then fly out form the active area and try to get as far away as possible. Swarming termites have been found to fly as far as 1 mile from the swarm sight! Swarmers do not do any direct damage and do not consume cellulose – they are new kings and queens of a potential new colony. Within approximately 2 hours of the initial swarm these reproductives must disperse, drop their wings, choose a mate, and excavate into the soil before they are eaten by a predator or dehydrate and die.
The roof rat has soft, smooth brown and black fur with a white, gray, or black belly. They have a pointed muzzle, large eyes and ears, and a long, scaly tail. Infestation signs are the same as other rodents. They have poor vision but keenly developed senses of hearing, smell, touch, and taste. They are fairly cautions about new objects although they are constantly exploring their surroundings. In structures, roof rats prefer to nest in the upper parts of the building, but may occasionally be found in basements and sewers. Outdoors, they prefer nesting in trees, but burrows are sometimes found in vegetation around buildings. Roof rats also carry a number of diseases.
Adults average about 2-3/8 inches (60 mm) in length, with the tail being longer in the males than in the females. Body color of adults varies from yellowish to tan, marked with two broad, blackish stripes on the upper surface of the abdomen. Populations in the Big Bend area may be only faintly marked or completely pale. There is a dark triangular mark on the front (anterior) portion of the head region (carapace) in the area over the (median and lateral) eyes. Younger specimens may be overall lighter in color, and basis of the pedipalps and the last segment of the body (postabdomen) is dark brown to black. The key recognition characters for this species are the slender pedipalps and the long slender tail.
Scorpions use the pincers to capture and hold prey. This species occurs under rocks, under boards, and in debris. It can be found indoors or outdoors in a wide variety of habitats (pine forests in East Texas, rocky slopes, grasslands, juniper breaks in other parts of the state).
Most common and widespread scorpion in Texas; stings are painful and produce local swelling and itching that may persist for several days. Reaction to the bite may vary based on sensitivity of the individual. Non-lethal stings may be mild to strong and produce edema (swelling), discoloration, numbness, and pain which may last for several minutes to several days. Deaths attributed to this species are not well substantiated. There are no scorpions in Texas that are considered lethal to man.