The Most Common Pests in East Texas
Ants in East Texas
There are a variety of common ants in East Texas. Learn more about each ant linked below:
Ranging from 1/8 to 1/4 inch, acrobat ants can be black or brown in color. They gain their names from the way they raise their abdomen when disturbed. Acrobat ants can be commonly found nesting in rotting wood. They feast on a variety of foods, but aphids and mealybugs are especially common. Any rotten wood in decks, fences, or wood in and around your household can make for great nesting locations.
Typically between 2.2 and 2.8 mm long, Argentine ants are experts in squeezing into small places. Mulch and other ground debris are among their favorite habitats, and they can expand rapidly. Just ten ants can start new colonies that will quickly number in the thousands. The ants are omnivores and will eat almost anything they can find on under leaves and brush, but prefer sweet foods.
Big Headed Ants
Regarded as one of the most pervasive and worst ant species, big-headed ants are ⅛ to ¼ of an inch. They are reddish-brown in color and come in two varieties, the major and minor workers. They are soil nesters and can commonly make a home under logs, rocks, or even planters. Their nests are often easy to spot, however, due to the large mound of dirt they create by excavating tunnels.
Carpenter ants range from 3.4-13 mm—making them one of the largest types of ants in the United States. The ants are most often black, but certain species can be brown, red, orange, or yellow. Their diet mainly consists of sweets, meats, and other insects. Carpenter ants create colonies indoors or outdoors where there is damp, hollowed or damaged wood.
Ghost ants are very small, typically coming in at less than 1/16 of an inch. Named after their pale bodies with dark heads, they can be very hard to combat once they’ve spread and created large colonies. They love to nest under items lying on the ground, and regular inspections are needed to keep up with their colonies and treatment.
Odorous House Ants
The word “odor” is present in odorous house ant’s name for a reason. When crushed, these creatures have a smell that mimics a rotten coconut or old blue cheese. Yuck! Odorous house ants have a black and brown body with an unusually shaped thorax. They are common household pests and can be seen trailing inside after a heavy rain since they need shelter from their flooded nests. These pests commonly create new nests between or inside walls and flooring and prefer areas that are warm and moist, like heaters or water pipes. In these nests, there are hundreds to thousands of colony ants, which is why it is difficult to remove them from the house. While at the same time, they can virtually live anywhere outside and inside. Insects like these naturally eat honeydews, which means they are attracted to sugary foods such as pastries and fruit juices. A trail can be seen when these ants are foraging their food.
These six-legged pests gained their name due to their proclivity for hanging out around paved areas like sidewalks, driveways, and pathways. Creating their home near yours is no coincidence. They look for any food that they can come across and are attracted to even small crumbs of food that may have fallen. Once they find a steady source, these ants colonize deep beneath the soil, making it difficult to control them. During the warm months, you may find them wandering into your home in search of sustenance.
These insects thrive in a myriad of environments due to their minuscule size. Pharaoh ant colonies are known for their large sizes and prefer to nest in warm areas. When cold temperatures push them to seek shelter indoors, these ants can be found nesting in places like walls, outlets, and under carpet. Once inside your home, these resilient pests can be seen trailing across bathrooms, kitchens, window sills, curtain rods, baseboards, and more. They will do what it takes to acquire food and water.
RIFA’s, or Red Imported Fire Ants, have become a major nuisance in the United States since becoming accidentally introduced from South America. They can range greatly in size and are known for their extremely painful, stinging bite. They are red in color and create large colonies that can span multiple properties.
Tawny Asian Ants
The Tawny Asian Ant is a type of crazy ant. (Yes, you read that correctly!) Tawny (crazy) Asian Ant have become quite the nuisance in the Southern US, where they are most prevalent. They tend to swarm in large numbers, often displacing other ant species. With these ants present, it can often be unbearable to spend any time outside—and it can be downright dangerous for animals. Definitely seek help from professional pest control to be rid of this awful pest.
Also known as pavement ants, Tetramorium ants were introduced as pests in North America and are native to Europe. They are dark brown to black and typically around ⅛ of an inch long. These ants eat almost anything and usually nest in ground-level masonry but can make a home out of anywhere in your home.
Beetles in East Texas
There are many common beetles in East Texas. Learn more about these beetles below:
Asian Lady Beetle
These beetles typically begin flying into homes in the fall months to stay for the winter. They return outside when the weather starts to get warm again in the spring. Consequently, it is typically the spring months in which a ladybug infestation is the most noticeable. They can be a big nuisance to a homeowner, and they have been known to secrete a yellowish liquid when disturbed.
Carabus is a category of beetle that comprises a large number of different species all over the world. Typically referred to as the ground beetle, this little bug is largely harmless, but can become a nuisance if their population is not kept in check. Most species of ground beetle don’t bite, but it can be an unpleasant experience to suddenly catch one or two skittering across the floor or countertops of your home.
Carpet beetles are typically small black beetles that are approximately 1/8 of an inch long. The adult beetles and larvae both tend to feed in dark, undisturbed areas. Carpet beetles feed on animal fibers, such as wool, silk, fur, feathers, and leather. Their feeding habits make carpet beetles a serious threat to your home, as they can damage clothing, bedding, and carpet. Carpet beetle infestations spread quickly and can cause major damage to your home, however they only feed on natural fibers like cotton and Kashmiri.
Saw Toothed Grain Beetles
If you have a kitchen with grains and pasta, you are a potential victim of saw-toothed grain beetles. These insects are attracted to cereals, grains, dried fruit, nuts, and other items commonly found in household kitchens and large-scale cookeries. Sealed packages and boxes won’t prevent these small beetles from gaining access to your food. Some infestations start with groceries from your local store. Even though they do not attack humans, throw away infested food as soon as possible. Do you believe you may be suffering a beetle issue? Despite their small size, they are still visible to the human eye. Be sure to check on your grains and cereals to ensure you don’t have any unwelcome guests in your breakfast.
Biting Insects in East Texas
Biting bugs are never fun to deal with. Unfortunately, there are many of these pests in East Texas. Learn more below:
American Dog Tick
Despite being known to feed off of hosts, these pests can survive up to 2 years without one. The American Dog Tick can commonly be found in open areas like fields and forest trails. When they do find a host, they do not discriminate in size. The ticks will latch on to anything from a mouse to a deer, as long as their host has a beating pulse and flowing blood, these ticks don’t care. Most active in warmer months, be sure to scan over yourselves and beloved pets whenever you are in an area where these pests frequent. Ticks can carry and transmit diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia, so a brief look-over is crucial.
Known for the way they brutally kill their prey with their sharp beaks, assassin bugs can render extremely painful bites to humans as well! They are typically black and red and can have orange markings as well. They can be found around North America and are common in shrubs, garden plants, and ground cover. While they can bite humans, they are not aggressive unless bothered or handled. In fact, many gardeners encourage these bugs to make their gardens home due to how many other bugs they feed on!
Ever wonder where bed bugs got their name? Scientifically known as Cimicidae, bed bugs are attracted to the high levels of carbon dioxide which humans emit when we sleep. This is precisely why bed bugs are much more likely to bite during the night than during daylight hours. Bed bugs are most likely to bite their victims from the torso to the top of the body. In addition, bed bugs can be easily transferred from one area to another—so be sure and wash and dry on high heat, all clothes, sheets, towels, etc. when staying in a new location. Once an area is infested with bed bugs, it’s incredibly difficult to treat unless attended to by a professional.
Or, Ctenocephalises felis, are the type of fleas commonly found on cats. However, though they are known to be found primarily on cats, they can also be found on dogs, wild critters, and even humans. They are usually found in the carpeting of your home or on in your cat’s fur. They will leave eggs both on the animal and all around your house, so it is important to hire an exterminator immediately after finding signs of these.
Or, Ctenocephalides canis, are primarily found on dogs and feed off the blood of dogs. These fleas can live without food for months, and females can produce up to 50 eggs per day, making these fleas extremely difficult to remove. These fleas have been known to cause various allergy developments and infections in animals, which are developed through flea saliva. Taking your pet to the vet is suggested for best treatment options.
Cockroaches in East Texas
As if one type wasn't enough, there are several common cockroaches in East Texas. Learn more about each linked below:
American Cockroaches are reddish-brown insects that can reach 3 inches in length. They reproduce quickly and deposit their egg capsules in warm, moist places. Each egg capsule has a protective shell for the 16 eggs inside. They typically live outdoors but sometimes wander around inside to find food or water. They leave droppings everywhere and are distinguished by a stale, musty smell. American Cockroaches have also been known to transfer diseases.
The brown-banded cockroach is one of the smallest in the cockroach family; the adult is only 11-14.5 mm long. It has tan to light brown wings with a lighter colored band across them. The brown-banded cockroach prefers dry environments and warm temperatures—typically upward of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These pests are often found inhabiting ceilings, attics, cabinets, closets, and in or around appliance motors. The brown-banded cockroach is primarily nocturnal but may be spotted searching for food during the day. Like all cockroaches, the brown-banded cockroach is a scavenger but tends to feed on starch and color dyes, which are found in book bindings, wallpaper, and stamps. The brown-banded cockroach is a health risk, as it can carry and spread harmful bacteria.
German Cockroaches have a light brown shell with two black stripes across its back. They may travel into the house by hitchhiking on personal belongings or boxes that are brought inside. Then they find a moist and warm area of the house to hatch their eggs, where female German Cockroaches lay an average of 30-40 eggs. While they have a lifespan of 5-6 months, they are able to survive on almost any food source— even crumbs that are left behind in cracks. The German Cockroach population can grow rapidly, which is why it’s so important to prevent them.
Oriental cockroaches are also called “black beetles” and “water bugs” and have black to brownish-red colored shells. Male oriental cockroaches are bigger than female oriental cockroaches. Their wings extend to three-quarters of their body with an abdominal segment present on the lower half of their body. Oriental cockroaches come inside the house through sewer pipes and drains and may live in sinks and garbage disposals. Areas that are damp and dark provide them with an adequate habitat for reproduction. Since they feed on decaying matter and trash, pathogens can cling to their body, which means they can easily transmit diseases. A large population of oriental cockroaches is noticeable since they can produce odors and can taint the flavor of foods.
Crickets in East Texas
There noisy pests are common East Texas. Learn more about them below:
The camel cricket has the body of a spider and the legs of a cricket, making them capable of jumping. Camel crickets are lighter shades of tan and brown. Their size is typically between 10-45 mm. Camel crickets prefer environments that are cool, dark, and damp. Indoors, they are likely to inhabit areas like garages, basements, wells and under sheds. The camel cricket is known to eat fabric and cloth, making them a nuisance if they gain entry into your home.
Field Crickets are most typically a nuisance when they gather in groups and perform their famous chirping songs. They feed on plant material, so if you have a garden or potted plants to protect, you’ll want to keep this particular pest at bay.
Ground Crickets Or Tiny Crickets
Ground crickets appear during various times throughout the year. Ground Crickets are omnivores that feed on plants and insects. They may accidentally wander into the house through openings, especially since they are attracted to light sources. While individual ground crickets are not harmful, swarms of ground crickets can destroy household materials such as fabric and paper. Therefore, it is recommended to seal any openings in the house to prevent more ground crickets from invading the house. Since crickets are known to be attracted to wet areas, it is important to ventilate any areas of the house that are moist. Certain effective pesticides may be used to get rid of the ground cricket infestation, though it is advised that trained professionals should inspect the source of the ground crickets before using chemicals.
Flies in East Texas
There are many common flies in East Texas. Learn more about each one below:
There are over 80 reported species of Blow Flies in North America. They are metallic in appearance and can usually be found buzzing around any food you may have left out—especially decaying meat. They are most active during the day and are attracted to the light from windows. While they usually act as simply a nuisance in the home, they can also transmit diseases such as typhus and cholera.
With a metallic green and copper appearance that distinguishes them from house flies, Bottle Flies are still as much or more of a nuisance. These pests feed on decaying material and can be found near trash cans, animal feces, or decaying flesh. They are a concern to human health as they can spread disease.
Cluster flies, or Pollenia rudis, generally make an appearance in autumn as they fly near the sides of the home looking for a place to stay for the winter. They can enter your home in great numbers if they find an entrance. While they will probably not reproduce in your home, on warm days they may crawl out from their hiding spaces looking for a way to get back outside. Cluster flies are slightly larger than the common housefly and are a dull gray color with black markings and tiny yellow hairs on the thorax, which can give the cluster fly an overall yellow hue.
For Fruit Flies (Drosophila Fly), there is nothing better than ripening fruits in the house, which they eat and then lay eggs on top of. Not surprisingly, they are named after what they are attracted to, but they may also be found in areas where there is moist and decaying food, such as the garbage can. Therefore, it is important to dispose of and clean any produce or food that is fermenting or rotting and move all fruits and vegetables into the freezer until the infestation disappears.
House Flies are commonly found in garages, spoiled food, and even feces, but they also prefer to congregate in corners, edges, or thin objects. In the day, they may be seen on the ceiling, floors, and walls. A Housefly infestation can cause health complications since they can contaminate food and water and carry diseases like typhoid and tuberculosis. While they have a short lifespan, their population can increase rapidly. The first step to eliminate house flies in the home is to locate the main source of the infestation and then clean and remove the source to prevent house flies from breeding. It is also important to block and fix damaged areas where future flies can invade and get inside the house.
These tiny pests commonly get mistaken for fruit flies. One attribute that helps differentiate them is the humpbacked shape of their thorax. So prominent is this feature that they are often called the humpbacked fly. Another peculiar trait of these insects is that they will quickly run instead of flying off right away. These pests breed in meat, wet foods, and organic products like paints. Due to their love of wet locations they can be found around plumbing in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Also, they can spread bacteria onto your foods. Due to this disease spreading ability, hospitals and restaurants are often concerned about acquiring the pests. Ensure that you, family, friends, and guests are kept safe from the potential threat of phorid flies.
Mosquitoes in East Texas
Learn more about each type of mosquito commonly found in East Texas linked below:
Aedes Albopictus (Tiger Mosquito)
Referred to as the tiger mosquito, Aedes Albopictus is a relatively new species in North America. It has spread worldwide over the past few decades through trade and travel from Asia and carries many viral pathogens. Zika Virus, Yellow Fever Virus, Dengue Fever, and more are carried by the species. The white bands across its body make it easily identifiable, and they frequently feed on humans.
Anopheles Punctipennis (Woodland Malaria Mosquito)
Better known as the Woodland Malaria Mosquito, females prefer birds and mammals to feed on. This includes humans, and they are a major vector for malaria in North America. They also spread disease among deer populations.
Culex is a genus of mosquito that transmits West-Nile Virus and encephalitis in the United States. They are some of the most common mosquitos encountered in major U.S. cities including Los Angeles. Culex mosquitos occur worldwide in places that aren’t in the extreme north of temperate zones.
Rodents in East Texas
There are many common rodents in East Texas. Learn more about them below:
Deer mice, or Peromyscus maniculatus, are found throughout North America and prefer to dwell in woodlands. They range from 7-10 cm in size and have brown fur with a red tint and white underbelly fur. If a deer mouse is infesting your home, it will likely be nesting in your attic, basement, or crawlspace, as these spaces are similar to their preferred nesting space in hollow logs or tree holes. Deer mice actively hoard food for their nests, so if you notice a torn package, tiny bite marks, or even missing snacks, you may be facing a deer mouse infestation.
House mice are usually smaller than rats, measuring around 2-4 inches long and may travel through small cracks and openings in the house. While they are not known to be hostile, they may be harmful since their feces and urine can transmit diseases. House Mice may be difficult to remove from the house because they tend to hide in secretive places. Fortunately, our trained team can identify and secure the source. Once we know the source, we will seal to prevent mice from roaming to other areas of the house. Then we may set traps to decrease the mice population, and we also may use chemical or non-chemical methods. Though we understand that we need to investigate the mice infestation first before proceeding with the steps of removing the house mice.
While there are a wide variety of species of mice, their overall appearance is very similar. Most mice range from 5-10 inches in length. Their ears are much larger than rats, particularly in comparison to their small frames. A few common mice found in Indiana are house mice, field mice, deer mice, and wood mice. Most mice find their way indoors through minor cracks, open doors, windows, wall cavities, etc. While the presence of mice may not strike as much fear in humans as rats do, they still present a large threat to the home or business owner.
Norway rats have shaggy brown or gray fur with a tail that is shorter than their head and body. They live in underground nests but may travel into the house for food. Since they are omnivorous, Norway rats can be seen eating fish, grains, fruits, and nuts, and they build their nests close to water sources. If you spot Norway Rats during the day (they generally hide during this time), this is a specific indication that you may be dealing with a Norway Rat infestation. These infestations can weaken the interior of the house from the clawing that occurs when these rodents build their nests. You may hear squeaking and clawing sounds that are coming from inside the walls of your home. Another issue is that Norway rats may also carry fleas that can transmit deadly diseases to people and other animals. To stop Norway rats from entering the house, eliminate food and water sources and seal any cracks in the house.
When facing a rat infestation, you are most likely to identify a Norway rat or a Roof rat, the most common species of rats in the United States. Norway rats are larger and thicker in comparison to the long, thin build of the Roof rat. In contrast, the Roof rat has much larger ears and eyes in comparison to the smaller features of the Norway rat. Rats can hide around the structures and foundations of walls, in bushes, attics, etc.
Indigenous to the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia, squirrels are a common sight across the world. While they are considered cute by many, they can also cause plenty of problems. They can make nests in homes and cause damage in much the same way rats can by burrowing into walls and chewing through wires and anything else in their paths. Gecko uses Have-A-Heart live traps and relocates these pests.
Stinging Insects in East Texas
There are many stinging bugs and insects living in East Texas. Learn more about some of the most common varieties below:
These hornets live in large colonies and are known to be quite aggressive. They will sting anything and everything that gets in their space. They have smooth stingers, which means they can sting many times without losing their stingers. Bald-faced Hornets typically build paper-like nests at least a few feet off the ground. If you come across a nest, do not attempt removal by yourself, as it can be extremely dangerous. Professional pest care should be contacted to try to remove Bald-faced Hornets.
Carpenter bees are often entirely black, or mostly black with yellow and white. These bees are about 0.5-1 inch long. Due to their similar appearance, carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumblebees. Carpenter bees create their nests in wood, such as trees, doors, windowsills, railings, and wooden lawn furniture. Carpenter bees begin a nest by creating a one-inch hole in the wood and then changing directions to make tunnels within the wood. Female carpenter bees can sting.
Cicada killer wasps dig underground burrows where they can leave food for their young. While not aggressive, their stings are meant to paralyze cicadas and are fairly painful. Where cicada killers cause the most damage is with their tunnels, which are extensive and displace several pounds of dirt. If located near tiled patios or gardens, they can cause structural damage and stunt plant growth. Proper pest control is a must to avoid problems early on.
One of the more feared insects within our area is the Common Wasp. This yellow-headed bug fashions a black back, thorax, and stripes on its yellow abdomen. Homeowners frequently find these critters nesting in gardens, meadows, and wooded areas. Despite their small size, they can have a significant impact. Their papery homes can house up to 10,000 workers and when in collaboration, these tiny insects can have quite an impact. Ensure that you, your loved ones, and pets are kept away from such risks.
Despite its name, Europe is not the only area this hornet frequents. It was originally introduced in New York from Europe in the 1800’s, hence the name. These insects are unique in the fact that they can be found flying around long after the sun has gone down. This is an uncommon action for stinging insects. These hornets can be identified by their noticeably larger size when compared to a yellow jacket wasp. Instead of the jet black, they sport a warmer brown that contrasts against yellow abdomens. Their colonies do not span to the size of wasps. Instead, they can range from 200-400 hornets per colony. Be sure to check structures like barns, outhouses, and attics. Even though they may not be as aggressive as some insects, like yellow jackets, these bugs still sting!
Honey bees are light brown insects that live in large honeycombs made from wax and produce honey. While they can be described as having a light brown color, there are slight variations on their bodies that range from light to dark. Additionally, Honey Bees are ranked. The queen bee oversees the hive and may send chemical messages to guide the worker bees, a group of females that pollinate and collect pollen from flowers. The drones are male bees responsible for mating with the queen bee. Their hives are usually found in nearby trees and rocks. It is not common for honeybees to hibernate during the winter, though the queen honey bee may remove Drones from the hive to help the colony survive. While Honey Bees are necessary for pollination and ecology, it is not pleasant to be stung by a honey bee, especially since it may induce an allergic reaction. Fortunately, a beekeeper can examine the nest and remove it. Though, the process of removing a nest may take longer depending on the size of the honey bees’ nest. Gecko refers calls about Honey bees to local beekeeper associations and only treats when bees are a health threat and can not be removed.
Yellow Jacket Wasp
One of the most aggressive wasps, the yellow jacket won’t think twice about defending its home from any potential intruders. Some people may wonder, “How am I supposed to differentiate all of these bugs?” A key trait of the yellow jacket is its thin “waist” or area between the abdomen and thorax. Especially because of the recent desire to help save the bee population, we want to be able to identify insects as accurately as possible. These wasps frequently inhabit man-made structures like crawlspaces, attics, and the crevices of houses or other buildings. Caution is recommended in the case that you believe you may have a yellow jacket infestation. These aggressive insects can sting and leave you with painful swelling. For people that may be allergic, the sting can be fatal and require immediate medical attention.
Spiders in East Texas
There are numerous species of spiders in East Texas. Learn more about some of the most common ones below:
Argiope Aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider)
Known commonly as the yellow garden spider, the Argiope Aurantia is prevalent throughout North America. This spider tends to be a homebody, spreading wide webs wherever it lives and rarely moving far away. They aren’t very aggressive creatures, but if disturbed, they may bite, which feels similar to bee sting.
Ant Mimic Spider
The Ant Mimic Spider is just as it sounds. It looks and acts like an ant—with similar coloring and even walking with its front legs raised like antennae. Their slender bodies cause them to produce fewer eggs, which means they lay more egg sacs than other types of spiders.
Black Widow Spider
The name for these venomous arachnids comes from the female’s tendency to eat the male after mating. They are widely feared as the most venomous spider in North America, as their bite is known to be 15 times more venomous than a rattlesnake bite. Death from a Black Widow Spider bite is very rare. However, reactions vary per individual based on the person’s sensitivity and health. If a Black Widow Spider is to venture into a house, it will probably be found in a basement, garage, or crawlspace. It is reminded that these occasions are rare. If you are keeping an eye out for these bugs, the females can be easily spotted. Known for their shiny black shell, they are identified by their infamous red hourglass marking.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders can be a whitish, dark brown, or black-gray color and have a marking resembling a violin on their dorsal side. These spiders only have six eyes, as opposed to having eight eyes like most spiders. Brown recluse spiders are typically between 6-20 mm. These spiders inhabit dry and undisturbed areas, such as woodpiles, sheds, garages, cellars, closets, dressers, and shoes. The spiders leave their webs to hunt for soft-bodied insects. Their venom is necrotic; its bite may require medical attention.
Brown Widow Spider
Brown Widow spiders are similar to Black Widow spiders. The difference lies in their brown appearance, tan and brown striped legs, and the missing red hourglass marking on its back. Unlike Black Widows, Brown Widows tend to make webs in more open areas, increasing the potential for humans to be bitten.
Fishing Spiders grow to be quite large, their legs stretching out 3 inches. These intimidating pests get their name from their affinity to water and predatory nature. They can hunt on land and underwater, being able to stay underneath the surface for as long as 30 minutes! Fishing spiders can bite, so seek out the help of professional pest control to clear out these water-loving pests.
The Harvestman Spider is more commonly known by the nickname, “ daddy longlegs.” The Harvestman spider is largely harmless, being a beneficial predator and unable to bite or produce venom.
Ever see a massive spider and assume it was a tarantula? There is a substantial chance that it was actually a wolf spider. Wolf spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas due to their large, hairy bodies. Despite their intimidating presence, these arachnids come in handy when dealing with other pests. Naturally a hunter, the wolf spider pounces on its prey instead of using a typical spider web to ensnare insects. They will consume things like grasshoppers, beetles, and even other spiders. It is uncommon for wolf spiders to bite a human unless threatened. The bite will not usually affect a healthy adult; however, if it bites a child or individual with a weak immune system, effects may be more serious. Wolf spiders are found in areas like leaf piles, tall grassy clearings, and under lumber or rocks. To escape the extreme weather, they may wander into your home.
Yellow Sac Spider
A nocturnal hunter, the Yellow Sac spider rests in a sac during the day. This spider is a particularly hazardous pest due to its tendency to bite humans. Yellow Sac spiders account for the majority of spider bites in humans. These bites are not particularly dangerous, but they do produce large, red sores followed by white pustules.
Termites in East Texas
These tiny pests cost East Texas homeowners millions every year in damage. Learn more about the most common termites below:
Alate Termites (Swarmers)
Alates are a caste of termites. There are workers, soldiers, and alates. Alates—also called swarmers—are winged termites. They are reproductive termites that make use of their wings to explore new areas to start new colonies. One sign of a termite infestation is finding the discarded wings of alates on window sills and near light fixtures.
Dampwood termites are attracted to water-damaged wood or wood that sets right on the earth. Due to this aspect, common places to find these pests are stumps, logs, and other rotting tree debris. Other critical spots for them are areas in your home that may be affected by water leaks. These pests can weaken the structure of a building by devouring beams from inside. Their work is done silently, and like all termites, it is hard to locate before it is too late. Dampwood termites build their entry points with their own feces. Frequently, when one finds these pests in their home, fungus is close by due to the termites being attracted to damp wood.
These pests can cause severe damage to homes and other buildings before homeowners even notice them. Just like the subterranean termites, they enter homes through exposed wood. However, what causes them to be different is that all the moisture they need to survive is sourced from the air’s humidity. As we all know, Indiana does get humid, which is unfortunate for us, but a blessing for the drywood termite. This termite also doesn’t need soil to nest. Instead, they reproduce above the earth in the infested wood. It is crucial to check all wooden furniture before bringing it into your home. These termites are known to infest furniture and later spread throughout the building.
Eastern Subterranean Termites
The Eastern Subterranean termite is the most widely spread type of termite in North America. These pests will generally swarm during springtime and consume the inner, softer parts of trees and wooden structures, leaving a weak shell behind. Because of this, Eastern Subterranean termites can be hard to detect and very destructive without careful detection by a pest control professional.
Formosan termites are regarded as the most aggressive type of termite, chewing through all types of wood and paper structures and objects. They even carry the nickname, “super termites.” Keep an eye out for the discarded wings of swarmers around window sills and light fixtures. Also, their tunneling through wood will cause it to make a hollow sound when tapped. They consume wood at such an incredible rate that your best chance at beating an invasion of Formosan termites is early detection.
These termites are one of the most destructive, causing 95 percent of all termite-oriented damage in North America. These pests live in the earth under and around your home. They can enter a household through the wood that is touching the ground or by making their own passageways. Their paths usually consist of mud tubes that allow them to infest the wood of your house. Any cracks in your home can also serve as a point of entry for these pests. Beyond destroying your home, these termites will also devour paper products and other plant-based items you may have.
More Common Pests in East Texas
There are many more common pests that call East Texas home. Learn more about these critters below:
Centipedes, unlike their name suggests, do not all have exactly 100 legs, but anywhere between 30-354 legs. The number of legs is dependent on how many body segments the centipede has. Centipedes are most often shades of brown or red. Centipedes are venomous creatures that most often prey on insects, worms or spiders. If centipedes enter your home, they would likely be found in bathrooms, closets, basements, or other damp and dark areas. Centipedes are nocturnal, which makes an infestation difficult to spot.
Clover mites are tiny pests that feed on plants and occasionally invade homes. However, clover mites that infest homes will reproduce and quickly perish because they are unable to properly survive in indoor conditions. They do not attack people but can cause quite a nuisance if they are able to reproduce inside your home. Clover mites are larger than most mites that feed on plants, measuring in at about 0.75 mm long. They have an elongated first pair of legs and are identified by their “greenish” coloring. You will likely find these mites on windowsills on the sunny side of a home, and they will move incredibly quickly if spotted.
Dermestids feed on dry animal or plant material, such as skin or pollen, animal hair, feathers, dead insects, and natural fibers. They come in many forms and can cause major damage to natural fibers in homes and businesses.
There is an urban legend of Earwigs causing people to become mad after it crawls into the brain. Though this pest may look creepy, they are harmless. Earwigs are known to have a brown or black shell with a hard pincher used to defend itself. They are nocturnal insects usually found outside but may come inside due to decayed matter or a source that is saturated with oil or grease. Other times, there may be an area that is extremely wet and humid that provides the perfect condition for Earwigs to congregate. It also may be helpful to seal any cracks where Earwigs may hide.
Also known as common starlings, these birds were introduced in New York in 1890. The original 60 birds have now swelled to a population estimated at over 150 million, and these birds are a common sight across North America. Starlings can make a variety of noises from whistles and chirps to mimicking the calls of other species. They mostly feed on insects but will eat seeds, grains, fruits, and more.
Fungus Gnats have a black body that looks similar to mosquitoes. It prefers to live in humid and moist potted plants, feeding and hatching their eggs in the soil’s decaying matter. Once the larvae hatch, it verges out to find new areas to live. While they are harmless, Fungus Gnats can be irritating because they may try to fly into people’s mouths, eyes, or noses since they are attracted to moisture. The first step to eliminating Fungus Gnats is locating their home, most likely inside of the plant’s soil. Next, observe the Fungus Gnats’ food source. If you notice that the plant has too much water, drain the water and look for decaying material. Remove this material from the pot. If you notice a build-up of fungus, throw away the plant.
Indian Meal Moth
Indian meal moths are commonly found in kitchens and pantries since they tend to feed on grain and cereal products. There are different life cycles of Indian Meal Moths: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Larvae may dig through bags of rice and seed. Adult Meal Moths have a gray top with a gold-rusty brown near its lower body. Indian Meal Moths have a short lifespan of 5-7 days, and females lay around 350-500 eggs. Manufacturers may inspect the dry food, but sometimes they may not detect Indian meal moths. Thus, an infestation may occur in the house. There are also cases where they have crawled into dry food at the store. The first step is to find its food source, which usually means looking in the cupboard or where food is typically thinly covered. It is important to check to see if there are any larvae and pupae in cracks of the cupboard or walls. Then seal the food tightly to prevent future infestations.
Millipedes are arthropods that are characterized by their two long leg segments. They may be found under dead leaves or grass clippings. They especially love damp areas because of the moisture it provides, so they tend to dwell in crawl spaces such as basements, ceilings, or sliding windows. Millipedes are beneficial because they remove dead plants and animals from the environment. However, they are a nuisance to have in the house. They are usually seen in the house during spring and fall and may enter the house through various openings like cracks under doors or windows. There are no obvious indicators of a millipede infestation, but millipedes are attracted to areas where decomposition is occurring, like under mulch or dead leaves. If a few millipedes are present, they can be removed by using a vacuum cleaner. It may also be helpful to dry areas where millipedes have been spotted.
Much more commonly referred to as stink bugs or shield bugs, these are a season-long pest in orchards. While some of these species are beneficial to crops and are predatory to other pests, the species in North America are among some of the most common pests around. The brown marmorated stink bug is common in Indiana and is a nuisance not only because of crops, but because they invade homes in the Fall to avoid cold temperatures.
Known for their strange shape, sow bugs—or pill bugs—are easy to identify and frequently go by the name “roly-polies.” The pill bugs are scavengers and can survive and thrive off of decaying organic matter. Like many pests, they are drawn to wet areas and like to take cover as much as possible. Some common areas they frequent are under boards, stones, and stumps. They will even wander into basements and the first floor of homes if conditions permit. If your home isn’t properly sealed, they will intrusively welcome themselves through door thresholds and concrete walls. Seeing sow bugs indoors is a sign of a nearby breeding spot. Due to their reliance on moisture for survival, they won’t be able to live inside for an extended period unless your home provides for such conditions.
Despite their name, these “fish” are actually pests that are frequently found in dark areas. Their favorite household locations include basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. Silverfish are attracted by damp clothing and paper, and by snacking on them they can ruin these belongings and more. They will feast on anything from shampoo to cloth in your home. Unfortunate households acquire these unwanted guests thanks to damp locations, unwashed dishes, and sometimes even by homeowners unknowingly carrying them inside when transporting items from an infested area. Even though they are not dangerous to have around, silverfish can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Similar to fleas, these vermin jump to get from point A to point B. Just one single motion can send the springtail a distance of 10 centimeters! They are typically found indoors during the dry months of summer or after a downpour of rain. Springtails seek out damp and humid areas, making Indiana the perfect fit for them. Your home may also attract them, since they are drawn to light. Despite looking similar to fleas, they do not bite like them. Springtails are not harmful whatsoever but can become an annoyance especially if they find a spot to breed. Once they multiply, they stick to large groups and can become aggravating to family members. If you suspect a springtail problem, it is recommended that you call in assistance, since removing these pests can be especially tricky if present in large amounts.
Commonly less than 6 mm and herbivores, weevils can wreak havoc on agriculture. They damage and kill crops, making them a pest all around the world. Rice and cotton are the most common crops they damage, with their larvae ruining many cotton crops worldwide.
Though they may not look or be as friendly as ladybugs—in fact they are quite brutal hunters—wheel bugs are just as beneficial. These insects are some of the larger terrestrial bugs in North America, and they eat many of the most common garden and crop pests. They hide as much as possible in dark or shady areas of the garden or yard and hunt during the day. Gardeners must be careful using wheel bugs as pest control though, as they also feed on beneficial insects like lady beetles and honey bees in addition to unwanted pests.