Honey Bees

Honey bees are social insects found all over the world. They are beneficial insects because of their role in pollination. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S.


Pest Stats

 Color

Predominantly golden-yellow with brown bands

 Legs

6

 Shape

Oval; bee shape

 Size

1/2

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout U.S.


Habits

Honeybees are active pollinators, and produce honey which feeds their young in colder months. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.


Habitat

Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests. They often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys.


Threats

Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.


Honey Bee Prevention

Honey bee management should be addressed by a professional. Treatment or removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a honey bee pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

Honey Bees

Honey Bees

Africanized ("Killer") Bees


What Are Africanized Killer Bees?

The Africanized bee is a hybrid species of the Western honey bee. These so-called “killer” bees were established when bees from southern Africa and local Brazilian honey bees mated. The Africanized bee was first identified in Brazil in the 1950s, but it quickly spread through Central and South America after a handful of swarms escaped quarantine. The first Africanized bees in the United States were discovered in 1985 at an oil field in California. Then, in 1990, the first permanent Africanized bee colonies arrived in Texas from Mexico. Today, Africanized honey bees are found in southern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, western Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and central and southern Florida.


Africanized honey bees are dangerous stinging insects that have been known to chase people for more than a quarter of a mile once they get excited and aggressive. This is why they earned the nickname “killer bee.”


Pest Stats

Color

Golden-yellow with darker bands of brown.

Legs

6

Shape

Oval; bee shape

Size

1/2

Antennae

Yes

Region

Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico


What Do Africanized Bees Look Like?

Africanized "killer" bees look so much like domestic honey bees that the only way to tell the two apart is by measuring their bodies. Africanized bees are slightly smaller than their counterpart. They are golden yellow with darker bands of brown.


Signs of a Killer Bee Infestation

Because Africanized honeybees look so similar to European honeybees, contacting a licensed pest control professional is the best way to know if there is an infestation. Look for signs of nests in unexpected places. Be careful around holes in the ground, especially when mowing the lawn or otherwise maintaining property. If you live within 100 miles of an area where Africanized honeybees are common, it is not recommended to approach any nest.


Africanized Bee Stings

Africanized killer bee venom is no more dangerous than that of regular honeybees. However, these bees tend to attack in greater numbers, which causes more danger to humans. If under attack by an Africanized honeybee, run quickly away in a zig zag pattern and seek shelter indoors or in a car as soon as possible. Experts do not recommend jumping in a body of water to avoid the killer bees, as they will wait above the surface for their target to emerge.


Africanized killer bees and other stinging insects sting to subdue prey or protect and defend their colonies. Killer bees are especially sensitive to disturbances. Please note that DEET and other insect repellents are not effective in protecting against killer bee stings. To prevent stings, avoid swatting at bees. Instead, blow gently from a safe distance.


Avoid attracting killer bees to certain areas by keeping both food and garbage in sealed containers. Rinse out empty food containers before throwing them away. Eliminate moisture and standing water in and around the home. Finally, avoid wearing dark colors, floral prints, loose-fitting clothes, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfume or cologne.


Reactions to stings may be localized, systemic, toxic or delayed. Symptoms of localized reactions to Africanized honeybee stings include pain, swelling, warmth, redness at sting site and itching. The onset of symptoms of a local reaction is immediate and can last from a few hours up to a week depending on the size of the reaction. Large local reactions may be accompanied by fatigue and nausea. Secondary bacterial infections may occur if stings are scratched excessively or not adequately cleaned, disinfected and medicated.


Symptoms of systemic reactions to Africanized killer bee stings include swollen red bumps on the skin, flushing of the skin and difficulty breathing. Systemic reactions range from mild to life threatening. The most dangerous type of systemic reaction is anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include itching, rashes or hives, tightness or swelling in the throat, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting and dizziness. More severe cases of anaphylaxis include symptoms such as severe shortness of breath, a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and shock. Insect stings are the leading cause of anaphylaxis-related deaths in the U.S. People experiencing anaphylaxis should seek immediate medical attention.


Habits

Africanized bees defend their colony and attack when threatened. The Africanized worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony.


Habitat

Africanized bees have small colonies, so they can build nests in unique places. They have been known to live in tires, crates, boxes, and empty cars.


Threats

Africanized killer bee venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees. However, these bees tend to attack in greater numbers, which causes more danger to humans.


How to Treat an Africanized Bee Sting

Often, Africanized killer bees swarm, causing multiple stings during an attack. Because killer bees have barbed stingers, the stinger often becomes lodged in the skin. If the stinger becomes lodged in the skin at the site of the sting, it is important to remove it as quickly as possible to curb the release of venom from the stinger. To remove the stinger, swipe the edge of a flat object like a credit card across the black stinger in the center of the welt until the stinger is dislodged. When a sting occurs, it is important to clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and cold water and apply a cold compress or ice pack. Over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used as needed to relieve pain. Antihistamines and hydrocortisone ointment can help soothe the local reaction. If the local reaction worsens, see a doctor for prescription oral steroids or antihistamines. If a more serious reaction occurs, seek emergency medical assistance or call 911. Those who have known allergies to Africanized killer bees or other stinging insects should acquire epinephrine kits, learn how to use them and carry them at all times.

Africanized ("Killer") Bees

Africanized ("Killer") Bees

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation. 


If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.


Pest Stats

 Color

Unfed adults are mahogany; engorged bed bugs are red-brown. Nymphs are nearly colorless.

 Legs

6

 Shape

Flat, broad oval when unfed; swollen and elongated when fed.

 Size

Adults are 1/4 inch long. Nymphs range from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm.

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout U.S.


Habits

Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switchplates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter. Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time in the bed bug life cycle, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.


Habitat

So where do bed bugs live? Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Beg bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains.


Threats

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.


Bed Bug Prevention

1. Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.

2. Check your bedsheets for tell-tale blood spots.

3. Consider bringing a large plastic trashbag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.

4. Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.

5. Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation if you are untrained.

6. Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.

7. Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Scorpion

Scorpions are nuisance pests that are closely related to spiders, mites and ticks. There are about 1,200 scorpion species in the world and 70 species in the United States. Of these, the most dangerous species is the Arizona Bark Scorpion, which is found in the American southwest and in Northern Mexico.


Pest Stats

 Color

Varies in shade from yellowish brown to tan

 Legs

4 pairs of legs and a pair of pinchers

 Shape

Segmented, long tail with stinger at the end

 Size

2-4” (20-100 mm)

 Antennae

No

 Region

Arid southwest and southern part of the United States


Habits

Scorpions are nocturnal pests, so they hide during the day and are most active at night. They feed primarily on insects, especially crickets and cockroaches, and they also feed on spiders. However, they can survive for months without food if water is readily available.


Habitat

Scorpions live in dry habitats, usually preferring deserts and semi-arid regions. Many species dig burrows in the soil and hide under rocks, logs or debris. During periods of hot weather, scorpions may enter homes through wall voids and take shelter in cool, moist areas like crawl spaces and attics.


Threats

Scorpions are known to sting as a defense mechanism or as a way to kill prey. Humans will usually experience mild symptoms that are similar to that of a bee sting, such as temporary pain, a burning sensation or localized swelling. However, there are a handful of species around the world that possess more dangerous venom, which can be potentially fatal to humans. The Arizona bark scorpion in the U.S. can deliver such fatal stings.

Scorpion

Scorpion

Odorous House Ants

The odorous house ant gets its name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smell it gives off when crushed. These tiny brown ants range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long.


Pest Stats

 Color

Brown or black

 Legs

6

 Shape

Segmented; oval

 Size

1/16" - 1/8"

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout U.S.


Habits

Odorous house ants like to eat sweets and are especially fond of honeydew. They are known to move their nests every three months or so in response to rain.


Habitat

Indoors, odorous house ants nest near moisture sources, such as in wall voids near hot water pipers, in heaters, beneath leaky fixtures and inside wood damaged by termites. Outside, odorous ants are often found in exposed soil or under stacks of firewood.


Threats

Odorous house ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. If you notice odorous ants in your property, contact an ant pest control specialist.


If you notice signs of odorous house ants, contact a professional immediately to discuss a proper course of odorous ant removal.


Odorous House Ant Prevention

Pests such as odorous ants are attracted to moisture. To prevent odorous house ants, eliminate standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes odorous ants use these branches to get into the home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of the foundation. Ensure firewood and building materials are not stored next to the home because odorous house ants like to build nests in stacks of wood.

Odorous House Ants

Odorous House Ants

Crazy Ants

Crazy ants get their common name from the workers' habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food.


Pest Stats

 Color

Dark brown to black with gray sheen

 Legs

6

 Shape

Long, segmented

 Size

1/16 – 1/8” (2.2 – 3.0 mm)

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

All


Habits

Crazy ants feed primarily on live and dead insects, seeds, fruits and honeydew. They are found throughout the U.S., but are confined to the indoors in the northern states because they cannot survive the winter outdoors. Caribbean crazy ants enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce their supply of honeydew.


Habitat

Crazy ants feed primarily on live and dead insects, seeds, fruits and honeydew. They are found throughout the U.S., but are confined to the indoors in the northern states because they cannot survive the winter outdoors. Caribbean crazy ants enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce their supply of honeydew.


Threats

Caribbean crazy ants do not pose a health threat, but if they gain entry to a structure, they can become a nuisance.


If you notice Caribbean crazy ants, contact a professional immediately to discuss a proper course of ant control.


Crazy Ant Prevention

To prevent Caribbean crazy ants, it is important to seal all possible points of entry around the house including small openings and cracks around doors and windows. Trim vegetation away from the home to prevent pathways inside. Food spills and other potential attractants should be cleaned up as soon as possible to avoid attracting crazy ants.

Crazy Ants

Crazy Ants

Pyramid Ants

The pyramid ant gets its common name from the pyramid projection on top of the thorax. Mature pyramid ant colonies are usually small to moderate in size, each containing one or more queens and up to a few thousand individuals. 


Pest Stats

 Color

Head and thorax are brown to reddish black; abdomen is usually darker

 Legs

Six

 Shape

Segmented; thorax with pyramid-like elevation of top surface towards rear

 Size

1/16-1/8” (1.5-3 mm)

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout the United States, but are most common in the southern states


Habits

In general, pyramid ants are highly carnivorous and predacious, readily feeding on live and dead insects. The foragers are particularly fond of honeydew and will herd honeydew-producing insects such as aphids (plantlice).


Habitat

Pyramid ants usually nest in dry, open and sunny areas, such as lawns, pastures and sandy/bare areas. They can also be found under objects on the soil. Pyramid ant nests usually have a single entrance hole and are often built near the nests of other ant species like harvester ants. Pyramid ants are not known to nest indoors, but they will occasionally forage for sweet foods in homes.


Threats

Pyramid ants do not have a stinger, but workers will occasionally bite if there are perceived threats to the colony. 

Pyramid Ants

Pyramid Ants

Carpenter ants

What is a carpenter ant?

Carpenter ants get their name from their nest building, where they will excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside of the wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, they only tunnel and chew through wood to create nests.


The western black carpenter ant colony, when mature, contains about 10-20,000 workers, with large colonies of more than 50,000 individuals. There is usually only one functional, wingless queen per colony. Swarmers are not produced until the colony is more than two years old. They are produced in the previous year and held over the winter in the nest for release the following year. Swarmers appear from May until August in the eastern United States and from February through June in the west.


Pest Stats

Color

Usually red, black or a combination

Legs

6

Shape

Segmented; oval

Size

5/8"

Antennae

Yes

Region

Throughout U.S., most common in the North


What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter ants vary in size and can be anywhere from ½” to ⅝” long. While black carpenter ants are common, these pests may be a combination of black and red, or completely black, red or brown.


Signs of an Infestation

The only external sign of a carpenter ant infestation other than the presence of workers and/or swarmers is the appearance of small openings on the surface of wood. Through these, the ants expel debris, which consists of sawdust-like shavings and/or fragments of insulation and insect body parts. The accumulation of this debris below the holes is a good indication of an active infestation. The gallery walls that carpenter ants create are smooth, with a sand-papered appearance. Active galleries are kept clean of debris.


Carpenter ants prefer to attack wood softened by fungus and are often associated with moisture problems, so homeowners should keep an eye out for excess moisture and soft, rotting wood around the home.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S. 


Pest Stats

 Color

Dark reddish brown

 Legs

6

 Shape

Segmented; oval

 Size

1/8-3/8

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Southern United States, from Maryland to Texas, California and New Mexico


Habits

These red ants build large mound nests that are flattened, irregular in shape, and between two and four square feet in size. They are commonly introduced into new areas through potted plants, shrubs and trees.


Habitat

Red imported fire ants usually nest in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping. Although these fire ants are often found outdoors, they can gain access to buildings through HVAC systems and AC units. 


Threats

Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest. The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by red imported fire ants will receive multiple stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely to red ant stings.


Red Imported Fire Ant Prevention

Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided. Interfering with a fire ant nest can cause them to sting, resulting in painful welts. To prevent red ants from entering a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants

House Fly

What is a House Fly?

The house fly is the most common fly found in and around homes. It has a worldwide distribution and is prominent in the United States. House flies are not only nuisance pests while buzzing around homes, but they are potential disease carriers. House flies have short lifespans, but they can quickly reproduce in large numbers, leading to large house fly populations if not identified and effectively controlled.


Pest Stats

Color

Dark gray

Legs

They have 6 legs

Shape

Small, oval

Size

Adults are about 1/8-1/4” (4-7.5 mm) long

Antennae

Yes

Region

Found throughout U.S.


What Do House Flies Look Like?

House flies are usually gray in appearance and display four black stripes on their thorax. Adult house flies are about 1/8-1/4” (4 to 7.5 mm) long. They have slightly hairy bodies, a single pair of wings and compound red eyes, which contain thousands of individual lenses that allow them to have wider vision. Female house flies are usually larger than males. House flies do not have teeth or a stinger. 


House fly eggs resemble small grains of rice. The eggs hatch into larvae, also known as maggots, which range in size from about ¼-3/8” (7-10 mm) long. Maggots are cream colored with a greasy appearance. When entering the pupal stage, maggots develop dark, hard outer shells, legs and wings, ultimately emerging as full-grown adult flies.


Signs of a House Fly Infestation

The most common sign of a house fly infestation is the presence of the flies, themselves. Larvae may also be seen crawling out of their breeding material as they pupate. Along with seeing house flies, people may hear them around the home. House flies produce a buzzing sounds which is a result of their two wings beating together.

House Fly

House Fly

Horse Flies

Horse flies likely received their common name because they are notorious pests of horses and other mammals. They are commonly found in both suburban and rural areas near bodies of water, which serve as breeding sites, and where mammal hosts are most abundant.


Pest Stats

 Color

Gray or blackish body, wings usually lacking dark areas but some species with entirely dark wings; eyes often large and green or purple with horizontal stripes

 Legs

6

 Shape

Stout-bodied and without bristles

 Size

About 3/8 - 1 and 1/8” (10-30 mm) long

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout North America


Habits

Adult horse flies are fast, strong fliers and capable of flying for more than 30 miles, though they generally do not disperse widely. They most often attack moving and dark objects. Horse flies often rest on paths and roads, especially in wooded areas, where they wait for potential hosts. Horse flies are attracted to light and will sometimes congregate at windows.


Habitat

Horse flies are typically woodland or forest dwellers. Species usually feed during full daylight and are most evident on windless, hot, sunny days. In general, larvae develop in wet soil close to bodies of water.


Threats

Adult horse flies typically feed on nectar, but females require a blood meal before they are able to reproduce effectively. Female horse fly bites, especially in large specimens, can be quite painful because their mouth parts are used for tearing and lapping, as opposed to mosquitoes, which simply pierce the skin and suck blood. Female horse flies are also persistent and will generally continue biting a host until they either succeed in procuring their blood meal or are killed. They are even known to chase their intended targets for short periods of time. Some species are vectors of disease organisms but in the U.S. most horse fly-vectored diseases only involve livestock.


If you notice horse flies or experience their bites, contact a professional immediately to discuss how to get rid of the infestation through a proper course of pest control.


Horse Fly Prevention

During outside activity, wear light-colored clothing and insect repellent to prevent horse fly bites. If they are entering structures, the best method of horse fly control is exclusion, including screening all doors and windows.

Horse Flies

Horse Flies

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies get their common name from their small size and fondness of some fruits. Small fruit flies are nuisance pests, but may act as disease vectors.


Pest Stats

 Color

Tan/ light abdomen

 Legs

6

 Shape

Small oval

 Size

1/8 of an inch

 Antennae

Yes

 Region

Found throughout U.S.


Habits

Fruit flies feed on decaying matter, especially fruits and vegetables.


Habitat

Fruit flies are small pests that are commonly found in homes, restaurants and other facilities where food is processed. They are found on moist, decaying matter that has been stationary for several days.


Threats

Fruit flies are found in unsanitary conditions, so they are a potential heath concern, especially when present in health facilities.


Fruit Fly Prevention

Looking to get rid of fruit flies in the home? Fruit flies are best prevented through vigilant sanitation practices. To exercise proper fruit fly management, remove kitchen trash daily, and keep counter surfaces clean.

Fruit Fly

Fruit Fly