Photo by: Peter Hershey
Everyone has encountered a pest more than once in their life. You may have even called for cockroach or termite control if the infestation had become too much for you to handle with DIY methods. There are various types of pests that one may have to deal with through pest control (sorry, other pests such as an annoying neighbour aren’t covered), and identifying them is extremely helpful in both prevention and cure.
What is a Pest?
A pest is an animal or a plant that harms humans, their living conditions, and food. Pests can come in many forms, such as:
- Disease-causing micro-organisms and parasites, for instance mosquitoes that cause dengue and malaria;
- Animals that damage stored items, such as those that nibble on stored food, clothes, and wiring;
- Insects that eat crops such as grasshoppers and some caterpillars;
- Insects that can damage structures (i.e., buildings and houses) especially the well-known timber-enemy, termites, and;
- Insects that bite people and cause rashes and infections.
The Different Kinds of Home Pests
Pests range from annoying to fatal, and can affect you and your family in so many ways. There are so many creatures that count as pests, but theses
A mosquito has a single pair of wings – as it belongs to the same group of true flies, Diptera. Typically, it has long, thin legs and a head with a prominent antenna where its body and pair of wings is covered in scales.
Female mosquitoes are the ones that feed on blood to generate eggs. As such, they are the ones that are likely to spread possibly-fatal diseases such as dengue and malaria. However, what people don’t know about mosquitoes, both adult males and females, is that they also feed on flowers’ nectars. Another is that some of their species are cannibals and will eat other mosquitoes.
Adult mosquitoes are particularly active from dusk until dawn, or whenever it is that the sun doesn’t shine most (due to the fact that they might desiccate and die) – thus, the wet season. They may also hide in the corners of your room, or in containers that are left open as immatures’ presence are mostly likely to be found in still water.
RATS AND MICE
Rats and mice came from the largest rodent species, family Muridae. They are both warm-blooded mammals that is found in almost everywhere – they best identified for their oversized front teeth that they use for gnawing, and check teeth for chewing.
Rats that are usually found at home are brown in color and can weigh for about half a kilo. Rats are wary of the new things in their surroundings – such as baits and traps, and other rat control measures – this is because they have well developed senses of touch, taste, and smell. Additionally, they have a strong sense of hearing, where they use ultrasound to communicate, and become sensitive to particular sudden noise.
Rats are known to be home wreckers – as they damage cable wires, woodworks, plastic, bricks and lead pipes. They usually settle in places such as roof spaces, under floorboards, and wall cavities.
Mice, on the other hand, like rats are part of the rodent species. Notably, they invade homes to find water, food, and warmth, plus they are most likely to dwell near food sources – preferably under large appliances, closets, cabinets, storage boxes, and other furniture.
These pests are known to wreck various areas in a home– on your ceilings, walls, furniture, appliances, and of course, your roof. But it doesn’t end there; they can also affect your health through contamination and infections that can lead to serious diseases. One of those is Leptospirosis, which is transmitted by eating food that is contaminated with urine from infected rodents.
Termites are known to be ‘silent destroyers’ as they tend to harm wooden structures without immediate signs. The reason being: they are cellulose-food consumers.
The three most common known termite types are subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. They may feed on plants and wood – although they may also feed on paper, plastic, and drywall – as long as they get cellulose. Cellulose, on the other hand, is an organic fiber mostly found on wood and plant matter.
These three types may be distinguished according to their locations as subterranean termites prefer softwoods, dampwood termites on the other hand, prefers moist, decaying wood, and drywood termites are largely found on attics, as they require a bit of moisture in the food that they consume.
Cockroaches are well-known to be home invaders. They crawl, climb, and fly around your home carrying diseases such as dysentery, salmonellosis, gastroenteritis, and typhoid – thus they are considered as pests. Interestingly, some species of cockroaches are beneficial to the environment as they also recycle decaying materials. Furthermore, they are most likely to be found in the kitchen as that’s where there’s an abundance of food and water.
Bed bugs are mostly flat and reddish-brown in color, however, they tend to look swollen after a blood meal. The feed on blood and can survive even after a year without a meal. They are most likely found in mattress seams, sheets, electrical outlet plates, furniture, and picture frames. They can also be found in luggage and briefcases if not usually cleaned, or are stored in places that the pests may occupy. Thing is, you can actually pick them up in almost everywhere as they are that good in hiding – even in your clothes.
Usually, bed bugs bite their victims during the night when they are fast asleep. Fortunately, bed bugs are not known to be disease-carrying insects.
Pest control is crucial – as often times, pests will occupy almost every corner of your home and even you. As such, it is only essential to understand and identify these species to further prevent them from spreading and harming your home.