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Why It Is Important To Accurately Identify Filthy Australian Cockroaches That Invade Homes Through Drains

In most US states, German, American, Oriental and brown-banded cockroaches are the most common home invading roach species, as all four are found throughout the contiguous US, and they are the only four roach pests found in much of the northern half of the country. However, in the southern states, several other cockroach species are well known for frequently establishing indoor infestations, some of which include Turkestan, Surinam, brown and Asian cockroaches. Of all cockroach pest species that inhabit only the southern half of the US, the Australian cockroach is the most common home invader.

A 2016 survey of pest control professionals in all US states found that the Australian cockroach was the fourth most commonly encountered roach within homes, which is surprising considering this species can only be found in the subtropical southeastern states. According to the survey’s results, the Australian cockroach was even more common than the brown-banded cockroach within homes. The Australian cockroach is the most common roach pests found in homes throughout Florida, and they are particularly abundant in southern Louisiana as well.

Australian cockroaches are of African origin, and they likely arrived in North America for the first time centuries ago by hitching rides on colonial slave ships. This species thrives in tropical and subtropical climates, and their lack of tolerance for cold weather motivates them to seek warm shelter within southeastern homes during the winter. Much like Oriental, smokybrown and American cockroaches, Australian cockroaches congregate in sewer systems where the warmth and abundance of food in the form of feces, dead skin, hair and rotting food scraps allow the pests to thrive. Unsurprisingly, Australian cockroaches are notable for thriving in pipes, sinks, septic lines, and they frequently appear in toilet bowls.

Residents of Louisiana often spot harmless non-pest cockroach species that accidentally wander indoors or fly toward artificial lights. It is important to avoid confusing Australian cockroaches with these non-pests, as Australian roaches spread numerous disease-causing microorganisms to human food sources and indoor surfaces by virtue of their filthy hangouts. Australian cockroaches resemble American cockroaches due to their relatively large 1 to 1 ½ inch body size and their reddish-brown to dark brown coloration. Unlike most cockroach pest species, Australian cockroaches are capable flyers.

Have you ever encountered cockroaches in your toilet bowl?

Why Proper Ventilation Alone Is Not Enough To Prevent Subterranean Termites From Infesting Structural Wood Within Crawl Spaces

Subterranean termites dwell in moist soil beneath the ground surface where workers forage away from their colony nesting sites. Generally, subterranean termites feed on natural sources of rotting and woody plant debris, such as dead roots, twigs, and bark. Occasionally, however, subterranean termite workers stumble upon timber-framed homes that offer enough wood to feed numerous generations of subterranean termite pests. Due to their high-moisture habitat within ground soil, subterranean termites are highly dependent on moist conditions in order to survive, and it is for this reason that the destructive insect pests favor damp and decayed structural wood over sound and dry structural wood as a food source.

Many homeowners may assume that the structural lumber components that make up their home have not become compromised by moisture saturation, but it does not take much moisture absorption to make structural wood vulnerable to subterranean termite attacks. Naturally, subterranean termites will readily feed on structural lumber that has become directly exposed to free water as a result of plumbing or rainwater leaks, but exposure to a few years of air humidity is enough to make structural wood vulnerable to subterranean termite attacks. This is especially true in Louisiana and other subtropical southeastern states where humidity levels are excessively high year round.

Of all areas within a home, the structural lumber components that become saturated with moisture most rapidly include columns, support piers, floor joists, beams, and subflooring within crawl spaces. This is because evaporating ground water becomes trapped within crawl spaces where it builds up and absorbs into structural wood. Spreading a plastic or vinyl sheet over the ground soil in crawl spaces will minimize the amount of water vapor that rises into structural lumber components. In order to maintain proper ventilation, vegetation should not obstruct crawl space openings, but ventilation alone is not sufficient to protect a home from subterranean termite infestations, as outside air is also quite humid. However, using a dehumidifier to maintain a relative humidity level between 55 and 65 percent is ideal for preventing wood in crawl spaces and other indoor areas from becoming vulnerable to subterranean termite infestations.

Have you taken measures to reduce the relative humidity in your crawl space?

 

Everything Residents Need To Know About The Longhorn Crazy Ant Species That Frequently Establishes Indoor Infestations That Are Incredibly Difficult To Eliminate

Paratrechina longicornis is an ant species that is better known as the “longhorn crazy ant,” or the “black crazy ant.” This ant species’ native home cannot be determined with certainty, but compelling evidence that has recently been brought to light suggests that the longhorn crazy ant species originated from Southeast Asia, and not Africa, as was the belief among entomologists for decades. Many entomologists and pest control professionals refer to this species as being invasive in the United States, and while it is certainly a non-native species in the country, the presence of longhorn crazy ants does not seem to have a detrimental effect on the various ecosystems where they have established a thriving non-native population. That being said, the longhorn crazy ant is a “tramp ant” that has established a non-native population throughout much of the world, and they are significant agricultural crop pests.

Longhorn crazy ants are now considered to be major nuisance pests in every area of the US where their colonies can be found. The Gulf Coast states see the greatest abundance of longhorn crazy ants by far, but these ant pests maintain a significant pest presence along the mid atlantic and up into the northeastern states, and they can be found in homes located in every region of the contiguous US, including Hawaii. These ants have also been found in Sweden and well into Canada. Surprisingly, the longhorn crazy ant is considered by most research entomologists to be the most widely distributed of all ant species worldwide, with the possible exception of the Pharaoh ant. This species’ ability to rapidly spread and adapt to a variety of unnatural urban environments is one of several reasons as to why eliminating longhorn crazy ant infestations within homes is very challenging. The longhorn crazy ant is dark in color and exceedingly small at 1.5 to 3 mm in length, but their unusually erratic and fast movements make them easy to identify without the aid of a microscope. The longhorn crazy should not be confused with the Tawny or raspberry crazy ant species that has also established an invasive habitat in the southeastern US.

Have you ever found tiny ant pests that had crawled into your keyboard?

 

 

 

 

How Fly Pests Can Be Controlled With Exclusion Methods

Along with cockroaches, termites and ants, flies are the most commonly encountered insect pests within homes. Some of the most common fly pests of homes include drain flies, fruit flies, cluster flies, blow flies, and of course, house flies. The fly species that commonly infest homes do not differ much by region, as flies are the most widely distributed insect pests in the world.

Many pest control professionals agree that flies are among the most difficult insect pests to eliminate from infested homes, and this is largely due to the relative lack of effective pest control methods that have been developed to eradicate large numbers of indoor flies. For example, there is no easy way to deliver insecticides to every fly pest and their numerous eggs within an infested structure.

Many fly pests are also capable of reproducing rapidly on decaying organic matter within various areas within homes, such as food scraps and sugary fluids in garbage and recycle bins, behind and below appliances and furniture, and buildup in drains and garbage disposals. This is why sanitation is key for preventing fly pest issues within homes.

While well sanitized homes will make indoor conditions less inhospitable to fly pests, and prevent them from reproducing, a preventative pest control method aptly known as “exclusion” will keep fly pests from entering homes in the first place. Exclusion involves the elimination of possible entry points on the exterior of homes that flies can use to access interior living areas.

In some cases, large numbers of fly pests that reproduce near homes will invade homes solely for temporary shelter. Fly species like face flies, cluster flies and fruit flies invade homes in large numbers during the fall and winter season for the sole purpose of establishing warm shelter for the duration of the winter season.

When outdoor conditions are cold, these fly pests remain hidden in inaccessible indoor areas, such as wall voids, tight attic spaces, and beneath floorboards. When the outdoor climate becomes warmer, these fly pests emerge in large numbers from their hiding spots in order to make it back outside. This occurs frequently in Louisiana homes where the winter weather alternates between cold and warm days. Installing screens on attic vents, and crawl space openings, installing door sweeps, and sealing cracks, crevices and other entry points on a home’s exterior are all examples of exclusion methods.

Are their points on your home’s exterior that provide flies with access indoors?

How Homeowners Can Help To Protect Their Homes From Argentine Ant Infestations

Iridomyrmex humilis, or the Argentine ant, as the species is more commonly known, is an invasive ant pest that has become well established throughout Louisiana. As their common name makes clear, these ants are native to South America, and they were first documented in Louisiana during the late 19th century after colonies were recovered in New Orleans. Argentine ants have been transported into Louisiana numerous times on shipments of nursery stock arriving at the Port of New Orleans from South America. This ant species continues to spread to new areas by means of human transport, as colonies contain millions of workers and hundreds of queens that easily infest cars, boats and recreational vehicles.

Once these ants arrive in a new area, queens immediately begin reproducing while workers set about constructing new nesting sites. These ants are notable for their massive colony size and their habit of traveling long distances in clustered masses that pest control professionals are often powerless to stop. Because of this, area-wide pest control efforts are often necessary for halting this species further spread into new urban and suburban areas. However, there are plenty of things that homeowners can do to protect their homes from Argentine ant infestations.

Argentine ants forage on the ground and within trees, and they establish new colonies beneath rocks, bundles of plant matter, fallen branches, concrete slabs, landscaping ornaments, and mulch. Nomadic clusters of Argentine ants contain countless queens that continuously establish colonies while the larger mass continues to migrate to new territories. Because of this unique dispersal behavior, Argentine ant colonies are interconnected over their entire habitat, which can span several hundred square miles. Argentine ants often establish harborages in decayed wood, particularly wood siding that has become saturated with moisture. In order to prevent wood siding from becoming hospitable to Argentine ants, shrubbery should be regularly trimmed to prevent moisture from building up within siding and other sources of wood on the external walls of homes.

Has your neighborhood ever been invaded by Argentine ants?

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