Pest Library

Learn more about these common pests by clicking on the tabs below.

Ants

There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants are social insects that typically live in underground colonies, made up of workers and a queen. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets. Ant identification is relatively simple due to their three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Despite similar construction, ants vary in overall appearance. Small or large ants and brown or black ants are common nicknames for different species.

Crazy Ant

Identification
Crazy ants are typically reddish brown in color and are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length. They have tiny hairs on their bodies.  Known for their erratic behavior when foraging, these pests look like they’re running all over.

Food Source
Crazy ant workers are omnivorous, feeding on both dead and live insects; honeydew produced from insects, fruits, plant secretions, seeds, and a variety of household food items such as sweets, meats, grease, and liquids.

Habitat
Crazy ants will typically build their nests outdoors and will travel into homes and buildings foraging for food. However, they have been known to build their nests inside walls and even inside electrical equipment like air conditioning units. They will nest in both dry and moist areas; outside they can be found nesting in the soil, in tree cavities, under rocks, under rotten wood, and under buildings. Crazy ants don’t like and can’t survive in cold weather; they will move inside from the outside to infest homes and other structures when the weather becomes too cool for them.

Fire Ant

Identification
Fire ants can be identified by their dull red body coloration, which ranges from reddish brown to reddish black. Fire ants also have a stinger.

Food Source
Fire ants are omnivores, meaning they will feed on animal or vegetable sources of food. Known to eat meats, greasy and sweet materials; a fire ant worker’s diet includes insects, earthworms, ticks, spiders, arthropod eggs, honeydew and other sweets.

Habitat
Outdoors, they are found in soil under leaf piles, rocks, decorative borders, garbage cans, or any other safe location they can hide beneath. Inside, they frequent areas with higher moisture like water heaters or pipes. Their ability to feed on various types of food means they are all to often found in our homes contaminating stored products in the pantry.

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ant

Identification
Uniform in color from brown to black, antenna is segmented without a club, thorax is uneven, and the abdomen has one node connecting it to the thorax.  Another easy way to identify this ant is by their distinct smell of rotten coconuts when crushed.

Food Source
Outside, odorous house ants feed on honeydew excreted by aphids and on nectar from flowers and buds. Inside they feed on many different items including most items found in homes but prefer to fee on this high in sugars.

Habitat
Outdoors, they are found in soil under leaf piles, rocks, decorative borders, garbage cans, or any other safe location they can hide beneath. Inside, they frequent areas with higher moisture like water heaters or pipes. Their ability to feed on various types of food means they are all to often found in our homes contaminating stored products in the pantry.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs get their name from their habit of feeding on human hosts in bed. They are excellent hitchhikers, easily transported and are found in many different types of dwellings, which makes them difficult to control. For this reason, it is crucial that you learn how to identify bed bugs.

Bed Bugs

Identification
Adult bed bugs are about 3/16-inch long and reddish-brown, with oval, flattened bodies. Their coloration is similar to an apple seed although their size is closer to a lentil. The bugs are sometimes mistaken for ticks, cockroaches, carpet beetles or other household insects. Immature bed bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but are smaller and lighter in color. Bed bugs don’t fly, or jump like fleas, but can crawl rapidly over floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

Food Source
Bed Bugs feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents.

Habitat
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected location. The most common place to find them is beds or areas where people rest or sleep. This is especially true during the early stages of an infestation. As numbers grow larger, the bugs tend to move beyond beds into other locations, making control more difficult.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Identification
Adult Stink Bugs vary in color from gray to brown, yellow, green, red, orange, black, or a patterned mix of several of these colors. Generally, Stink Bugs are triangular or shield-shaped. They have a piercing/sucking (straw like) mouthpart tucked underneath their body.

Food Source
Most Stink Bugs are plant feeders, but there are a few species that can be predators of insects. The brown marmorated stink bug feeds most commonly on the fruiting parts of plants, but it can also feed on leaves, stems, and even pierce through some tree bark to feed.

Habitat
Stink Bugs have a large variety of host plants, but has a preference for crop plants and certain ornamental plants. Several ornamental and landscape plants are also used by the brown marmorated stink bug, including princess tree (Paulownia), maple and ash.

Carpet Beetles

Identification
Carpet Beetle adults have small scales that vary in color from yellow to orange or tannish brown accompanied by black and white patterns/spots. They are not very large. These beetles are best identified by the types of materials they are congregating near or areas where you are frequently seeing them.

Food Source
The larval stages (juveniles) feed on dried animal (fur, leather, feathers, etc.) or stored product (seeds, fishmeal, etc.) material. Adults feed primarily on pollen or nectar of plants.

Habitat
Carpet Beetles live in or on flowering plants outdoors. Inside the home, they are pests of dried plant, animal, and insect material. If you have insects dead in the windows or around the home, the carpet beetle populations can be rather large.

Earwigs

Identification
Adult Earwigs vary in color from tan to tannish brown, dark brown, or black. These insects are best identified by the pinchers they possess on the back side of their abdomen. Most earwigs appear to be wingless, but they actually possess short, visible, leathery wings as adults. Males have very curved, sickle-shaped pinchers and females’ pinchers are straight.

Food Source
Earwigs feed on different plant or animal material that can be found outdoors. The most common component of their diet is insects, particularly subterranean insects. The can feed on different fruits, veggies, and seedlings, but their appetite for insects typically outweighs their desire for these other forms of food.

Habitat
Earwigs most commonly live outdoors. They live in areas like mulch, pine straw, and other locations high in moisture. They can venture inside in search of food or water and may be an indicator of some sort of moisture issue indoors.

House Centipede

Identification
House centipedes have long, flattened bodies, which can measure as long as 1-1/2 inches long. The body is a yellowish-brown with three dark stripes running along the top of the body with lighter shading between them. The arthropods have 15 segments, and each features one pair of legs. The centipede’s legs are long, slender, and thread-like, and have black and white banding. On females, the last pair of legs is more than twice as long as the body.

Food Source
House centipedes eat common household arthropods and insects such as ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, and termites.

Habitat
Outdoors, these house centipedes are commonly seen in and under rocks, stacks of firewood, leaf litter, and tree bark. Once inside a home they are usually found in damp secluded areas such as: basements, bathrooms, crawl spaces, garage, and kitchens.

Silverfish and Firebrats

Identification
Adult Silverfish vary in color from silver to dark gray with shiny scales, and most firebrats vary from yellow to tan with patterns of tan, brown, or black. These insects are best identified by the long projections (cerci). They possess them the back side of their abdomen.  They possess a wingless, flattened body resembling a droplet of water.

Food Source
Silverfish and firebrats feed on starchy material: paper products, the glue on books, wallpaper glue, starchy foods, etc.

Habitat
Silverfish are commonly found indoors; they love areas with high moisture. Bathrooms and kitchens are two common areas where they reside. Firebrats usually like warmer, damp locations, like basements, typically near water heaters, pipe insulation, or furnaces. Both of these species can also be found outdoors in damp locations: under bark, mulch, leaf litter, rocks, etc. Libraries are also at a greater risk of having these insects due to all the available food sources.

Fleas

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. Cat fleas are the most common domestic flea, but dog fleas, human fleas and oriental rat fleas can also be found. Fleas do not fly. Instead, they use their powerful legs to jump onto a passing host. Controlling and/or exterminating fleas can eliminate an infestation.

Flea bites can result in painful, itchy red bumps. Fleas are also the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plague. Visit our pest profile below to find out more about flea extermination and control.

Fleas

Identification
The size of a flea varies between 1/12’’ to 1/6” in length and they tend to be dark red or brown in color. They are relatively flat in shape and have two antennae and six legs. They do not possess wings, although their strong legs allow them to jump long distances. While they are a small pest, fleas can typically be seen with the naked eye. Adult fleas are equipped with bristles that point backward, which allows them to move swiftly through fur, hair and feathers.  

Food Source
Fleas are small, flightless parasites that feed on the blood of various warm-blooded animals, depending on the species, and can transmit diseases to their host. 

Habitat
While pet owners are primarily at risk for flea infestations, these biting pests can also be brought onto a property via wild animals like raccoons or skunks and then make their way into a home. The eggs are deposited on your pet by the female adult flea, allowing them to fall off of your pet as they move and dispersing them throughout the areas your pet lives in. The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans.

 

Ticks

Ticks are often mistaken for insects, but they are actually arachnids. Regarding tick identification, they are classified into two categories: soft ticks and hard ticks. Soft ticks often feed on bats and birds, while hard ticks feed on humans, pets and nuisance wildlife. Regardless, if you are dealing with an infestation, the removal of ticks from your property should be handled by a professional exterminator. A professional can help you in identifying the type of ticks you are dealing with and the safest and most efficient process for tick removal.

American Dog Tick

Identification
Oval and flattened in shape, American dog ticks are brown with whitish to gray markings. As larvae, they have six legs while nymphs and adults have eight. These extremities allow them to effectively crawl through their environment, as well as animal fur and human hair. Depending on whether or not they have fed on host blood, American dog ticks can range in size from 5 mm to 15 mm.

Food Source
Also known as the wood tick, the American dog tick gets its name from the fact that adult ticks prefer to feed on domestic dogs.

Habitat
They frequent wooded areas and fields and are more common around homes and buildings in secluded or rural areas.

Blacklegged (Deer) Tick

Identification
When unengorged (i.e. not filled with blood), the female blacklegged tick is roughly 1/8”, while male ticks are slightly smaller at about 1/16”. Both male and female deer ticks have flat, oval bodies, and are not hard-shelled. Female deer ticks are orangish brown in color except for their legs, mouthparts, and scutum (shield). Unengorged, their abdomen is a dark reddish-brown color but becomes darker after feeding on a host. Male deer ticks are reddish brown overall.

Food Source
Blacklegged ticks are sometimes called deer ticks because their preferred adult host is the white-tailed deer, but will feed on humans, pets, and other local wildlife.

Habitat
Blacklegged (Deer) ticks are found primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and northcentral United States but extend into Mexico. This tick is of medical importance because of its ability to transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, human babesiosis, Powassan encephalitis, and more.

Lone Star Tick

Identification
Unengorged adult female lone star ticks are about 1/8 inches long, while males are slightly smaller. When engorged, adult female lone star ticks can be up to 7/16 inches long. Lone star ticks have reddish brown oval bodies that become slate grey when engorged. Females have a single whitish to silvery spot on their backs, whereas make lone star ticks have several inverted horseshoe-shaped whitish spots along their backs.

Food Source
These ticks attack humans more frequently than any other tick species in the eastern and southeastern states. Lone star tick bites will occasionally result in a circular rash, and they can transmit diseases. It is essential that lone star tick removal start immediately. 

Habitat
Habitat modification and the removal of hosts are key to lone star tick removal. Keep grass cut low, and trim back vegetation along trails, paths, and yard edges. Remove debris and ground cover to discourage rodents from making the yard their home.

Flies

Non-biting flies, such as houseflies, are not only nuisance pests, but they are also responsible for transmitting diseases and contaminating food. For instance, flies are capable of contaminating food and transferring more than 100 pathogens, including malaria, salmonella and tuberculosis. Food contamination is one of the main reasons that fly pest control is so important.

Fruit Fly

Identification
Fruit flies are small and oval in shape with a tan/light colored abdomen.  Only about 1/8 of an inch in size they have two wings and 6 legs.

Food Source
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.

Horse Fly

Identification
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

Food Source
Horse fly females are aggressive blood feeders, while males do not consume blood but feed on pollen and plant nectars.

Habitat
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.  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.

House Fly

Identification
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.

Food Source
House flies are general feeders, which mean they will eat everything from food to animal and human fecal matter. Because of their sponging mouths, they only feed on liquids, which means they must liquefy food through regurgitation. They are attracted to a variety of substances such as: Overripe fruit and vegetables.

Habitat
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.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches, or “roaches”, are among the most important household pests. Indoor cockroaches are known as significant pests of public health, and outdoor species that find their way inside are considered serious nuisance pests as well as potential public health pests. Cockroaches range in size from less than 1/2 inch long to almost 2 inches long and are mostly nocturnal insects that feed on a wide range of organic matter. Most cockroaches harbor within moist, dark crevices when not foraging for food. They crawl quickly and may climb rough surfaces. A few species can fly short distances or glide as adults during warm nights, but most have no wings, reduced wings, or otherwise do not fly.

People are repulsed when they find cockroaches in their homes and other buildings. Indoor infestations of cockroaches are also important sources of allergens and have been identified as risk factors for development of asthma in children, especially within multi-unit housing environments. The levels of allergens present have been directly correlated to both cockroach density and the conditions that contribute to heavy infestations, such as housing disrepair and poor sanitary conditions.

American Cockroach

Identification
Reddish brown to dark brown in coloration, they have a pale yellow band in the area behind their head. Adult male and female roaches are capable of flight.  Juveniles are similar in color to the adults but lack the ability to fly due not being fully developed.

Food Source
Omnivorous (will eat both plant and animal matter) and opportunistic, American roaches consume organic matter but are scavengers and will eat almost anything.  Although they prefer sweets, they have been seen eating papers, boots, hair, bread, fruit, book bindings, and various other things.

Habitat
Primarily found outside in trees and woods around homes, they have been known to live in sewers and storm drains.  American cockroaches are found in moist shady areas and are occasionally found under roof shingles and in attics.  They will wander indoors to search for food and water or to avoid extreme weather conditions.  They make their way into houses and apartments from sewers via the plumbing, and from trees and shrubs located alongside builders or with branches overhanging roofs.

Australian Cockroach

Identification
Resembling the American cockroach, this species can be distinguished by the presence of light yellow bands on either side of the wings.  They are red-brown to dark black to black in color with a dark yellow circle on the area directly behind their head.

Food Source
Australian cockroaches’ preferred diet are the tender parts of plants and starchy materials.

Habitat
Australian cockroaches invade the homes of the Southern United States just as frequently and aggressively as any other tropical or subtropical area. They love heat and humidity. Favorite spots around the house include heated fish tanks, greenhouses (which is why it’s also called the greenhouse cockroach) and other areas that are hot, humid and moist. Attics and crawl spaces with Australian cockroach populations are almost always associated with chronic infestations. From these areas, the roaches will regularly invade your home. It’s important to pay particular attention to these areas with this roach.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Identification
Light to medium brown, adults and juveniles can be distinguished by two brownish, broad bands across the body at the base of the abdomen and mid-abdomen. Males have wings that are the full length of the abdomen giving them the ability to fly in contrast to females, whose wings are shorter and cannot fly.

Food Source
Living exclusively indoors, the brown-banded roach is a domesticated roach that will eat almost anything.  They will eat cellulose material (including wallpaper and its glue), curtains, nylon, crumbs, and garbage.

Habitat

Preferring warm and dry locations, such as the upper walls of cabinets, near motor housings for appliances, and inside pantries, closets, and pretty much any furniture.  It is common to find them hiding nearer the ceiling than the floor and away from water sources. These roaches commonly make their way into the home by bringing in old furniture, boxes, appliances, or hiding among fresh fruits and veggies.

 

German Cockroach

Identification
German roaches are best identified by their small size and the two dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings.  These are flightless cockroaches even though they have fully developed wings.

Food Source
German roaches are scavengers that will eat just about anything.  This makes garbage a primary source of food.  They prefer sweets, grease, starches, and meat. But if food becomes scarce, they can eat soap, the glue from books, toothpaste, scum left on dishes/stoves/in sinks, and more.

Habitat

  • They are found in areas where there is moisture and a relatively high degree of warmth. Common places they reside are near dishwashers, stoves, kitchen sinks, and bathrooms. They are nocturnal and can be seen moving around infested areas at night.  If you see roaches that scatter when opening a drawer or cutting on the light in a room, you more than likely have a German roach infestation.
  • German roaches are considered hitchhikers, for the way they infest homes.  They are often introduced into the home by harboring in old appliances or furniture bought from yard sales or pawn shops.  They can also come in shipping boxes, fruit from a farmers’ market, visiting relatives and friends, and more.

Oriental Cockroach

Identification
Dark brown to jet black in their color, these roaches are flightless even with the presence of wings.

Food Source
Found feeding on sewage, garbage, decaying organic matter, and many other food sources. Inside the home, they are attracted to garbage, empty food containers, and any other filth found around the home. Water is a key component in their survival, as it is commonly found in sewers and structures with high moisture.

Habitat
 Oriental roaches are common outdoors and like to live in warm, damp, shady areas near the ground or any area containing natural debris. When found indoors, it is because they are seeking refuge due to a drop in temperature, yet they are still quite tolerable of cooler weather. Inside structures, they are commonly found in cool damp areas such as the crawl space, basement, floor drains, and under sinks. They usually find their way inside by traveling on plumbing pipes.

 

Smokey Brown Roach

Smokey Brown Roach

Identification
Dark Brown or black in coloration with a dark shiny area directly behind their head.  Juvenile roaches have a color similar to the adults later in life but will have a white band on their back and tips of their antenna when they are in their initial juvenile stages.

Food Source
 They generally feed on plant material but can feed on any organic debris once inside the home.

Habitat
Found in moisture-prone areas, they avoid areas that could dry them out as they dry up rapidly and require a constant source of water.  Found outside in in mulch, woodpiles, leaf litter, tree bark.  Inside they are often found dead due to dehydration, but will find harborage in attics, crawl spaces, greenhouses, and block walls. They can enter around doors and windows, through ventilation areas, or through any other small crack and crevice that lead inside. These roaches fly at night towards lights.  They fly from trees into your home, being attracted to any pet food or trash left out.

Surinam Cockroach

Identification
Surinam cockroaches are about one inch in length. They are dark black or brown with olive-green or dark brown wings. These cockroaches are small and stout with a shiny, shield-shaped head.

Food Source
These pests burrow into the ground and feed on plant stems and roots.

Habitat
 The Surinam cockroach is a burrowing cockroach, commonly burrowing in loose soil, humus, mold, compost piles and lawn thatch, or hiding beneath rocks, rotten branches, trash and other debris. It is considered peridomestic, found living only near human constructions or crops. It has a relatively high rate of cutaneous water loss compared to non-burrowing species of cockroaches, and is nearly exclusively associated with moist soil across its range.

Rodents

Rodents can be difficult to keep out of structures. For instance, mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter. For proper rodent pest control, seal any cracks and voids. Ensure there is proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building. All South Pest Control can help you identify ways in which a rodent may be entering your home.

Deer Mice

Identification
Deer mice are grey or tawny brown with a white underbelly and white feet. Its tail is short and covered with fine hairs. The most noticeable characteristic of the deer mouse is its white underbelly hair, which extends to the underneath of its tail.

Food Source
The deer mouse feeds at dusk and dawn, preferring insects, seeds, nuts, berries and small fruits.

Habitat
Deer mice often nest in sheltered outdoor areas such as old fence posts, hollow tree logs or piles of debris. During the winter months, deer mice may invade homes, garages, sheds or rarely used vehicles to seek shelter. Inside, attics and basements make the ideal deer mouse habitat. The deer mouse also builds its nest in storage boxes, stuffed furniture, drawers and wall voids.

House Mouse

Identification
House mice are typically dusty gray with cream-colored bellies. Fur color varies from light brown to dark gray depending on the mouse’s location. Their muzzles are pointed, and their ears are large with some hair. House mice range from 2.5 to 3.75 inches long. Their tails are usually 2.75 to 4 inches long

Food Source
In nature, mice prefer to eat cereal and seeds, but they will also eat insects, nuts and fruits. Inside structures, mice will consume almost any human food, but prefer grain based products. House mice nibble, eating only small amounts of food at a time. They generally feed at dusk and before dawn, but they may also opt to eat smaller meals in between. 

Habitat
House mice live in structures, but they can survive outdoors, too. House mice prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas and often build nests out of paper products, cotton, packing materials, wall insulation and fabrics. House mice are nocturnal, but they can be spotted in the house during the day. House mice are very inquisitive and tend to curiously investigate changes in their habitats. They will often change their established runways for this reason.

Norway Rats

Identification
Norway rats have bristly brown fur, with black hairs dispersed throughout their coat. Their underside tends to be lighter, with gray to off-white coloring and even yellow tones. Norway rats have small eyes and ears, and their tails are shorter than the length of their head and body coupled together.

Food Source
Adaptable feeders, Norway rats eat practically anything but show a preference to meat, fish and cereal. This differs from the eating habits of roof rats, which prefer fruits and vegetables. Dog food is also a favorite menu item for Norway rats Like most rodents, Norway rats are most active an hour after sunset and just before dawn. The gnawing activity of Norway rats can cause considerable damage to homes, gardens, and structures. Norway rats are carriers of serious diseases, including jaundice, rat-bite fever, and salmonella.

Habitat
When outdoors, Norway rats tend to live in fields, farmlands and structures. They frequently burrow in soil near riverbanks, in garbage and woodpiles, under concrete slabs, and along railroad embankments, streams and riverbanks. Norway rats typically enter homes in the fall when food and water sources become scarce outside. These rodents can fit through a hole the size of a quarter, easily gaining entry into homes to nest. Once inside a home, Norway rats often nest in basements, piles of debris or undisturbed materials. They also enjoy nesting on the ground floor and on the lower floors of buildings, as well as in sewers. Although they prefer settling on lower levels, Norway rats may also occasionally reside in attics, on roofs and other high points.

Roof Rat

Identification
Roof rats have soft and smooth fur that is typically brown with intermixed spots of black. Their undersides are often white, gray or black. Roof rats are long and thin rodents that have large eyes and ears, a pointed nose and a scaly tail. Adult roof rats measure 6-8” (16-20 cm) when combining their head and body length.

Food Source
Roof rats are omnivorous and willing to eat practically anything available to them. However, they prefer to feed on seeds, nuts, fruits and berries when in season. Additionally, they will feed on slugs and snails, which may become a large part of their diet. Roof rats also feed on insects including American and brown cockroaches.  When eating, they prefer to be in a sheltered or hidden environment. Roof rats in particular are food hoarders, meaning that they have been known to stash supplies of things such as nuts and seeds.

Habitat
Typically living in colonies, roof rats prefer to nest in the upper parts of buildings, such as attics and rafters. They are primarily nocturnal, and thrive in cool weather. Roof rats live in colonies and prefer to nest in the upper parts of buildings. They can also be found under, in and around structures.

Stinging Insects

Stinging insects like bees and hornets send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. These pests are especially active during the second half of summer and early fall when the colonies forage for food that will sustain their queens during the winter.

Bald-Faced Hornet

Identification
Bald-faced hornets greatly resemble their yellowjacket relatives, with black bodies and a predominantly white-patterned face. They also have two slanted lines running from their midsection towards their head and on the latter part of their abdomen. Like yellowjackets and paper wasps, the surface of their upper-midsection almost looks triangular from the side.

Food Source

The adults of these wasps can eat nectar, fruit, or other insects. The juveniles of these wasps eat regurgitated food, usually insects, directly given to them by the female workers.

Habitat
Bald-faced hornets live in dry, safe areas: on tree branches, the eaves of homes, under porches, etc. Their nest is the iconic paper nest which has a singular opening towards the bottom. They are usually gray and more durable than European hornet nests.

Bumble Bee

Identification
Bumble bees can be differentiated from carpenter bees because of the presence of hairs covering the head, thorax, and abdomen. Carpenter bees do not have hair on their abdomen. Bumble bees are usually yellow and brown, tan, or black in color. They are generally 0.9-1.5 cm in length as workers and significantly larger in size as males and queens.

Food Source
Bumble bees feed on pollen and nectar. Like some carpenter bees, some bumble bees can be nectar robbers (they ‘cheat’ the plant to get the nectar. Instead of sitting at the top of the plant to get nectar they sometimes can chew a hole in the side and avoid aiding in pollination altogether). While some bees may be nectar robbers, bumble bees, in general, are beneficial pollinators.

Habitat
Bumble bees can live in any area that is close to a food source, such as fields, residential areas, suburbs, forests, etc. They typically nest at or near ground level, either in holes in the ground, old rodent burrows, holes in trees or trunks, under structures, etc.

Carpenter Bee

Identification
Carpenter bees look similar to bumble bees in appearance, but they lack yellow markings on their abdomens. Instead, carpenter bee abdomens are smooth and shiny, whereas bumble bees’ have hairy, yellow abdomens. Physical features of carpenter bees may vary slightly, as there are seven different species of carpenter bees across the U.S. and hundreds worldwide. Eastern carpenter bees, for example, strongly emulate the appearance of bumble bees, with sleek, black bodies and a patch of yellow hair on their thorax. Other species like the California and female valley carpenter bees have more metallic, colorful bodies.

Food Source

The juveniles of these bees eat the material packed into the cells in which they are lain. The adults feed on the nectar of flowering plants. Some adults have a behavior where they ‘cheat’ the plant to get the nectar. Instead of sitting at the top of the plant to get nectar they sometimes can chew a hole in the side and avoid aiding in pollination altogether.

Habitat
Carpenter bees build their nests in dry, sound wood. They build galleries (tunnels/cells) in the wood in which they lay their eggs. The cells are usually packed with pollen and nectar before the eggs are laid.

Cicada Killer

Identification
These are some of the largest wasps in the United States. They can range anywhere from 3.0-4.0 cm in length. They possess a tightly pinched waist. The abdomen is usually yellow and black, but can sometimes appear white and black. Some species in Florida can be a rust color and look like majorly oversized red wasps.

Food Source
Cicada killer females do not feed much but will feed on nectar occasionally. Larvae feed on paralyzed cicadas.

Habitat
Cicada killers live in ground burrows in forests, gardens, pastures, etc.

European Hornet

Identification
Adult European hornets are large insects. Their bodies are brown with yellow stripes on their abdomens. European hornets have pale faces. They have two pairs of wings and six legs. European hornets have long bodies and antennae.

Food Source

The larval stages of these wasps feed on pre-chewed insects provided to them by the female workers. The adults are nocturnal foragers and can be attracted to lights at night. They feed on insects and the sap of trees. The process in which they retrieve this sap is called girdling.

Habitat
Unlike bald-faced hornets, European hornets usually build their nests in cavities or voids. Attics, open pipes, tree holes, etc. are the perfect nesting locations for these insects. They also have a paper nest, but it’s tan in color and more brittle than the bald-faced hornet’s nest. The image to the left is what you will usually see when you find a European hornet nest.

Honey Bee

Identification
Adult workers range in length from about 1/2 to 5/8 inches. Honey bees are usually orangish brown in color to sometimes black, and have an enlarged rear portion of the abdomen that is broadly banded with orange and brown, or brown and black. Their bodies are mostly covered with pale hairs, which are most dense on their thorax. Honey bees have 6 legs, as well as a visible barbed stinger. Queen honey bees are slightly larger, about 5/8 to 3/4 inches long, and have a pointed abdomen that extends well beyond the tips of their wings, with a smooth stinger present. Male honey bees, or drones, are about 5/8 inches long, and do not have a stinger.

Food Source
The larval stages of these bees feed on pollen and honey. The adults feed on nectar and pollen of plants when it is warm. During the colder months, honey bees rely on their stored honey supplies as their food source. As larvae, queen bees are fed a special royal jelly that helps them to become fertile reproductives.

Habitat
Honey bees live all across the United States. They live in any location near flowers, crops, or other food sources. They nest in tree holes, inside man-made structures, under porches, or tucked away in any other safe, dry location. Hives that are kept by beekeepers are usually inside wooden bee boxes on their property. Wherever the queen resides the colony will follow.

Red Paper Wasp

Identification
These wasps are usually a brown or red color, often with yellow patterns or banding. They range anywhere from 1.5-2.25 cm in length depending on what species you happen to be dealing with. They also possess a very noticeably pinched waist. Male wasps for most species in this genus have a mostly yellow, if not entirely yellow, face.

Food Source
The larval stages of these wasps feed on chewed up insects, usually, caterpillars, fed to them by the adults. The adults feed on nectar, fruit juices, and sometimes other insects.

Habitat
These wasps live in dry safe locations: eaves on homes, under porches, attic vents, etc. They have a paper nest that hangs from a central stem. This comb is what holds the eggs, larvae (juveniles), pupae (resting stage between larvae and adult), and adults. In the photo below you can see the adults, larvae (look like large worms inside the cells), eggs (small white ovals inside the cells), and capped cells containing pupae (cells that have a large white cap or bubble over the top of them).

Scorpion

Identification
Scorpions have a very distinct structure. They have 8 legs, two modified mouthparts with pincers, and a tail with a stinger on the end. They will be some variation of brown, tan, or black and can range in size from roughly 1-2 inches in length.

Food Source
Scorpions usually eat insects and other arthropods, but they have been found to feed on small vertebrates (mice, lizards, frogs, etc.) as well.

Habitat
Scorpions are most common outdoors. They can be found under rocks, leaf piles, mulch, tree bark, in cracks or crevices, etc. Indoors they hide in dark safe locations. Areas such as basements, baseboards, clothing pockets, drawers, shoes, etc. are perfect harborage areas.

Sweet Bee

Identification
This family of insects is very diverse. Most of them are very slender in appearance and usually a metallic black color. They can also be a beautiful metallic green, blue, or purple color. Sweat bees are not very large, ranging from 0.4-1.1 cm in length.

Food Source
Sweat bee adults eat nectar. Larvae eat pollen or nectar that was collected or stored for them by adults, or if they are parasitoid larvae, they eat whatever host they are laid on; this will be some other insect or arthropod.

Habitat
Most sweat bees live in the ground. There are some species that live in rotting wood, and there are others that are parasitoids (lay eggs in or on other creatures/hosts to be eaten by sweat bee larvae).

Velvet Ant

Identification
Although commonly referred to as the red velvet ant (and in some cases cow killer ant), this name is misleading because velvet ants are actually wasps. They get the “velvet” part of their name from the very fuzzy females, which are wingless and often brightly colored. These wasps are usually yellow/orange/red and black in color with dense hairs covering the body. They have a very tough body and can oftentimes survive being stepped on.

Food Source
The larval stages of these wasps usually feed on unsuspecting bumblebee larvae, cicada killer larvae, or other insect larvae located in ground nests throughout the yard. The female lays her eggs in these nests, directly on the other insect larvae, so the juveniles can hatch and have a food source readily available. The adults feed primarily on nectar, but can also feast on insect larvae or adults!

Habitat
Velvet ants live in open, sunny, grassy, or sandy areas in burrows that have been built in the ground. They do not build their own nests but instead commandeer pre-built holes or nests. They can be located anywhere in the yard as long as the area is not too shady. These pests will occasionally enter structures for insect prey. Male velvet ants are often found on flowers, although some species are nocturnal.

Yellow Jacket

Identification
There are many different species of yellow jackets in Georgia, but the two most common from each genus are the eastern yellowjacket  and the common aerial yellowjacket. Both of these yellow jackets share similar traits: vibrant yellow and black coloration and a very tightly pinched waist. They range from 0.9-1.1 cm in size as workers, and are larger as males and queens

Food Source
The larval stages of these wasps usually feed on insect parts or meat scavenged and fed to them by adult workers. The adults can feed on insects, nectar, and sometimes even carrion.

Habitat
Yellowjackets can be found anywhere humans are found. They build paper carton nests out of chewed up cellulose, which are usually found in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves and attics.

More information coming soon.

Termites

Termites date back more than 120 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. They are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage – costs that aren’t covered by homeowners insurance policies. This is why being vigilant about termite control and termite extermination is so important.

Swarmers looking to start a new colony are typically the first sign of termite season as these winged-pests show up inside homes in early spring. To get rid of termites in the home, contact All South Pest Control to address the infestation and recommend a course of proper termite control.

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Identification
There are three distinct types, or castes, of subterranean termites with physical differences, including reproductives, workers and soldiers.  

The reproductives include the king, queen and alates. Integral to a colony’s growth, the queen is the largest termite while the king is much smaller. Alates, also known as swarmers, have long, dark brown to almost black bodies and translucent, slightly milky-colored wings. Their bodies typically measure about ¼ to ½ inch in length and their wings may have a few barely visible hairs. Unlike swarmers, workers and soldiers do not have wings. Workers are about ¼ inch or less in length are have cream colored bodies. They have small jaws that help them chew away at wood and move materials. Soldiers can be distinguished by their large mandibles. They have rectangular shaped heads and their bodies are flat and wide. Although their body is usually a creamy white color, similar to workers, their head is darker and more brownish in color. 

Food Source
Subterranean termites can cause the most damage of any termite species. These termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using their saw-toothed jaws to bite off small fragments of wood one piece at a time. 

Habitat
Subterranean termite infestations can occur on the inside or exterior of the home. Over time, subterranean termites can critically damage a building structure, sometimes causing a total collapse. Subterranean termites threaten homeowners across the country, as they’re found in every state in the U.S except Alaska. 

Formosan Termite

Identification
Alates, or swarmers, are about 5/16 inch (14-15mm) in overall length, including their wings. Their bodies are pale yellow to brownish yellow in color. They have translucent wings that are densely covered with small hairs.

Formosan termite soldiers have heads that are rounded on the sides and tapered toward the front, whereas indigenous subterranean termites have rectangular heads. Their mandibles lack teeth.

Food Source
Termites eat cellulose material. They have a unique behavior called trophallaxis. Trophallaxis means the colony is essentially one giant ‘communal stomach’ where food is shared between members and given to the queen. This is how our bait-based products work and why the correct application by a trained professional is so important.

Habitat
These termites live under the soil. They can move into wooden structures or other cellulosic (wood based) material (fallen logs, stumps, etc.) and become pests. Mud tubes (shelter tubes) may be observed going from the soil to whatever source the termites are using for food.

Do I have Termites?

Termite swarmers are often confused with flying ants, too. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at their waists, as termites have broad waists and flying ants have narrow ones. Termites also have straight antennae compared to bent antennae on flying ants. Lastly, termites have wings of equal size, while flying ants have bigger front wings. Watch this video for more advice on how to tell the difference between a termite and flying ant.

Damage

Infestation

Swarm