The Black carpenter ants are known to forage up to 100 yards in search of food. Workers are most active at night, traveling from their nest to a food source following trails. The ants produce crackling sounds that can often be heard near a large nest. A large colony can have thousands of individuals. The black carpenter ant does not sting, but the larger workers can administer a sharp bite, which can become further irritated by the injection of formic acid. In their natural environment, carpenter ants nest in dead trees and other dead wood. This enhances decay, which has ecological benefits. However, the ant achieves pest status when a colony invades the wood of a house or other structure, damaging its structural integrity.
The Allegheny mound ant Formica exsectoides is a species of ant native to the Atlantic area of North America. Its range extends from Nova Scotia to parts of Georgia. Like other field ants, the Allegheny mound ant builds large mounds, however this species tends to build some of the largest. Aside from the mounds, the ants also act as pests by killing vegetation within 40 to 50 feet of their mounds. The ants inject formic acid into surrounding plants, killing small trees and shrubs. The Allegheny mound ant's appearance is very striking: both its head and thorax are red-orange; its gaster is black-brown. The ant's colonies are complex. Several different mounds may be interconnected. The tunnels may extend 3 feet into the ground and 4 feet upwards in the mound. The mound serves as a solar incubator for the eggs and larvae. Unlike most other ants, Allegheny mound ants have multiple queens. Maturation from egg to adult takes 2.5–3 months. They hunt a wide assortment of arthropods as a protein source and collect aphid honeydew as a source of sugars.
The Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile) is a native species, found throughout the United States. It earns its name by producing a foul, "rotten coconut" odor when crushed. They are often confused with the pavement ants, but has only 1 node. They forage day and night The nests can occur in a great variety of situations. Inside, these Ants usually construct their nests in wall voids, especially around hot water pipes and heaters, in crevices, sinks, cupboards, etc. Outside they are found in exposed soil, usually shallow, often located beneath a board, brick, stone walk, etc. They are most likely to enter buildings when their honeydew supply or sweet supply of food is reduced by natural occurances such as rainy weather or autumn leaf fall.
The pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum is an ant native to Europe, which also occurs as an introduced pest in North America. Its common name comes from the fact that colonies in North America usually make their homes in pavement. It is distinguished by one pair of spines on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax. During early spring, colonies attempt to conquer new areas and often attack nearby enemy colonies. These result in huge sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. Because of their aggressive nature, they often invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas outside their native range. In summer, the ants dig out the sand in between the pavements to vent the nests.
Pharaoh workers are about 1/16-inch, or 2.0 millimeters, in length. They are light yellow to reddish brown in color with a darker abdomen. Pharaoh ant workers have a non-functional stinger used to generate pheromones. The petiole (narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen) has two nodes and the thorax has no spines. Pharaoh ant eyesight is poor and they possess on average 32 ommatidia. The antennal segments end in a distinct club with three progressively longer segments. This ant can be found almost anywhere in the world. It is a major pest in the United States, Australia, and Europe.
Bees, Hornets, Wasps
BALD FACE HORNETS
Bald-faced hornets are distinguished from other yellow jackets by their white and black coloring. It has a white or "baldfaced" head, which is the source of its namesake. These wasps also have three white stripes at the end of their bodies. They are notably larger than other species of Dolichovespula, as adults average about 0.75 inches in length. Queen and worker wasps have similar morphologies. However, workers are covered by small hairs while the queen remains hairless. Queens are always larger than workers in their colonies, though size distributions can vary in different nests and workers in one colony might be as large as a queen in different one.t
Bumblebees are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. Colonies are smaller than those of honeybees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals. Cuckoo bumblebees do not make nests; their queens aggressively invade the nests of other bumblebee species, kill the resident queens and then lay their own eggs which are cared for by the resident workers.
A honey bee (or honeybee), in contrast with the stingless honey bee, is any bee that is a member of the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, only seven species of honey bee are recognized, with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically, from six to eleven species have been recognized. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees.
GERMAN YELLOW JACKETS
Yellow jackets are sometimes mistakenly called "bees" (as in "meat bees"), given that they are similar in size and appearance and both sting, but yellow jackets are actually wasps. They may be confused with other wasps, such as hornets and paper wasps. Polistes dominula, a species of paper wasp, is very frequently misidentified as a yellow jacket. A typical yellow jacket worker is about 0.5 in long, with alternating bands on the abdomen; the queen is larger, about 0.75 in long (the different patterns on their abdomens help separate various species). Workers are sometimes confused with honey bees, especially when flying in and out of their nests. Yellow jackets, in contrast to honey bees, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies, they do not carry pollen, and do not have the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry it.
Paper wasps are 0.7 to 1.0 inch long wasps that gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests. Unlike yellow jackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, polistine paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. Since they are territoriality, it can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard. Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol. Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.
BOX ELDER BUGS
Although they specialize on Acer seeds, they may pierce plant tissues while feeding. They are not known to cause significant damage and are not considered to be agricultural pests. However, their congregation habits and excreta can annoy people; for this reason, they are considered nuisance pests. Removal of box elder and other Acer species can help in control of bug populations. They may form large aggregations while sunning themselves in areas near their host plant (e.g. on rocks, shrubs, trees, and man-made structures). This is especially a problem during the cooler months, when they sometimes invade houses and other man-made structures seeking warmth or a place to overwinter. They remain inactive inside the walls (and behind siding) while the weather is cool. When the heating systems revive them, some may falsely perceive it to be springtime and enter inhabited parts of the building in search of food, water, and conspecifics. In the spring, the bugs leave their winter hibernation locations to feed and lay eggs on maple or ash trees; aggregations may be seen during this time and well into summer and early fall, depending on the temperature.
Fleas are holometabolous insects, going through the four lifecycle stages of egg, larva, pupa, and imago (adult). Adult fleas must feed on blood before they can become capable of reproduction. Flea populations are distributed with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults.
The flea life cycle begins when the female lays after feeding. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself, which means that the eggs can easily roll onto the ground. Because of this, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take around two days to two weeks to hatch.
Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. In laboratory studies, some dietary diversity seems necessary for proper larval development. Blood-only diets allow only 12% of larvae to mature, whereas blood and yeast or dog chow diets allow almost all larvae to mature. They are blind and avoid sunlight, keeping to dark places such as sand, cracks and crevices, and bedding.
Given an adequate supply of food, larvae pupate and weave silken cocoons within 1–2 weeks after three larval stages. After another week or two, the adult fleas are fully developed and ready to emerge. They may remain resting during this period until they receive a signal that a host is near - vibrations (including sound), heat, and carbon dioxide are all stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host. Fleas are known to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages.
Once the flea reaches adulthood, its primary goal is to find blood and then to reproduce. Its total life span can be as long as one and one-half years in ideal conditions. Female fleas can lay 5000 or more eggs over their life, allowing for phenomenal growth rates. Average 30–90 days. A flea might live a year and a half under ideal conditions. These include the right temperature, food supply, and humidity. Generally speaking, an adult flea only lives for 2 or 3 months. Without a host for food a flea's life might be as short as a few days. With ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days
The Scutigeromorpha are anamorphic, reaching 15 leg-bearing segments in length. Also known as “house” centipedes, they are very fast creatures, and able to withstand falling at great speed: they reach up to 15 body lengths per second when dropped, surviving the fall. They are the only centipede group to retain their original compound eyes, with which a crystalline layer analogous to that seen in chelicerates and insects can be observed. They also bear long and multi-segmented antennae. Adaptation to a burrowing lifestyle has led to the degeneration of compound eyes in other orders; this feature is of great use in phylogenetic analysis.
Most Lady Bugs have oval, dome-shaped bodies with six short legs. Depending on the species, they can have spots, stripes, or no markings at all. Seven-spotted coccinellids are red or orange with three spots on each side and one in the middle; they have a black head with white patches on each side. In the United States, coccinellids usually begin to appear indoors in the autumn when they leave their summer feeding sites in fields, forests, and yards and search out places to spend the winter. Typically, when temperatures warm to the mid-60s in the late afternoon, following a period of cooler weather, they will swarm onto or into buildings illuminated by the sun. Swarms of coccinellids fly to buildings in September through November depending on location and weather conditions. Homes or other buildings near fields or woods are particularly prone to infestation.
The brown recluse spider has a necrotic venom bite that would need medical attention. They are commonly found to be 1 inch long and can range from dark grey to a light tan color. The have a dark brown strip on the thorax that points to the rear of the spider. Typically found outside where they eat other insects and small fish but during the winter they can find their way inside through doorways and window screens.
The Common house spider is generally dull brown, grey, or tan in color, with different patterns and shades giving off a spotted/striped appearance. The spiders are ¼ inch to 1 inch in size and are most commonly found in basements, sheds, and attics. They mainly feed on small insects but are known to eat other spiders as well. They are well adapted to blending in with their environment that most people don’t notice they have a problem.
The jumping spider family contains over 500 described genera and over 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders with about 13% of all species. Jumping spiders have some of the best vision among arthropods and use it in courtship, hunting, and navigation. Although they normally move unobtrusively and fairly slowly, most species are capable of very agile jumps, notably when hunting, but sometimes in response to sudden threats or crossing long gaps. Both their book lungs and the tracheal system are well-developed, and they use both systems. Jumping spiders are generally recognized by their eye pattern. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with one pair being their particularly large anterior median eyes.
Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, from the Ancient Greek meaning "wolf". They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly solitary and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some will wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow. Wolf spiders resemble nursery web spiders, but wolf spiders carry their egg sacs by attaching them to their spinnerets. Two of the wolf spider's eight eyes are large and prominent, which distinguishes them from the Nursery web spiders whose eyes are all of approximately equal size. This can also help distinguish them from grass spiders.
YELLOW SAC SPIDER
Sac spiders belong to the genus Cheiracanthium and the family Clubionidae. They are quite small and easy to overlook–about 1/4 - 3/8 inch long, with no conspicuous markings. The front legs are longer than the other three pairs. Sac spiders are quite pale. A common house species, the yellow sac spider is pale greenish, tan or straw-colored. Other sac spiders are light brown. Yellow Sac spiders typically have darker mouth parts and a faint dark stripe running lengthwise down the abdomen.