Friday, December 5, 2014




In the Northeastern U.S. there is only one species of rat that concerns pest control professionals. This species is the Norway Rat. The Rat is nocturnal by preference but can adapt this behavior if the environment causes it to do so. They have many similarities with mice but there are some startling differences. Norway rats are larger than mice, usually weigh between 12 and 16 ounces, have small ears that are close to the head, and a blunt nose. Both mice and rats are very destructive in their behavior by gnawing with their incisors on fabrics, walls, wires, and other surfaces. The rodent droppings and urine's will contaminate any surface.  Most importantly they are vectors of disease. 



Mice are the most successful mammal on earth in terms of survival, second only to man. Mice can be found inhabiting any environment people will inhabit. They can reproduce in large numbers very quickly and give us great cause for concern both from a public health and from a pest control standpoint. In New York City and Nassau County they may find entry into home through small opening around garage doors, pipelines, and siding.


Mice are curious animals with poor eyesight but they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, and use their vibrissae (whiskers) as tactile (touch) organs. These animals prefer small-enclosed spaces in which to function. This type of area gives them security against enemies. Their home range (distance traveled from nest to forage) is 30 feet or less, but will travel further in search of food. Mice are capable of spending their entire lives within a 3-foot diameter if all of their needs can be met in this space.




Certain crickets occasionally invade homes and become a pest by their presence. Homeowners in the Bronx, New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau County in Long Island complain of the monotonous chirping of the House and Field Cricket, which can be annoying especially at night when trying to get some sleep. The more common Camel Back Cricket doesn't make any noise, but will put a fright into you when it happens to jump across your face while watching TV! 


Indoors, some crickets can feed on a wide variety of fabrics, foods and paper products. An occasional cricket or two in the home usually presents no serious problem. However, large populations may congregate around lights at night, making places unattractive. 
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Camel Crickets

Camel Crickets

Camel crickets and closely related cave crickets belong to a large group of insects. Unlike many other types of crickets, the camel crickets do not chirp.  They have no sound producing organs.

Camel crickets have an unusual humpbacked appearance with heads that are bent downward between their front legs.  Their antennae are much longer than their bodies and their large hind legs make them very strong jumpers. 

Habits and Habitat. Most of the crickets in this group are active at night and are attracted to areas with high humidity and moisture.  Outdoors camel crickets and their cave cricket cousins are found in wood and stone piles, tall grass and weeds, hollows of trees, holes in the ground, and of course, caves.  If found indoors, camel crickets often will be in damp basements, crawl spaces, or garages.

Moisture is an important requirement for camel cricket survival so reducing the number of moist habitats is essential for good, long-term control. Preventing access to the structure is also important. 

If camel crickets are still a problem after taking habitat altering steps to reduce moisture and access to the structure, outdoor chemical control may be necessary. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants trailing on building

Carpenter ants are the most common ant pest found in the Northeastern United States. They cause structural damage when they excavate wood for nest sites. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but rather scavenge on dead insects and collect sugary secretions (“honeydew”) produced by other insects such as aphids. Carpenter ants are a nuisance pest when workers are spotted inside foraging for food and when winged swarmers are found inside.

Carpenter Ant Factoids

Carpenter Ants hollowing out wood.
Wood is Not-So-Tasty: 
Carpenter ants tunnel through moisture-damaged wood and spit out wood shavings. The resulting waste piles look like sawdust and often include ant body parts.

A Numbers Game:
There are approximately 24 species of carpenter
ants that are pests in North America; nine of these species are present in the northeast.

Hanging Out:
Carpenter ant larvae are clumped together by J-shaped hairs, and cling like Velcro to the roof of their galleries.

Friday, July 11, 2014

German Cockroach

Figure 1. Adult female German cockroach, Blattella germanica (Linnaeus), with ootheca. Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida.
Figure 2. German Roach Stages

Life Cycle
The German cockroach has three life stages typical of insects with incomplete metamorphosis: the egg, nymph, and adult. The entire life cycle is completed in about 100 days. However, factors such as temperature, nutritional status, and strain differences may influence the time required to complete a life cycle. German cockroaches breed continuously with many overlapping generations present at any one time. Under ideal conditions, population growth has been shown to be exponential. Actively growing field populations are comprised of 80 percent nymphs and 20 percent adults. The German cockroach is omnivorous, eating table scraps, pet food, and even book bindings.

Medical and Economic Significance

German cockroach’s adulterate food or food products with their feces and defensive secretions, physically transport and often harbor pathogenic organisms, may cause severe allergic responses, and in extremely heavy infestations have been reported to bite humans and feed on food residues on the faces of sleeping humans. In addition, some scientists suggest that German cockroach infestations may cause human psychological stress and that the stigma associated with infestations alters human behavior. For example, people with infested houses do less entertaining, and avoid the kitchen at night for fear of encountering a cockroach. 

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants
 Pavement ants are 3/16 of an inch. Workers are about half as long as one of your shirt buttons is wide. They are dark reddish-black and have antennae that bulge out at the tips so they look like they’re waving little clubs off their foreheads.

Where it lives: Pavement ants most often nest under bricks or pavement, but they are also found in grassy areas near sidewalks and even in extreme environments, like salt marshes.

What it eats: Ultimate opportunists, pavement ants eat anything from dead insects to honeydew, a sugary food planthoppers produce. They also dine on pollen, food in your kitchen, and garbage.

NYC notes: Here is an ant with a New York ethos. It is, we suspect, more common beneath the cement of sidewalks and roads than anywhere else. Something about the cement becomes it. It’s a possibility that they may like the heat, the vibration of the road, or being close to New York’s exciting human life.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Pest of the Month- Carpenter Bees

Fig. 1. A carpenter bee visiting a flower. Note the yellow hairs on the thorax and the shiny black abdomen, which is hairless. (Photograph Tom Murray )

Fig. 2. A section of wood cut in half to expose the chambers or cells constructed by a carpenter bee. (USDA Forest Service Archive, USDA Forest Service,

Injury: Carpenter bees bore into wood to make a home for their young. In preferred sites, bees can drill a large number of holes. They are holes 1/2 inch in diameter. Often the same nesting sites are used year after year, and the same tunnels are reused. Porches, garages, shed ceilings and trim, railings, roof overhangs and outdoor wooden furniture, are all common nesting sites. Continued borings may weaken some wooden structures, and the yellow "sawdust and pollen" waste materials may stain cars, clothing, or furniture.

Behavior: The males are territorial, and in the spring they often guard the potential nest sites. They discourage intruders by hovering or darting at any moving thing that ventures into the nesting area. This can create a "human annoyance" factor, and it is one that often startles and concerns the homeowner.

However, male carpenter bees do not sting. The female carpenter bee, like many other bees, can sting - but it is uncommon for her to do so.

Friday, September 27, 2013

NPMA Technical Update: The Importance of Bed Bug Salivary Glands

NPMA Technical Update: The Importance of Bed Bug Salivary Glands

Drs. Jerome Goddard and Kristine Edwards of Mississippi State University have investigated the effects of bed bug saliva on human skin. Secretions from salivary glands have long been thought to be the cause of dermal reactions among certain people bitten by bed bugs, but there was insufficient supporting evidence. The scientists were able to demonstrate the role of saliva by removing the salivary glands of bed bugs and allowing them to feed on a person known to produce a dermal reaction upon being bitten. Although the volunteer could feel the bite of a bed bug that lacked salivary glands, the bug was unable to feed and her skin did not react as it did to a normal bed bug bite. In a second experiment, a salivary extract was prepared from bed bugs and applied topically to the volunteer's skin. Within 36 hours, the volunteer reported itching and a visible dermal reaction. This research presents strong evidence that salivary glands are important to both feeding and likely contain allergens that can cause adverse reactions in victims.  

This paper, "Effects of Bed Bug Saliva on Human Skin", was published in the American Medical Association Journal of Dermatology in March of 2013.