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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