Household Pests

Carpenter Ant | Pharoah Ant | Crazy Ant | Fire Ant | German Roach
Amercian Roach | Black Widow Spider | Brown Recluse Spider
Flea | Tick | Silverfish | Earwig

Carpenter Ant Carpenter Ant Formicidae, Camponotus spp.

These large ants usually nest outdoors in stumps and logs in contact with the soil and in dead tree limbs and cavities. The Florida Carpenter Ant has a black abdomen and red head and thorax. They also can nest in homes in wood damaged by termites, fungi and moisture. They forage widely for food crumbs and insects as well as honeydew produced by sap-sucking insects which attack landscape plants. Although they don’t eat wood, the galleries they excavate can be quite extensive.


Pharoah AntPharoah Ant Monomorium pharaonis

These small red to yellowish ants can be found trailing anywhere within a structure. They can nest in wall voids, cabinets, boxes of food and any other accessible crevices and spaces. They are known to invade sick rooms and feed on blood plasma and wound dressings. Their colonies have multiple queens and can split into small groups, spreading very rapidly. In sub-tropical areas pharaoh ants readily nest outside in leaf debris found on or near structures. Re-invasion of the structure can occur throughout warm parts of the year.


Crazy AntCrazy Ant Paratrechina longicornis

Ranging from red-brown to grayish to black, this small ant gets it name from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement in their search for food. They will feed on any household foods. The crazy ant is highly adaptable and can live in both very dry and moist habitats. They typically nest outdoors in the soil and in the cavities of trees and shrubs, but frequently enter homes in the fall or after a rain where they will nest in wall and floor voids especially near hot water pipes and heaters.


Fire AntFire Ant Solenopsis invicta

Usually a reddish brown color, fire ants live in colonies of up to 200,000 individuals. Their mounds can be two feet high and three feet across with as many as 50 colonies per acre. The Red Imported Fire Ant causes damage difficult to measure in dollars. It’s painful, burning sting results in pustules that take up to 10 days to heal. Some people are extremely allergic to the sting, needing fast medical attention to deal with the toxin.


German RoachGerman Roach Blattella germanica

This roach, with two dark vertical stripes behind the head, is found throughout the world, thriving wherever man lives, eating the same foods, sharing the same habitats. It is commonly found in restaurants, kitchens and stores where food, moisture and harborage are abundant. Populations build rapidly from egg capsules being produced about every 20-25 days. Each capsule contains about 35 eggs, the young maturing in about 100 days. German roaches contaminate food, leave stains, create foul odors and carry disease organisms. They hide during the day, closely packed in small cracks and crevices near food and water.


American Roach -- AKA "Palmetto Bug", "Water Bug"American Roach Periplaneta americana

One of the groups commonly referred to as "Palmetto Bugs", the American Cockroach is the largest of the roaches infesting homes. It has reddish brown wings and is a good flyer. American Cockroaches often invade from sewer systems and heavily mulched areas. The female attaches the egg capsule, containing 15-18 eggs, in high areas in garages, closets, utility rooms and fireplaces. Found nearly anywhere in the house, American Cockroaches contaminate food, carry disease, damage book bindings, fabrics and wallpaper.


Black Widow SpiderBlack Widow Spider Latrodectus mactans

The Southern Black Widow is glossy black with a red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen. The female is much larger and more distinctly marked than the male. It makes a strong, sticky irregular web in protected areas where prey is likely to wander in and be trapped. Foundations, vents, shrubs and wood piles at ground level are common habitats. Their poisonous venom can cause concern for small children and older or infirm persons. Medical attention should be sought if bitten.


Brown Recluse SpiderBrown Recluse Spider Periplaneta australasiae

The brown recluse is a brownish spider with a distinctive violin-shaped mark behind its eyes, which has earned it the name "fiddle-backed" spider. It is found in undisturbed areas such as sheds, garages and dark closets. Garments left hanging for some time are favorite spots. Their bite causes a severe systemic reaction and an ulcerous sore with requires extensive medical attention.


FleasFleas Centocephalides felis

Fleas are small, hard-bodied, wingless insects with a flattened body and legs adapted for jumping on to a host. The cat flea, most commonly encountered in Florida, seeds mammals for the blood meal needed to sustain them. They can be a direct health hazard, transmitting disease and tapeworm. Humans are often attacked when other food sources aren’t available. Their bite leaves a red, itchy spot on the skin. Their saliva is irritating to the host, causing dermatitis and hair loss in allergic animals.


TicksTicks Ixodes scapularis

The tick is an eight-legged relative of the spider. It must feed three times before hiding and producing up to 3000 eggs in a crack or crevice. The tick can live without food for up to 200 days, waiting for a host, usually a dog, to supply a blood meal. Many serious diseases can be transmitted through ticks: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Typhus, Lyme Disease, Relapsing Tick Fever and other disorders.


SilverfishSilverfish Lepisma saccharina

These slender, wingless insects are common in homes. The are shiny and silver or pearl-gray in color with three long tail-like appendages and two long antennae. They may cause damage by eating foods, cloth or other items high in protein, sugar or starch. They eat cereals, moist wheat flour, paper on which there is glue or paste, book bindings, wallpaper, starch in clothes and linens. They will breed in bookcases, storage boxes and linen closets. They thrive in moist hot areas from the attic to the crawl space.


EarwigEarwig Forficula auricularia

Earwigs were named by a superstition that the insect would crawl purposely into the ears of sleeping people. More easily recognized by its forceps-like tail appendage, the earwig is a major garden pest, as well as an annoying household pest. It is one of the few insects that take care of its young. Earwigs feed on green plants, and other vegetation, and do little damage indoors. The pinch of their forceps is neither painful nor poisonous, but does an effective "scare" job.