Pest Identification Chart

Pavement AntAnts are social insects and live in colonies. Ant colonies include a collection of workers, one or more reproductives, eggs, larvae and pupae. Ant colonies build structures called “nests,” which typically require much effort by the worker ants in the colony to maintain. Ants do not eat wood and cannot digest cellulose. Some ants build nest in wood though most prefer the ground..

Bald HornetSome wasps species are social and live in colonies, while others are solitary. Social bees and wasps develop colonies similar to those of ants. These colonies have a queen that produces all the eggs, workers, and brood. The social wasps that will be discussed belong to the family Vespidae and include the paper wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets.

American CockroachCockroaches are among the most common insects. Their sizes vary considerably; some species are up to several inches long. Cockroaches are one of the most adaptable and successful insect groups. There are approximately 3500 species of cockroaches worldwide – about 60 species are found in the United States. Cockroaches, especially the German Cockroach, are the most commonly encountered and important household insect pests in much of the United States.

TickTicks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks take several days to complete feeding.

Norway RatThe word rodent means “to gnaw.” Like all rodents, rats, and mice possess a single pair of chisel-like incisor teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. These incisors are kept filed and sharp primarily by the rodents grinding the incisors against one another, and secondarily by the rodents constantly gnawing on various objects. The three species of rodent pests are: The House Mouse, Mus domesticus; (also Mus musculus), the Norway Rat, Rattus norvegicus; and the Roof Rat, Rattus rattus.

EARWIG Earwigs are insects that are readily recognized by the pincers or forceps-like appendages at the end of the abdomen. They sometimes build up to large numbers in warm weather and then may invade homes or other structures. They are potentially scavengers on dead animal and plant material, but some species are predators.

Brown Recluse SpiderSpiders have a characteristic appearance easily recognized by most people. They possess eight legs, which immediately separates them from insects, which have only six. Spiders lack wings and antennae, and their bodies have only two major regions–a carapace, or cephalothorax, which includes the fused head and thorax, and an abdomen. Young spiders, or spiderlings, resemble the adults except for size and, sometimes, coloration. All spiders have a pair of jaw-like structures, called chelicerae. At the end of each is a hollow, claw-like fang. Each fang has a small opening in the end through which venom is injected into the prey. Spinnerets, located at the tip end of the abdomen, are linked to glands from which silk is spun for web making.

SwarmerThe order Isoptera consists entirely of termites, which are primitive insects closely related to the cockroaches. Termites are beneficial in nature, in that they help convert dead wood and other organic materials containing cellulose to humus. Termites harbor one-celled organisms in their digestive tracts, and these organisms convert cellulose into substances the termites can digest.

Termites are social insects. This means there is a division of labor between different types of individuals (castes). Nearly all termite species have reproductive and soldier castes. In many termite societies there is also a distinct worker caste, but in most of the more primitive species the typical duties of the workers (nest building, food gathering, and feeding of reproductives and soldiers) are handled entirely by the nymphs.

Mosquitoes are the ony known means of transmission of malaria, yellow fever, some types of encephalitis and dengue in the United States. Mosquitos can be easily identified by the long piercing proboscis and scales on the hind margin and veins on their wings. They undergo a complete metamorphosis. They lay their eggs both singly and in bunches, on a water surface or in a place where they will become wet when flooding occurs.

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University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS)