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Common Indianapolis Pests & Insects

Ants

Ants can live almost anywhere. Within each species of Indianapolis ants there are usually many different types.  Ants are social insects that live in colonies.  Ant colonies include one or more queen, as well as workers, eggs, larvae, and pupae.  The worker ants maintain their developed structures known as nests.  Nests protect the ants against their enemies, offer some protection against weather, and are often placed close to water and food sources.  Some ant species nest in the ground, often under concrete or slabs.  Some species are found in wood, such as fence posts, dead logs, hollow trees, or within buildings.  Ants cannot eat wood because they can’t digest cellulose.

Brown Recluse Spiders

This spider prefers undisturbed places, so it typically lives in dark corners and also under furniture, boxes and books. It has a rather shy and non-aggressive behavior, although it will bite humans if it feels threatened.  Its web is of a loose and irregular, yet very sticky thread. It is only built as a daytime retreat, and as an egg holder.  These spiders can survive six months without food or water, hidden in its lair during daytime, roaming at night. About 50% of Brown Recluse Spider bites are ‘dry,’ meaning that no venom is injected and nothing happens to the victim.  In fact, often times the victim does not even realize that he has been bit.  Typically, when venom is injected, the victim will experience an immediate redness which develops around the bite then begins to disappear within a few hours.  Very often, for the first 24 hours, the bite appears to be no worse than that of a mosquito; then it begins to blister in the center.  Within 24 to 36 hours the blister breaks open, leaving an open, oozing ulceration. This ulceration ‘scabs’ over within three weeks from the initial bite, leaving a permanent scar.  If the bite is delivered in fatty tissue, the lesion may be very deep and extensive, not healing for over two or three years.  In extreme cases where the bite is not taken care of early, skin graft, amputation, and the possibility of bone marrow failure may occur.

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Cockroaches

Roaches are very adaptable insects, surviving where other insects would be extinct.  Because of their adaptable natures they are one of the more difficult pests to control.  Roaches are a health hazard, carrying bacteria on their bodies that are transmitted to humans.  The main diseases transmitted are different forms of gastroenteritis including food poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea. There are several species of cockroaches located all over the United States.

Earwigs

Earwigs are easily recognizable by their pincers (forceps harmless to humans) at the ends of their abdomen.  They are dark reddish-brown, with light brown legs, and are about 5/8 inch long.  In a season, females reproduce up to 20-60 eggs laid in burrows (called chambers), about two to three inches beneath the soil.  Most species have one generation a year, over-wintering in the soil.  Both adults and the young require moisture to live. Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night.  They are scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials.  Some earwig species are attracted to lights.  During the day, earwigs will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris.  They prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks and stones.  Earwigs can eat plants and do damage to field crops.  They are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation.  Their populations build up around foundations.  Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.  Earwigs live in habitats also harboring centipedes, sow bugs (pill bugs), and millipedes.  Removing earwig habitats is very important to control all insects.

Mice

The adult house mouse is small and slender and about one to two inches long, excluding its tail.  The tail is as long as the head and body combined.  It has large ears, a pointed nose and small eyes.  The fur color varies, but it is usually a light grey or brown, but could be darker shades. You can tell them apart from native mice by their almost furless ears and scaly tails. They are good climbers, swimmers, and jumpers. They can run as fast as 8 miles per hour. Even so, they seldom travel farther than 50 feet from their homes. House mice in a city environment may spend their entire life in buildings.  In rural and suburban settings, mice may not only live inside, but be found outside near foundations, in shrubbery, weeds, crawl spaces, basements, or in garages.  They make their nest from soft material like paper, insulation, or furniture stuffing.  These nests can be found in many places including walls, ceiling voids, storage boxes, drawers, under major appliances, or within the upholstery of furniture.  Outside nests are found in debris or in ground burrows. Mice are considered nibblers, eating at many times and at different places.  Mice will snack every one to two hours throughout the day.  However, they do have two main meal times, one just before dawn and the other at dusk.  Many times in kitchens you will find gnawing damage on the corner of boxes and paper which is shredded for their nest.

Gophers

Pocket gophers are the most common type of gopher.  These rodents can be anywhere from 5 to 14 inches long.  Pocket gophers have fur-lined pouches outside of the mouth, one on each side of the face. These pockets, which are capable of being turned inside out, are used for carrying food.  Gophers are active year round, but are the most visibly active in the spring and fall when the soil is of the ideal moisture content for digging.  They are extremely well adapted and built for an underground existence.  Gopher underground burrows can be very deep, up to several feet, and several hundred feet in length.  As gophers dig burrows, pushing the soil to the surface, they leave a mound, usually in a fan shaped

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