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Found this light brown spider in sheltered locations outside my home in Franconia, New Hampshire. Should I be concerned about its presence and the dozens of others?
Types of wasps
Wasps are often difficult to identify. Not only are there several different types of wasps that look similar, but bees and wasps can be hard to differentiate. However, wasps are typically more aggressive than other types of bees and have the capability to sting a person multiple times if they feel threatened, which means quick identification is essential.
Knowing which stinging insect you have in your yard could save you a lot of pain. Most people will see a nest in their yard and decide to take action, even if it could potentially put them in danger. It's important to determine what you are dealing with before taking action.
The most common types of wasps in the Western United States are below, but if you still cannot tell what is in your yard, contact our experts to help.
How to Identify Pests and Their Nests
You might think you have one problem, when in fact it’s something else. It’s vital to be able to identify the pests, and the nest to get rid of the problem. Below is a brief description of the physical characteristics and nesting habits of three of the most common, and troublesome household pests.
Carpenter Ants Infestation (Photo Credit: Rest Easy Pest Control)
Ants form colonies that consist mostly of sterile wingless female workers and soldiers, but they also contain fertile male drones and one or more fertile female queens. Ants are distinguished by their two angled antennae and their slender waist.
Most queens and a few drones also have wings, but the queens lose their wings after mating. During their breeding period, the female queens and winged male drones leave the colony in what is known as a nuptial flight.
The males secrete a pheromone that attracts the females, who can mate with just one or multiple males, depending on the species. The mated females then seek a nesting place to begin a new colony—and that place could be in your home!
This is more of a threat than many people realize. Ants can cause serious structural damage to your home as they burrow through the wood to make their nests.
Termites Infestation (Photo Credit: Rest Easy Pest Control)
Often mistaken for ants, but unlike ants, termites don’t appear to have a waist. They can also curve and straighten their antennae, while ants can’t.
Another difference is that baby termites look like small termites, whereas baby ants look like grubs. Reproductive termites have wings which are almost equal in length and lie flat across the termite’s back when it’s not flying.
Termites build elaborate nests around wood—live or dead trees, old stumps, and timber, including the timber in homes. The termites like to stay out of sight as long as possible, remaining “underground,” so they often remain undetected until substantial damage has been done. Don’t let their small size fool you, termites can cause an enormous amount of damage.
Bed Bugs Identification
Bed Bug Fecal Matter on a Mattress (Photo Credit: Rest Easy Pest Control)
Mature bed bugs are brownish, flat, and oval-shaped, with a segmented abdomen. They have hind wings, but they lay flat on their body and are poorly developed.
Adult bed bugs typically are 4-5 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide. Nymphs are translucent and lighter in color. Once female bed bugs mate, they seek the tiniest of cracks and crevices to nest.
They also seek to be near their food source—which is blood, preferably human. Bed bugs can find no better home than the nooks and crannies in bed frames, mattresses, and headboards.
Because of their tendency to nest in the most-well-hidden places, their nests are almost impossible to locate without help from pest experts.
Inspection for Pests
Here are the key places to inspect around your house to avoid attracting pests:
Look for loose shingles or boards, which can allow insects to enter your home. Trim any tree limbs that are overhanging the roof, as these can enable ants, cockroaches, and other insects looking for a place to winter to easily drop onto your roof.
Inspect the flashing around the base of the chimney if it would allow insects an entry point, it will need to be tarred. While you’re up there, make sure the chimney opening has a screen, which won’t do much good to prevent insects but will keep out other pests such as raccoons and birds.
After most of the leaves have fallen (especially in the fall), clean them out. Mosquitoes and several other types of flies like to lay eggs in gutters that are backed up with water.
After most leaves have fallen, clean them out. Mosquitoes and several other insects like to lay eggs in gutters that are backed up with water.
Rest Easy Pest Control
#4. Facia and Soffits
Carpenter ants, wasps, and bees are among the insects attracted to these areas when they aren’t painted or are beginning to rot.
Find and repair any cracks or holes. Wasps, hornets, bees, mosquitoes, houseflies, spiders, beetles, and numerous other insects will readily take advantage of these openings to seek out warmth and food in your home.
#6. Windows and Doors
Check all your weather stripping and make sure it properly seals. Obviously, repair any holes in screens or the doors or windows themselves. Also look for rotting wood, which could be a sign of carpenter ant or termite damage that’s already occurred.
At the very least, these insect pests are attracted to rotting wood, so if you’re not infested yet, count your blessings and replace the wood as soon as possible.
As with the exterior of the home, make sure there are no openings because most insects will make their way into a basement just as they would into your home. If you have a problem with standing water in your basement, you are offering mosquitoes and other aquatic insects a perfect breeding ground.
Ensure that the screens on the attic vents are not damaged. If you find holes in the screens, go ahead and do an insect inspection of the attic.
Specialists Can Do the Job for You
If you don’t feel like conducting an insect inspection of your home yourself—or if you’re not confident in your ability to find insect pests—call a professional pest control specialist who will thoroughly check your house and yard and exterminate any insect pests that are found.
If you don’t feel like conducting an insect inspection of your home yourself,
call a professional pest control specialist who will thoroughly check your house.
Rest Easy Pest Control
Get Rid of Hard to Find Pests
One of the reasons why an insect infestation can occur so quickly is due to their small size. Some bugs, in fact, have taken hiding to an art form. This is why an insect inspection is so vital to the sanctity of your home. Let’s take a look at a few of these hard to find insects, and how to get rid of them:
Staying Away From The Light
You walk into a darkened room and switch on the light only to catch a glimpse of something scurrying across the floor. More than likely, it was a cockroach. These disgusting critters love to invade our homes, and they often hide in cupboards or under the sink.
They attempt to stay hidden and will usually shun the light, which is why they run away from it so quickly. But cockroaches are also easy to find if you have a flashlight that you can shine under the sink, behind appliances, and in other hard to reach areas.
Stink Bug (Photo: Eugene E. Nelson, Bugwood.org)
Waiting Out The Cold
Stink bugs don’t like the cold weather. That’s why they will try to get inside your house where it’s warm. Once inside, they’ll take refuge behind walls, inside cupboards, or anywhere else they can squeeze into if it helps them avoid the cold.
Luckily, stink bugs aren’t harmful to humans. They don’t sting or bite, and they don’t carry any diseases. But they do smell bad if you squish one, and can be difficult to find during an insect inspection, but not impossible. Just be careful where you step.
Identifying Bird Nests
If the adult birds or chicks cannot be identified or if a nest is found without any birds in evidence, it is still possible to identify the nest itself. Consider the following characteristics when identifying bird nests:
- Location: Where a nest is located gives a clue for the identity of its occupants. Is the nest in a cavity such as a birdhouse or hollow tree, or is it on a cliff, in a low shrub, directly on the ground or high in a tree? Some birds, such as wrens, are also well known for nesting in unusual locations, such as inside a piece of clothing on a clothesline or in a hanging basket of flowers on a porch.
- Size: The size of a nest is a good clue for the size of the birds that use it. Larger birds generally have larger nests. Some small birds that regularly have large broods of 5 to 6 eggs or more may also build larger than expected nests to accommodate the space needs of their growing hatchlings.
- Shape: Birds build different nest shapes, from simple shallow scrapes to cups to elaborate hanging pouches or cave-like structures. In addition to the overall shape of the nest, consider how wide or deep it is and where the entry point is for birds traveling back and forth—on the side, top or even the bottom.
- Materials: Birds use a wide variety of nesting materials, but most species prefer certain materials to construct their nest. A nest composed mainly of grasses and lined with feathers will be made by a different species than a nest that may be the same size and shape but is built of twigs and moss. Sticks, mud, yarn, pebbles, trash, snakeskin, spider silk, lichen, rootlets, and fur are other common nesting materials.
- Construction: Exactly how a nest is constructed can be an indicator of the bird that built it. Some birds build loose, haphazard nests, while others have tightly constructed architectural wonders. Examine how the nest is attached to a tree or bush and note whether it is decorated with lichen, moss, bits of leaves or other materials to serve as camouflage.
- Eggs: If the nest contains eggs (use a mirror on a long handle to see into a nest above your head), the shape, size, color, and markings of the eggs can also be great clues for the nest’s identity. As with observing brooding birds, however, take care not to disturb the eggs or stress parent birds that have been displaced. Never touch, handle, or remove the eggs unless they are from unprotected invasive species.
In order to conduct a large-scale survey of urban spiders, we need the help of the public. We are asking people to collect spiders in their homes and gardens, fill out a simple data sheet about their collection, and send or bring them to the Natural History Museum.
Once the specimens arrive here, our team of experts will identify the specimens, make a collecting record, and place the spiders in the collection. If requested, we will contact the person submitting the spider with information about its identity. Spiders collected in the survey will be used to create a database about the distribution and abundance of the species. We will report our major results on this website.
Want to help? See the 'How to Participate' section below for instructions.
In spite of their importance and abundance, we do not know much about the spiders in Los Angeles. There are no truly large collections of urban spiders from this area, as most collectors concentrate on studying natural areas. As an important international port, new species of spiders from various parts of the world are always being accidentally introduced into the Los Angeles area, and some of these have established breeding populations. We need to know how widespread these introduced species have become, and how they have interacted with the native spiders. Also, we want to know how urbanization and the loss of natural habitat has affected populations and distributions of naturally occurring spiders.
How Will it Work?
Disclaimer: The museum appreciates your assistance in this scientific project. If you have any concerns about participating, we suggest you do NOT participate. The museum cannot be responsible for the treatment of bites or for any injury or illness resulting from the project.
How to Participate
Why Are We Conducting A Survey?
Spiders are extremely important animals. They exist in vast numbers and are the primary predators of the equally common insects. Because they are so common, they often come into contact with people, and we receive many telephone calls requesting information about spiders. Many people needlessly fear spiders, but most are harmless to humans.
Go on a Spider-Collecting Adventure
Help our scientists find out which spiders are in L.A. Without your help, they can't get the full picture. Although the widows are the only spiders in our area which are considered dangerous, all spiders (except one family) have venom and may bite. Use caution collecting and do not put your hands anywhere you cannot see. If looking under rocks or logs, lift from the far side so that the object is between you and any creature living underneath.
Step 1: Gather Tools
Here's what you might use:
- plastic container(s) with lids
- plastic spoon
- gardening trowel
- old white pillowcase (PDF)
- small note card
- yogurt cups
Step 2: Go Outside
Spiders are everywhere. You just have to look—in bushes and flowers, under rocks, bricks and logs, wrapped in retreats tucked into leaves, in leaf litter, under pots, in crevices, in walls and fences, on window sills. The longer you spend quietly looking, the more you will find. Sometimes you will come across a spider wandering. Since many spiders are nocturnal, look at night too.
Step 3: Collect Spiders
To capture a spider, place a plastic container over the spider. Then slide a notecard beneath the spider to trap it. Quickly put the lid on the container.
To collect spiders from leaf litter, search for piles of leaves, like under bushes or in flowerbeds. With a trowel, scoop some dirt and leaves onto a pillowcase. Use a spoon to stir the material around while looking for spiders. Watch out they can move fast!
To collect nocturnal wandering spiders, try a pitfall trap. Bury a container like a yogurt cup flush with the ground. Smooth the ground around the lip. Add 1 inch of water. Check daily for spiders and place any spiders in a small container of rubbing alcohol to preserve it
Step 4: Send Us Your Spiders
Fill out the data sheet. Make sure to note where you found the spider. Bring your spiders to the Museum's front desk. Or put them in a small container, like a plastic pill vial. If alive, include a small piece of paper towel. If dead, include a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to preserve it.
Mail them to:
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles CA 90007
What have we collected so far
Community scientists participating in the Los Angeles Spider Survey have collected over 4000 spiders, representing 217 species and 119 genera in 36 families.
Grass Spiders or Funnel Web-Weavers
Grass Spiders or Funnel Web Spiders spin sheet webs with a funnel shaped retreat at the edge where they rest. When an insect walks across the web, they rush out to capture it and drag it back into the retreat. They are medium to large spiders with a characteristic pattern. The carapace is light with dark longitudinal bands. The abdomen is dark gray, often with a broad orange median band. The long spinnerets are easily seen.
When mature, the males go in search of females. Mating takes place within the retreat or on the sheet web. The male may remain with the female until he dies. The egg sac is placed in the retreat where the female guards it until the young hatch and disperse.
Hololena curta – This native spider is one of the most common spiders in the area and has been found in a wide variety of habitats. Its sheet webs can be found in large numbers in bushes and hedges, often very close to each other. They also spin their webs in the corners of houses and garages and in the corners of windows.
Agelenopsis aperta – This large spider prefers open dry areas where it spins its sheet web in grass or at the base of bushes. The retreat usually extends down into grass or into a crevice. This spider has been collected in local mountains and adjacent areas.
Spiders in this genus spin their webs in houses and under bark and rocks. The abdomen is gray with a pair of light streaks.
Tegenaria domestica – This is an introduced species which is found worldwide. It is usually collected in houses and has been found throughout the area.
Tegenaria pagana – Also an introduced species, one spider has been collected in the San Gabriel River wash.
Spiders in this genus spin their webs under rocks and boards and in leaf litter. Three species have been collected in the area.
Calilena angelena – This spider has been collected in Zuma Canyon,
Calilena californica – This spider has been collected in local mountains.
Calilena stylophora – This spider has been collected along the San Gabriel River wash.
Spiders in this family range from large to very small. They are usually brownish gray in color, sometimes with chevrons on the abdomen and are found in leaf litter and under logs and rocks. The survey has collected three species in the genus Amaurobius.
Amaurobius dorothea – These medium sized spiders have a dark orange carapace and gray abdomen with a chevron pattern.
Amaurobius latescens – These medium sized spiders have a dark orange carapace and gray abdomen with a chevron pattern.
Amaurobius agastus – One specimen has been collected in the Santa Monica Mountains.
One species, Metaltella simoni, has been introduced from South America and has recently spread throughout the Los Angeles area. It spins a tangled web under leaf litter, bark and rocks. It has been found in gardens and houses.
Gertschanapis shantzi – These tiny spiders have been collected in leaf litter in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Spiders in this family are wandering hunters found in leaf litter and under bark and rocks. They are pale yellow or tan, sometimes with dark markings. They rest in silken retreats under leaves and stones. Egg sacs are soft white and round, and may contain from 50 to 150 eggs.
Anyphaena pacifica – These spiders are pale orange with a reddish abdomen. Rapid hunters, they are found under rocks and occasionally wandering in houses. In our area, they are more commonly collected in houses.
Anyphaena californica – This spider has a pale abdomen with dark transverse markings. It is more likely to be found outside in gardens, and has been collected from compost piles.
Genus: Hibana incursa – Similar in appearance to the others, this spider has dark chelicerae.
Most noticeable in the late summer and autumn in their large orb webs, most of these spiders are native to the Los Angeles area.
Members of this family vary greatly in size. Most have an annual life cycle with one generation per year. Spiders mature and mate in early summer and fall. Males die shortly after mating females die after making an egg sac. The spiderlings hatch and remain in the egg sac until spring, typically undergoing their first molt before leaving the egg sac.
The orb shaped webs are usually vertical most spiders have a retreat in which they remain during the day. The spider usually sits in the middle of the web during the night. Some members of the family take the web down at dawn and rebuild it at dusk. Others just repair damage caused by flying insects. Often the spiders will consume the silk and recycle it. Males are less commonly seen than females. They are smaller and once they have undergone their final molt and are mature they no longer spin webs. The remainder of their lives is spent searching for females to mate.
This genus includes many of the larger orb weavers found in North America, as well as many smaller species. Most are native. They are nocturnal, resting in a silken retreat during the day and hanging in the center of the web during the night. Most have a pair of humps at the anterior margin of the abdomen. The loose fluffy egg sac is left in a sheltered spot.
Araneus gemma – This spider is one of the most commonly seen in gardens in the fall sitting at the center of the web at night. Large (females are 9-19mm.), the abdomen is brownish orange with a median longitudinal white streak. The underside of the abdomen has a black band bracketed by white.
Araneus gemmoides – This spider is very similar to Araneus gemma. The ranges of the two species overlap along the Pacific Coast and it is thought that they are interbreeding. Some spiders in our area appear to be hybrids.
Araneus andrewsi – Also large, this spider is dark with a dorsal folium. They are usually found in trees.
Araneus nordmanni – This large spider varies from light to dark with two white spots on the underside of the abdomen, and is usually found in forested areas.
Smaller Araneus species: Most of these smaller spiders mature earlier than the larger ones, in spring rather than late summer, when their prey is still small enough for them to catch. They have been collected in gardens and local mountains.
Very large and colorful, spiders in this genus can be seen hanging upside down in the center of their large orb webs, typically with legs stretched out in an X. The webs often have a stabilimentum, a zigzag band of silk, down the middle of the web. The purpose of the stabilimentum is unknown, although scientists have suggested several hypotheses: camouflage and protection for the spider, a diversion for birds, an attraction for insects. The males are minute in comparison to the very large females. They can sometimes be found at the edges of the web. Their small size may be protection from becoming dinner for their mate since they are too small for the female to bother eating.
Three species have been collected in the LA area in the survey although they are less common than other large orb weavers.
Argiope aurantia – The Black and Yellow Argiope is found in gardens, hanging upside down at the center of its large orb web. The egg sac is a brown papery sphere and may contain 400-1000 eggs. The eggs and spiderlings spend the winter inside the egg sac before hatching and dispersing.
Argiope trifasciata – The Banded Argiope has a white, yellow and black striped abdomen and is found in gardens and open areas. It prefers drier areas than the Black and Yellow Argiope. The web is usually close to the ground in bushes and grasses. The egg sac is brown and papery, flat on top and rounded underneath, and may contain 100 eggs.
Argiope argentata – The abdomen of the Silver Garden Spider has several lobes along the sides.
Members of this genus are found worldwide two are found in our area. They are found hanging in the web during the day. The web has a vertical line of debris down the middle which gives the spider its common name, the trash line spider. When disturbed in the web, the spider will rapidly shake the web then escape by dropping on a line of silk. The abdomen of the females extends into characteristic posterior humps.
Cyclosa conica – The abdomen of the female of this species has a distinctive posterior hump.
Cyclosa turbinata – The females of this species have a pair of humps on the anterior margin of the abdomen in addition to the posterior hump.
GENUS: Eriophora edax – This large spider has a triangular abdomen with a black trapezoidal mark surrounded by white on the ventral abdomen.
GENUS: Eustala – Three species have been collected in our area.
GENUS: Larinia – One species Larinia directa, has been collected. It has an elongated and stripe abdomen.
One species in this genus is found in the L.A. area. The Bolas spider, Mastophora cornigera, is also called the bird turd spider because it resembles a bird dropping as it sits at rest. In the Orb Weaver family, it is the exception it does not spin a web. The spider emits a pheromone that mimics that of a female moth. When the male moths come looking for the female, the spider catches the moth by swinging a line of silk with a glob of sticky silk at the end.
Although not common, it is widespread in the area.
GENUS: Metazygia – Two introduced species have recently been collected in the Long Beach area.
GENUS: Metepeira – These small spiders prefer the mountains around the L.A. area and are commonly found on native buckwheat and sage. The orb web has an irregular retreat. All species have an oval abdomen with a folium and a longitudinal white stripe on the underside of the abdomen some also have a white stripe on the sternum. The egg sacs are brown flattened ovals, hanging in a line below the retreat.
Species collected in the local mountains include:
Metepeira grandiosa grandiosa
These large spiders are one of the most common and abundant of the orb weavers, frequently seen in their vertical webs in late summer. They spend the day in a retreat at the edge of the web and hang in the web at night. Like the Araneus species, they usually live for one year, spinning a flattened egg sac covered with loose silk in foliage in the fall before dying. The egg sac may contain as many as 300 eggs.
Neoscona crucifera – This is the most commonly collected orb weaver in the L.A. area. It is found around houses, in gardens, and in open woods. The spider sits in the center of its web at night. It has an oval abdomen with an indistinct darkish pattern.
Neoscona arabesca – These spiders have an oval abdomen with paired black dorsal lines, and are found in shrubs and meadows. They prefer sunny moist conditions.
Neoscona oaxacensis – Commonly found near houses in shrubs and tall grass, these spiders have a black and white pattern on the abdomen. They can be found throughout the L.A. Basin.
GENUS: One species, Zygiella x-notata , has been collected in the area. Originally from Europe, it is an introduced species. The small spider has an oval abdomen with a black and white folium. The orb web is incomplete the spider leaves an open sector or wedge.
These small to medium sized spiders are usually pale brown to yellow. They are nocturnal wandering hunters who spend the day in a silk-lined retreat under a rock or in a rolled-up leaf.
One species, Clubiona pomoa, has been collected in the Agoura area.
Most of the spiders in this genus are ant mimics, often found running rapidly over leaf litter. They are small and often brightly colored. Three species have been collected in the survey.
Genus: Falconina gracilis, a species native to south America, has been collected in the south eastern part of Los Angeles County. It is found in damp areas, under rocks, logs and trash cans. The pattern on the abdomen is characteristic of the species.
Spiders in this family are large mygalomorphs who live in silk lined burrows with a trapdoor. The spider waits at the open trapdoor for an insect to pass by, and then rushes out to grab it. The males are more likely to be seen after winter rains when they leave their burrows to go in search of females. The females may spend their entire lives within their burrows.
Bothriocyrtum californicum is the native trapdoor spider in our area. It has been collected in gardens adjacent to local mountains following winter rains. This spider is declining in number due to habitat loss and increased urbanization.
The Gray House Spider, Badumna longiqua, has been introduced from Australia. It is a large dark brown spider covered with lighter hair. It is found around buildings along the coast. The spider spins a characteristic messy web with a retreat at the side where it rests.
Spiders in this family are mostly small with a round to oval abdomen. Some are found in leaf litter. Others spin small irregular webs in the branch tips of trees and bushes and other foliage. Most have an annual life cycle. Several species are found in the area.
One species in this family is found in the area. Dysdera crocata, is a nocturnal wandering hunter, commonly found in gardens under rocks and leaf litter. Its large chelicerae are adapted to capture its preferred prey, which gives it its common name of Sow Bug Eater. These large spiders have a dark red carapace with a pale abdomen. They use silk to spin retreats and egg sacs which the female guards. They may live two to three years.
These are medium to large wandering hunters. Primarily nocturnal, they are found under rocks and leaf litter, spending the day in a retreat under a rock or wrapped in a leaf. Cheiracanthium mildei, the Yellow Sac Spider, is one of the most common spiders found throughout Los Angeles County. It was introduced from Europe. This spider is often found wandering on the walls of houses at night and has a reputation for biting.
Genus: One species, Filistatinella crassipalpis, was collected in the Santa Monica Mountains. This small spider spins a web in a crevice where it sits and waits for prey.
Spiders in this family are mostly nocturnal hunters, commonly found in leaf litter, in crevices of trees and under rocks and logs and sometimes found wandering in houses. They spend the day in silken retreats. Most are mature in late spring and early summer, although some species can be found year-round as adults. Females tend to live a month longer than males in the fall. Egg sacs are attached under stones or wrapped in a leaf. Many are in the shape of a fried egg and may contain as many as 250 eggs. These spiders are small to medium, with oval elongate abdomens, and most are drab colored. Their anterior spinnerets are large and cylindrical. Most of the 15 genera and 25 species of Gnaphosidae in our area are native species, however one of the most common spiders in LA is an introduced species, Scotophaeus blackwalli.
Members of this genus have been collected in urban areas. These fast running hunters are usually found under leaf litter and in sandy soil. They have white bands against dark on the carapace and abdomen.
Members of this genus are small nocturnal hunters. Two species have been collected, Drassyllus insularis and Drassyllus proclesis.
Genus : Gnaphosa
One species, Gnaphosa californica, has been collected. It is usually found under rocks.
There are several species in this genus. Two have been collected in the area. They range from small to large and are brownish gray.
Herpyllus propinquus is one of the most common spiders in the area, often found wandering on walls in houses at night.
Herpyllus scholasticus , though less common, is also found in houses and under rocks and bark.
Two species have been collected in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Nodocion electicus and Nodocion voluntarius
Scotophaeus blackwalli – An introduced species, this is one of the most common spiders in LA, found throughout the area and commonly collected wandering on walls inside houses at night. In appearance, this spider is very similar to Herpyllus propinquus.
Members of this genus are black with white transverse bands on the abdomen and carapace. They are commonly found in leaf litter in open areas. Two species have been collected: Sergiolus angustus and Sergiolus montanus.
One species, Trachyzelotes lyonneti , has been introduced from Europe. It has a cluster of stiff whiskers on the front of the chelicerae. This spider has been collected in gardens and local mountains.
One species, Urozelotes rusticus, has been collected. Although widespread, most have been collected in Pasadena and Mount Washington. It is an introduced species found worldwide, usually associated with buildings. It has an elongate and pale abdomen.
These shiny dark black spiders are found in leaf litter and under rocks. They are usually found in open areas. Three species have been collected: Zelotes gynethus, Zelotes icenoglei and Zelotes pinos.
Heser nilicola, formerly Zelotes nilicola, is an introduced species from the Mediterranean and has been collected in houses and gardens.
Calmmaria monicae is a small spider which spins a sheet-like web with a cone shaped retreat in cavities or under rocks.
The dwarf spiders and sheet web weavers are small to very small spiders which spin horizontal sheet webs in vegetation and leaf litter near the ground and under rocks. The larger spiders in this genus, often both male and female together, sit under the web waiting for an insect to land and then bite it from below and pull it through to wrap and eat. The very smallest spiders are more likely to be found under rocks and in leaf litter where they spin small webs. Larger species often have a pattern on the abdomen the smallest species are usually gray or black. Males often have weirdly shaped carapaces with eyes grouped on turrets. These spiders are frequently collected in pit fall traps.
Tenuiphantes tenuis is a new record for Los Angeles County.
The arrangement of the eyes is characteristic of the family. Four small eyes form the anterior row two pair of larger eyes can be seen on the top of the cephalothorax. They hunt by sight, some by day and others at night, and are extremely fast runners. Their eyesight is second only to the Jumping spiders. At night, the eyes of the Wolf Spiders will appear green in the beam of a flashlight. They are somber colored gray or brown, often with whitish stripes on the carapace. Most run along the ground and rest under stones. The female carries her egg sac attached to the spinnerets until the eggs hatch. The spiderlings then ride on their mother’s back for a week or so before dispersing.
When mating, the male approaches the female waving his pedipalps and front legs in a species-specific courtship display.
Genus: Alopecosa kochii has been collected mostly in the local mountains and adjacent areas.
Genus: Arctosa littoralis prefers areas adjacent to streams.
Five species of this thin-legged wolf spider have been collected. The most common is Pardosa californica.
One species, Pirata sedentarius, has been collected.
Geolycosa gosoga – One spider has been collected in the Thousand Oaks area.
Schizocosa mccooki, a large spider, has been collected along the coast from Redondo Beach to Malibu.
These mygalomorphs are among the smaller spiders in the group. They have long flexible spinnerets which they use to spin large horizontal sheet webs over holes and crevices in the banks of ravines. One species, Megahexhura fulva, occurs in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The Pirate Spiders prey on other spiders. They have quick acting venom which is specialized to kill spiders. Web dwelling spiders are their primary prey. They approach the web and bite the resident spider on a leg before enjoying their meal. The first and second legs are armed with a row of short curved spines.
Two species, Reo eutypus and Mimetus eutypus, have been collected on plants and in houses.
One species, Oecobius navus, has been collected in the area. An introduced species, this spider is very small, oval shaped and pale gray. Often found in large numbers on the sides of buildings and along window sills. The spider spins a double sheet web and rests in between the layers. Their main prey are ants. The spider runs around the ant while surrounding it with silk. A large fringe around the anal tubercle is used to comb out the silk.
Escaphiella hespera is a very small spider usually found in leaf litter.
Lynx spiders are diurnal hunters commonly found in tall grasses and herbaceous vegetation. The elongated abdomen tapers to a point. The legs are long and covered with many erect spines, giving the spider a spiky appearance. They are sit-and-wait predators and often jump on their prey, much like the Jumping spiders. They may also stalk prey like a cat. Females lay egg sacs in the fall and remain close by until they hatch.
Peucetia viridans is a large green spider collected in gardens and natural areas.
Two species, Oxyopes salticus and Oxyopes scalaris, are smaller and less brightly colored spiders also found in gardens and natural areas.
Genus: Hamataliwa grisea is a cryptically colored, small spider, usually found on woody twigs and branches.
These active hunters are found along plant stems and branches. The second leg is the longest. Several species are found in the area. They are more common in natural areas around the Los Angeles basin.
Philodromus rufus pacificus
Spiders in this family include the common and ubiquitous cellar spiders which are often called daddy long legs spiders. They can be confused with Harvestmen, in the Order Opiliones, which are also called daddy long legs. The Harvestmen have one body part the Pholcids have the two body parts typical of the spiders. Pholcids have very long, slender and flexible legs attached to a light tan body, often with darker markings. The two most common species are introduced and are found in tangled webs in the corners of houses and garages. Native species are smaller and are found under rocks and in leaf litter and debris on the ground. Females carry their egg sacs with their chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch.
Holocnemus pluchei and Pholcus phangioides are very common around houses. Both have been introduced from Europe.
Psilochorus utahensis are small spiders which make their webs under rocks and debris. They have been collected in natural areas.
One specimen, Prodidomus rufus, has been collected. This small spider is a nocturnal wandering hunter.
This is the largest spider family and one of the most diverse. Spiders range from very small to large. They have the most acute eyesight of all the spider species with characteristic a pair of large anterior median eyes. They have stocky bodies with comparatively short legs. In many species the male is brightly colored while the female is more cryptically colored.
Active during the day, they stalk their prey, much like a cat. Slowly creeping up on a fly resting on a wall, the spider will approach then jump, leaving a drag line of silk to catch itself.
Many Jumping Spiders in the area are native, but two species collected in the survey are new records: Plexippus paykulli and Mexigonus minutus.
Members of this genus are the largest of the Jumping Spiders.
Phidippus audax is frequently found in gardens. This large jumper is black with three white spots on the abdomen. The chelicerae are iridescent green.
Phidippus johnsoni has a red abdomen, sometimes with a median black stripe. The abdomen of Phidippus adumbratus is reddish with lighter markings.
Several species of this small gray/brown spider have been collected. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females.
Genus: The male Plexippus paykullli is a medium sized spider with white stripes on a black carapace and abdomen. Females are brownish.
Colonus hesperus is a medium sized light colored spider with large black spots on the carapace.
Two species, Neon avalonus and Neon ellamae, have been collected. These tiny spiders are found in leaf litter.
Several other species have been collected in the survey.
This family includes the infamous Brown Recluse, which is a Midwest species not found in the Los Angeles area. A native species, Loxoceles deserta, is found in our local deserts. Four specimens have been submitted to the survey, all from Hesperia.
A species introduced from South America, Loxosceles laeta, has established small and localized populations in basements in downtown Los Angeles and Sierra Madre. One specimen has been collected for the survey.
Giant Crab spiders or Huntsman spiders are large brown or tan colored spiders. They are nocturnal hunters who rest in crevices and under bark during the day. They ambush and chase their prey. The front legs are held in a crab-like position, giving the spider its common name.
One introduced species is occasionally found in the area. Heteropoda venatoria, the Huntsman spider, is a large, dark spider native to the tropics. It may travel with imported fruits, especially bananas. This spider is much appreciated in the tropics where it lives in homes and preys on cockroaches at night. The female carries her egg sac in her chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch and emerge.
Olios giganticus is a native species. It is large and pale brown.
Spiders in this genus have elongate abdomens and enlarged chelicerae. Male chelicerae are greatly enlarged and armed with several large teeth. They also have a spur to hold the fangs of the female while mating. Most are found near water where they construct large orb webs at dusk each night. The orb web can be vertical to horizontal and often has an open hub. The spider can be found hanging in the middle of the web with legs outstretched. They may also rest on nearby plants with legs extended front and back in a straight line. The webs catch many flying insects, especially mosquitoes.
Three species have been collected, mostly from gardens.
Although no tarantulas have been collected in the survey, there are several species commonly seen in the natural areas around Los Angeles. They are our largest spiders and are dark and hairy appearing. They are also among the longest lived spiders. Female can live for many years, possibly to 30 years. Males mature at about two years of age and usually die shortly after mating.
These spiders are nocturnal sit and wait predators. They sit at the opening of the burrow and pounce at passing prey. Females may spend their entire life within the burrow. Most tarantulas seen wandering are males searching for females to mate.
Cobweb weaver is the common name for this family. They spin a sticky tangled web often found in corners of porches and under eaves. They are also called Comb-footed spiders. The last segment of the fourth leg has a comb of serrated spines which the spider uses to comb out silk into sheets to wrap around prey captured in the web. Since these spiders have weak jaws, they use their very sticky web to capture prey and then rapidly wrap the insect in sheets of silk to secure it. Only then does the spider inject its venom. Insect exoskeletons are often found intact in the web after the spider has sucked the liquefied insides. Many of the cobweb weavers have a globular shaped abdomen and are usually found hanging upside down in their webs. The Black and Brown Widows are members of this family.
The spiders in this genus are the venomous widows. They are the only dangerous spiders most people will encounter in the Los Angeles area. The largest of the Theridiids, they have the characteristic globular abdomen. They spin tangled webs in which they hang upside down. Several egg sacs may be suspended within the web.
Latrodectus hesperus - The Black Widow is the best known of all the Comb-footed Spiders. Large with a shiny black spherical abdomen and a red hourglass on the underside of the abdomen, the female cannot be confused with any other spider. As juveniles, the spiders are light colored, with white, yellow and black stripes. As the females mature, they gradually lose the coloration and become black. The males retain the juvenile coloration. Much smaller than the female, they are considered harmless. Once mature, they cease to spin a web. The rest of their life is spent searching for females to mate. Although the female Black Widow has a reputation for eating the male following mating, most males manage to escape unharmed. The widows are commonly found in undisturbed areas like garages, attics, and woodpiles. They are also found in local mountains where they commonly spin their webs in holes in trees and under rocky overhangs. The egg sac is a roundish brown papery case which can be seen hanging in the web often there are several egg sacs in the web. Usually not visible during the day, this nocturnal spider moves out into the center of its web at night. The western Black Widow is a native species.
Latrodectus geometricus – The Brown Widow has been intermittently reported in Southern California since the early 1900s, however, since 2002, it has established a breeding population and has spread throughout the Los Angeles basin. Often found on fences and under patio furniture, it seems to do well in more exposed locations than the Black Widow. The spider’s abdomen has a mottled geometric pattern which ranges from light to dark. The hourglass is more orange than red. The characteristic egg sac is round and cream colored and covered with spikes.
Spiders in this genus are very similar in appearance to the Black Widow. They are dark brown, often with a white band around the front of the abdomen. The abdomen is globular.
Steatoda grossa - The common name for this large spider is False Black Widow. It is similar to the Black Widows in shape, size and color, and is frequently mistaken for its dangerous relatives. The False Widow is dark purple brown rather than shiny black and usually has a white band around the front of the abdomen. It is considered harmless to people. An introduced species found worldwide, it is one of the most common spiders in the LA area and is usually found around houses. There are reports that the False Widow preys on the Black Widow.
Steatoda nobilis – Native to the Canary Islands, this spider was recently collected in Ventura County and is spreading throughout the Los Angeles area. It is found living in webs in the same habitats as the Brown Widow and False Black Widow. It can inflict a painful bite.
Parasteatoda tepidariorum – The Common House Spider is an introduced species found worldwide and is one of most common and numerous spiders in the area. It can be found under the eaves and window sills of most houses. Several egg sacs are usually suspended in the web with the female hanging upside down near them. The abdomen is variable, but usually light with chevron markings.
Spiders in this genus are very small, especially the male. The abdomen is higher than long, sometimes with a tubercle above the spinnerets. Females rest inside a curled leaf in their webs. Males amputate one of their palps before their final moult. Two species, Tidarren sisyphoides and Tidarren haemorrhoidale, have been collected in the LA basin.
There are many species of similar appearance in this genus. These small spiders are found hanging upside down in their tangled webs. The webs are frequently found in cracks in walls and rock cliffs. Theridion melanurum, Theridion dilutum, and Theridion submissum have been collected throughout the Los Angeles area and in the local mountains. Theridion californicum, Theridion lawrencei, and Theridion punctipes/leechi have been collected only in local mountains.
There are numerous smaller species found in the area:
Douglas-Fir Bark Beetle
The Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) is an important and harmful pest throughout the range of its principal host, the Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) is also occasionally attacked. Damage caused by this beetle and economic loss if Douglas fir lumber has been extensive in the tree's natural range.
Carpenter Ants Infestation
Carpenter ants require a water source to survive. To prevent brown, red or black carpenter ants in the house, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of doors or around windows. Seal all openings with a silicone-based caulk. Also, keep firewood and building materials stored away from the home. Carpenter ants like to build nests in stacks of wood.
If an infestation is suspected and you need to know how to get rid of carpenter ants, it’s always best to contact a licensed pest control professional who can assess the situation and recommend a method of carpenter ant extermination.
What kind of damage can a carpenter ant do to my house? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, discusses. Learn more about carpenter ants and the threats they pose.
Find a Pest Control Professional
- common chigger, Trombicula alfreddugesi (Oudemans)
- Trombicula splendens Ewing
- Trombicula lipovskyana (Wolfenbarger)
- Trombicula belkini Gould
- Trombicula batatas (L.)
Mites (order Acarina) are very small arthropods, with head and thorax fused into a cephalothorax. They have sucking mouthparts, no antennae, and those of interest as household pests have 4 pairs of legs as adults. Although most of these species have only 3 pairs of legs in the first (larval) stage after hatching from the egg, they gain a fourth pair in the second (nymphal) stage. The life cycle generally consists of the egg, larval stage, one or more nymphal instars or stages, and an adult stage. The life cycle usually requires only 2 or 3 weeks, and results in rapid increase and huge populations of mites under favorable conditions. A thorough discussion on the morphology and development of the free-living mites, on their role as parasites of animals and plants, and as vectors of disease, may be found in Mites, or the Acari by T. E. Hughes (1959).
Chiggers or "red bugs," called "harvest mites" in Europe, are.the larvae of mites belonging to the suborder Trombidiformes, which are worldwide in distribution. There are over 200 families of mites, but the family to which chiggers belong (Trombiculidae) contains about 10% of all mite species (Sasa, 1961). Some species attack humans and cause a dermatitis (trombidiosis). The red welts and severe itching do not appear until several hours or even a day after exposure therefore, it is difficult to know exactly when or where the infestation occurred. Several chiggers transmit a rickettsial disease called "scrub typhus" or "tsutsugamushi disease" in the Orient and various areas of the Pacific.
Description. The members of the suborder Trombidiformes are characterized by the respiratory system, when present, opening in the region of the gnathosoma, the portion of the body bearing the mouth and its appendages. Chiggers are very small, 150 to 300 microns (0.15 to 0.3 mm) long when unengorged, and are red to pale yellow or white, depending on the species. Like all mite larvae, they have 6 legs. They are parasitic, but later stages are free-living, 8-legged mites. Only the larvae are harmful and only they are correctly referred to as "chiggers." The adults are bright red, hairy, or granular (Michener, 1946 Wharton and Fuller, 1952 Baker et al., 1956). The various stages of the trombiculid mites in general are adequately represented by figure 309 , which shows an unengorged and engorged larva, a nymph, and an adult of Trombicula batatas (L.).
Common chigger, Trombicula alfreddugesi (Oudemans)
In the Western Hemisphere, this is the most common and widespread species, ranging from Canada to South America and the West Indies. Trombicula alfreddugesi parasitizes many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as man. On humans, chiggers tend to congregate in areas constricted by clothing, such as ankles, crotch, waistline, and armpits. It is unfortunate that when chiggers attach to humans they are not noticed for some time, for they are easily removed. According to Baker et al. (1956):
Itching is usually noted 3 to 6 hours after the chiggers have attached, and may persist for as long as 2 weeks. Part of the irritation is thought to be an allergic response to the salivary secretions of the mite. A papule forms at the site of attachment which may develop into a vesicle. Scratching usually removes the offending mite but, if repeated often enough, may result in an infection.
In some regions, this mite is a.pest of chickens and turkeys, affecting the younger birds most seriously. When heavily parasitized, the birds become droopy, refuse to feed, and may eventually die from starvation and exhaustion (Baker et al., 1956). A much more important chigger pest of chickens and turkeys, however, is Neoschongastia americana (Hirst), which ranges across the southern United States from California to Georgia, but does not attack man (Kunz et al., 1969).
Description. Chigger larvae are 0.15 to 0.25 mm long before engorgement, and are red to reddish orange, rarely white. Their mouthparts include 2 pairs of grasping palps provided with forked claws. The nymphs are much more hirsute than the larvae. The body is constricted behind the second pair of legs, giving them and the adults the characteristic shape of trombiculid mites shown in figure 309 . The adults are much larger than the nymphs, and are even more hirsute. They are 0.9 to 1.1 mm long, and brilliant red (Jenkins, 1949 Baker et al., 1956).
Life Cycle. The spherical eggs, approximately 0.1 to 0.2 mm in diameter, are usually laid in the soil. The larva crawls about on the surface of the soil until it finds a suitable vertebrate host. It attaches to the host by means of its chelicerae and sucks blood, but as a rule does not burrow under the skin. Engorgement usually takes about 3 days. The larva then drops, enters the soil, and changes, via the nymphochrysalis, to the nymphal stage. The nymphs probably feed on the eggs and young instars of small arthropods. The adult emerges from a dorsal split in the imagochrysalis and nymphal cuticle (Baker et al., 1956).
The life cycle may require 2 to 12 months or longer, depending on the temperature. There may be 1 to 3 generations per year in temperate climatic zones, but reproduction may be continuous throughout the year in warmer regions, with as many as 6 generations. Females kept at suitable temperatures and supplied with water and food were observed to live more than a year and to produce larvae throughout that period. The time when chiggers are active varies from 2 months in Minnesota and Massachusetts to the entire year in southern Florida. Chiggers are most abundant during rainy spells in the area from Kansas to Texas, and may disappear during hot, dry weather (Jenkins, 1948).
Trombicula splendens Ewing is a related species in the eastern United States. It prefers moister habitats, such as swamps and rotten logs or stumps. It is one of the most common causes of trombidiosis in the southeastern states.
Trombicula lipovskyana (Wolfenbarger) may be found in similar places in Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Trombicula belkini Gould is widely distributed in California, and has also been collected in Utah. Reptiles seem to be its favored hosts, but it also infests rodents and ground birds. It sometimes annoys humans and their pets (CEIR, 1960). This species is closely related to T. alfreddugesi, but the larvae lack nude, whiplike setae on the tarsus of leg II (Baker et al., 1956 Gould, 1956).
Trombicula batatas (L.) ( figure 309 ) is common in Central and South America, the state of Puebla, Mexico, and has been reported from the southeastern United States (Michener, 1946 Jenkins, 1948). It has been collected on humans and many domestic and wild animals. One 12-year-old boy had 138 attached larvae (Michener, 1946). It has been reported to attack humans in the San Joaquin Valley of California (Doetschman and Furman, 1949).
Gould (1956) published an extensive monographic study of the larval trombiculid mites of California.
Favored Habitats. Chiggers are most abundant in areas that support thickets or scrub-type vegetation and where the ground is undisturbed, supporting many rabbits, other rodents, and various small host animals. They are generally eliminated automatically by habitat destruction in areas that are heavily populated or intensively farmed. In new urban subdivisions, however, chiggers may persist in lawns for several years. To determine the exact area of chigger infestation, a piece of black cardboard can be placed edgewise on the ground where an infestation is suspected. If chiggers are present, the tiny yellow or pink larvae will crawl rapidly over the cardboard and accumulate on the upper edge. Chiggers can also be easily detected on black, polished shoes (USDA, 1963). Jenkins (1948) suggested the possibility that chiggers might be of value in decreasing mosquito populations. The adults were often abundant in depressions in the ground which had become temporary pools containing Aedes and Psorophora larvae in the spring. Mosquito eggs laid in such depressions probably were serving as food for Trombicula adults.
Repellents. In areas where chiggers are known to be a problem, the avoidance of their favored habitats is, of course, a way of minimizing infestation. Protective clothing and repellents are recommended as already described for protection against mosquitoes and ticks. If infested, a thorough soapy bath as soon as possible is a highly effective treatment. Repeat the lathering and rinsing several times. Most of the chiggers, attached or unattached, will be killed.
Among the best repellents for chiggers are those containing diethyl toluamide (OFF), ethyl hexanediol (6-12), and dimethyl phthalate, applied to the skin and clothing around the ankles, waist, and armpits. To apply dusting sulfur to skin and clothing is an old but effective method of preventing chiggers. Repellents should be applied particularly to the legs, ankles, cuffs, waist, and sleeves. Some relief from itching can be obtained by applying a solution of 5% benzocaine, 2% methyl salicylate, 0.5% salicylic acid, 73% ethyl alcohol, and 19.5% water. This can be prepared by a druggist. It may be applied to each welt with a piece of cotton. Each treatment gives relief for an hour or more (USDA, 1963).
Control. Good control of chiggers in the field can be obtained for 1 or 2 months with toxaphene at 2 lb (0.91 kg) or lindane at 0.25 lb (0.11 kg) of actual toxicant per acre, preferably as emulsions. The amount of water used as a carrier of such quantities depends, of course, on the type of spray equipment available. A given quantity of insecticide can be used with either a large or small quantity of water, as long as the toxicant is thoroughly and uniformly distributed. The following quantities (stated as emulsifiable concentrates) of 4 insecticides that are effective against chiggers as well as insects have been recommended (Anonymous, 1970d).
Insecticide and formulation For 1,000 sq ft (93 sq m) For 1 acre (0.405 ha) Chlordane 45% 10 tsp (50 cc) 3 pt (1,440 cc) Toxaphene 60% 7 tsp (35 cc) 2 pt (960 cc) Diazinon 25% 0.5 pt (240 cc) 2.50 gal (9.50 1) Malathion 57% 0.5 pt (240 cc) 2.50 gal (9.50 1)
A convenient way to treat 1,000 sq ft (93 sq m) of lawn would be to mix any one of the formulations shown in the table with 3 gal (11 L) of water, but if weeds or tall grass were present, the same quantities of insecticide could be more effectively applied in 6 gal (22 L) of water. To spray an acre (0.405 ha), at least 25 gal (95 L) of water are required. Malathion treatments may need to be repeated because malathion is nonpersistent. There are also dust formulations of these insecticides that can be used effectively for chigger control. (Consult appropriate authorities about pesticides currently authorized.)
Straw itch mite, Pyemotes ventricosus (Newport) (Pyemotidae)
This extremely small mite, almost invisible to the unaided eye, is primarily a parasite of certain insects, including 3 moths, 10 beetles, 4 wasps and bees, a bug, a fly, and a termite. Some of these host insects infest straw, wheat, stored food products, straw mattresses, and wood, and are therefore found in the home. The straw itch mite has also been called "grain itch," "hay itch," and "straw mattress" mite. Humans can become infested, with resulting dermatitis, by coming in contact with materials such as straw, hay, grasses, grains, and even beans, peas, cottonseed, tobacco, and broomcorn that have been infested with insect larvae upon which the mites feed. These mites also attack horses, cattle, and possibly other mammals (Goldberger and Schamberg, 1909 Baker et al., 1956 A. M. Hughes, 1961 Fine and Scott, 1963, 1965 Scott and Fine, 1963, 1964, 1967 Butler, 1972).
Description. The female is an almost microscopically small,. elongate mite ( figure 310 ), 0.22 mm long and white to yellow in color. When gravid, she becomes greatly distended behind the fourth pair of legs, and attains a length of up to 2 mm. Her abdomen shows traces of lateral segmentation, and she has clublike hair between the first and second pairs of legs. The male is only 0.16 mm long, but is wider than the female.
Life Cycle. This mite has a strange and unusual biology. The males wander continuously over the distended body of the pregnant female, feeding on it parasitically. The large eggs hatch, and 206 to 300 mites develop to adulthood within the female's enlarged abdomen. They are extruded at the rate of about 50 per day. Only some 3% are males, but they emerge first and remain clustered around the genital opening. With the aid of their hind legs, they drag the females through the opening, even though they can emerge unassisted, and copulation takes place immediately. The females then search for hosts. Only 6 to 10 days are required from the time of fertilization to the hatching of eggs. The mites are active during the warmer months of the year at 80 °F (27 °C) or above (Baker et al., 1956 Scott and Fine, 1963).
Distribution of Bites. The bites of straw itch mites are characteristically distributed almost exclusively on clothed portions of the body, although they occur rarely on other areas, with the exceptions of the palms, soles, and mucous membranes. There is no tendency for the mites to be grouped, although this sometimes occurs fortuitously. A person may feel a prickling sensation at the time of the bite, but otherwise no immediate reaction seems to occur. The period between the time of the bite and the delayed reaction has been variously reported as 10 to 16, 16, 27, and 17 to 28 hours (Fine and Scott, 1965).
Straw Itch Mite Dermatitis. A considerable number of epidemics of dermatitis have been traced to infestation by Pyemotes ventricosus. Since many such outbreaks have not been recorded or correctly diagnosed, it is likely that this ailment is more common than is generally realized. Straw itch mite dermatitis is usually associated with sleeping on straw mattresses, harvesting grain, or otherwise handling or coming in contact with grain, straw, hay or other substances such as those just mentioned. The possibility of infestation is particularly strong if there are large numbers of the mites' host insects present, such as the Angoumois grain moth (Sitotroga cerealella) and the wheat jointworm (Harmolita tritici). The host insect need not necessarily be a species associated with hay or grain. For example, cases of straw itch mite dermatitis have been associated with severe infestations of furniture beetles (Anobium punctatum) in the floor joists of houses. The recurrence of such cases during the same season for 3 successive years led investigators to conclude that the mites migrated in search of new hosts as the adult beetles emerged and left the wood. The mites apparently were not able to penetrate the thick exoskeletons of the beetles when the latter were in the pupal and adult stages, and therefore they left and sought new hosts. In one house, the mites were controlled by treating the floors with 2% deodorized malathion emulsion (Fine and Scott, 1963, 1965 Scott and Fine, 1963).
Treatment and Prevention. The treatment of symptoms is not the solution to the problem. Either a person must avoid infested areas, or the mites and their host insects must be eliminated.
Tropical rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti (Hirst) (Macronyssidae)
The tropical rat mite commonly occurs on rats throughout the world, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions, but also in some temperate areas. It is an ectoparasite of rats, and attacks people living in rat-infested buildings. Its bite may cause irritation and sometimes painful dermatitis. It is an important pest of laboratory animals, particularly rats, mice, and hamsters, sometimes deteriorating their health or even causing death by exsanguination (Baker et al., 1956).
When rats occur in a house, their fecal pellets may be found in the attic, and can often be seen from the crawl hole. When rats are killed, the mites leave their bodies and may travel great distances, particularly along the heating pipes in the walls, for when they are not engorged with blood they are very active. When searching for mite infestations, a flashlight should be used and warm areas such as those near hot-water and steam pipes should be examined with particular care.
Description. The tropical rat mite is gray to pale yellowish gray, changing to red or black when engorged with blood ( figure 311 , inset). The females vary in length from about 1.15 mm when unfed to 1.41 mm when engorged. The males are about two-thirds as long as the females. A useful taxonomic character is the single dorsal plate, which is relatively narrow and does not cover the entire dorsal surface, even in specimens that have not fed. The dorsal plate bears pairs of long setae, more numerous on the anterior half and in most specimens with only 6 or 7 pairs on the posterior half (Skaliy and Hayes, 1949 Baker et al., 1956).
Life Cycle. After the adult female engorges, her first eggs may be laid within 2 days at ordinary temperatures (68 to 72 °F 20 to 22 °C). They are deposited on debris in rat nests and burrows, but apparently not on the rats themselves. They hatch in about 36 hours. The larvae do not feed, and within a day they molt to enter the first nymphal stage, the protonymph. The protonymphs attach to a host and obtain a blood meal before dropping off and molting to become deutonymphs. In this stage they do not feed, but in 24 to 36 hours molt to become adult males or females. They mate and engorge within 3 days. Unfertilized females reproduce parthenogenetically. Four or 5 blood meals are required for the completion of the entire life cycle. The life of an adult female was found to average 61.9 days the number of eggs laid, 98.8 and the life cycle from egg to egg, 10 to 12 days (Sheimire and Dove, 1931 Bertram et al., 1946 Baker et al., 1956).
Tropical Rat Mite Dermatitis. When the mites are abundant, they may be found anywhere in the house, and both nymphs and adults may attack people. Their bites produce irritation, and sometimes a painful dermatitis will continue for 2 or 3 days, leaving red spots on the infested areas ( figure 311 ). Scratching may result in secondary infections.
Within some households certain individuals are affected while others are not. Sometimes, much time and money will be spent on ineffective medication and it is usually difficult for the infested person to obtain a correct diagnosis. This acariasis cannot be distinguished from flea bites, and is sometimes misidentified as scabies.
Control. The complete control of rats would, of course, eventually result in the elimination of tropical rat mites from infested premises. However, rat control often proves to be difficult, and "ratproofing" an attic may also be difficult and very expensive. It should also be borne in mind that trapping or otherwise killing rats may increase the attacks on the inhabitants of the house for a time because of the suddenly increased number of mites that leave the bodies of the dead rats. Unfed protonymphs have been observed to survive for as long a period as 43 days without food (Sudd, 1952).
Acaricides that depend on toxic action lose their toxicity too rapidly, particularly in the high summer temperatures of an attic. Reinfestation may then occur. HCN gas fumigation has been used successfully, but it is expensive and leaves no residue.
The successful results of a fluorinated silica aerogel dust, blown into attics for the prevention of drywood termites (Incisitermes minor) suggested a similar use of this material for the control of the tropical rat mite (Ebeling, 1960). In 5 infested houses and 1 2-story apartment house, in each of which 1 or more inhabitants had been attacked by rat mites for prolonged periods, the silica aerogel Dri-die 67 was blown into the attic at the rate of 1 lb to 1,000 sq ft (0.45 kg to 93 sq m) of attic area. For 4 of the houses, the dust was also blown into the crawl space under the house at the same rate (for floor space) as that for the attic area. An electric duster with a 1-gal (4-L) hopper was used to apply the dust. In the attic, the dust was applied entirely from the crawl hole, and under the house, from 1 or 2 crawl holes or a larger number of foundation vents. Since in all cases the mites were already distributed throughout the dwelling, some dust was applied with a small bellows hand duster under mattresses, on the spring supports of beds, along the edges and in the 4 corners of bed frames, into the junctures of seats and back or arm rests and under the pillows of sofas and lounges, under furniture and other out-of-the way places, and in a few spots along the floor boards and ceiling moldings.
The decision to make use of Dri-die 67 dust was made in an effort to bring about the immediate cessation of mite attacks. Principal reliance was placed on the dusting of the attic for longterm control.
Rat mites may live as long as 63 days with no food (Scott, 1949), so those not coming into contact with the dust may continue to infest the inhabitants of a house. In all the buildings treated, severe infestations had been experienced up to the date of treatment, but ceased immediately afterward, and were never resumed except in 1 house where the housewife received a few more bites after treatment. In this instance, she applied more dust behind the electric outlet plates and various other areas that had not been covered the first time. Control was soon obtained, and no reinfestation occurred. Conventional liquid acaricides could have been applied in the living spaces of the treated houses, for people usually try to avoid leaving an unsightly residue. However, dusting is appropriate in attics, wall voids, and other inconspicuous areas. The dusting should be done before rat control is attempted, so that mites leaving the bodies of dead rats will contact the dust and will not be able to reach the living space and infest its occupants.
House mouse mite, Liponyssoides sanguineus (Hirst) (= Allodermanyssus) (Macronyssidae)
This mite occurs in northern Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Although the house mouse (Mus musculus) is its preferred host, it will also feed on rats and other rodents. The house mouse mite attacks man, and causes a dermatitis in about the same way as does the tropical rat mite.
Importantly, there is also considerable circumstantial evidence that it can transmit rickettsial pox, caused by Rickettsia akari (Baker et al., 1956).
Description. Unengorged mites are 0.65 to 0.75 mm long, and engorged females may reach a length of 1 mm or more. Their color may range from red to blackish, depending on how recently blood meals have been taken they cause the mites to appear black. This species has 2 dorsal plates on the adult female, but even on unengorged specimens, the plates do not cover the entire dorsal surface. The anterior plate on the dorsum is 10 times larger than the posterior plate, and bears several pairs of setae, whereas the posterior plate bears only 1 pair. The chelicerae are long and whiplike (Baker et al., 1956).
Life Cycle. As with most macronyssid mites, there is an egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph, and adult stage. Unlike the tropical rat mite, both protonymph and deutonymph require blood meals.
The life cycle occupies 17 to 23 days, and unfed females have been observed to live as long as 51 days. The adult mite leaves its host after feeding, and may be found crawling about in mouse nests, runways, or on the walls and ceilings of infested buildings (Baker et al., 1956).
Control. Control measures are the same as for the tropical rat mite.
Northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Canestrini and Fanzago) (Macronyssidae)
This species ( figure 312 ) is an ectoparasite of domestic fowls and many wild birds, but in the absence of bird hosts it will sometimes attack humans, causing an itch. It is similar to the tropical rat mite in appearance and life cycle. It can become a household pest when birds build nests under eaves of a house or in the attic. For control, these nests should be removed. Otherwise, treatment is the same as that recommended for control of the tropical rat mite.
Chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer) (Dermanyssidae)
This cosmopolitan species is a pest of poultry and wild birds. Poultry roosts or bird nests can be sources of home infestations, and the human occupants can also be infested. The bite of this mite causes painful skin irritation. Unfed adult mites are about 0.75 mm long and nearly white ( figure312 ). After a blood meal, they may become 1 mm long and bright red. The female oviposits in crevices or under debris in chickenhouses or bird nests. Under favorable conditions, the entire life cycle may require only 7 days. The adults can survive without blood meals for 4 or 5 months (Baker et al., 1956). Chicken mites have been controlled by spraying the chickenhouse with l% malathion or by dusting infested litter with 2%, malathion dust at the rate of 1 lb to 20 sq ft (0.45 kg to 1.85 sq m) (Furman et al., 1955).
Human itch mite, Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis (Hering) (Sarcoptidae)
Different varieties of Sarcoptes scabiei (De Geer) are believed to be specific for different mammals, including man and a large variety of domestic and wild animals, but are transferable from one host to another. The variety specific to man is generally referred to as the "itch" or "scab" mite, and acariasis caused by it is sometimes called "scabies." People are most likely to become infested when living in continually crowded quarters, such as slums or jails, or during periods of major calamities that result in prolonged overcrowding.
The human itch mite has a legitimate claim to fame in the history of biology. The original description of the life cycle and habits of this mite and the proof that it was the cause of scabies were accomplished by the Italian pharmacist Diacinto Cestoni and the relatively obscure young physician Giovan Cosino Bonomo. This was in the seventeenth century, when endo- and ectoparasites were usually considered to be produced by spontaneous generation. The observations made by Cestoni and Bonomo became generally known through a letter written by Bonomo to Francesco Redi (1626-1697), an experimental entomologist best known as a debunker of the "spontaneous generation" myth. The letter was reproduced in facsimile by Lane (1928). It has been described as "the birth certificate of parasitology" (Sadun, 1969).
Buxton (1921a) made a detailed study of the external anatomy of the equine itch mite, Sarcoptes scabiei var. equi (Gerlach, 1857). A subsequent study of the anatomy of the human itch mite, Sarcoptes scabiei De Geer, 1778, var. hominis (Hering, 1880), revealed certain minute differences in scales and spines, but these differences were not constant and measurements overlapped. Buxton (1921 b) concluded that it was convenient to regard the 2 forms as varieties, but that this was more justifiable on physiological than on morphological grounds. For practical purposes, Buxton's (1921a) drawings and descriptions of the variety equi serve for the variety hominis. Heilesen (1946) made a detailed study of the anatomy of all stages of hominis, as well as an investigation of the biology of the species scabiei.
Description. Itch mites ( figure 313 ) are broadly oval, somewhat hemispherical, and so small that even the adults are barely visible to the unaided eye. Adult females are 0.33 to 0.45 mm long, and the males, 0.20 to 0.24 mm. The mites are a translucent, dirty-white color, with the more highly chitinized portions brownish. The integument is finely striate over most of its surface. In living specimens, the body is seen to be divided into 2 regions by a fold in the integument the posterior portion bears the last 2 pairs of the 4 pairs of very short legs. The last 2 pairs of legs do not extend as far as the margins of the body. The anterior 2 pairs of legs on females and all but the third pair on males are provided with delicate, stalked, terminal suction pads. In the females the posterior 2 pairs of legs, and in the males the third pair, terminate in bristles. The adults lack eyes and many special respiratory organs. Characteristic spines and bristles on the dorsal surface aid in identifying the species. The spines are directed backward, and may serve to anchor the mite in position when it is digging burrows in the skin (Munro, 1919 Buxton, 1941b Hand, 1946 Heilesen, 1946).
Life Cycle. Both sexes and all stages of the itch mite tend to burrow into the skin immediately when placed on it, but the nymphs and males make only small, temporary holes, and move about frequently. The largest and longest burrows are made by the egg-laying female. The female always burrows in folds of the skin, preferring the deeper furrows and cracks. She can be induced to enter when a fine scratch has been made with a needle in the surface of the skin. She may also place herself in the acute angle between a sloping hair and the surface of the skin to gain support for initiating the burrowing (Heilesen, 1946). The winding burrow may reach a length of 5 to 15 mm. It is excavated in the deeper part of the horny epidermal layer, rarely as far as the granular layers (Buxton, 1941b Heilesen, 1946).
Munro (1919) believed that, if undisturbed, the female would lay all her eggs in 1 burrow ( figure 313 ). A second mating does not take place she dies in the burrow. It appears from the observations of various authors that the adult life of the mite is from 2 to as many as 6 weeks. It is difficult to determine the number of eggs laid by a female in her lifetime, but it is usually estimated to be between 40 and 50. Munro also observed that the period between the beginning of burrow formation and the finding of the first larva varied from 71 to 78 hours. He also found that 9 eggs removed from burrows and kept at 29 °to 30 °C (about 85 °F) hatched in 68 to 80 (average 74) hours. He gave the following numbers of days for the duration of the various life stages of the female: egg, 2.5 to 3.5 larva, 1.5 to 3 first nymph, 1.5 to 2.5 and second nymph, 2 to 4. He concluded that the life cycle required from 9 to 15 days. The numbers of days for the various life stages of the female, as determined by Heilesen (1946), were as follows: egg, 3 to 4 larva, 3 first nymph, 3 to 4 second nymph, 3 to 4 and from copulation to oviposition, 2 a total of 14 to 17 days. The developmental period for the male was only 9 to 11 days. The male has only 1 nymphal stage, whereas 2 are recognized in the female. In the second nymphal stage, the female can be fertilized by the male, even though the orifice (tocoptome) by which the eggs are laid has not yet been formed (Warburton, 1920).
Means of Transmission. The ease of transmission of body lice via infested clothing and bedding has led many people to assume that itch mites could be transmitted in the same way. An important difference, however, is that body lice live on their host's clothes and contact his body only to feed, whereas itch mites spend most of their lives beneath the host's skin. In experiments with 63 male volunteers, in none of 31 men were itch mites transferred via blankets previously used by infested men, and in only 2 cases out of 32 were mites transmitted when uninfested men used underclothing immediately after it had been used by infested men (Mellanby, 1941). Merely putting clothing away for 2 or 3 days at ordinary room temperature should be sufficient to rid it of mites. Two persons in a bed gave the greatest opportunity for the spread of itch mites. However, transmission is also possible through "dancing, flirtation, and ordinary intimate contact between members of a family" (Heilesen, 1946).
Body Regions Infested. Munro (1919) observed the burrowing procedures of egg-bearing females. The suckers of a female's anterior pair of legs were fixed onto the skin, and she propped her body up with the bristles on her posterior pair, assuming an almost perpendicular position. With her chelate mouthparts she commenced to cut the skin and bore in, becoming completely concealed in as little as 2.5 minutes. (This was a much shorter period than the one recorded by Heilesen, who found that 6 adult females burrowed into his skin in 15 to 40 minutes.) She ceased burrowing at a low temperature or when the body of her host was cold, and recommenced with a slight rise in temperature or warming of the body. Munro was able to activate burrowing of female mites in his wrist by passing from a cold room to a warm one, and was able to regulate the rate of burrowing by alternately warming and cooling an infested wrist over a radiator or other source of heat. He observed that under normal conditions, the burrowing period corresponded more or less to the time spent in bed. He stated:
The parts of the body selected by the ovigerous female are the interdigital spaces the wrists and the ulnar margins of the wrists the elbows and the anterior folds of the axillae the penis, scrotum, and buttocks the back of the knee and the ankles and toes. In young children, the egg burrows may occur on any part of the body, and in women, the undersides of the breasts are very commonly selected.
Localization of Infestation. In an examination of 886 soldiers, 9,978 adult female mites were found and removed, an average of slightly over 11 per patient. About 52%, had fewer than 6 mites and only 3.9% had more than 50. One patient had 511. The percentages of mites found in the various areas of the body were: hands and wrists, 63.1 elbows (extensor aspect), 10.9 feet and ankles, 9.2 penis and scrotum, 8.4 buttocks, 4.0 axillae, 2.4 and in the remaining regions of the body, a total of 2 (Johnson and Mellanby, 1942). In another investigation, among 119 women the percentages of mites in various body areas were as follows: hands and wrists (excluding palms), 74.3% palms of hands, 7.5% (none were found on the palms of men) elbows, 5.8 feet and ankles, 8.8 buttocks, 1.1 and in all other areas, 2.5. Among 18 children, itch mites were found to be more uniformly spread over many parts of the body, As indicated by Munro (1919), with many mites on their ankles and feet (Hartley and Mellanby, 1944).
Active stages of mites confined in cells on parts of the body other than the foregoing will burrow into these parts, but if the cells are removed, they will leave them for the nearest sites usually selected. When Munro confined female mites on his forearm, they always burrowed into his skin enough for concealment, but left these burrows and were recovered on the wrist in from 20 minutes to 2.5 hours.
Symptoms of Infestation. Whereas in animals large numbers of mites give rise to "sarcoptic mange," in humans relatively small numbers of mites can cause unpleasant symptoms, and the disease is known as "scabies." At a certain stage, the irritation may become so severe that the patient becomes frantic and suffers from lack of sleep. If the infestation is long continued, or if a later infestation occurs, an allergic reaction develops, with intense itching and a redness, or rash of follicular papules over much of the body. The rash may develop on areas such as around the armpits, the wrists, the waist, inside the thighs, and backs of the calves, but these areas do not necessarily coincide with those of mite infestation. The rash may occur over much of the body, even though only a few mites may be present in restricted locations between the fingers (Pratt, 1963). In an investigation of 55 volunteers who had not been infested with itch mites before, Mellanby (1944) observed that during the first month of itch mite infestation, there were few or no symptoms and no erythema. Infested persons might even be unaware that mites were burrowing into their skin.
Symptoms began to be evident in about a month, and in about 6 weeks the irritation was sufficiently severe to cause some loss of sleep. Then the itching grew progressively worse, and after 100 days it was practically continuous and almost unbearable. However, when secondary infections and impetigo developed, the mite population decreased, and was sometimes completely eliminated. (If secondary infections are neglected, they may themselves require prolonged medical treatment.) When volunteers already infested were treated and then reinfested, intense local irritation was felt within 24 hours, and a patch of erythema surrounded each mite. This apparently caused an adverse environment for the mites, for in another 2 days most of them had disappeared, some scratched out by the patient and others leaving the burrow. Relatively few mites reached maturity when compared with the original infestation.
Medical Treatment. It is important to diagnose scabies correctly, for neither the irritation nor the liability to skin diseases can cease until the mites have been eliminated. Look for the burrow of a female in such places as between the knuckles and in folds of the wrist and elbow, and then gently prick the burrow open. Toward the end of the burrow, the mite can usually be distinguished as a dull-white spot. Remove it with a needle. A bath before treatment is desirable for hygienic reasons. Thorough treatment is essential, and is best done by a physician or a reliable nurse or orderly. Treatment consists of application of ointments or liquid preparations. Ramsay (1969) prescribed either 25% benzyl benzoate emulsions, Kwell® (1 % lindane) cream or lotion, or Eurax® cream or lotion. The latter contains 10% of crotamiton (N-ethyl-o-crotonotoluide). Ramsay recommended that these preparations be applied in the evening after the patient had taken a warm bath, and that the application be left in place until the next evening, when the treatment would be repeated. All areas of the skin below the neck should be treated, including body folds, palms, and soles. A cleansing bath should be taken 48 hours after the second application. Some tingling of the skin is to be expected after treatment, and it may last as long as 10 to 14 days. Calamine lotion or emulsion may be applied to alleviate this condition. Instructions on the package in which the medication is sold should always be read and followed carefully. Secondary infections may require the skills of a medical doctor or dermatologist. If the treatment is satisfactory and reinfestation occurs, an effort should be made to find untreated persons with whom the patient may have had contact.
Canine mange mite, Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis Gerlach, on Dogs and Humans
Sarcoptes scabiei on domestic animals has generally been referred to as a sarcoptic mange mite, and the symptom as "mange" or "scabies." The mite causes a self-limiting but very uncomfortable eruption if the secondary host is human. Man is particularly vulnerable to infestation by the variety of mange mite that infests the dog, probably because of his closer association with that animal than with others.
Description. This broadly oval mite is very small about the size of the human itch mite. As in the human itch mite, in both sexes the anterior 2 pairs of legs and, in the male, also the fourth pair, have delicate, terminal, stalked suction pads. In the females, the posterior 2 pairs of legs, and in the males the third pair, end in bristles. Characteristic spines and bristles on the dorsal surface aid in identifying the species.
Life Cycle. The female lays her eggs in burrows she makes in the skin. They hatch in 3 to 5 days, and a complete life cycle requires 8 to 17 days (Smith and Claypoole, 1967).
Symptoms on Dogs. The eruption begins with small, white or erythematous (reddish, inflamed) papules, initially appearing, in the groin and "armpit" areas and on the periphery of the ears. The papules may become so numerous that they appear to be contiguous, especially on the relatively hairless portions of the body. Crusts form, composed of dried exudates of serum and blood. The skin becomes lichenous, scaly, and corrugated in appearance. The eruption spreads, but is usually most severe on the ears, head, abdomen, and in groin and "armpit" areas. Hair is lost, or can be easily pulled out in patches. The remaining hair becomes dull and lusterless, and the animal develops a characteristic "mousey" odor. Intense generalized itching accompanies the eruption, and if untreated, the animal may become emaciated and even die of exhaustion from the itching and extensive chronic inflammatory reaction, often with a secondary infection. Canine scabies occurs most commonly in undernourished puppies, particularly if they are suffering from internal parasites (Smith and Claypoole, 1967).
Symptoms on Humans. A rash develops on some persons after only brief contact with an infested dog, but the most severe cases develop in those with prolonged close contact. The eruption is most often in the form of pimples, but may be characterized by blisters and inflammation. There is frequently a sloughing away of the skin. Lesions are most common on the forearms, lower region of the chest, and on the abdomen and thighs, but may be generalized. The distribution of symptoms usually differs from that of human scabies, in that the finger webs and the genitalia are usually not affected, but both these areas may be involved if the infestation is severe. The face is not affected except in children. In view of the facts that (1) the sarcoptic mite can live for 4 to 5 weeks, (2) in no cases have symptoms lasted longer than this, and (3) burrows have not been found in human skin it appears that Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis does not reproduce on human skin, but this could be definitely proved only by prolonged observation on heavily infested human volunteers - an unlikely development (Smith and Claypoole, 1967).
Control of Mange on Dogs. In mange or scabies control on dogs, advantage has been taken of the fact that male mites do not do any significant boring into the skin, and may be controlled by continuous exposure to toxic vapors. In one experiment, a dichlorvos resin strip (NO-Pest Strip¨) was placed in the bedding inside the doghouse of a beagle, 3 x 1.5 x 2 ft (90 x 45 x 60 cm) in area. Within 2 weeks, the dog's skin, which had been red on the lower half of the body and on the legs from a severe case of sarcoptic mange, lost its redness, and new hair began to appear. The strip was moved to one side of the doghouse, and the dog's condition continued to improve he recovered completely in 6 weeks. Whereas mites were taken from all skin scrapings before treatment, none were taken 6 weeks later. The dog had chewed the edges of the dichlorvos strip, but no ill effect was noted (Whitney, 1969).
The specialist who conducted this experiment had used dichlorvos resin strips for several years to protect dogs and cats from flies and mosquitoes, and had observed no sarcoptic mange or fleas on 60 beagles and 36 cats that had been kept in kennels and a cat room where the strips had been used.
Treatment for Scabies or Mange. Both dogs and humans have been effectively treated with "gamma benzene hexachloride cream." Humans were cured with 1 application. The patient should avoid further close contact with the pet until it is cured (Smith and Claypoole, 1967). The old NBIN lotion for a combination treatment for lice and scabies (Eddy, 1946) is still available under the name of Topocide, but may be procured by prescription only.
Figure 303 . Cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. A, adult B, larvae C, eggs D, larva in cocoon E, pupa in cocoon.
Figure 304 . The pajaroello, Ornithodoros coriaceus.
Figure 305 . External morphological features of hard ticks (Ixodidae). A, ventral aspect of capitulum B, dorsal aspect of female C, ventral aspect of male D, leg. (From Pratt and Littig, 1962.)
Figure 306 . American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. A, dorsal aspect of larva B, nymph C, adult male D, adult unengorged female. (From Smith et al., 1946.)
Figure 307 . Engorged female of the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. (From Smith et al., 1946.)
Figure 308 . Brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus
Figure 309 . A chigger mite, Trombicula batatas. A, unengorged larva B, engorged larva C, nymph D, ventral view of preadult E, adult. (From Michener, 1946.)
Figure 310 , Straw itch mite, Pyemotes ventricosus. From left, male female gravid female. (From Fine.and Scott, 1963.)
Figure 311 . Back and neck of a woman, showing maculae caused by bites of the tropical rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti. Inset: Engorged mite. (From Ebeling, 1960.)
Figure 312 . Northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (left), and chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae.
What is a White Squirrel?
White squirrels are almost always a white version of the eastern grey squirrel. There are a few types of genetic aberrations that cause the white coats. The first is albinism, caused by a mutation on a gene that codes for pigmentation. Albinos have red eyes. The other is a white morph, caused by a different gene. It is a naturally occurring trait of eastern grey squirrels that is very, very rare. In our study, we’re trying to figure out just how rare.
Photo taken by Theodore W. Hatem (prettygoodpix.com)
Mud tubes on an outside wall could be the nest of a mud dauber wasp or they could be travel tubes used by subterranean termites (or they could be the work of a 4-year old!). Size and location of the tubes would determine the correct answer.
(1) Tubes Made By Wasps – Organpipe mud dauber wasps construct mud tubes that are a few inches long, about 3/4 –inch wide, and stacked side by side. The tube nests are found in sheltered places on a home such as under porch roofs, on eaves, or on window frames. The tubes contain the wasp’s developing larvae and spiders provided for them to feed on (see Mud Dauber Wasps – Unsightly Nests But Little Threat)
Old Tubes or New Tubes? If the tubes have circular holes in them, that means that the wasp larvae have completed development and adult mud dauber wasps have already emerged from the nest. Adult wasps emerge in the spring and begin building their own nests. If the tubes are entire, wasps will still emerge, probably next spring. There is usually no control necessary other than removing the mud tubes with a putty knife.
(2) Tubes Made By Termites – Termite mud tubes, on the other hand, are much smaller in diameter and often much longer than a few inches. Termite tubes meander up a wall, usually from the ground, often branching as they are constructed and extended. Subterranean termites build these mud tubes to use as tunnels while looking for wood, or to reach wood already discovered. The tubes protect the soft-bodied termites from drying out once they leave the soil and also protect them from predators like ants (see What Do Termite Tubes Look Like?).
Old Tubes or New Tubes? Termite tubes are made from a combination of soil, wood, and a glue-like substance made from the saliva and fecal material of the termite. Old tubes are dry and brittle and break easily. Fresh, newly constructed tubes are moist and you might find worker termites inside when you break them open. If you have termite tubes, you need a professional termite inspection by an exterminator. Termites may already be feeding on the wood in your home. At the very least, they are trying to reach the wood in your home. Call Colonial today!
ABC Can Help Control Ticks In Your Home And Property
If you’re bitten by a tick, you aren’t likely to know it, at least not at first. Before they begin sucking their hosts’ blood, ticks make an incision in the skin and inject their hosts with a natural anesthetic that numbs the bite site. Thus, tick bites rarely hurt or itch, which presents a problem: If the tick happens to bite you in a spot that’s sheltered or difficult to see—under your arm, for example, or on your back—you might not find it until it’s been there for hours or even days.
Clearly, it’s far better to avoid tick bites in the first place than to treat a bite or infestation after the fact. There are tick repellents available at your local hardware or outdoor store that can help repel them when you’re spending time outside products with 20–30% DEET have been found most effective, though they aren’t perfect, in part because they only repel ticks rather than killing them.
You can take measures to keep your yard tick-free by keeping your lawn and shrubs trimmed and keeping dead leaves and other organic matter cleared away. If you live in a wooded area, you can set up fencing or a mulch or stone border to keep children and pets away from the woods where certain tick varieties thrive. Some homeowners try a natural alternative by encouraging animals that eat ticks to take up residence in their outdoor spaces.
If you have indoor-outdoor pets, and especially if you live in a tick-prone area, it may be wise to talk with your veterinarian about tick-prevention methods and medications you can use to keep your pets tick-free. This will keep your furry friends healthy and will also go a long way toward preventing them from bringing ticks indoors.
Even with all of the above measures, you still may find ticks on yourself or your pets or inside your home. If this happens, call on ABC to help. Our pest control specialists are just a phone call away we can diagnose the issue, detect any signs of infestation in your home or yard, and set up a plan to get rid of these pests, so you can enjoy your indoor and outdoor living areas worry-free.
Watch the video: Abandoned UNTOUCHED Millionaires Family Mansion w. EVERYTHING INSIDE (August 2022).