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Pest Control – Identifying Pests and Their Problems

Identifying pests, their problems, and treatment options is essential to getting your problem under control. Take preventative measures by removing food, water and shelter sources; store garbage with tight lids and reduce clutter. Contact Pest Control Nampa now!


Insects are the largest group of arthropods (insects, spiders and lobsters). They have three pairs of legs, segmented bodies, and one pair of antennae. Many insects have piercing mouthparts to suck juice or plant material, while others have chewing mouthparts to eat leaves and stems.

Insect species have a huge impact on the global ecosystem. They pollinate plants, serve as decomposers, and control pest insect populations. Insects are also important food sources for animals and humans. Unfortunately, insects may be harmful from a human standpoint as well, causing direct injury by biting or stinging, or indirectly through their transmission of diseases.

The majority of insect species undergo complete metamorphosis, going from eggs to larvae, pupae and adults. However, a few insect species have incomplete life cycles. Insects with incomplete lives hatch from eggs into tiny nymphs that resemble the adult insect, but do not have fully developed wings. These insects injure plants by chewing on leaves, stems and roots, or by laying their eggs on them.

Some insects, such as the sandflies, salt-marsh mosquitoes and blowflies of cattle, can carry disease pathogens inside them that are then injected into plants through hypodermic feeding. In some cases, these pathogens cause significant crop damage.

Other insects injure crops by serving as scavengers or feeding on extrafloral nectar. Seed-treatments with neonicotinoid insecticides like imidacloprid, thiamethoxane and methyl bromide reduce populations of natural enemies of pest crops, including parasitoids, predatory mites, rove beetles and ladybugs. This, in turn, increases the population of herbivorous pest species [81]. Standard laboratory toxicity tests cannot detect these indirect effects; models (e.g., microcosms and mesocosms) are needed to evaluate ecological impacts.


Rats are very adaptable and highly mobile pests that are extremely hard-wired to survive. They can find many ways to enter homes and businesses, including through openings in foundations, walls and roof cavities, ductwork, drains and vents and open doors. Their teeth can even chew through concrete! They also carry germs and diseases that can cause disease in people, such as salmonella poisoning in food preparation areas and leptospirosis, which causes fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches.

Rats and mice can also create fire hazards by gnawing on wires and can be a major asthma trigger. They also damage property and are a serious health concern, as their droppings can lead to rat-borne salmonella poisoning and the bacterial disease leptospirosis which can lead to meningitis.

Preventative measures include sealing pipes leading from outside water supplies, garden hoses and hot water tanks and adding door sweeps to garage or outbuilding doors. Store woodpiles well away from buildings and keep sheds clean to remove potential nesting sites. Keep weeds and dense shrubbery cut back to prevent rodents sheltering under them and keep compost heaps covered or in a lockable outbuilding. Make sure the roof is in good condition and that chimneys are capped.

Physical/mechanical controls include placing nontoxic monitoring bait blocks in tamper-resistant stations around the perimeter of buildings in areas where rats and mice are often found (e.g., food service areas, custodial closets, laundry rooms, garbage disposal area, crawl spaces, under sinks and sill plates). Visually inspect these areas on a regular basis for signs of rodent activity. Dispose of traps promptly and thoroughly wash hands after handling dead rodents. When using snap traps or repeating catch-all devices, place them in a “T” shape against baseboards and walls where mouse rub marks and droppings are present. Consider using a rodent-friendly bait such as chunky peanut butter, which is easier for children and pets to use than live bait.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects with flat bodies that allow them to fit into tight spaces, like the cracks and crevices of headboards, box springs, and the seams of mattresses. Their coloration varies from mahogany to red-brown when unfed, and they are translucent rather than brownish black as nymphs (babies). These pests are difficult for homeowners to detect without professional help, because they tend to hide during the day and become active at night to feed.

While increased global travel is often cited as one of the main causes of the recent bed bug resurgence, lack of awareness and a “it will never happen to me” attitude also contribute to their widespread prevalence. Bed bug infestations can be extremely difficult to control once they occur because they are resistant to many of the most popular and widely used pesticides.

Some effective pesticides include pyrethroid sprays (look for the U.S. EPA registration number on the label), which must be applied carefully for safety and success, as well as baits that use insecticide-laden gel or granules to kill insects that ingest them. However, bed bugs are also tolerant of many common household products and can develop resistance to them over time. Aerosol “bug bombs” and total-release foggers are also largely ineffective against bed bugs.

To reduce bed bug populations, vacuum all areas that are prone to them on a daily basis and immediately seal and dispose of the vacuum bag. Wash all bedding, including curtains and clothes, in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Consider encasing your mattress and box spring with specially designed bed bug encasements. Installing interceptors under beds and furniture legs, which prevent the pests from crawling up the surfaces to access their hiding places, is another helpful practice.


The mosquito is a two-winged fly (family Diptera) that feeds on blood and transmits some diseases. Female mosquitoes need blood in order to produce eggs that will develop into viable adults. When a mosquito senses carbon dioxide from the host, she targets it with her mouthparts that are specially adapted for probing into skin and finding a capillary for sucking blood. Mosquitoes can be carriers of mosquito-borne illnesses such as encephalitis and West Nile virus.

A swarm of mosquitoes are commonly called a “mosquito cloud.” During the day, mosquitoes rest in and around vegetation and structures. At dusk and after dark, they are out searching for their next blood meal. Adult mosquitoes are most active during cool weather.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water and can survive only if they have adequate food. They can live for a few days or, in warm moist climates, up to several months. Most mosquitoes breed in domestic sources of standing water such as flower pots, discarded tires, and rain barrels. However, some species such as Aedes aegypti, the major vector of yellow fever, breed in natural water bodies such as swamps and marshes.

Mosquitoes have been found to hum, producing a harmony that may serve as a signal of potential mates. They also adjust their wingbeat frequency to match that of their conspecific in a mating dance. After mating, a female will then search for a blood meal in order to produce her eggs. In the process, she will contaminate her salivary glands with bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from her host’s blood. This can cause disease in humans, animals and plants. To help keep mosquito populations low, empty and clean bird baths, fountains, wading pools, swimming pools, and other containers with stagnant water. Keep yard areas free of piles of brush and debris where mosquito larvae can hide. Keep roof gutters clear and draining, and repair torn window and door screens. Consider introducing small native fish to ornamental ponds and other water gardens to consume mosquito larvae.


Fleas are tiny, wingless parasites that survive by sucking blood from birds and mammals. They find hosts by sensing body heat and movement through a host’s skin, fur, feathers or hair. Pets are common carriers of fleas and can bring them into the home. Once inside, fleas can be difficult to spot. Observing your pet’s behavior is the best way to tell whether or not they are a carrier, as excessive scratching and biting indicate the presence of fleas. Inspecting your home and yard regularly can also help prevent a flea infestation.

Flea eggs are small and white, making them hard to see unless you are specifically looking for them. The larvae (maggot-like worms) are clear and look similar to dandruff. Larvae feed on dandruff, pet skin flakes, animal blood and their own feces, which they poop out in tiny pellets called “flea dirt.” Pupae are dark and look like ground pepper, often hiding in cracks or crevices in carpets and furniture.

Effective flea control requires a coordinated approach. Monthly applications of topical medications can protect pets by killing and repelling fleas. These treatments must be applied correctly and often. Vacuuming frequently helps remove fleas from pet bedding and other surfaces. Insecticides and growth regulators can be used in sprays, dips, or aerosols to kill adult fleas and stop them from laying eggs.

Infestations that are not addressed by a professional pest control service can quickly become out of hand. A flea infestation can be time-consuming to eradicate. Hiring a professional takes the problem off of your hands and allows you to focus on other tasks. In addition, pest professionals are trained to safely handle the chemicals and pesticides they use, removing the risk of illness from incorrect handling.