Ants are social insects that live in colonies. Ants are omnivorous with some species feeding on sugary foods. While others prefer fatty or high-protein foods. Ants can be aggressive and are capable of stinging and biting. The red imported fire ant is of specific concern in Nevada because it’s sting can cause severe allergic reactions and even death in some people. Few ant species in Nevada form nests indoors, however, there are a couple of exceptions. Most ants dwell outdoors and enter homes and other structures to forage for food. Sanitation is very important since ants are attracted to attractive foods and grease. Ants are a year-round problem and should be routinely protected against.
Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years. But in the United States they were near eradication until about 10 years ago when they started making a resurgence. Bed bugs life cycle lasts between 5-10 months but can live up to a year. They can last long periods of time without feeding. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth and CO2. They usually choose to live in fabric, wood, or paper surfaces (such as mattresses, box springs, bed frames, furniture, base boards, carpet, drapes, and wall paper. Bedbugs are excellent hitchhikers and will travel easily from one location to another. There are currently several effective ways to combat bed bugs.
Honeybees are an incredibly clean insects. They don’t transmit diseases to humans. Their hives are extremely clean even free from dust. Honeybees are extremely hard workers that live in a colony rather than as solitary insects. All honeybees have a purpose in the colony, and they work together to sustain the hive.
Crickets feed on fabrics and paper but rarely cause significant damage. However, their chirping can become quite annoying in certain situations. Crickets tend to increase in numbers in late summer.
Earwigs are nocturnal feeders and hide in dark, tight locations during the day. Earwigs feed on plant parts and flowers. They additionally feed on small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Most problems with earwigs in homes occur during mid to late summer.
Flies are characterized by having a single pair of membranous wings. Many flies also can transmit diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and tuberculosis. Adult flies feed on liquids using their sponged mouthparts. Many flies complete their growth in as little as 7-10 days and can produce many generations in a season.
There are many problems caused by rats. They eat man’s food, contaminate food, destroy structures, cause fires by gnawing, transmit diseases, and harbor parasites. Rats eat approximately 10% of their body weight per day. They additionally damage great quantities of material by contaminating it with hair, feces, and urine. Some of the diseases that are directly or indirectly caused by rats are Plague, Murine typhus fever, Leptospirosis, Rat bit fever, Trichinosis, and Salmonellosis. In Nevada, the roof rat is the main domestic rodent that causes problems. To a much lesser extent the Norway rat may be found in parts of the state.
Mice, like rats, can cause many problems by consuming food, contaminating food, and transmitting diseases. They can be found both indoors and outdoors. Mice are sporadic feeders and may be seen both day and night. They prefer grains but also consume foods high in fat and protein. Small amounts of food are taken many times at many places. Their range is normally 10 to 30 feet from the nest. Nests may be built in walls, cabinets, upholstered furniture, or other convenient spaces. Their urine and droppings mark trails for other mice. Some human diseases that mice are directly or indirectly involved with are Rickettsialpox, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and Hantavirus. The types of mice commonly found in Nevada are the House Mouse, White-footed Mouse, and Meadow Voles.
Cockroaches are oval-shaped insects that move fast. Their color varies from brown, reddish-brown, tan, or black. They can be carried into homes on product packaging such as cardboard boxes, grocery sacks, food packages, laundry cartons, and beverage cartons. Additionally, roaches can enter homes through gaps in doorways or windows. Once inside, cockroaches will look for warm, dark, moist areas to shelter in. Cockroaches are a common problem in unprotected homes. They deposit salivary secretions and excrement. In some cases, they cause an allergic reaction to people. Cockroaches transmit disease mechanically and are suspected in the distribution of dysentery, diarrhea, and food poisoning.
There are approximately 23 species of Scorpions that are known to occur in Nevada. However, only the bark scorpion is considered seriously poisonous. All other scorpion species have venom and can sting when provoked or trapped, but the results of the sting are usually mild. The bark scorpion is found outside in cracks and crevices and behind tree bark, especially palm trees. Bark scorpions tend to climb and can be found inside the home on walls, behind hanging pictures, or other cracks and crevices. Scorpions live two to five years. The female does not lay eggs but bears live young 7 to 12 months after mating. A female scorpion may produce up to 100 young per gestational cycle.
Although all spiders bite and produce a venom, in Nevada, few pose a health risk. Two notable exceptions to this are the Black Widow Spider and the Desert Brown Spider. Fatalities are rare but can be caused by a black widow spider bite. The venom of the black widow is a nerve poison that originally might not be very painful. However, the bite can be followed by a burning sensation, local swelling and redness, and then intense pain, cramping in the legs, arms, and chest, as well as rigid abdominal muscles. These symptoms can last between 1-3 hours up to 48 hours. The desert brown spider (desert recluse) may not be felt at the time of the bite. However, after 3-4 hours from the bite, the area becomes swollen, red, and painful. Blisters may appear over the next days and weeks and the area may eventually become necrotic (dying tissue). Generally, as the cooler weather arrives, spiders tend to move into homes. Spiders should be protected against year-round.