ABC Blog

Cigarette Beetle

The cigarette beetle is one of the most common household insect pests along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast States. It can be found throughout the year, but seems to be more common in the fall and winter months. The cigarette beetle is native to Egypt. In fact, a beetle was found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb! In the 3,500 years since, it has hardly changed.

The adult beetles are small, squat and oval, about 1/10 inch long, and are covered with small hairs which give them a silky, yellowish-brown color. The antennae are saw-like and the head is retracted. Many times it is mistaken for the Drudstore Beetle, when identified with the naked eye. Adults are strong fliers and prefer subdued light and temperatures over 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The adults tend to fly in late afternoons and on cloudy, overcast days.

As its name implies, the cigarette beetle is a pest of … Read Full Post »

Nuisance Midges

Non-biting midge flies or chironomids commonly occur in inland and coastal natural and man-made bodies of water. These midges are commonly known as “blind mosquitoes” because they are mosquito-like but do not bite. Midges are also called “fuzzy bills” because of the male’s bushy antennae. These aquatic insects are tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions. Chironomid midges are found in swift moving streams, deep slow moving rivers, stagnant ditches, and in lakes and ponds that are rich in decomposing organic matter. The presence of certain chironomid midges is often used as an indicator of water quality.

Bodies of water in urban and suburban areas are subjected to intensive human use through residential, recreational and agricultural activities. Through runoff, these ponds and lakes often become exceedingly rich in nutrients. Consequently, the variety of organisms in such habitats is usually low with just a few pollution tolerant species developing large populations. … Read Full Post »

Silverfish

Silverfish can become a major pest if left untreated. Silverfish are 1/2″ to 1″ in length, they don’t have wings, they are usually light grey to tan in color and nocturnal. You know they are a problem when you begin to find
them on your ceiling, in light fixtures, in sinks or baths, or on counter tops.    Although silverfish like to eat vegetable matter, they will readily feed on anything in the home. Anything includes meat, pantry items, fabric,
boxes, paper, wallpaper, clothing, pet food or other items in the home.  Most customers we help complain of silverfish which are active in the upstairs of their home such as bathroom and attic areas. And many times this activity is confusing. Silverfish found in bath tubs or sinks are thought to be coming up from the drain pipe. This rarely if ever happens if the sink
is used even just a few times a year.

Here … Read Full Post »

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed on blood, principally that of humans, by piercing the skin with their elongated beaks. Although they inflict misery on their victims, it has never been proven that bed bugs carry disease-causing pathogens in the United States.  Bed bugs are spread chiefly by the clothing and baggage of travelers, secondhand beds, bedding, furniture and laundry.

 

A mature bed bug is a dark brown, wingless insect.  Its size and color depend on the amount of blood that the body contains.  An unfed bed bug is between 1/4 and 3/8 inch long.  The upper surface of the body has a flimsy, crinkly appearance.  When engorged with blood, the body becomes elongated and swollen, and the color changes from brown to dull red.  Bed bug eggs are white and about 1/32 inch long.  Newly hatched bugs are translucent and nearly colorless, but similar in shape to the adults.  As they grow, they molt … Read Full Post »

Rover Ants

For many years now, people in Central Texas have been complaining about difficulty controlling an ant they describe as ‘little black ants’. The primary problem has been that the ants in question may initially respond well to treatment but re-infest quickly.

 

Some people began to suspect that these might not really be little black ants.  These ants are easy to mistake for little black ants with the naked eye (they are about the same size and dark in color), but when viewed through a microscope they are distinctly different.

 

This is an exotic species that was first reported in the US in the 1970s, as Brachymyrmex musculus, and much of the USliterature refers to it as B. musculus. It is thought to have originated in Argentina, where it was known as B. patagonicus and, because this was the original name, this is now what it is being called here.  Although these rover ants have only ‘been here’ for 30 years or so, … Read Full Post »