Everybody in the world has to deal with them – pests. Pests play a large role in our ecosystem actually; however when they invade your home few people really care. We just want them dead. In this list I’m going to go over some microscopic pests that may be lurking in your house that you may not even know of! Just a side note: Not all pests will be harmful to you, so don’t freak out over dust mites or something minor.
People commonly will mistakenly call dust mites bed bugs. These are completely different types of bugs. Dust mites are rather harmless to humans; the only harm is their waste contains a protein which can cause asthma attacks in some people (and they can produce waste up to 20 times a day!) A typical mattress contains 100,000 – 10 MILLION of these microscopic dust mites, and a square yard of carpet can contain over 100,000! Oh, and you know that 2 year old pillow you have? Up to 10% of the weight of your pillow consists of dead mites and their droppings! Beds are a choice location to live due to the warmth and humidity they prefer… and humans also shed about 10 grams of dead skin flakes every night in bed. So they have a nice habitat and plenty of food!
These little buggers will irritate you. Bed Bugs are a hot button topic right now in the US, which is why they are so high up on my list. Bed Bugs are considered parasites, as they feed off your blood. They infest areas which are warm and moist, and it is very difficult to destroy their infestation. It is very interesting to see how they reproduce; the female has no reproductive organs. The male has a knife-like penis, which produces an open wound on the female, and his sperm are carried through her circulatory system to her ovaries, where they are deposited (pictured). They are about 1mm when they are born, in litters of about 12 per day. It takes an average of 11 days for the egg to hatch, and an average of 24 days until they are out feeding on their new human hosts, at a length of about 3-4 mm. What’s really interesting is they are susceptible to high heat; 112 F is the point of death, and they will perish after 10 minutes at 114 F. However, when they get colder, they go into a semi-hibernation mode, and won’t freeze to death until they spend about 15 minutes at -26 F. They can survive for at least 5 days at 14 degrees F. To get rid of bed bugs, professional extermination is required. More information is available at how to get rid of bed bugs.
Everyone knows fleas, and how annoying they are. If you have a dog or a cat, most likely you will have flea problems at least in your hard, if not your house. While bed bugs feed on your blood, there is not enough that scientists have ever been able to show the spread of disease. Unfortunately, such is not the case with a flea. There are common cases where disease is spread by fleas, most notably being lime disease. Unlike bed bugs, fleas aren’t quite as good of hiders, and treatment is possible at home. Two treatments are required to fully control a flea infestation; one to kill the adults and cause the eggs to be infertile, then another about two weeks later to kill the infertile fleas which have since hatched. Fleas love to lay eggs in the obvious places – carpet, furniture, anything fuzzy… but they also will commonly lay eggs in various porous materials. Grout between your tiles is a very common place for flea eggs to be, so if you are spraying, make sure you get the grout!
Yeah, you probably remember that RID shampoo and the fine comb when you were in 2nd grade and the kid that didn’t shower properly brought them to class one day. The reason for the special shampoo is that the female louse attaches her egg to the hair shaft with a special type of saliva, which makes it very difficult to remove. There are over 3,000 species of lice, however very few types affect humans. The crab louse (or “crabs”), infect the genitals, and eye lashes. They feed on blood, and have been traced back to transmission to humans from gorillas about 2,000,000 years ago. Body lice and head lice are nearly indistinguishable to the eye, and can even interbreed in laboratory conditions, but they have specifically adapted to different conditions. Body lice typically will lay their eggs on your clothes, while head lice will attach the eggs to your hair. While very few of the 3,000 species feed on blood, unfortunately all which live on humans do. They also commonly spread disease, and should be treated immediately.
This is one pest that most pest control companies won’t even touch. We all hate house flies, but they only come around for one reason – food and places to lay eggs. When there is rotting food, over ripe fruit, or waste, they will be there! The reason most exterminators won’t deal with house flies is the simple fact that it’s only due to filth, and since flies don’t have a central home like a bee or a wasp does, you can’t treat one place easily. A friend of mine had flies infest his house one time, and it turned out that he hadn’t cleaned his bird cage paper out, and the fruit and vegetables the bird dropped were one reason for the flies to grow in number. Another tip I discovered is to leave a bowl of port wine out; it is sweet enough to attract them, but they will die as soon as they drink it due to the alcohol content.
Yes I said it… people can be pests. And they are prevalent in your house. It may be your roommates inconsiderate boyfriend, your intrusive neighbor, or even your sixteen year old son. And believe it or not, it may even be you! The origin of the homo sapien is still up to mass debate, but it is believed this pest evolved from the h. sapien idaltu about 160,000 years ago. Unlike the other five pests I mentioned, some of this species can be rather pleasant to be around, while others can just be, well, pests. Unfortunately, there are many laws which prohibit destruction of this pest, so you have to outsmart the h.sapien sapien. If the pest is younger, they may be tempted by sweet snack food. However, if the pest is a badgering ex g/f who spends way too much money on shows, just do what I did. Pick a pair up and throw them out the front door and let her run after them. Then lock the door. It is very difficult for this pest to gain re-entry, unless you allow it.
How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs
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