Understanding Common Pests In Houston, TX
Effective pest control requires a deep understanding of the pests local to the Houston area. However, even in your day-to-day, it's important to know which pest is trying to invade your property, so you're protected. That's why we've put together this comprehensive pest library to help you understand Houston area pests, so you can remain pest-free.
Ants are tiny insects known to crawl over everything. There are many different species of ants, and different species have different behaviors, appearances, and requirements for effective control. Some species to be aware of include the following:
Similar in size to the house ant, this species is light brown to black in color. However, this ant possesses a stinger and has a segmented body that looks like a heart when looked at from above.
These ants are light to dark brown in color and are about 1/8 inch long. This species of ant is wingless and has a segmented antenna and gives off a musty odor when crushed. The queen ants are larger than the workers, up to 1/4 inch long, and may have wings.
This species gets its name from the major worker ant, which has a head that's much larger than its body. Big-headed ants are reddish-brown in color. These ants range from 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length.
Carpenter ants are mainly black in color and grow up to 5/6 an inch in length. This ant is found throughout the U.S. and is unique among other ants in that it tunnels through wood.
This ant gets its name from the erratic manner in which they run. They are dark brown to black in color and grow to about 1/8 inch in length.
Little Black Ant
This ant is tiny, black in color, and lives in moderate to large-sized colonies with many queens.
Odorous House Ant
This ant is only 1/8 inch in length at most and is brown in color. They get their name from the rotten coconut-like smell they emit when crushed.
Pharaoh ants are pale in color that is yellow to red with a darker abdomen. They only grow to about 1/16 inch in size.
Red Imported Fire Ant
Fire ants are a reddish-brown color and grow between 1/8 to 1/4 an inch in length. This ant is extremely aggressive and is known to attack people and other animals if threatened.
Thief ants are tiny, typically only about 1/32 inch long, with a pale yellowish or brown-colored body. Thief ants also lack spines in their thorax and have an unevenly rounded body.
Ants are primarily a nuisance pest that don't cause any actual harm beyond the risk of contaminating any food or surfaces they touch. However, the carpenter ant, fire ant, and pharaoh ant are considered to be threats.Carpenter ants cause damage to your property while fire ants are known for their painful sting, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Pharaoh ants have been associated with a range of diseases.
By implementing the following tips, you can better protect yourself from an ant infestation:
- Seal any entry points in or around the building.
- Repair cracks in the driveway or sidewalk near your building.
- Erect a barrier between the soil and your home's foundation.
- Make sure vents are covered.
- Eliminate standing water.
This pest is a hitchhiker that clings to materials like luggage, clothing, seats, and other similar spots to get around. As such, they can easily go home with you if you've been traveling.
Bed bugs have a flattened body that's oval-shaped and brown in color. They only grow to about 3/16 of an inch in length when fully grown. After eating, their color becomes red and they swell in size.
Bed bugs aren't a direct threat to people's health since they don't transmit diseases, however, they do leave behind itchy red welts that can get infected if scratched too hard. Some people have also reported mental strain due to the difficulty in controlling an infestation.
To help prevent a bed bug infestation, keep the following tips in mind:
- Don't let any of your items touch the floor while traveling or in public locations.
- Inspect hotel rooms before accepting the room.
- Wash clothing and bedding regularly on the highest heat setting.
- Vacuum and sweep the floors on a regular basis.
- Avoid purchasing secondhand furniture if possible.
- Inspect items before bringing them inside.
Cockroaches are insects that have an oval-shaped body that's flattened in appearance. Depending on the species, the size can range from 1/2 inch to a little over three inches in length. Most species are reddish-brown or black in color. The most common species to the area include the following:
This species is the largest found in the United States and is reddish-brown in color. The yellow figure-eight pattern on its head further identifies this pest. The American cockroach can be found throughout the country.
The brown-banded cockroach grows to about 1/2" in length and can be easily identified by the light brown circle found on the top of its head.
The German cockroach is much smaller than the American one, only growing to about 5/8 of an inch in length. They are light brown in color and are the most common home invaders of all species found in the U.S.
Boasting a shiny black body, the Oriental cockroach is about an inch in length and leaves behind a musty odor thanks to the chemicals it secretes.
Cockroaches are a danger to people due to the diseases they transmit. Cockroaches can be found traveling through filthy material and can contaminate any surface they touch. People have been known to suffer from asthma attacks, E.coli, and salmonellosis among many other illnesses when dealing with a cockroach infestation.
You can make your home or business less attractive to cockroaches by implementing the following prevention tips:
- Clean and sanitize all surfaces regularly.
- Remove all debris and crumbs.
- Store food properly.
- Eliminate access to water.
- Practice proper trash management.
Mosquitoes are mainly gray with different colored scales such as green or iridescent blue. In addition, they have two wings, a set of antennae, a slender body, and long legs. Mosquitoes only make it to about 3/8 inch in length. However, they can grow bigger temporarily after feeding.
Mosquitoes are arguably the most dangerous animals in the world, with over a million people dying each year thanks to mosquito-transmitted diseases. Most of the time, the only evidence of a mosquito bite is a raised, itchy welt. However, sometimes serious diseases like the West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, and dengue can occur.
The most effective ways to prevent mosquitoes on your property are to remove areas of standing water, keeping landscaping maintained, and utilizing professional mosquito control solutions.
Rodents are a class of small mammals that gnaw, burrow, and scamper along the floor and inside the walls. They are a common invader of residences and businesses alike.
As its name implies, this mouse is usually found in rural areas outdoors. While they rarely invade homes, they are known to get inside at times. Field mice are brown in color and grow to about eight inches long. They are found throughout the U.S.
The Norway rat is the largest rat, at an average length of about 16 inches. They are brown in color with an off-white colored underbelly. This species has a long tail, protruding black eyes, a blunt nose, small ears, and a dense body.
Smaller than the Norway rat at about 12 to 14 inches long, this species is an excellent climber and is usually black in color. They possess a scaly, hairless tail and are fans of fruit and vegetables.
Rodents are a threat to your health thanks to the number of pathogens they carry. Illnesses such as hantavirus, salmonellosis, and bubonic plague are just a few of the possibilities. They also carry ticks and fleas, which transmit their own diseases.
All of the rodents mentioned love to gnaw on things and they possess sharp claws. Therefore, property damage in the form of frayed or chewed-through wires and scratches on the floor or walls are common.
In addition to our rodent control solutions, implement the following tips to remain protected:
- Seal up entry points including holes, cracks, and crevices.
- Maintain proper landscaping and trim back overgrown vegetation near your building.
- Keep your home free of clutter and debris.
- Vacuum and sweep the floors regularly.
- Store food properly.
There are two common species of termites that frequent our Houston homes and businesses:
Arguably the most destructive termite species, the subterranean termite is made up of three different classes.
- Reproductives: Within this class, you'll find the queen, king, and alates. The queen is the ruler of the colony and the largest termite while the king notably smaller. Alates are the termites responsible for reproducing and starting new colonies, and grow up to 1/2" in length.
- Workers: Worker termites are cream colored and only grow to 1/4" in length. With their small jaws, they chew away at wood and move various materials for the colony.
- Soldiers: This termite class is similar to the worker class, but they have different features like a wide, flat body, large mandible, and a rectangular head.
This species is another type of subterranean termite, often considered to be "super termites" thanks to their voracious and aggressive behavior.
Formosan reproductive alates grow to about 1/3 an inch in length and are pale to brownish-yellow in color. The soldier termites have heads that are rounded on the side with the head tapering towards the front.
Both species of termite are a significant threat to your property due to the high levels of cosmetic and structural damage they cause. Due to their ability to go undetected for a long time and high reproductive rate, the damage can grow out of control before you know there's a problem.
The following prevention tips, in conjunction with our effective termite control services, can help keep termites away from your property:
- Inspect the property for signs like mud tubes, frass (excrement), and hollow-sounding wood.
- Keep water from pooling near the foundation of the building.
- Seal all entry points including cracks, crevices, and holes in the foundation.
- Prevent soil-to-wood contact at the building's foundation.
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