German Roaches – The German cockroach is found throughout the world in association with humans. They are unable to survive in locations away from humans or human activity. The major factor limiting German cockroach survival appears to be cold temperatures. Studies have shown that German cockroaches were unable to colonize inactive ships during cool temperatures and could not survive in homes without central heating in northern climates. The availability of water, food, and harborage also govern the ability of German cockroaches to establish populations, and limit growth. Improving sanitation by eliminating food and water sources and clutter can have a significant impact on reducing the chances of infestation population size. Exclusion practices such as sealing cracks and crevices will reduce harborage space and also negatively impact population size.

Big-Headed Ants – Workers are dimorphic (major and minor workers). The BHA receives its common name from the large-sized head of the major worker, or “soldier.” Minor workers are small (2 mm) reddish brown ants. The majors are much larger (3 to 4 mm), but only constitute about 1% of foragers. The front half of the major’s head is sculptured, while the back half is smooth and shiny. The petiole (waist) of both worker forms is two-segmented and the post-petiolar node is conspicuously swollen. The antenna is twelve-segmented with a three-segmented club. The entire body is covered with sparse, long hairs. Workers have a pair of short propodeal spines (spines on waist) facing almost directly upward. There is usually a dark spot on the underside of the gaster.

Carpenter Ants – Carpenter ants are in the genus Camponotus, in which up to over 900 species have been described worldwide. They get their common name, “carpenter ant,” because some species excavate nests in wood. Carpenter ants are sometimes called bulldog ants or bull ants. However, not all species in the genus Camponotus are true carpenter ants because some nest in preformed cavities or in soil. Two carpenter ant species that are common around structures in the South are the Florida carpenter ant and the Tortugas carpenter ant. These bicolored arboreal ants are among the largest ants, making them apparent as they forage or fly indoors and out.

Argentine AntsArgentine ant, Linepithema humilis. It is usually dark-brown. It is 2 mm to 3 mm long. It usually nests in exposed or covered soil under logs, debris, firewood and mulch. The ants forage in trails of many workers along sidewalks and foundations, and into buildings, where they forage for food. It has one node on the petiole. Workers are monomorphic and colonies are polygyne.

White-footed AntTechnomyrmex albipes is a relatively small (< 3 mm in length), black to brownish ant with yellowish tibia and tarsi (feet) and a one-segmented waist. It nests in many locations in the landscape and in the home, including under leaf litter, under loose bark, within stems, rotten trunks or limbs, in attics, under roof shingles, in wall voids, in cardboard boxes, in the petiole bases of palms, in compost piles, under rocks, along fence lines, and in outdoor furniture. A colony may be made up of a million individuals, nesting at several locations.

Stored/Pantry Product Pests – There are many species of stored food pests found at various times in food pantries. Most of these pests are introduced into our homes in infested food. There is hardly a food item in the kitchen or food pantry that can escape being infested by some pest if it remains unused and exposed in some dark corner or drawer long enough. All items are susceptible, including spices, hot pepper, ice cream cones, and even cereals, grits, and cake mixes. Dried flower arrangements and stuffed furniture and toys often harbor infestations. The first step in controlling pantry pests is to locate the source of infestation. All susceptible foods should be thoroughly inspected, and badly infested items discarded.

Clothes Moth – The most commonly encountered clothes moths are the webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth, which are in the family Tineidae. Clothes moths are major pests because their feeding habits damage fabrics and other items made of natural fibers. Clothes moth larvae have the ability to digest keratin, which is a principal protein in wool, feathers, fur, hair, upholstered furniture, animal and fish meals, milk powders, and most animal products, such as bristles, dried hair, and leather. Larvae will also infest or feed on lint, dust, paper, cereal products and materials soiled with oil, dried meat extracts, and insect remains. Clothes moth larvae can feed on mixtures of natural and synthetic fabrics. However, they cannot feed on materials made of pure synthetic fibers. In nature, clothes moth larvae have been found infesting pollen, hair, dead insects, and dried animal remains.

Fleas – Several species of fleas may be pests in Florida. The cat flea (Figure 1) is the most frequently found flea. Cat fleas may attack a wide variety of warm-blooded animals including dogs, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats and mice. Although the dog, human, and sticktight fleas are also found in Florida, multiple species of fleas may be found on a single animal. Fleas often breed in large numbers where pets and other animals live. Pets infested with fleas bite and scratch themselves constantly. Their coats become roughened, and the skin can become infected. Symptoms of sensitized hosts are often mistaken for mange. Cat fleas and dog fleas may be intermediate hosts for the dog tapeworm.

Ticks – Of the ticks found in Florida, the brown dog tick and the American dog tick are the most troublesome. The brown dog tick rarely bites humans, but infestations are frequently found on dogs and in the home. The brown dog tick rarely transmits disease to humans (except the Btonneuse fever in the Mediterranean countries) and may transmit diseases to dogs such as canine ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. The American dog tick attacks a wide variety of hosts, including humans, but rarely will infest homes. The American dog tick may carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and other diseases from animals to people. Dogs are not affected by these diseases, but people have become infected by picking ticks from dogs.

Rodents – Rats and mice are important rodent pests entering Florida homes and warehouses for food and harborage. These rodents eat any kind of food that people eat. They also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. They can carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases including bubonic plague, murine typhus, spirochetal jaundice, Leptospirosis, rabies, ratbite fever, and bacterial food poisoning. Many times rats bite sleeping children while trying to get bits of food on the child that were not washed off before going to bed. Rats and mice also start fires by gnawing matches and electrical wires in homes. The Norway rat, roof rat and house mouse are the most persistent rodent populations in need of control.

Mosquito’s – Mosquitoes are some of the most versatile organisms on earth. They can reproduce in virtually any natural or man-made deposit of water. Mosquitoes transmit a large number of diseases, some with minor consequences, and others, like malaria and dengue, that extract an immense toll in terms of loss of life, incapacitation, human suffering, and economic losses. For example, malaria is one of the most serious public health problems in the world today.   There are seven major types of diseases transmitted by mosquitos in the United States.