Have you ever encountered a flying cockroach in your home?
Have you ever encountered a flying cockroach in your home?
Arthropod pests like brown marmorated stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, western conifer seed bugs, elm leaf beetles, cluster flies and face flies are all known for maintaining infestations within homes during the entire winter season, even in the northernmost US states. These particular arthropod species are known as “overwintering pests,” as they invade homes during the winter in order to establish warm shelter where they can survive until the arrival of spring. With the exception of the above mentioned species, arthropod pests are not much of a concern during the winter season in most regions of the US. However, in the southernmost states, a significant number of arthropod pests invade homes year round.
In central Texas, the winter cold reduces much of the insect and plant food sources that more durable insect species rely on in order to survive. Also, bouts of bitter cold weather during winters in central Texas usually do not last long enough to force all insect pests into hibernation or death, but the cold is enough to motivate many of them into seeking warmer conditions within homes where much needed moisture and food sources can be more readily secured. According to Wizzie Brown of the Texas A&M Extension Service, scorpions and cockroaches are two arthropods that are likely to invade central Texas homes during the winter season.
At least 18 scorpion species have been documented in Texas, but the striped bark scorpion is the most common home-invading species found in central Texas. Well over 40 cockroach species can be found in Texas, but the American and the smokybrown species are the two most common roach species that invade homes in central Texas during the winter. Another pest control professional with the Texas A&M Extension Service, Molly Keck, states that black crazy ants are also common in homes located in the region, as they often hitchhike into homes on potted plants that residents bring indoors before or during the winter season. Black crazy ants also invade homes through small openings on the external walls of homes, and they can be recognized for their dark body color and erratic movements.
Striped bark scorpions are hard to confuse with other arthropods, but they are around 2 ¾ inches in length, and they are pale yellow in color with two parallel stripes on their backs. American and smokybrown cockroaches are among the two largest cockroach species in the US, and the American species can be particularly unpleasant due to their tendency to fly toward humans. The American cockroach is around 2 inches, while the smokybrown cockroach is around 1 ⅜ inches. While these arthropod pests are not deadly to humans, their infestations can be difficult to eradicate.
Have you ever encountered an airborne cockroach within your home?
Pest control professionals in Texas generally agree that cockroaches are the most commonly encountered insect pests within homes in the state. The German, American, Oriental, smokybrown and brown-banded species are the four most common roach pests in Texas, and they are all found throughout the state. However, another non-native roach species, the Turkestan cockroach, is rapidly becoming the dominant roach pest in many urban and suburban environments throughout Texas.
The most common cockroach pests found within Texas homes vary depending on geographic location. For example, American cockroaches thrive in moist habitats, which makes them particularly abundant along the Gulf Coast, especially in Houston. The Oriental cockroach species generally reigns supreme in homes located in southwest Texas, but this species is rapidly being displaced by Turkestan cockroaches in urban and suburban environments in the region.
The Turkestan cockroach is native to northern Africa and central Asia, and they were first discovered in the US back in 1978 when specimens were recovered from southern California. One year later, Turkstan cockroaches were found in El Paso, and today, these roaches are abundant in many Texas counties and throughout the southwest. Due to the Turkestan cockroach species’ ability to produce unusually high numbers of eggs more rapidly than Oriental cockroaches in human-populated areas, the former species is quickly ousting the latter to become the most commonly encountered cockroach pest species within homes located in western and central Texas.
Male and female adults of the Turkestan cockroach species appear markedly different from one another. For example, while both male and female Turkestan cockroaches are between .55 and 1.1 inches in length, the male is light brownish-yellow in color, while the female is dark brown to black in color. Turkestan cockroaches become abundant in excessively moist indoor areas, making basements, crawl spaces, household water meters, and floor and wall voids that contain leaking pipes common infestation sites. The Turkestan cockroach is also known for inhabiting sewers where they sometimes travel into homes via pipes.
Have you ever encountered Oriental cockroaches within your home?
Everything Waco Residents Should Know About Brown-Banded Cockroaches
The German cockroach is often considered the main household cockroach pest in the country, and the one you will hear about most when it comes to keeping these pests out of your home. However, there is another cockroach species that homeowners in Texas need to worry about invading their homes. The brown-banded cockroach is another species that loves to take up residence in human homes. Here is everything a resident of Waco needs to know about brown-banded cockroaches.
Brown-banded cockroaches are similar in size to German cockroaches, with males being 13 to 14.5 mm long and the females 11 to 12 mm. Females cannot fly and have a much broader and round abdomen than males. Males, on the other hand can indeed fly and have wings that cover their entire abdomen, as opposed to the shorter wings of the female that never quite cover their abdomen. They tend towards dark brown to almost black in color with two bands of pale brown at the base of their wings and another ⅓ of the distance from the base, which is what gives them a “banded” appearance. Females tend to be a good bit darker than males, with wings that are reddish brown to very dark brown, compared to the males’ wings, which are dark brown at the base, but turn gradually lighter in color as they fan out from the base.
Brown-banded cockroaches are particularly fond of the hotter temperatures in Texas, with the optimum temperature for their development being above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it less of a pest for most of the country, but a pain in particular for those living in the south. After carrying their capsules containing their young, also known as ootheca, for around 24 to 36 hours, the females attach them in clusters to an object inside your house, such as the kitchen sink, furniture, walls, shelves, behind pictures on the walls, and other convenient hiding places. This practice of attaching the ootheca to different objects throughout a home helps to easily disseminate the cockroaches over large distances and throughout an entire home. As you can probably imagine, this can make them quite the nuisance invader when it comes to houses and apartments. They are often distributed throughout the house, with them being most abundant in kitchen areas.
Have you ever had an infestation of brown-banded cockroaches?
Springtails are one of the smallest insect pests that commonly infest homes in all areas of the US. These insects thrive in moisture, and they are naturally abundant in grassy residential lawns where they can sometimes be seen hopping into the air. Springtails are often encountered in compost bins, garden mulch, and in damp areas within homes, particularly basements, cellars, bathrooms, and kitchens. Springtails are always found in large numbers, but they are nearly microscopic at only 1 mm in body length. While these insect pests are most problematic during the spring and summer seasons, they can invade homes all year round in areas located in the far south. Springtails are common pests throughout Texas, and they are generally active for most of the year in Waco.
Since springtails rely heavily on moisture in order to survive, they often invade homes in massive numbers during bouts of dry weather. When this occurs, springtails congregate in the moistest indoor areas that they can find. These insects reproduce rapidly under normal climatic conditions, but when conditions are properly humid, their reproduction rates increase to the point where as many as 100,000 springtails can become established in every cubic yard of residential lawn grass. When their population numbers become particularly high, springtails tend to invade homes where significant numbers can be found around windows, doors, flooring and just about anywhere, making them a serious nuisance. It is not uncommon for residents to find millions of springtails on the surface of swimming pool water, but their tiny size makes them look like specks of dirt floating on the surface. Springtails are also well known pests of potted plants, and it is not uncommon for residents to inadvertently transport infested potted plants into their home. In order to prevent springtail invasions, damp conditions resulting from rainwater or pipe leaks should be eliminated, and cracks and other small entry points on the exterior walls of homes should be sealed. In some circumstances, applying insecticides around the perimeter of properties becomes necessary to keep springtails at bay.
Have you ever found numerous tiny insects in your home that hopped into the air like fleas?
The German Cockroach Regularly Hides Within Cracks On Interior Walls That Are As Narrow As 4 To 5 Millimeters In Width
Cockroaches have existed for at least three hundred and fifty million years, and while most of the world’s cockroach species inhabit wet and humid tropical regions, several species are well known pests in the temperate United States. While the south sees a greater abundance and diversity of cockroach pest species than the north, the German, American and Oriental cockroach species are the primary indoor roach pests in all areas of the country. In addition to being widely considered very unpleasant to look at, cockroaches carry dozens of disease-causing microorganisms due to their habit of congregating within pathogen-rich environments, such as sewers, outhouses, landfills, and garbage receptacles. If that is not bad enough, living and dead cockroaches, as well as their shed skins, feces, and urine serve as indoor allergens.
The German and brown-banded cockroach are the only two roach species in the US that dwell naturally within indoor environments. Due to their preference for humid conditions and temperatures ranging from 85 to 95 degrees, German cockroaches commonly establish infestations in hidden areas within kitchens and bathrooms. These areas include behind and beneath dishwashers, beneath sinks, beneath flooring and within wall voids. The much larger American cockroach species prefers moist basement environments, but they can quickly adapt to thrive in any location within a home. Unlike the German cockroach, the American cockroach prefers to remain in the natural environment unless inhospitable weather conditions force the pests to seek refuge within homes, sewers, garages and other sheltered environments.
Like most roach pest species, American cockroaches can reproduce within homes, and they often gather around shrubs and overgrown vegetation adjacent to foundations where they are likely to find their way into crawl spaces and basements. Since American cockroaches are attracted to moisture, homeowners should keep vegetation around homes minimal, as doing so will keep moisture content near foundations low. It is not uncommon for roaches to hitchhike into homes within grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and firewood, so inspecting these items for insect pests is important before bringing them indoors. Sealing cracks and crevices on the interior and exterior walls of homes will deprive cockroaches of their hiding spots as well as entry points into houses. While sealing indoor crevices, it is important to know that the ½ to ⅝ inch long German cockroach is capable of nestling into cracks as narrow as 4 to 5 mm in width.
Have you ever found an abundance of cockroaches near your home’s foundation?
A substantial number of arthropod pests that frequently invade Texas homes can inflict painful and potentially dangerous bites and stings to humans. Some of these dangerous pests include scorpions, recluse spiders, southern black widows, yellow jackets, red-imported fire ants, native fire ants, and even Africanzied honey bees. Some arthropods that neither sting nor bite may inflict human injuries. For example, venomous caterpillars and blister beetles can cause injuries that warrant medical intervention, but millipedes are the most common indoor arthropod pests that can inflict injury without stinging or biting.
Puss moth caterpillars are just one of many caterpillar species that are covered in prickly spines that inject venom into the bloodstream when handled or even touched. Although residents often sustain stings from venomous caterpillars while performing yard work, they do not invade homes. It is also not uncommon for residents to sustain chemical burns after making contact with blister beetles that are commonly found in gardens. Blister beetles secrete a defensive fluid from their bodies that cause severe skin irritation, but luckily, they too are almost never found within homes. Millipedes, on the other hand, are common home-invading arthropods throughout the US, and they secrete an irritating fluid that causes burning and itching skin injuries. When accidentally rubbed into the eye, millipede secretions may cause redness, swelling, corneal damage, and even eye lesions.
While playing in his yard a few years ago, a toddler was hospitalized after a millipede sprayed its irritating defensive fluid into his eye, and this scenario is common across the US. Curious children are at high risk of sustaining millipede injuries due to their habit of readily handling arthropods that they encounter, and some medical professionals believe that millipedes should be categorized as “medically significant” arthropods. Most pest control professionals and medical professionals, however, consider millipedes nuisance household pests only. Millipedes invade homes when the soil they inhabit becomes too wet from heavy rainfall, or too dry from drought, and they are very common indoor pests in residential areas all over Texas.
Have you ever sustained a skin burn from a millipede’s defensive secretions?
Several centipede species inhabit central Texas, and they are all venomous, but luckily, the commonly encountered house centipede species’ is not able to penetrate human skin with its mandibles. Despite their relatively small moutharts, house centipedes are widely reviled due to their unpleasant appearance and their nuisance presence within homes, which can become sizable. Unlike most centipede species, house centipedes are able to remain indoors indefinitely where they can reproduce and rely on other arthropods for sustenance. However, house centipedes cannot survive in homes unless they locate a moist harborage, which is why these critters are often found in large numbers within damp areas of kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. Naturally, keeping indoor spaces dry, maintaining pipes, and preventing rainwater leaks will keep these insects from surviving in homes. Spraying their indoor and outdoor harborges, and applying perimeter insecticides around a home can also reliably prevent indoor centipede invasions for a period of time. While the house centipede is easily the most frequent indoor centipede pest, other potentially dangerous centipede species are often found in homes as well.
During the daytime hours in the natural environment, centipedes can be found in the dark beneath objects and materials commonly located in residential yards. Once evening arrives, centipedes emerge from their moist nesting sites in order to feed on other arthropods, even large spiders and scorpions. Various centipede species ranging in size from less than 1 inch to more than 8 inches can be found beneath wood piles, logs, landscape ornaments, flower pots, and bundles of plant debris near homes. Centipedes often inflict bites to gardners, and while not fatal, their bites are extremely painful. Some species, like the Texas redhead centipede, transmits venom that can induce nausea and even temporary paralysis in humans. Although this 6 to 8 inch long species is occasionally found in central Texas, they are most abundant in the southwest region of the state. That being said, multiple large and highly venomous biting centipede species in Central Texas often move into moist basements and other indoor areas where they can pose a medical threat to residents. For example, the bark centipede often hides in shoes, leading to painful bites within homes.
Have you ever discovered a centipede that you believe exceeded 6 inches in length?
Several species of insect pest gravitate into homes in overwhelming numbers in order to seek warm shelter during the fall and winter seasons in Texas. Some of these insect pests include Asian lady bugs, boxelder bugs and elm leaf beetles. During recent years, many residents of central Texas have been finding hundreds of black bugs collecting on window sills and the exterior walls of homes. When this occurs during the fall and winter, it seems that the tiny bugs are attempting to gain entrance indoors, and in many cases, they succeed. Residents who have found large numbers of these bugs on and/or within their home have phoned University extension services and pest control companies asking about the mysterious “black gnats,” and whether they pose a medical or structural threat. According to Wizzie Brown, an insect specialist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office, these insects are commonly known as hackberry psyllids, and while they certainly pose a nuisance to residents, they will not harm humans or damage property.
Just as their common name suggests, hackberry psyllids are insects that feed on hackberry trees during the summer, but they usually go unnoticed until they suddenly appear in massive numbers on window sills. The insects nestle into small cracks and crevices on the exterior walls, window frames and door frames of a home, and from there, many find their way indoors. In the northern midwest region, these insect pests invade homes during the late summer and fall, and they may appear on sunny midwinter days. In central Texas, hackberry psyllids make an attempt to overwinter indoors during the fall and winter, and they are particularly abundant throughout the fall season. Although these insects can technically bite due to possessing sucking mouthparts, bites are relatively painless, and will not harm humans. There is little that can be done to control hackberry psyllids short of cutting down hackberry trees or installing new window screens that the insect pests cannot squeeze through. Although their habit of jumping about makes them a serious indoor nuisance, infestations usually last only for a short time. In some cases, professional pest control intervention is necessary.
Have you ever witnessed hackberry psyllids on or within your home?
The Smokybrown Cockroach Is One Of The Most Commonly Encountered Insect Pests In Central Texas Where They Can Establish Breeding Sites Within Homes.
Cockroaches are not hard to come by in central Texas, as multiple cities in the region have been named as being among the most roach-infested cities in the US. In Waco, for example, pest control calls concerning cockroaches far outnumber the national average. Social workers and police officers regularly report roaches as being the most significant and threatening insect pests found in impoverished homes. In fact, roaches have literally been found nesting in the ears of children living in infested homes in the city, and in nearby Fort Hood, military housing authorities have long struggled to control roach pests within homes located on the base. The most common species of roach pests regularly found within Waco homes include American, Oriental, German and brown-banded cockroaches. The smokybrown cockroach is another frequently encountered roach pest species in Waco homes, and although these roaches prefer to dwell outdoors, they have been known to establish breeding populations within houses.
The smokybrown cockroach is most abundant in central and eastern Texas, and in addition to invading homes, these roaches annoy and terrify residents by flying toward artificial lights on porches and along residential streets. The 2 inch long American cockroach species is the largest roach pest in the US, but the smokybrown is not far behind, as both males and females grow to the startling size of 1 ¼ to 1 ½ of an inch in length. Unsurprisingly, smokybrown cockroaches are often mistaken for American cockroaches due to their similar brown to dark brown color, comparable size, preference for humid indoor locations, ability to fly, and their tendency to access homes through sewer and septic pipes. Once indoors, smokybrown cockroaches are most frequently found in attics and fireplaces where rainwater often leaks indoors. Smokybrown cockroaches can be differentiated from American cockroaches by their particularly long antennae, which exceeds their body length.
Have you ever spotted roaches flying toward your porch lights?