There are many pests that annoy people in their home or business. If the pest you are concerned with is not on this page, call our office and speak to a pest control professional.
If you are concerned with a biting insect, please see our page on Biting Insects for more information.
Silverfish are a soft bodied insect that is light in color (cream to silver in color). In a residential home, the silverfish will forage at night feeding on minute particles including hair, dead skin cells and any other protein it can find. Silverfish, along with carpet beetles and clothing moths, can also damage certain fabrics including wool and fur. As the night ends and the sun comes up, the silverfish will duct into dark quiet areas to rest. These areas might be closets, behind furniture and baseboards, drawers, cabinets etc.
Attics are an attractive place for the silverfish to hide in the winter. Heat rises and creates a warm, comfortable area for silverfish to overwinter. In the summer, the silverfish will migrate into the living area of the home to forage and breed (the attic becomes to warm in the summer and there may not be adequate food for them. Silverfish will also lay eggs in quiet areas such as behind baseboards and furniture.
On the exterior, silverfish like wood piles, sheds, fences etc. to hide. They will forage in and around birds nests and any other area where they can find proteins such as hair, skin cells, feathers and molting from other insects and animals.
Periodic treatment (monthly or bi-monthly) on the exterior can help keep silverfish under control. If a population of silverfish is a problem inside the home, an indoor treatment can be performed. Indoor treatment may include treatment of baseboards, ceiling corners, closets and dusting the attic. Treating the areas where silverfish roam and breed will reduce silverfish activity inside the home.
Carpet Beetles are a small beetle with a variegated appearance. The adult carpet beetle looks similar to a lady bug but smaller and have tan and black/brown irregular spots and markings. Carpet beetles forage on natural fibers including; wool, silk, feathers, plants and seeds, grains, hair and fur ect. They can damage your wool and silk clothing, infest food products (particularly grains), and become a nuisance when they show up in great numbers. The carpet beetle larva looks completely different. The larva, once hatched from an egg, is a worm like insect that moves around in a “fuzzy” casing. Sometimes they are so fuzzy they resemble a very small round caterpillar, if it’s in fairly warm temperature, it may have sparse hairs on it’s casing, primarily around the sides. The larva does all the damage as it slowly crawls around and feeds. Once the larva is done feeding, it will attach itself to a wall, curtain or some quiet area will can rest and pupate into the adult carpet beetle. When the metamorphosis is complete it will emerge and leave the empty casing behind.
If a large population of carpet beetle (adults and/or larva) occur in the house, typically they have a significant food source and that food source must be found and removed. Searching closets, cabinets and drawers for the item or product that they are feeding on is important. If the item or product is not found, the carpet beetles will continue to be a problem and can spread to areas where damage can be quite costly such as destroying expensive wool, silk and fur clothing or collectible items that are made with natural fibers.
Start with the area you found a significant number of carpet beetle/larva. Keep in mind that the item your looking for has probably been stored for a long time. If the infestation is near a closet, check the closet thoroughly. If there is storage such as boxes, open the boxes even if you think you already know what’s in them. The contents maybe clothing or shoe’s made of natural fiber or fur. If you have keep sakes from your children growing up or significant occasions, inspect each peace for damage, the insect or empty casings.
You may find wedding favors that contain nuts, grains, dried flowers or seeds etc., a box of craft items may include feathers, fur pieces as well, a corsage from a prom. Continue your search of the home until you have found the problem items and remove them. If the items are of importance or value, research ways of preserving them to protect them from future attacks. Investing in good garment bags for your expensive or important suits and coats. Sealing keepsakes in air tight containers or storage bags can help protect them. Also be aware of home made items that may have natural grain fillers, such as bean bags and pillows.
We had one client that had a box of items passed down from his mother. Inside the box was a home made bean bag that was used in the “olden days” as a heating pad. The client had no success on locating the source of carpet beetles and upon our inspection, the bean bag was found and the bean contents had been reduced to a damp saw dust that had a rank smell. Another customer was describing an infestation by his bedroom door near a closet, although he was certain there was “absolutely nothing” in the closet to cause this problem, he was persuaded to do a thorough inspection and found a box of items from when is daughter was growing up which included feathers that had been completely decimated from the carpet beetles.
Keep in mind, that if there is a significant population of carpet beetle larva, they are absolutely coming from something because finding large numbers of larvae indicate they are moving away from the food source and that food source is likely nearby.
Earwigs are generally recognized by the forceps-like appendages at the end of the body (pincers) and are commonly called pincer bugs. They sometimes emerge in large numbers in warm weather and invade homes and other structures. They are primarily scavengers on dead animal and plant material, some species will also feed on living plants. They are active at night, and some species are attracted to lights. During the day they usually find shelter beneath stones, boards, debris and deep in flower petals. The European earwig are the species we encounter in the Santa Clara county which prefers green plants, which accounts for some of the vegetable plant damage and damage on other types of garden plants. European earwigs have wings but are poor flyers and it appears the females rarely, if ever fly. Most people will never see the earwig fly. Earwigs can find themselves inside by accident or transported in on cut flowers from the garden or in the newspaper delivered in the front yard amongst other things brought in from the outside. Earwigs require moisture and when they find themselves inside they will dehydrate and die.
Periodic exterior servicing (monthly or bi-monthly), will generally keep populations under control. Indoor servicing is not normally necessary if the populations outside are kept under control.
Sow bugs and Pill Bugs
Sow Bugs and Pill Bugs are crustaceans and are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. The sow bug possess 2 tail-like appendages at the tip of the abdomen and are not capable of rolling into a tight ball (above picture on left). The common pill bug lacks such appendages and can roll itself into a ball (above picture on right). This habit is the reason they are called “roly-polies”.
Both Sow bugs and Pill bugs feed upon decaying vegetable matter and are found under vegetable debris of all kinds and beneath objects on damp ground. They frequently invade damp basements and crawl spaces and may infest potted plants. A heavy infestations indoors generally indicates that there is a large population immediately outside the building. Pill Bugs and Sow bugs forage at night. They do not bite and children enjoy playing with them when they find them. Pill bugs and Sow bugs will tend their babies by keeping them huddled underneath the females body until the babies are able to fend for themselves
Periodic exterior treating (monthly or bi-monthly service), will generally keep populations under control. Indoor treatment is not normally necessary since Sow bugs and Pill bugs require moisture and will dehydrate inside of a home or building. They get indoors by accident, they would rather be outside where they can survive.
Aphids are an agricultural problem. Bay-Valley Pest Control does not treat or control aphids. Aphids will get on roses and certain other plants and feed on the saps of those plants. The most effective way to control aphids are by using a systemic. A Systemic is a product that you water into the root system of the plant. When the aphid feeds on the sap, it kills the aphids. Check with your local gardening store to find out which products are appropriate for the plant you wish to treat.
Indian Meal Moth
Indian Meal Moths are common household panty problems. Usually the homeowner will find annoying moths fluttering around the kitchen (but because they fly you may find them in other rooms of the home). The larva, which looks like a cream colored worm with a black head will feed on all kinds of grains and flour, corn meal, dried fruits, nuts and almost any dried foodstuffs around the home.
When dried foods are packaged, eggs of the Indian Meal Moth are often packaged in the food as well. If the foods are consumed by the family in short periods of time, you would not even be aware of this occurrence. If packaged foods or nuts are stored for long periods of time in the home or in warehouses awaiting shipment to stores or on the grocery shelf, the eggs can hatch in the package and the larva will begin feeding. Keeping foods that you store for long periods of time in the refrigerator or freezer will keep moth eggs from hatching. Rotating foods regularly will also help keep the Indian Meal Moth from becoming a problem in your home.
The adult Indian Meal Moth itself, does not feed. It’s sole purpose is to mate and find a food product to lay eggs on to ensure the hatching larva can feed and survive. Once the adult female has accomplished this task, she will die. The Larvae will crawl around and feed until it’s ready to pupate into the adult moth. The Larva will crawl away from the food to a warm quiet area and spin a web over itself and begin transforming into the adult moth. Then the process of mating and laying eggs begin again.
Eradicating Indian Meal Moths is a detailed process for the home owner. Start by searching each open food product, especially items that have been stored for a long time such as flour, cereals, nuts, croutons etc.. Gently open each box or bag and look inside. If you see the worms or a “spider webbing” material inside – the product has been contaminated and should be thrown away (outside in the garbage can).
If your first look inside does not reveal worms or the web like material, gently tilt the box until the product comes away from the sides and look for the worms or particles of the food product hanging by web like strings from the sides. Again, if the deeper inspection reveals signs that the larva has been there, throw the product outside in the garbage can. Go through this process for every open product in your pantry. Important: Multiple products may have been effected so don’t stop looking until your certain you’ve checked everything. Also, Don’t just start tossing food away without looking, you want to know if you’ve found the offending food product(s) and you will only know if you looked.
Once those obvious products have been checked, and especially if you haven’t found anything suspicious, begin checking unopened boxes and bags. Consider things like oatmeal, soups, granola bars etc. that are individually pouched or wrapped. Pull the individual servings out of the box and make sure there are not holes in the individual packages or food debris “clinging” to the outside of the package. Larva have a chewing mouth part and can chew their way out of a box (they don’t chew their way into a box, because remember earlier that the adult moth must lay eggs directly on a food product). Other unopened boxes or bags can be checked by inspecting the corners and box edges for holes where the larva may have chewed their way out.
Generally, if you have found worms crawling on the outside of the cabinets or walls, the cabinets or drawers containing pantry food nearest the worms are probably where you’ll find the products they’re coming from. The worms generally will crawl up because heat rises and they want to pupate in warmer areas. So be sure to consider and search lower cabinets and drawers.
If your thorough inspection has not turned up the contaminated product(s), you either missed it or haven’t looked in everything. Check your spices, and especially further back in cabinets or drawers for overlooked items. Many times, foods creating your moth problem has been there for more than six months and has been pushed to the back and forgotten. Keep in mind… if you have seen the worms, there is absolutely something they emerged from. Find it, to avoid re-infestation. In severe cases where a product has been re-infested or constantly infested, the product will look like dampish saw dust and have a rank odor from the larva and larva defecation (droppings).
Once the kitchen has been satisfactorily inspected and contaminated foods have been removed, you should store any open products in air tight containers or in the refrigerator or freezer for at least the next six months. You can expect to still find moths emerging from the cocoons for at least six months after the problem has been corrected. Some larva may have made it to cracks and cervices and will continue to pupate and emerge. By keeping your food products in air tight containers, will ensure the moth cannot get to it to lay eggs and will eventually die on their own. The other excellent thing about air tight containers is that if a contaminated product is contained, any larva will be trapped inside and you will avoid the moth problem from spreading. There are also pheromone traps that can be bought from places like Orchard Supply and Home Depot that can be placed to catch the moths. Pheromone traps won’t correct an infestation already established, but can be effective in catching the later emerging moths after corrective action has occurred.
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