INSECTS

Insects come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are the most successful lifeforms on the planet. Scientists estimate there are between 10 and 30 million species on Earth though only approximately 1 million have been identified by science. 

 

Insects emerged 420 million years ago.

 

There are about 10 quintillion insects alive at any one time (10,000,000,000,000,000,000).

 

20% of crops grown for human consumption are eaten by insects first.

 

1/6 of the worlds population suffers from insect borne disease.

 

Over 50% of all living organisms are insects.

 

During World War II, twice as many people died from insect borne disease than the fighting (approximately 120 million).

 

 

FIRE ANTS

 

 

Fire Ants are among the most aggresive of all insects. They are small and range in color from reddish brown to black. Fire Ant control is important because in some areas they are so numerous that they are capable of destroying farm equipment and even killing and consuming wildlife. Fire Ants attack their target with painful stings. When one ant stings, they will all sting. This is because when one ant is threatened, it emits a chemical called an alarm pheromone that causes the other ants to get the message to attack. They feed mainly on insects and other small invertebrates, although they will also eat carrion and young plants. They range in size from one-eighth to one quarter of an inch. Juveniles and workers are wingless, and adult ants of both sexes are winged only until they mate. The males die shortly after mating. Fire ants live in nests that they build in the soil. These nests range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. The nest itself lies under the mound. They are especially a threat to pets and small children and should be eliminated as soon as they are detected.

CARPENTER ANTS

 

 

 

Carpenter ants are large and found in many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not eat it, however, unlike termites. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant. However, there are over a thousand other species of carpenter ants found throughout the world. Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood and can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

They can leave behind a sawdust-like material behind called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas.

CRAZY ANTS

 
 
 
These ants are named for their erratic, rapid movements. They are grayish black in color, with long, coarse hairs covering most of their bodies. Entire crazy ant colonies have been known to up and move when conditions become unfavorable, which complicates their control. A combination of habitat modification, exclusion, and the judicious use of insecticides is usually needed for effective crazy ant control. The crazy ant worker is relatively small. The head and thorax are dark brown to blackish and the body often has faint bluish iridescence. The body has long, coarse, well scattered, suberect to erect, grayish or whitish hairs. Crazy Ants occupy mostly northern regions but recently researchers have observed crazy ants as far south as Louisiana and Florida.

Here is a recent article from the Associated Press:

Crazy Ants Invade South

As an example, in 1977, modular units were being used as temporary schoolrooms by a North Lauderdale elementary school. The principal reported that the units were so inundated by the ant that students were constantly in a state of turmoil. The invasion reached such proportions that the students' sack lunches were kept in closed plastic bags placed on tables, with each table leg sitting in a pan of water as a barrier to the ant.

Non-chemical control is based on exclusion through good housekeeping practices and cleanliness eliminating food sources. Crazy ants nest outdoors so prevention of their entrance by caulking exterior penetrations and weather-stripping may aid in their control. Indoors chemical controls are based on baits, dusts, and spot treatments with residual sprays. Outdoor treatments include chemical formulations as baits, granules, dusts, and sprays. Read and follow label instructions and precautions before using any insecticide.

LITTLE BLACK ANT

 

 

Little is known of the history of the Little Black Ant. Colonies are moderately sized to large, containing up to 2,000 workers and many queens. Colonies consist almost exclusively of workers and brood (eggs, larvae, and pupae) during most of the year, but winged males and females are produced during the summer. It is presumed that most nests are established by one or two queens. In the laboratory, queens may live approximately one year; workers may live about four months. A native species, the little black ant is widely distributed throughout southeastern Canada as well as northern and eastern sections of the United States though it has been making it's way south The Little Black Ant, has highly adaptive nesting habits. Nests can be found in the soil in open areas of lawns or under objects such as stones, bricks, wood and logs. In buildings, they nest in woodwork, wall voids, masonry, and under carpets. At high population densities, little black ants may become widely dispersed throughout a structure and invade nearly every crack and crevice. They are highly visible on established foraging trails, particularly when they invade food cabinets and pantries. Little Black Ant colonies in and around buildings generally are not numerous. They can usually be controlled by limited insecticide applications or the use of baits. Surveys should be done inside and outside to locate all nests. Outdoor colonies can be treated with a residual insecticide by drenching the nest sites, using a compressed sprayer. Nests in wall voids can be treated by injecting aerosol through cracks and crevices and around baseboards. If nests cannot be located, toxic baits can be effective when placed on foraging trails. It is a good idea to remove all litter and objects under which ants can nest and to seal all cracks in exterior walls where ants can enter.

PHAROAH ANTS/SUGAR ANTS

 

 

Also called sugar ants, Pharoah ants come into the house looking for sugary foods. They are pale yellow to reddish yellow in color, with black markings on their abdomens. Pharoah Ants are also attracted to the honeydew of aphids. Aphids, usually pests in agriculture, are also attracted to flowering plants and fruit trees. Pharaoh ant control can be difficult due to their complex social structure. They are also able to get into sealed food packages, due to their small size. They are a public health pest because of their ability to spread serious diseases such as Salmonellosis, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.

ARGENTINE ANTS

 

 

Argentine ants originated in Argentina and prefer to dwell in warm moist environments like that of Georgia and the southern United States. Argentine ants can persist in conditions where other ant species could not survive. They like to nest in moist soil next to buildings or under them. They can be found near sidewalks or plants. They nest near water and food sources. Foraging ants will enter the house when outside conditions are extremely dry or wet. Colonies are large, often containing hundreds of queens. They are extremely mobile, will move colonies frequently. Argentine ants generate strong pheromone trails when foraging. They can be easily tracked. In many areas, you will see them patching three and four abreast.

BLACK WIDOW SPIDER

 

 

The females have a shiny, round black body with a red hourglass shape on the underside of its abdomen. They are about an inch and a half in length including their legs. The male is smaller and tan with a brown hourglass shape on the bottom of the abdomen. Only female black widows are venomous. Juveniles and males are harmless. The venom of this spider contains a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system that can be very painful. They build webs that are irregular in shape and size. Their diet consists of insects.

BALDFACED HORNET

 

 

These hornets are the most aggressive wasps found in Georgia. Walking within 3 feet of one of their nests is like asking to be stung. Sometimes however, they have been known to sting people walking at 10 or more feet away from their nests. Their nests are usually built out of paper and hang from trees or other structures. There are usually two or three hornets that will constantly circle the nest, watching for potential threats.

EUROPEAN HORNET

 

 

These hornets are much larger than Baldfaced hornets. They sometimes measure an inch to an inch and a half in length. They have an intimidating buzz, but they are not as aggressive as other hornets. They will however attack if they feel threatened, swatted at, sat upon, or otherwise bothered. They usually build their nests in hollow trees and other void areas. If they build their nests inside buildings, their droppings can release a powerful odor.

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