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Pest Library

What You Need To Know About Sacramento Pests

California pests are often difficult to address alone. With so many species and varieties nearby, DIY control is often a stressful and difficult process. The first and most effective step towards getting your pest control concerns under control is to properly identify the pests in question. Below is a comprehensive guide from Empyrean Pest Management that details many pests found around Sacramento, CA.

Ants

Some of the smallest household pests, ants, are eusocial insects that specialize in building colonies for their queen and larvae. Ants average anywhere from one-eighth to a half-inch long and best identified by their color patterns of black, brown, red, or yellow. Argentine ants, carpenter ants, and pharaoh ants are three primary ant species found in California. While all of these species have unique characteristics, they each have antennae, six legs, and mandibles.

The damages caused by ant species are dependent upon their unique type. Argentine ants are extremely small and usually associated with food contamination. Carpenter ants chew through large amounts of wood in order to build homes for their young. Although they do not consume wood, carpenter ants quickly weaken solid structures. Finally, pharaoh ants are dangerous vectors of diseases and are known for attacking hospitals, healthcare facilities, and in-patient health organizations.

Preventing ants from infesting your property requires following these helpful tips:

  • Seal any entry points around the building that could allow ants to come inside.
  • Store all trash or garbage inside a properly sealed bin.
  • Clean the premises regularly to eliminate crumbs, smears, or other waste that may attract ants.

Cockroaches

By far some of the most dangerous disease vectors in modern homes, cockroaches are pests known for their unsanitary behaviors. You can find three primary roach species in California: The German cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and American cockroach. German Cockroaches are small, light brown insects that prefer to crawl rather than fly. Oriental cockroaches, called water bugs, are attracted to humid or waterlogged homes. Finally, American cockroaches can measure almost three inches long and are light brown.

Roaches prefer to spend their time in areas with easy access to food and water; this usually means dumpsters, sewers, drain pipes, and trash bins. Because of this, they can spread a large number of pathogens from one place to the next. Cockroaches can cause bacterial infections, viral illnesses, and the ingestion of parasite eggs. If they are allowed to survive unchallenged for long periods, roaches will begin laying eggs at a rate of 300 per year.

Keep roaches off your California property by doing the following:

  • Keep your home clear of clutter.
  • Reduce household humidity levels via technology or hanging bags.
  • Remove all food items from counters, as well as dirty dishes.

Occasional Invaders

Some insect species are not found in large numbers very often. In fact, the vast majority of them only come out around California homes during certain times of the year. Called 'occasional invaders' or 'other invaders' by professional entomologists, these insects include creatures like:

  • Boxelder bugs
  • Cicadas 
  • Crickets
  • Millipedes
  • Earwigs
  • Silverfish
  • Ground beetles
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Clover mites
  • Stink bugs
  • Pantry pests

Not all occasional invaders are dangerous. Cicadas, crickets, boxelder bugs, millipedes, earwigs, silverfish, clover mites, and ground beetles are more nuisance pests than anything else. However, some other invaders can cause severe physical damage. Fleas and ticks feed on people and pets and cause rashes or spread diseases. Stink bugs consume plants and release a foul odor when crushed. Finally, pantry pests may destroy and contaminate the food products in which they live.

If you are concerned about an occasional invader infestation, consider using these tips:

  • Control the amount of moisture present inside the house. Dehumidifiers and desiccant bags are excellent options.
  • Store all food items in properly sealed containers.
  • Do not leave trash outside or in the house for long periods.

Rodents

Rodents measure anywhere between three and twelve inches in length and are the most common home-invading pests in the Sacramento area. Rats and mice are frequent home invaders best identified by their furry bodies, pink tails, and large protruding teeth. Roof rats and Norway rats measure up to twelve inches in long and have blunt snouts and scaly tales. In contrast, smaller rodents like field mice and house mice have sharper snouts, large ears, and furry tails.

All rodent species should be considered highly dangerous and extremely aggressive. Both rats and mice have been known to attack humans and pets under pressure, leaving them with bites, scratches, or other lacerations. Rodents may also get into food items or ingredients, contaminating them with pathogens. Many of the pathogens related to rodent activity are very serious, requiring medical attention in order to treat.

Ensure that rodents stay far away from your California home by following these helpful steps:

  • Store all food items in glass or plastic bins.
  • Eliminate any sources of standing water in the house.
  • Have your home protected with ongoing rodent control from Empyrean Pest Management.

Spiders

Spiders are the most common species of arachnid found in modern Californian homes. Other insects, including ticks, are associated with the arachnid class. However, spiders are not parasitic, nor do they spread diseases. Spiders have eight legs, many eyes, and a pair of fangs. Although they all have some form of venom, not every bite will significantly affect humans. The red hourglass symbol identifies the black widow spider. Brown recluse spiders have unique fiddle-shaped markings on their abdomens. Finally, wolf spiders are large and extremely hairy spiders that can grow to about an inch and a half long.

The vast majority of spiders are nuisance pests to humans. In the wild, spiders are incredibly beneficial creatures that exterminate other harmful pest species lingering nearby. If you notice a large number of spiders making their way into your home, there could be an additional pest infestation attracting them. Although most spiders are harmless, others pose significant threats. The black widow, with its potent neurotoxin, is one of these.

Keep spiders well away from your California home by:

  • Wiping away webs that form around windows and walls.
  • Using waterproof caulking to seal cracks and gaps in the house.
  • Having your home inspected for underlying pest activity.

Stinging Insects

Wasps, yellow jackets, centipedes, and scorpions are prominent stinging insects in California. Wasps and yellow jackets are flying insects measuring three-eights to five-eighths of an inch long, with color patterns of yellow and black. Centipedes are long and spindly insects that are anywhere between half an inch and six inches long. Finally, scorpions are large arachnids with curved, venomous tails that flip up over their backs. You can identify them by their two frontal pincers.

All stinging insects should be considered dangerous. Wasps and yellow jackets can sting multiple times and inflict painful wounds. These may prompt allergic reactions in some victims, which may be fatal. Centipede stings may be swollen and painful, sometimes resembling a bee sting. Finally, scorpion stings can inflict anaphylactic shock in victims. Certain scorpion species, including the Arizona bark scorpion, carry a type of venom that can prove fatal.

If you think stinging insects are in your area, use these tips to stay safe:

  • Keep the lawn trimmed low, and prune back any protruding shrubs or tree limbs.
  • Make sure to seal off any household entry points properly.
  • Have your home professionally inspected for hives, colonies, or other stinging insect signs.

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