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4 Pests You May Not Know You Have

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A silverfish crawls along the top of a book.

Mice, spiders, ants – these are common household pests you recognize and have probably dealt with. But what about lesser-known pests that might fly under your radar? Infestations only get worse when ignored. Don’t miss the small but destructive pests that may have entered your home without you realizing.

These four pests tend to go unnoticed for long periods of time. They’re small and stealthy. Here’s what to look for so that you can identify signs of pest infestation in your home.

 

Silverfish 

silverfish

Silverfish are tiny and metallic grey or silver in color. They are wingless insects with segmented bodies, long antennae, and bristled backsides. The name “silverfish” comes from their resemblance to aquatic species like shrimp, and their fish-like side-to-side wiggle when they crawl.

Silverfish tend to be difficult to spot because they’re small, nocturnal, quick, and shy. Look for them in dark and humid places, like basements, attics, garages, sheds, warehouses, and crawl spaces. They like to hide among cardboard boxes and paper cartons. Silverfish primarily feed on polysaccharide carbohydrates in sugars, starches, and paper products.

Most troubling is how many eggs silverfish lay. They reproduce quickly.  Most species of silverfish can lay up to 60 eggs at a time which hatch in 2-6 weeks. These tiny eggs are usually laid in small, out-of-the-way cracks and are difficult to notice. They also leave behind very small, pepper-like feces pellets in the areas where they eat and reproduce.

 

Carpenter Ants

carpenter ants

Carpenter ants are black, and measure ¼- to ½-inch long. They appear very similar to non-carpenter ants but tend to be larger. The reproductive caste members of a carpenter ant colony have wings and can fly.

These pests invade buildings for one reason: wood. Though they don’t cause as much damage as termites, carpenter ants’ incessant wood feeding can still pose a distinct threat to walls, studs, wooden shelves and other parts of your home.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t live in the wood they feed on. Instead, they build colonies either in dirt or in hollowed-out or moist places near wood. As colonies expand, ants are prone to create “satellite” colonies nearby. Unfortunately, that means the longer you have carpenter ants, the more they expand and the more damage they’ll do.

Finding sawdust is your best means of identifying an infestation and finding one colony doesn’t mean your work is finished. A pest professional can trace any satellites where ants are coming from and eliminate them.

Carpenter ants occasionally bite in self-defense. Though this is rare, and the bites are mostly harmless, they may sting. Carpenter ants produce formic acid, a toxin that they spray into bites to further deter predators.

 

Bed Bugs

bed bug

Unfortunately, bed bugs aren’t content to infest beds exclusively. Our tiny, blood-feeding nocturnal nemeses will happily creep in anywhere they can find darkness, warmth, and dampness.

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped insects that are about 3/16 to ¼ inches long (the size of an apple seed). They’re usually flat and dark brown, but after a meal of your blood they may swell and turn a translucent brown-red color.

It can be hard to notice bed bugs because they spend their days in hiding. They come out at night to look for food. After they’ve eaten, they can remain motionless for days.

Look for bed bugs under boxes and furniture, inside bags, and in small nooks and crannies. They need warmth and humidity to survive, so basements, attics, and kitchens are likely haunts. If you can’t find the bugs themselves, look for rust-colored stains made by their waste.

Bed bugs spread by hitchhiking on travelers. If you frequently spend time in hotels, airports and other hubs, check your belongings when you return home. 20 minutes in a hot dryer will kill bed bugs on clothes or luggage. If you suspect an infestation in your home, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Bed bugs can spiral out of control quickly.

 

Fabric Moths

fabric moth

Contrary to popular belief, adult fabric moths - like the webbing clothes moth - don’t actually eat clothes themselves. The unpleasant truth is that fabric moths lay eggs on the fabric they inhabit. When these eggs hatch, the larvae eat the fabric until they grow into adult moths.

Fabric moths infest a wide variety of fabric, not just clothes. They may lay eggs on carpeting, bedding, rugs, drapes, and any other available textile. They’re particularly attracted to moist fabrics.

Look for distinct silken cases or webbing along the surface of fabric to find your infestation. Moth larvae spin this silk out of the fibers they consume for protection and warmth while they grow.

Fabric moths prefer dark, humid, and warm places with access to food. You’ll most likely find these wardrobe-wreckers in storage areas like closets, especially ones that are rarely disturbed.

 

Reduce Pests in Your Home

Catch pest infestations before they become a problem. The trick to preventing damage in your home is finding the evidence and acting on it fast.

If you need help finding or eliminating pests, call Assured Environments. Our experts can track even the sneakiest pest back to their nest and wipe them out for good.

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