There are many bugs we encounter in our East Sacramento backyards; however, not all bugs are harmful. Although many may seem like pests, there are some benefits to keeping some around while others can wreak havoc on our food, plants, livestock and even our health. When it comes to pest control, it can seem like a country standoff of “good guys vs. bad guys.”
What are the benefits of keeping some bugs around? There is one famous backyard bug that immediately comes to people’s mind… the ladybug. The vibrant ladybug is a predatory bug that feeds on spider mites and aphids. They can eat up to 5,000 pests in their life span! Another great insect to keep around is the camouflaged praying mantis. They will also eat just about anything as well (including its own kind). And what about the creepy crawly millipede? These large creatures are scavengers and will eat decaying leaves and even garden slugs!
Now that you know we have some bugs on our side helping us out, lets discuss the bad bugs lurking in the shadows. These common pests can be found in almost every home at some point or another. These are the “Hateful Eight” of the pests we find in and around our homes throughout the year.
The Black Widow Spider: These can be identified by their hourglass-shaped mark on the abdomen. They often like to stay in dark secluded spaces but are still to be taken seriously because of their venomous bite. Most people bitten do not suffer serious harm; however, it can be fatal to small children and the elderly.
The Cockroach: Fast breeding and fast moving, cockroaches can spread bacteria and other diseases such as salmonella and E. coli. Their molted skins and droppings can also cause allergens and have even been linked to childhood asthma.
The Flea: Fleabites can be itchy and painful. These annoying creatures can trigger allergic reactions and even transmit serious diseases such as tapeworms and typhus.
The Wasp: Unlike bees, wasps do not die after they sting someone. They can sting multiple times, and this can be deadly to anyone who is allergic.
The Mosquito: Causing more deaths to humans than any other insect in the world, their bites have infected people with some of the deadliest diseases such as the West Nile virus, malaria, and yellow fever. They can also cause heartworms in pets.
The Fly: House flies can carry some of the most dangerous germs resulting in the spread of bacillary, cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and infantile diarrhea.
The Tick: Ticks do not jump or fly, they use other methods to find a host to latch onto. With their impressive sensory organs they can detect carbon dioxide you exhale and can also sense odors, vibrations, and heat. Their bite can be undetectable at times and they are carriers to various fevers and Lyme disease.
If you are encountering these unwanted pests, a pest professional can safely eliminate them from your home. The good guys are in town and they are here for you!
Winter brings some of the longest nights of the year, which is just what nocturnal arachnids thrive on. The darkness gives them the confidence to creep around without being seen and then return to secreted places like underneath wooden decks, porches and your houses’ piping. Then summer comes along and these widows come out from hiding to mate and hatch their young, a spun nest that can contain hundreds of eggs. But what’s more interesting is the behavior of the widow spider, specifically the male brown widow, an invasive species in California.
Female black widow webs carry a pheromone-laced silk to attract males. This sticky web can be detected 67 yards away and inform male widows of their mating history and hunger level. This same web can continue to attract up to 40 males each night. Pretty impressive, right? Of course, reaching a female’s web can take a turn for the worst, as the male widow wreaks havoc on her silken abode, he methodically tears her web apart.
While this isn’t always a bad thing if the female wants to mate, the male widow can stay longer than his welcome and become more of an annoyance when the female black widow becomes hungry and goes to rebuild the web for her offspring. The myth that female black widows always kill and eat their mate is not totally false, but very far from true. You can say it’s like a game of Russian Roulette.
To bring some light to the matter, the feared female black widows are not aggressive spiders and their bites are not necessarily considered deadly to humans. They are quite shy and just want to be left alone. But that doesn’t mean they don’t tread and get comfortable in areas where they aren’t wanted, like your home. It does give you a different perspective though on this wicked-looking creature!
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