Learn About Insects and Other Pests in California
From stinging insects to rodents, pests thrive on finding vulnerabilities in our homes to locate sources of food, water and shelter. Once they make their way indoors, these creatures pose serious risks to our health and property. DIY efforts to manage common household insects may not be enough to keep California homeowners, their families and their property fully protected. In order to properly identify and eradicate insects and other pests typically found in California, partnering with a pest control professional is a must.
List of Common Pests and Insects in California
Here is an identification guide of common California insects to help you determine which pests you may have seen in your home:
Ants are nuisance pests that can contaminate food and pose a risk to structures and properties depending on the species. Some ant species, such as the red important fire ant, will sting humans who disturb its nest. The sting of a red fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by red imported fire ants will receive multiple stings from more than one of the ants. There are over 700 ant species in the U.S. alone!
While not an aggressive species by nature, paper wasps will sting if they are disturbed, or their nest is threatened.
While earwigs do not spread diseases or crawl into peoples’ ears at night, they can become a nuisance in large numbers around homes. Some species of earwigs produce a foul-smelling liquid as a self-defense mechanism. Although their appearance can be alarming to homeowners, for the most part, earwigs pose a greater threat to garden plants than to people.
Although bed bugs do not transmit diseases, their bites can cause red, itchy welts. This pest reproduces quickly as the females lay 1-5 eggs per day, with potential to lay over 500eggs in their lifetime. It takes about 37 days for a bed bug egg to become an adult. If a bed bug population goes undetected, these bugs can quickly infest an entire household or building.
Silverfish are mainly a nuisance pest, but they can cause property damage indoors by chewing holes in clothing, upholstery, and paper goods, such as wallpaper and books.
While some may bite if disturbed, most species are not harmful to humans. The two species of spiders to keep an eye out for are the black widow spider and recluse spiders, both of which have particularly potent bites that can lead to severe symptoms such as redness, pain and swelling, or an open sore at the bite site, cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, tremors, sweating and more. In rare cases, black widow spider bites can be fatal.
California Pests and Insects Commonly Found Inside the Home
In addition to the pests listed above, these common household pests found in California pose serious threats if they make their way into the home:
Cockroaches are creepy nuisance pests that have been despised for decades. There are around 70 living species of cockroaches in the U.S. and approximately 4,000 species in the world. These nocturnal creatures love to be in warm and dark environments and often move indoors for easy access to food and water. They pose serious health risks to humans if they find a way indoors as they are known to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, as well as six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. In addition, cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergy attacks as their droppings, saliva, and shed skin contain potent allergens and can exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially in children.
Cockroaches are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth, which makes controlling and eliminating an infestation even more difficult. In addition to proper sanitation, it is important to pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms - especially under appliances and sinks. These pests can hide in a myriad of places in the home and breed very quickly. If you discover a cockroach infestation in your home, contact a pest professional for assistance with elimination and prevention.
As one of the most encountered pests in the home, rodents intrude into millions of houses each year in search of food, water and shelter. Mice can squeeze their bodies through openings the size of a dime, while rats can squeeze through openings the size of a quarter. Rats and mice are associated with several health risks and are known to spread more than 35 diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Droppings and dander from rodents can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms, especially in children. Additionally, once they get inside, rodents can cause property damage by chewing through drywall and insulation, as well as the electrical wiring in your walls or vehicles. Damaged electrical wiring is not only costly to repair but poses a fire hazard.
Rodents are known to reproduce quickly, so what may seem like a small problem can turn into a big issue overnight. If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately.
Termites can literally eat a home out from under its owners, often without them even knowing until much damage has been done. They can chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected, 24/7, and can compromise the structural stability of a home within several years depending on the species. Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage — costs that aren't usually covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. Some species of termites can chew through support beams, floors and walls, causing expensive home repairs. Other species have been known to chew through the coverings of telephone and electric cable insulation, resulting in costly damage and power outages in cities. A termite infestation cannot be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. If you suspect a termite infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to determine the extent of the problem and receive a recommendation of an appropriate course of treatment.
What is California’s State Insect?
The California dogface butterfly, also known as Zerene Eurydice, is the state insect of California.
This species is native to California and gets its unique name from the varied wing colors and patterns of the butterfly. The female typically has yellow wings with black dots while the male has black on the outer edges of the forewing creating a silhouette that resembles a dog’s head. California was the first U.S. state to choose a state insect and the dogface butterfly has been the state insect since 1972.
Find a California Pest Control Services Company Near You
When pests find their way indoors, homeowners are often tempted to try and control the problem on their own. However, the truth is that most pests – from cockroaches and termites to paper wasps and bed bugs – are better left to professionals. If you are concerned about an infestation on your property, it is best to hire licensed pest professionals to assist in proper identification and treatment of the household pest problem. Click below to use a zip code locator to find qualified pest control professionals in California.