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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals. Although the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) prefers feeding on humans, it will also bite other warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents. It has done so since ancient times; bed bugs are mentioned in medieval European texts and classical Greek writings back to the time of Aristotle. 

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Termites

Discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment. Since the swarmers are attracted to light, they often are seen around windows and doors. People often confuse winged termites with ants, which tend to swarm at the same time of year. Termites have straight antennae, a uniformly thickened waist, and wings of equal size. Conversely, ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Ants

Ants are the most frequent and persistent pests encountered around homes and buildings. Besides being a nuisance, ants contaminate food, build unsightly mounds on property, and cause damage by hollowing out wood and other materials for nesting. Species such as fire ants inflict painful stings, which can be life-threatening to hypersensitive individuals. 

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Fleas

Ridding your home of fleas can be a daunting and costly endeavor. Unlike most household pests, fleas bite dogs and cats as well as people. The bites can cause intense itching and irritation, and a hypersensitive animal will often require veterinary assistance. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms and bacterial infections. The pests are highly prolific -- the biting adult stage might be living on the pet, in addition to hundreds or thousands of eggs, larvae, and pupae elsewhere in the home or yard. If early signs of fleas are ignored, infestations can quickly spiral out of control. 

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Spiders

Many different kinds of spiders live in and around dwellings. Some, such as the cellar spider, construct webs to help entrap their prey. Others, like the wolf spider, are free roaming and make no webs. Most spiders are harmless and in fact beneficial because they prey upon flies and other pests. The majority of spiders have fangs too small or weak to puncture human skin. Those that are capable of biting humans generally will not do so, unless they themselves are harmed or threatened. 

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky

Roaches

Cockroaches are among the most common pests infesting homes and apartments. They are especially troublesome where food is prepared and sanitation is lacking. Cockroaches are repulsive and embarrassing to most people simply by their presence. They may contaminate food, kitchen utensils, and other household items, and they leave an unpleasant odor.

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  • Written by Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Scorpions

Scorpions bring to mind images of deadly, aggressive creatures that live in the desert regions of the world. However, members of this interesting group can be found in a wide range of habitats. The southern devil scorpion, Vejovis carolinianus, occurs in several southeastern states.

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  • Written by Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Mice

The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors in search of warmth, food and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control. 

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