Pavement Ants

There are many types of ants which infest houses in the United States. Pavement ants (tetramorium caespitum) is one of the most common ant types which is commonly found in houses. Basically, it is an early 19th century native to Europe.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, these pests were carried to the United States in the merchant vessels. In order to provide weight to the ships, soil was loaded onto the ships which were carried from Europe to the United States. In order to carry the ship across the Atlantic, soil was removed and goods were loaded once in the port. The pavement ant is found from New England to the Midwest and in the Southern areas through the Mid-Atlantic States to Tennessee. It lives in the soil. Additionally, it is found in California and Washington.


The pavement ant is approximately 2.5-4mm in length. Their color shades range from dark brown to black. They may either have parallel furrows or lines on their head and thoracic region. Pedicel is the region which connects the thorax and the abdominal region. Their pedicel is divided into two segments. They also have a stinger in the last abdominal segment. Their dorsal thoracic region has two spines on its posterior end that project upwards to the rear.

The reproductive ants (queens) are twice the size of the worker ants. The swarmers or reproductive ants are winged. Moreover, their head and thoracic region is also furrowed. On the body of males, spines are absent but they are evident on the female body.


Pavement Ant Mounds
Pavement Ant Mounds
There is very little information available on the biology of the pavement ants. All we know about this ant is from observing their behavior above the ground. Winged ants are usually reproductive ants. They are usually found to swarm in the spring but they usually emerge any time of the year in heated structures. It is unusual to find them swarming in winter.

As soon as they emerge, these ants mate. Queen ants soon burrow into the soil where she lays eggs for the next progeny. After a period of two or three months, worker ants develop. Their colonies are mostly found in the building slabs and in the sidewalks. They are also found in large rocks. Ants enter buildings through cracks in the walls of the foundation and the interior slabs. We can see small soil particles and sand piles on the crack areas and concrete slabs or on the top of the foundation walls. There, ants deposit debris from their excavated nests. These cracks can also be found in the side walls during the warmer months.

Host and feed of pavement ants: These ants feed on a variety of foods such as sweets, nectar, fruit, sugar, and syrups. They store some food such as dead insects, grease, small seeds, etc. in their nests for future use. In short, they can consume each and every morsel of food which falls to the ground.


Pavement ants have stingers. Still, they do not bite until they are disturbed. The venom of pavement ants is not poisonous, yet it may cause an allergic reaction in some.

Other Pavement Ant Facts:

  • Pavement ants do not cause any structural damage.
  • The larvae of butterfly Mymecophilous lycaenid sometimes lives in the nest of pavement ants to seek protection and secrete carbohydrates in return as a food for pavement ants.

Cockroach: “I’m Not Dead Yet”

“I’m not dead. . . I don’t want to go in the cart.”

cockroach-15093_640That’s what the old man exclaimed when someone brought him to the “death cart,” where a man repeatedly yelled out, “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!” in the 1975 classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A conversation continues between the three as to whether the man should or should not go on the cart.

Cockroaches don’t die easily. Many attempts are made to rid roaches from homes and businesses, but they do not go away easily, which is why millions have turned to pest management professionals to eliminate them from structures. Instead, they mock you with their presence in your home or facility, proclaiming, “I’m not dead yet!”

Why don’t they die easily? Several reasons:

A cockroach can live without its head for several days

It’s not a myth — it’s a reality. Some entomologists say that roaches can live for up to a month without its head. Others have said that it can live nine days without its noggin. Despite the length — whether it is a week or up to a month — the statistic is, nonetheless, disturbing.

The reason for this is because cockroaches do not need their heads to breathe. Instead, they breathe through spiracles in each of their body segments. Their blood pressure is different from other creatures, such as mammals. Therefore, they do not bleed uncontrollably.

Thus, if you want them to die a month from now, round them all up and rip off their heads. If you want them to die sooner, call a pest management professional. Additionally, catching all the roaches will prove to be a daunting task.

Cockroaches can survive a nuclear attack

Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave evidence to this belief, as cockroaches were among the very survivors. Mythbusters tested this theory as well. A month after they “bombed” the roaches, half of them were still alive.

So in case you were considering it, do not try using nuclear bombs or missiles to rid your home of the insects. This may raise some concerns with Homeland Security. On a related matter, enriching uranium to kill cockroaches can be expensive.

Cockroaches multiply quickly

This is not to suggest that cockroaches are good at arithmetic, because there haven’t been any credible studies showing how good or bad they are at mathematics. Rather, they reproduce quickly.

German cockroaches, for example, are professional rapid reproducers. The female can drop four to eight egg capsules in her lifetime. Each egg capsule contains thirty to forty eggs, hatching out in less than a month, usually. And you thought rabbits multiply quickly.
Because of their rapid reproduction, roaches quickly infest a structure, making it difficult to keep up with their growing population. Their strength is in their numbers.

Cockroaches eat anything organic

While you may have many criticisms concerning cockroaches, you can’t say that they’re picky eaters; they’re not. Also, by “organic,” we don’t mean that they avoid GMOs for health reasons. Rather, these omnivores eat anything that is carbon-based.

They eat anything organic, which includes (but is not limited to) grease, sweets, meats, starches, sewage, decaying wood, goetta, pizza (with or without anchovies), and chicken parmigiana with a side of asparagus.

They have even been known to eat paper, clothing, and hair. They eat other cockroaches as well as their own droppings. Therefore, with these appetites, roaches usually don’t have to scavage far to find food; it is readily available and plentiful.

While removal of these items is best, sealing food containers and proper sanitation are great ways to help control cockroaches. Starving them to death will not be an easy task. Also, don’t use their appetite as an excuse not to clean your kitchen.

Cockroaches are thigmotropic

Thigmotropic means that the roaches like to feel a solid surface on the sides of their bodies, preferably on all sides. They like to be touched. But this doesn’t mean that you should let your children pick them up and pet these nasty disease carriers.

Because they prefer such environments, they hide in tight spaces, in cracks and crevices in walls and other out of the way areas — areas in which they are hard to find in order to kill them.

So if you want to play hide and seek, don’t play the game with a cockroach, as you will lose the game if you are a seeker.

Cockroaches are fast

“I feel fine. . . I think I’ll go for a walk.” (Yes, another Monty Python reference). Or, maybe, “I think I’ll go for a run.”

While we don’t know how well they would do in a long distance marathon, we do know that roaches are great sprinters. They have been known to sprint at 80 centimeters per second. That’s considerably fast for a half inch long roach.

Chasing them down and smashing them with a shoe may be satisfying when you succeed at squashing them, but your level of success in doing so may not be too satisfying.

Other Interesting Roach Facts:

  • A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes. If you want to drown one, you’ll have to keep it under water for a long time.
  • The world’s largest cockroach is about six inches long, with a wingspan measuring about 12 inches.
  • Roaches can live for a month without food, but only a week without water.
  • The female cockroach has to mate only once in order to reproduce. She carries the male’s sperm inside her for the rest of her life.
  • Genetically, the termite is a cockroach’s cousin.

Termite Awareness

National Termite Awareness Week

March 13-19 is Termite Awareness Week. One reason Termite Awareness Week takes place in March every year is because March is the month when people in many states, including Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana start seeing termite swarmers, or the winged termites. They become even more prevalent in April and May.

Termite Swarmer
Susan Ellis,

These winged termites, or alates, are the reproductive caste members of the termite colony. They typically swarm on warm, sunny days in the Greater Cincinnati are, by the hundreds or the thousands, causing panic to homeowners and businesses. The swarmers look very similar to winged ants.

Therefore, when the swarm occurs, more calls are made to pest management professionals in the months of March, April and May than any other months of the year.

Should you see a swarm in your home or business, do not hesitate to call High Rock Pest Solutions. We will come to your home or business and inspect for free. In doing so, we will determine if the swarmers are winged termites, winged ants or another pest. We do this because proper identification is imperative. After the inspection, should you need treatment, we will come up with a plan to protect your home from the pest.

The plan will involve a treatment tailored specifically to the pest, whether it is termites, carpenter ants, or some other pest. First, however, we must properly identify and inspect the structure.

Should you have a termite swarm, High Rock Pest Solutions offers a termite baiting program using the Advance Termite Baiting System. The advantage of using this system is that it is an effective, environmentally-friendly system, whereby termites find the active ingredient and take it back to the colony where they feed it to the queen termites and other termites in the colony.


Therefore, there is no need to drill into slabs around the structure. Instead, the bait stations are strategically placed around the structure in the soil, where termites find the stations. The termites mark the trail to the station with a scent, or a pheromone, telling other termites where the “food” source can be found. This strategic method of baiting leads to control and sometimes total elimination of the termite colony.

Even if you have not seen any evidence of termites in and around your home or place of business, it is always a good idea to have it inspected for termites on a regular basis, especially if your home is more than ten years old. Contact High Rock Pest Solutions now for a free inspection. We will make a thorough inspection of the structure and give you an honest assessment.

termite-ant comparison
USDA Forest Service , USDA Forest Service,


Pill Bugs and Sow Bugs

Pillbugs and sowbugs, aka “roly-poly”s, “woodlice,” or “potato bugs” are crustaceans, related to shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish. However, they’re rarely in the same place, except at the occasional family reunion.

Like their cousins, they prefer moist environments, but are found mostly in gardens, mulch, and other moist environments. These scavengers look for decaying matter to use as a food source to feed on and use as a breeding site.

The Difference Between Pillbugs and Sowbugs

Pillbugs and sowbugs are not the same, and are often confused. Pillbugs can roll up themselves in a ball with their legs tucked inside when disturbed, whereas the sowbug does not have this ability. Pillbugs also roll up to keep their gills moist and prevent drying out.

Another difference: Pillbugs have oval backs, where as sowbugs have round backs. Pillbugs are smaller than sowbugs, about 9/16 inch long with a grayish body and 14 legs when they reach maturity. Sowbugs also have seven pair of legs, but are grayish-brown, measuring about an inch long.


Pillbugs and sowbugs can reproduce both sexually (by mating of males and females) and through parthenogenesis (where only the female is involved). After mating, the female produces about two dozen eggs which hatch out in two to nine weeks. The mothers keep their young ones in their pouches where they live for about three to nine days. Each female lays two to three broods each year. The young ones undergo 4 to 5 molts until they reach sexual maturity, maturing in about a year, living for about two years total.

Pest status

Sowbugs and pillbugs are merely nuisance pests. They do not bite or sting, nor have they been found to cause structural damage. Because they need a high amount of moisture to survive, homeowners are best advised to utilize physical control by keeping moisture at a minimum.

Prevention involves sanitation. Cleaning up all rotten or fallen leaves from around the house, yard, and garden removes some of the harborage and breeding sites for pillbugs and sowbugs. Remove standing water.

Prevention also involves exclusion methods. This is best accomplished by caulking/sealing cracks and crevices in and around the house to help prevent pillbug and sowbug entry. Physical control methods involve hand picking, vacuuming, and sweeping up the bugs.

Pest management professionals can also provide chemical control for management of pillbugs and sowbugs. Homeowners should exercise caution applying chemicals, following the pesticide label instructions. Though chemicals can be applied both indoor and outdoor to control sowbugs and pillbugs, only labeled for indoor use should be applied inside the house.

Interesting facts about Pillbugs/sowbugs:

  • Pillbugs are crustaceans, not insects. They are related to shrimp and crayfish.
  • Mother pillbugs carry their eggs in a pouch.
  • Pillbugs are filthy pests; it can drink with its anus and eats its own excrement.
  • Like many crustaceans, pillbugs have hemocyanin in their blood, not hemoglobin. Hemocyanin is bluer.
  • Sowbugs are the 2nd most diverse group of crustaceans.
  • Juvenile pillbugs have a unique molting process where their back molts first. A few days after the back exoskeleton sheds away, the front slides off.
  • Pillbugs don’t urinate. They have a high tolerance for ammonia gas.

Lady Bugs

“So, being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl; is that it?” — Denis Leary as Francis in A Bug’s Life.

Ladybugs are good luck.  Don’t kill them, or it will bring you bad luck.  Whether it’s an old wives’ tale, or whether it is superstition, many disagree.  A contrarian view, especially for those who have hundreds of ladybugs overwintering in their homes: kill them all.

lady bugBut they’re beneficial, right? Entomologists, farmers and many others make this claim.  They certainly are beneficial in that they help control insects on crops, feeding on sap-sucking aphids, which are known to destroy plants.  In addition to feasting on aphids, they find whiteflies, scale insects, and many other plant pests to be delicacies.

They’re also pretty, sporting colors of orange, red, black, and sometimes a touch of blue.  Pretty, and predatorial. They also help pollinated plants.  To reiterate, for those of you who like the letter P, ladybugs are: pretty, predatorial pollinators of plants but can also be perpetual pests.  

Unwelcome Winter Tenants

Also known as lady asian beetles, these bugs are not “beneficial” when they enter homes.  When temperature drops and fields have been harvested, lady asian beetles seek shelter, flying to warm structures to board up for the winter.  They don’t do much in the home, except annoy people with their presence.  They can bite hard enough to pierce the skin, but the bites are rare.  

Native to Asia, Lady Asian beetles (Harmonia axyridis) were first imported to America in 1916 to control certain plant pests. It was first released in a few locations, but now it is found almost everywhere.


Lady beetles are a little bit larger than the native ladybugs in America. Generally, the beetle has 19 black spots on its elytra (outer hard wings). Some beetles might have less than 19 spots and a few might have no spots at all. The most distinct identifying characteristic of the beetle is that it has a “M” shaped marking behind its head, black in color. Larvae are also black with two orange stripes on the body.


Like other Ladybugs in America, Lady Asian Beetles also feed on soft-bodied insect pests of various plants in gardens and lawns. There are four distinct life stages of Ladybugs: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. These adult beetles appear in early spring. Females start laying eggs on the leaves of host plants which hatch in about 3-5 days. As the larvae emerge, they start crawling on the leaves and search for aphids and other soft-bodied insects to which to feed. Each larva undergoes four moltings and then is pupated in an immobile stage. After about 4-7 days, the pupae emerge into an adult. Depending upon food and temperature, the life cycle is completed in almost 2-3 weeks.

Pest status:

Lady Asian bugs do not do damage structures as do other pests such as termites, ants, wasps, and other insects do. They neither chew clothes or other material, nor do the larvae crawl in various places to cause annoyance. They mostly stay in the cracks and crevices of walls but become a nuisance if they enter the living area of homes.

Prevention and control:

The very first and best approach to prevent these beetles from coming into your dwelling is to keep them out by keeping windows closed and all the cracks sealed. Sweeping and vacuuming is another effective method to remove these bugs from your home. Light attacks Lady Asian bugs. Thus, you may use light traps to kill the bugs which enter your living areas. As the beetle is not a “pest” in homes, it is not recommended to use pesticides in homes for its eradication.

Interesting facts:

    lady asian beetle

  • Lady Asian Beetles are also known as The halloween lady beetle because they invade homes in the Fall, sometimes in late October, searching for warm structures in which to overwinter. Why aren’t more kids dressing up as ladybugs on Halloween?
  • The name of the family of ladybug is “Coccinellidae”, which means “little red sphere.”
  • Because ladybugs are predators of many pests, they are considered the “farmer’s friend.”
  • It is a common myth that the spots on the back of ladybugs are the age of the insect.
  • Not all ladybugs have spots on them.
  • The variety of colors of ladybugs is actually a warning to other insects that they do not taste good.
  • The spots on ladybugs fade as they get older.
  • Ladybugs clean themselves after they take a meal.
  • Not all ladybugs are female.

Appetite for Destruction

An Appetite for Destruction:  Why German Roaches are Not Welcome in the Kitchen

It’s nighttime and you walk into your kitchen with the intention of having a late night snack.  You flip on the light just to notice insects scurrying back into the cracks and crevices of your cupboards, under the sink and behind the appliances.  

Most likely, you have encountered a german cockroach infestation.  “Forget the snack,” you think to yourself.  “I don’t have an appetite.”

An Epicurean Appetite

German roaches always have appetites. They will eat anything that is organic, including crumbs, grease, sweets, and other insects — including other German cockroaches.  They will also eat soap, glue and paper.  They scavenge around, spending much of the evening and early morning hours eating and drinking.  Because their diets are so versatile, they easily adapt and are found everywhere humans live.   

Not only do German cockroaches have a healthy appetite for food, they also have a healthy appetite for reproduction as well, as they multiply very fast. The female emits a pheromone, while the male detects the scent, drawing him to her.german cockroach

A female produces between four and six egg cases in her entire lifetime. Each case contains anywhere between 30 and 48 eggs. This case is carried on her body until just a few days to the time when the nymphs emerge from those eggs. This happens when the egg case is about 28 to 35 days old. The lifespan of these pests is about 100 to 200 days, with females living a little longer than males.

Their appetites for both food and reproduction leads to large infestations of these insects.  Moreover, these disease-carrying roaches are one of the most common reasons people call pest control professionals to evict them from their homes.  


German cockroaches, blattella germanica, differ from other cockroach species in that are about half an inch in length, light brown in color and have two distinctive stripes running down from the back of their heads, right up to the wings. They have wings, but do not fly.

These cockroaches are very secretive and nocturnal by nature. It is very hard to see them during the day since they hide away from daylight and motion. When cockroaches are present during the day, it is usually a sign of a large infestation because their numbers have increased so much that they are now competing for hiding places. They spend the daytime hours hiding in crevices, cracks and other hiding places that are close to their food sources. In fact, German cockroaches rarely roam beyond five feet from their food and shelter points.

German cockroaches prefer to live in places such as kitchens, bathrooms, garbage bins and behind toilets. In short, any atmosphere providing warmth and moisture can be a haven for these creatures.

Signs of Infestation

The obvious sign of infestation has already been described:  sightings at night time when someone flips on a light switch, just to see them scurrying around.  Carcasses and body parts may be found lying around, as well as empty egg cases and shed wings.  Dark smudges of fecal smears on surfaces will be present where they have been moving the most.

Why They Are A Problem

German cockroaches cause concern because their droppings contaminate human and animal food. They carry an array of disease-causing germs such as those causing food poisoning, allergies, dysentery, diarrhea and asthma. German cockroaches can also cause a lot of damage to walls and household items such as books.

Control Measures

All control measures begin with a careful and inspection. A good inspection makes it easier to identify nesting sites, which leads to quicker control of the roaches.  

Perhaps one of the most important methods of control is sanitation. Sanitation helps deny German cockroaches of shelter and food, helping them to die out. It is therefore important to keep trash cans and dumpsters empty, promptly wash all used dishes, pick up pet food leftovers and keep all kitchen appliances such as toasters very clean at all times. Degreasing and sanitizing, particularly in and around appliances helps to reduce the roach’s food source.

Baits, by far, are the best insecticides to use in order to control German cockroaches. Aerosols, traps, dusts and insect growth inhibitors also help eliminate roaches.  However, when trying to eliminate cockroaches, it is important that certain types of insecticides are not used simultaneously.  For example, combining baits with other control methods such as aerosols may render the bait ineffective.  

This is where a well-qualified pest management professional can provide the best results, as he or she knows not only the best methods, but also knows which specific products will get the job done.   Furthermore, insecticides can be harmful to humans if not applied correctly, per the label instructions.  

Interesting Cockroach Facts

  • Cockroaches cannot form any memories in the morning hours. Could that be another reason why they are inactive during the day?
  • The nerve cells of cockroaches can actually kill germs! This special ability may be because the roaches need to defend themselves against the germs that they live in close proximity with.
  • A cockroach can survive for a week without its head. It only dies because of thirst since it can’t drink water without its head.
  • Cockroaches can survive without food for a month, but they can’t exceed a week without taking water.
  • Cockroaches can feed on anything because they get vitamins and amino acids from the bacteria that live in their bodies.
  • While cockroaches take up to six weeks to mature, a newly born cockroach can run as fast as an adult on the very day it emerges from the egg.

Pantry Pests

Stored Product Pests

Imagine pouring yourself a bowl of cereal, just to witness a small, moth-like insect fly out. It could be an Indian meal moth, a common insect that infests kitchens and pantries. Many common insects that infest food in kitchens and pantries are known as pantry pests, or stored product pests.

Pantry pests are commonly found in and around kitchens, infesting stored grains, flour, dried fruits and spices. These insects can be observed crawling in kitchen cabinets or flying near well-lit areas such as windows. Not only are these pests disgusting and annoying, but they can destroy food as well. Some of the most common stored product pests are:

The Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctata)

Indian meal moth
Indian Meal Moth, courtesy John Carr; original image cropped
This moth is perhaps the most common among stored product pests in the United States. The adults are excellent fliers, hence they are found everywhere in the house and kitchen and disperse easily. They are bi-colored, short lived and are active at dusk. The young are commonly found in the kitchen cupboards where they infest the food items. Adults are 5/8 inch long which produce visible silk webbing on the infested host. They pupate in the tight crevices within cupboard or ceiling and the liner of the storage box/container. Food can be contaminated by Indian meal moths as they produce webbing in the food. The female can lay hundreds of eggs, leading to a large infestation in a short amount of time. The moth takes 4 weeks to complete its life cycle.

The Sawtoothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)

The brown, ?-inch slender and minute adults of the sawtoothed grain beetle can be identified best by using a hand lense. The beetle received its name because of its six saw-like teeth located on its thorax. The adult lays up to 300 eggs on the host and larvae feed on either grain powder or grain embryo. The full-grown larvae pupates itself in the cupboard crevices and cracks. It emerges into adult within a week. They complete a life-cycle in only three weeks. Considerable damage can result in cereals, bread, pastas, nuts, numerous grains and more from sawtoothed beetles.

The Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum)

This beetle is commonly found in kitchens and stores. As its name suggests, it infests and ruins flour, but also infests grains, nuts, peas, spices and fruit. This reddish-brown beetle is about three millimeters long, and can lay up to 1,000 eggs throughout the flour. The cream-colored larvae feeds on grain dust or damaged grains. The total life-cycle may take up to 1 month in summer.

The Rice Weevil (Sitophilus oryzae)

The adult weevil is about 1/8 long with a snout and club-like antennae on its head. Female lays up to 450 eggs. Eggs are laid in whole kernel grains by chewing up a depression in kernel, laying egg and then plugging it with gelatinous secretion. These eggs hatch into legless larvae which consume the inside of kernel. The larvae pupate within the grain. When adults emerge out of the grain, it eats up the grain and makes “exit holes” which is a characteristic sign of damage. The adults are good fliers and can be observed in the other parts of the house other than the kitchen.

The Drugstore Beetle (Stegobium paniceum)

Drugstore Beetle
Drugstore Beetle, courtesy Jean-RaphaelGuillaumin
The drugstore beetle received its name because it was discovered infesting areas that contained medicines and herbs; it was also found in drug stores. They commonly infest grains, flour, bread, dried foods and spices. The head of the adult is covered by pronotum and thus not visible from above. It is short-lived and can undergo several generations per year. The adults are good fliers and fly towards light. They can be observed flying or sitting near lighted areas such as windows.

Controlling Pantry Pests

The first step in controlling stored product pests is to first identify the pest. Not all stored product pests are controlled the same way. A pest management professional can help identify the insect. Additionally, most pest control companies offer free inspections and identification.

Second, try to identify the source of the infestation, then remove the source. Someone with an Indian meal moth infestation may find the source of the problem in dog food or bird seed. However, because finding the source is not always easy, a pest management professional can help in this area as well.

To help prevent further infestation of stored product pests, one might place food in tightly sealed containers to prevent the insects from infesting the food. Control methods may involve the use of pheromone traps, sanitation or chemical control. This is when consulting with a pest management professional is necessary, as they know the best control methods for each of the various pests.

Interesting facts:

  • The Indian meal moth is also known as “North American highflyers,” and is also It a cousin of almond moth.
  • Drugstore beetles are known as the “biscuit beetle” in the United Kingdom. It is named so because the drugstore beetle was found to infest medicinal herbs used in drugstores.
  • The rice weevil is native to India but is now found everywhere in the world because of commercial trade.
  • The Latin name of saw-toothed grain beetle “Oryzaephilus surinamensis” comes from the word “Suriname” which means “rice loving”.