What’s Bugging Virginia?
The beautiful state of Virginia is not only the birthplace of the United States, but it is also the birthplace of several common pests that are bugging Virginia. (pun intended) Learning a bit more about these insects can help you control them in your home, on your property, and in your place of business.
Common Insects that are Bugging Virginia
In this article, James River Pest Solutions has put together a list of the common pests found in Virginia’s homes and properties. Learn about each one to know precisely how we treat them to keep your family safe and free of what’s bugging you.
No one likes to talk about the cockroach. Those long, flat, brown, armored bodies strike fear in the hearts of many. And the funny thing is they do not bite or sting. The two Virginia varieties are the American Cockroach and the German Cockroach.
The American cockroach is the largest roach and is often called a palmetto bug. American cockroaches are attracted to light, are excellent fliers, and are non-aggressive. The issue for homeowners with a roach infestation is the bacteria, parasites, and human pathogens they can carry and spread. What’s more, allergies go crazy for those sensitive to their droppings, saliva, and skin shedding.
The German Cockroach is much smaller and a light brown color. The German variety’s worse features are their love for the indoors and their tendency to find your pantry and forage through. As they multiply, it can seem they have taken over an area of the home.
As one of the most common household insects, ants are social pests. Ants have three body parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen, and are either reddish-brown, red, or black. Not to mention, they can range in size from an eighth of an inch to the larger one-half inch ants. The three invaders in Virginia are fire ants, acrobat ants, and odorous house ants.
Fire ants are dark reddish-brown or black in color, and boy, are they aggressive. They will bite anything they believe to be threatening. Worse, they will gang up on a threat and all bite at one time. And those fire ant bites are painful. A fire ant bite can be venomous enough to cause an allergic reaction in both humans and pets. Farmers, in particular, dread fire ant hills. These pests will damage crops, plants, and electrical equipment as well.
These funny ants are called acrobats because they raise their abdomens in the air when bothered by something. Additionally, they emit a very foul odor. Acrobat ants are small and can be multi-colored. Fortunately, they are not harmful to humans.
Odorous House Ants
Another appropriately named ant is the odorous house ant. And it really lives up to its name. The defensive odor smells like rotten coconut. Yuck. However, they are not harmful to humans, just annoying and hard to get rid of.
Carpenter ants are big ants and can come in many different color combinations. These particular ants tunnel through wood forming tunnels and nesting galleries. Fortunately, they are not dangerous to humans, but they are hazardous to your home and the wood surrounding it.
Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes and millipedes are often mistaken for one another. Both have segmented bodies and several pairs of legs. Both types located in Virginia are not harmful to humans, but they can be a household nuisance.
The centipede has between 30 and 354 legs and is flat and long antennae. The rare bite from a centipede is somewhat painful but is not strong enough to be dangerous.
Millipedes are the ones that have round bodies and under 100 legs. They will spray a stinky, toxic substance when threatened. Although not life-threatening, the fluid should be washed off immediately if they spray you to avoid an allergic reaction.
Fleas and Ticks
Did you know that fleas and ticks are considered a danger to humans and pets? They spread diseases and parasites through their bites. You see, they travel around on wild animals and hang out in grass and bushes. When a warm-blooded mammal comes walking by, they will hop right on, take a ride and even eat a meal. Gross!
Most people do not know of the parasites, tapeworms, and diseases carried by these tiny, brown, jumping fleas. Once your pet gets them, it is only a short time until your entire home is infested, and you and your family are in a panic to be rid of them.
Ticks are a bit less prevalent but are entirely more dangerous. They are flat-bodied until they begin a meal and can get much more extensive than they start. And they also are bloodsuckers who will come in on pets and humans. They are carriers of the dreaded Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia. And if you cannot pronounce them, you don’t want them!
Mosquitoes are bugging Virginia. If you have ever been swarmed by mosquitos, you’d swear they feed on human blood. But that is not entirely accurate. They feed on pollen and nectar for their sustenance, but they need the protein from human blood to lay eggs. So human blood is only a part of their diet. And yes, those bites can be dangerous.
Mosquitoes transmit Zika virus, West Nile virus, encephalitis and infect dogs with heartworms. Additionally, in other countries and tropical areas, they will spread malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever. So anywhere there is standing water and plenty of flowering plants, you will have the perfect living space for mosquitoes.
As you probably know, spiders have two body sections, eight legs, and no wings or antennae. But they do have fangs that inject their venom. Spiders rarely bite people, and their poison is not strong enough to be considered life-threatening if they do bite.
Spiders live outdoors where they can locate food, water, and shelter. You can find them in shrubs, bushes, holes in the ground, gardens, woodpiles, and rockpiles. And spiders do overwinter. So you may see them move indoors for the winter months and build a web in your attic, closets, storage boxes, basements, and under just about anything.
The two most common nuisance spiders in Virginia are the wolf spider and the house spider.
These are a dark brown species of spider with yellowish markings all over. Their big bodies are covered in hair, and they have powerful legs. In fact, they hunt rather than trap their prey.
Typically, a house spider is a tiny yellowish-brown color with a dark chevron marking all over. They are the most common type found in homes in Virginia.
Bees and Wasps
We usually do not think of a stinging insect as being dangerous, per se. Yes, the sting can really hurt, but most people get over the tiny sting reasonably quickly. However, there are those with stinging insect allergies. In those cases, a sting can be exceptionally bothersome and even life-threatening.
With an appearance like the bumblebee but without the yellow stripe. Only the female carpenter bee has a stinger, but the males are rather aggressive. Carpenter bees’ nests cause damage to wooden structures like wooden siding, wooden shingles, decks, porches, and even furniture. Furthermore, they are solitary nesters and will return to the same nest each year if left untreated.
Wasps are different from bees in appearance, as they have a pinched waist and long bodies. Common types in Virginia are the paper wasp, the yellow jacket, and the bald-faced hornet. Obviously, wasps have stingers and are aggressive. They live in colonies, so where there is one, there are many. Wasps are ground nesters or aerial nesters that build their nests in places like the ground, shrubs, woodpiles, and trees. Occasionally you will see them nest in attics, chimneys, and crawl spaces, as well.
Termites do not like to encounter humans, so there is no bite or sting threat here. However, termites are detrimental to the structure of your home. Termites create their homes in nests under the ground. In their search for food, they may follow moist soil right up to your home. There they can find the wood they need and more. We know that learning you have a termite infestation in the house can be a nightmare.
James River Pest Solutions Gets Rid of What’s Bugging Virginia
If you are fighting an infestation of any of the above pests, please call a professional. At James River Pest Solutions, we are ready to fight the good fight for you and your home. James River is your friendly Virginia pest control service, serving Metro Richmond, Glen Allen, and Central VA for over 20 years.
Contact our team of professionals today to get those pests out of your space and help keep them out, too. We’ll help you get to the bottom of what’s bugging Virginia.