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A male and female pair (called alates) work their way into the wood chosen for the nest. The opening through which they enter the wood is sealed with a plug of brown, cement-like material about 1/8 in. in diameter. Behind this plug, they excavate a chamber where the queen will lay the first eggs. The nymphs (refereed to as larvae by some termite specialists) that hatch from these eggs go through a more complex metamorphosis (several larval/ nymphal stages) than do subterranean termites before becoming soldiers and reproductive. These nymphs perform tyhe work of the colony; there is no distinct worker caste, as with subterranean termites.
During the swarming season, nymphs make round holes 1/16 to 1/8 in. in diameter through which the reproductive forms leave the wood. When swarming is completed, these holes are plugged in the same way as the original entrance holes.
Damage done by drywood termites is entirely different from that caused by subterranean termites. These termites cut across the grain of the wood, excavating large chambers, connected by small tunnels. The chambers and tunnels being used by the colony are kept clean. Excreta abd other debris are stored in unused chambers or cast out through small openings in the wood surface. These small openings are sometimes called kicked-out holes.
In coastal cities of southern California, evidence of drywood termites was found in 70 percent of structures surveyed. Inland, drywood termites were reported from 50 percent of all structures surveyed Older neighborhoods-simply because they had been exposed for a longer period of time.
Subterranean termites by definition, means "situated or operating beneath the earth's surface; underground." These insects make their home (a nest or colony) primarily in the soil or wood beneath the soil. They tunnel through the ground, searching for trees, brush and other decaying wood (preferred) found in nature. If this primary source is reduced or absent, termites look to other food sources, namely, your home.
Subterranean termites easily access a home through any wood in contact with the soil. As a result, nearly every termite control and prevention list advises storing firewood several feet from the house and keeping the surrounding grounds clear of other wood debris.
Workers and nypmhps of subterranean termites (family Rhinotermitidae) perform all of the work of the colony - and are the forms that do all of the damage to structures. Soldiers serve only to defend the colony against enemies. They cannot eat wood. Both workers and soldiers are
Argentine ant workers are 1/16-inch long and light to dark brown; the queens are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long, brown, and covered with fine hair. Males are slightly smaller and shiny brown-black. Colonies consist of several hundred to several thousand workers and several queens. They are located in moist areas near a food source. Argentine Ants are very aggressive and eliminate other ant species in the area they colonize. They attack, destroy, and eat other household pests, such as cockroaches. They prefer sweets, often tending scale insects on plants, and use them as a source of honey dew.
Pharaoh ants are very small; workers are about 1/16-inch long. They range from yellow to light brown. There may be hundreds of thousands of ants in a colony. A female produces 350 to 400 eggs in a lifetime. Pharaoh ants are major problems in homes, institutions, such as hospitals, hotels prisons or apartment complexes. They nest in warm, hard-to-reach locations in walls, subfloor areas, wall sockets, attics, cracks, crevices, behind baseboards, and furniture.
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in the United States, ranging from ½-inch long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers vary in sizes. They are commonly black however some species are red and black, solid red, or brown in color. Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in wood. They commonly excavate galleries or tunnel in rotting or sound trees and in structures readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities. Carpenter ants enter structures through gaps or cracks while foraging for food.
The German Cockroach are 1/2-to 5/8-inches long when mature, light brown to tan, and have fully developed wings but cannot fly. The female German Cockroach produces four to eight egg capsules each of which contains 30 to 40 eggs. German Cockroaches are the most common household insect within the United States. This pest typically infests kitchens and bathrooms but will live anywhere inside heated structures in which there is food, water, and harborage. They are rarely found outdoors and then only during warm weather. These pests gain entry into structures in grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons, infested equipment such as used refrigerators, toasters, microwaves, etc.
American Cockroaches are 1-3/8 to 2-1/8-inches long when mature, red-brown, and characterized by fully-developed wings that completely cover the abdomen. The female American Cockroach produces from nine to ten egg capsules each of which contains from 14 to 16 eggs. American Cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant in sewers and commercial facilities, e.g., groceries, prisons, restaurants, hospitals, and office and apartment buildings. They prefer to inhabit warm, damp locations. They are strong fliers and easily migrate from building to building.
Oriental Cockroaches are about 1-inch long when mature and red brown to black. Female Oriental Cockroach produces an average of eight egg capsules each of which contains 16 eggs. Oriental Cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant, however in sewers, and commercial facilities. Indoors they can become very abundant in damp, secluded, places such as crawl-spaces, basements, water meter boxes, and drains. They are often found in the bathtubs and sinks because they lack the small pads on their hind legs. In cold weather they are found in planters, ground covers, stones, leaf litter, and other debris.
Brown-banded cockroaches are about ½-inch long when mature light brown to brown and have two light, yellow-brown bands running across their bodies; hence their common name. During her lifetime the female Brown-banded Cockroach produces about 14 egg capsules each of which contains 14 to 18 eggs. Brown-banded Cockroaches prefer warmer and drier environment than do German Cockroaches. They are not nearly so common in houses. They are found throughout structures, preferring hiding places up off the floor, e.g., closets, wall hanging, computers, telephones, and appliances.
The body of the Female House spider is about 3/16-to 5/16-inch long and yellow-brown with a dirty-white abdomen with "army sergeant" stripes on the back. Males are much smaller that the females. House spiders lay their eggs in brownish silken sacs which have a tough papery cover. A female produces up to 17 sacs during her lifetime, each containing approximately 250 eggs. House spiders randomly select web sites, and if the web fails to capture prey, it is abandoned and another is built. They survive better in areas with high humidity, such as garages, sheds, barns, warehouses, etc. House spiders feed on a wide variety of insects but especially flies.
The body of the female Black Widow spider is about 1/2-inch long, glossy black with nearly globe-like abdomen. Males are much smaller that the females, 1/4-inch long with a longer, narrower abdomen and somewhat longer legs. Black widow spiders lay their eggs in silken sacs which they protect in their nests. A female produces from six to 21 sacs during her lifetime, each containing 185 to 464 eggs. Black widow spiders are shy, preferring to build their webs in dry, protected locations where their prey is likely to travel. Outdoors they can be found among rocks and wood piles. They prefer basements, crawl spaces, and garages in structures as well as other protected areas such as barns, sheds, meter boxes, brick veneer, pump houses, etc.
Daddy Long legs are usually found hanging upside down in corners, eaves, or basements. They are very common and are found in most homes. The Daddy Longlegs is not a true spider in that it cannot make silk and does not have fangs or venom glands. They have long thin legs with flexible claw-like "fingers". Daddy Long legs can pinch but rarely penetrate human skin. They have scent glands on the front part of their bodies that can give-off a bad smelling fluid. This stinky fluid is used as a defense mechanism to keep enemies away. Some people might have a reaction to the fluid but Daddy Long legs are not considered dangerous to humans.
Cat and Dog Flea can be found in the same area. They are very similar in appearance. They are small, 1/8-inch long, wingless, laterally flattened, and have piercing-sucking mouthparts. The flea has very well-developed legs allowing it to jump at least six inches straight up. They are black-to-reddish brown Cat and Dog fleas undergo complete metamorphosis. After each blood meal, females lay four to eight eggs at a time (400 to 800 total within her lifetime) on the host animal and /or in its bedding. Adult fleas feed on blood with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They typically seek a blood meal within two days of becoming an adult. Cat and Dog fleas prefer these two animals but readily feed on other animals, e.g., raccoons, opossums, rats, and humans. Adult fleas remain on the host throughout their lifetime but are occasionally knocked off the animal by scratching.
The Human flea, is a cosmopolitan flea species that has, in spite of the common name, a wide host spectrum. This species bites many species of mammals and birds, including domesticated ones. It has been found on dogs and wild canids, monkeys in captivity, chicken, black rats and Norwegian rats, wild rodents, pigs, etc. flea bites are typically red and inflamed. Overall symptoms include include itchiness, and rashes. Fleas can spread rapidly move between areas to include eyebrows, eyelashes, and public regions. Common treatments include body shaving and medicated shampoos and combing.
House flies are 1/8-to ¼-inch long. They are a dull gray with four dark stripes on the back. The head is dominated by large red-brown compound eyes which are surrounded by a light gold stripe. Female house flies lay their eggs singly but in clusters of 75 to 150 eggs in a variety moist, rotting, fermenting, organic matter including animal manure, accumulated grass clipping, garbage, spilled animal feeds, and soil contaminated with any of the above items. The adult flies may migrate to uninfested areas up to 20 miles away but most stay within one or two miles of the breeding site.
Bottle flies are 1/2-inch long. They are metallic blue-green or metallic blue. Female bottle flies lay from 540 to 2,373 eggs in their lifetime. Eggs are laid in batches of 100to 180 on meat, fish, or carrion but they are also attracted to animal manure, garbage, and rotting vegetable matter. These flies frequently are seen buzzing around windows. They are also frequently found developing in the decaying bodies of rodents and other animals that have been killed or have died inside the attics, wall voids, or chimneys of structures.
Adult fruit flies are 1/8-inch long and dull yellow-brown to dark brown. Some species have distinctive red eyes, and the wings have two "breaks" in the leading edge (vein) nearest the body. The eggs are laid onto the surface of fermenting fruit or vegetables or areas where moisture and yeast are abundant. The eggs hatch within 30 hours. Each female produces up to 500 eggs. Fruit flies are common structural pests frequently associated with fermenting fruits and vegetables. They easily develop in over-ripe fruits or other food, fermenting liquid in the bottom of garbage cans, a dirty mop, or a rotting potato or onion in the vegetable bin.
Moth flies are very small delicate and "hairy" flies about 1/16-to 1/4-inch long. They are yellowish, brownish-gray, or blackish. The females lay 30 to 100 eggs in the jelly-like film that covers the stones in sewage treatment plant trickling filters or that line the water-free portions of drain pipes. The eggs hatch in two days. Drain flies become an annoyance within some structures when they breed in the liquids found in drains, dirty garbage containers and septic tanks. Adult flies are poor fliers and are poor fliers and are found in great numbers on walls or flying weakly in the area where they developed. These flies are more active at night.
Indian meal moth adults a 5/8-to 3/4-inch wing spread. The wings are a burnished copper, almost purple with a broad gray band near where they attach to the body.
The Indian Meal Moth larvae can infest a wide range of dry foodstuffs of vegetable origin, such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, couscous, flour, spices or dried fruits and nuts. More unusual recorded foods include chocolate and cocoa beans, coffee substitute, cookies, dried Mangelwurzel, and even the toxic seeds of Jimsonweed . The food they infest will often seem to be webbed together.
After larvae or moths have been found, it is important to throw out all food sources that are not in very tightly sealed containers. The moths are able to get into surprisingly tight spots, including sealed bags by chewing through them. They are also notoriously difficult to get rid of, and can crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons in rooms other than the kitchen or pantry where they hatched. Last instar larvae are able to travel significant distances before they pupate. When seeking the source of an infestation, the search thus cannot be limited to the immediate area where pupae are discovered.
Webbing clothes moth, or simply clothing moth, is a species of fungus moth family. Adult moths are 1/2-inch long from wing to tip; when the wings are folded, the insect is about 1/4-inch long. The wings and body are buff/golden except for reddish hairs on top of the head.
The caterpillars of this moth are considered a serious pest, as they can derive nourishment from clothing – in particular wool, but many other natural fibers – and also, like most related species, from stored produce.
This species is notorious for feeding on clothing and natural fibers; they have the ability to digest keratin. The moths prefer dirty fabric for oviposition and are particularly attracted to carpeting and clothing that contains human sweat or other liquids which have been spilled onto them. They are attracted to these areas not for the food but for the moisture: the caterpillars do not drink water; consequently their food must contain moisture.
The range of recorded foodstuffs includes cotton, linen, silk and wool fabrics as well as furs; furthermore they have been found on shed feathers and hair, bran, semolina and flour (possibly preferring wheat flour), biscuits, casein, and insect specimens in museums. In one case, living caterpillar was found in salt. They had probably just accidentally wandered there – as even to such species pure sodium chloride has no nutritional value – but still it attests to their robustness.
Handmade rugs are a favorite, because it is easy for the larvae to crawl underneath and do their damage from below. They will also crawl under moldings at the edges of rooms in search of darkened areas where fibrous debris has gathered and which consequently hold good food.
Honey bees have three castes in their colonies: workers, queens, and drones. Workers are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and have well-developed heads with two short antennae and large eyes. Because they are covered with fine hairs, they have a fuzzy yellow-brown to black appearance. The abdomen has a striped appearance. There are two pairs of wings, the hind pair shorter that the front. Workers have a barbed stinger at the end of their abdomen that is used against anything that threatens the colony. Queen bees are the largest member of the colony measuring from 5/8 to 3/4 inch long and except for their size; they look identical to the workers. Drones are about 5/8 inch long and much stouter and darker than workers or the queen. The queen is the only fertile female and produces all the eggs for the colony. She is capable of producing 1,000 to 2,000 eggs per day. drones serve only to fertilize the queens and are driven off by the workers after they have served that purpose. Workers live five to seven weeks during the summer. Honey bees are social insects that live in the colony or hive with as many as 20,000 to 80,000 worker. Workers collect nectar and pollen from plants, inadvertently pollinating flowers and allowing plants to the wax that that they secrete. The queen and all the bee larvae are fed and for the colony the entire population overwinters. Honey bees are not naturally aggressive; however, if the colony is threatened they will sting. Honey bees swarm when the queen begins to fail or the colony is too large. Swarms often are seen on a tree branch and when this occurs, the bees are not aggressive. The swarm lasts for 24 to 48 hours and then moves to a sheltered environment such as a hollow tree, bee hive, hollow wall, or attic.
Carpenter bees cause damage to wooden structures by boring into timbers and siding to prepare nests. Carpenter bee nests weaken structural wood and leave unsightly holes and stains on building surfaces. Sound, un-decayed wood without paint or bark is usually selected for nests; carpenter bees frequently attack dead wood on trees or lumber from southern yellow pine, white pine, California redwood, cedar, Douglas fir, cypress, mimosa, mulberry, ash, and pecan trees. They avoid most harder woods. The presence of carpenter bees around buildings and wooden structures can be annoying or even frightening; however, males cannot sting and females rarely attack. Carpenter bees are generally considered beneficial insects because they help pollinate various crop and non-crop plants.Carpenter bees are large, black and yellow insects about 1 inch long. They resemble bumble bees but the abdomen (rear end) is black and shiny and does not have the extensive yellow hairs found on bumble bee abdomens. The females can sting but rarely do so unless molested. The males cannot sting. Males have a yellow face while females have a black face.
Yellow jackets (wasps) are marked with bright yellow and black pattern. They appear to be hairless and are about 3/8 to 5/8 inch long. The bald-faced hornet is similar in appearance except that it is black and white and 5/8 to 3/4 inch long. The males and queens are produced in the colony in late summer. They mate, and the fertilized queen overwinters in a protected site. In the spring she seeks an appropriate nesting site in which she builds a paper nest using chewed up wood fibers. Eggs are laid within the cells of the nest, and the young larvae are fed bits of chewed meat or insect parts by the queen and later by the workers. Yellow jackets and hornets build their flat paper nests in stacks which are surrounded by a paper envelope. Bald-faced hornets prefer to build their nests in trees and on the sides of buildings. Unlike bees, these wasps aggressively defend their nests and can inflict multiple stings. They produce very large colonies, some containing as many as 30,000 individuals. These insects are considered to be beneficial because a nuisance, however when they build nests in or near structures scavenge for food in recreational areas and in other places frequented by humans, and seek overwintering sites within structures.
The Asian tiger mosquito is native to Southeast Asia and has been spread along major transportation routes by human activities, particularly commercial movement of scrap tires, to more than 900 counties in 26 states in the continental USA as well as Hawaii. Aedes albopictus was found again in California in 2001 and sporadically thereafter through 2004. Although introductions to ports and nurseries have been controlled, this species continues to pose a threat to public health in California. Introduction of this species in standing water, enclosed containers where pools of water are present, or by desiccation-resistant eggs associated with previous pools of standing water are likely mechanisms of invasion by this species.
The most important reason to control mosquitoes is to reduce the likelihood of diseases such as West Nile virus being transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Throughout history, no insect has been a more significant contributor to human discomfort, disease, and death than the mosquito.
Even mosquitoes that do not transmit disease can be bothersome in their biting behavior. In severe instances nuisance mosquitoes can be economically detrimental to businesses, and reduce the quality of life for residents.
The cigarette beetle is light brown and 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. It has a humped appearance as its head and the first body segment are bent downward, and it has saw-like antennae and smooth wing covers. The adult female lays 30 to 42 eggs which hatch in about six to 10 days in or near food material. The larvae feed on these foods and complete development within five to 10 weeks. Cigarette beetles are major pests of stored tobacco but also commonly feed on all types of spices, books, upholstered furniture, dried fruit and vegetable, nuts, drugs, seeds, old rodent bait, and insecticides such as Pyrethrum powder. The most frequently infested items in homes are dried dog food and paprika. These beetles readily penetrate packaging materials. The adults are stronger fliers and are more active in late afternoon and on cloudy days. They easily enter homes through open windows and doors and are found frequently are found along window sills. The presence of adults usually means the larvae are developing somewhere in the home.
Drugstore beetles look almost identical to cigarette beetles. They are 1/16 to 1/8 inch long light brown to red-brown, humpbacked in appearance, and the head is not visible. Females lay their eggs singly in or near the food they are infesting. The eggs hatch within a few days. Drugstore beetles feed on all types of foods and spices, as well as on leather, wool, hair, books, drugs, and museum items. They readily penetrate packaging materials. The adults can fly and are attracted to light.
Beetles that typically re-infest-Post Powder beetles. These insects are commonly referred to as the true and false powder post beetles. Powerpost beetle is a term used to describe several species of small (1/8-3/4 inches long), wood-boring insects which reduce wood to a fine, flour-like powder. Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed. Infestations are discovered after noticing small, round "shotholes" in the wood surface. These are exit holes where adult beetles have chewed out of the wood after completing their development. Newly-emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-5 years later, usually during April - July. Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles, themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night.
The Norway Rat is the largest of the Commensal (living in close association with humans) rodents. The head and body are 7 to 10 inches long and the tail is an additional 6 to 8 inches. It has a stocky body and it weighs 7 to 18 ounces. The fur is coarse, shaggy and brown with some black hairs. The muzzle is blunt, eyes and ears are small and the tail which is bi-colored is shorter that the head and body combined. Adults are sexually mature in two to five months. Females produce three to six litters per year each averaging seven to eight young. Adults live from six to twelve months. They have poor sight but keen senses of smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Outdoors, Norway rats prefer to nest in burrows in the soil under sidewalks and concrete pads, stream/river banks, railroad track beds, next to buildings and in low ground cover. The rats easily enter buildings through ½ inch and larger gaps. In buildings they prefer to nest in the lower levels including crawlspaces, basements, loading docks, and sewers. Rats are associated with various diseases and occasionally bite. Leptospirosis is vectored by rats. This disease is acquired by eating food and drinking water which are contaminated with infected rat urine. Rats also cause significant structural damage and product destruction.
The House mouse is the most common and economically important commensal rodent. The house mouse is gray and weighs ½ to one ounce. Its body is three to four inches long and the tail three to four inches long. The muzzle is pointed, the ears are large, the eyes and body are small. The female house mouse reaches sexual maturity in 35 days and averages eight litters per year, each of which averages six young. Thus, with 30 to 35 weaned mice per year populations build up rapidly. The mice typically produce their largest litters in the spring, depending on climatic conditions and begin to breed at dive to six weeks of age. The life span is one year.
The roof rat is a Commensal Rodent. The head and body are six to eight inches long and the tail is an additional seven to ten inches. It has a slight body which wigs five to nine ounces. The fur is soft, smooth and brown in color with some black hairs. The muzzle is pointed, eyes and ears are large and the scaly tail which is uniformly dark is longer that the head and body combined. Adults are sexually mature in two to five months. Females produce four to six litters per year each averaging six to eight young. Adults live from nine to twelve months. They have poor sight but keen senses of smell, taste hearing, and touch. Rats are nocturnal. They are shy about new objects and very cautious when things change in their environment and along their established runs. Roof rats prefer to nest in trees and occasionally in burrow and vegetation.
The uric acid in the pigeon's feces is highly corrosive and a flock of pigeons can cut a roof life in half. They frequently cause extensive damage to air conditioning units and other rooftop machinery. There are also other economic costs associated with pigeon infestations such as slip and fall liability and projection of unclean, dirty company image. Besides physical damage, the bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites found in pigeon droppings represent a serious health risk. Handling a pigeon infestation most often requires a combination of products, anti-roosting devices, and sanitation methods.
Pigeons should not be fed because the feeding of pigeons attracts rats and mice, which take any uneaten food. Pigeon nests, droppings and dead carcasses provide a home for a wide variety of insects. These infestations can spread into buildings causing nuisance, damage and skin irritation. Pigeons carry a number of potentially infectious diseases such as Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis and Ornithosis. Contamination of food by pigeon droppings or by the birds themselves can transmit these diseases to humans.
Human food lacks the necessary nutrients the birds require for good health. Feeding attracts pigeons into an area that is potentially hazardous to them - resulting in damage to wings and feet. Feeding results in all year round breeding which causes overcrowding in roosting sites, allowing disease to spread quickly within the flock. Pigeons are wild birds, capable of searching out their own natural food supply. Regular feeding by humans destroys their ability to fend for themselves and makes them dependent on humans.
Silverfish are primitive, wingless insects that 1/2-inch long when fully grown. They are covered with silvery scales and are flattened and somewhat "carrot" shaped.As with many colorless or nearly colorless invertebrates, silverfish inhabit dark or damp areas such as kitchen cupboards of houses, bathroom sinks, and tubs. They can sometimes inhabit dry papery areas such as old books and newspaper stacks or be found high on ceilings in bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Silverfish consume matter that contains starch or polysaccharides, such as dextrin in adhesives. These include glue, book bindings, paper, photos, sugar, hair, and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to books, tapestries, and textiles. Silverfish will commonly graze in and around showers, baths, and sinks on the cellulose present in many shampoos, shaving foams and so on. Apart from these cases, the damage caused by silverfish is negligible and they have no direct effect on human health.
Other substances that may be eaten include cotton, linen, silk and synthetic fibers, and dead insects or even its own exuvia (moulted exoskeleton). During famine, a silverfish may even attack leather ware and synthetic fabrics. In extreme cases, silverfish may live for one year without eating. Silverfish can be found anywhere in office areas and homes including, but not limited to, bathrooms, garages, closets, underneath beds, couches, and in electrical appliances where food can be found, such as computer keyboards. They generally prefer dark areas.
Adult earwigs are 1/4-to 1-inch long, dark brown to black with a red head and pale yellow-brown legs. The body is long and flattened. Earwigs usually have two pairs of wings. The hind wings being fully developed and folded beneath the short leathery front wings.
The female lays several batches of approximately 50 eggs in a nest like shallow depression beneath a board or stone. Earwigs are outdoor insects which become household pests when they invade structures, usually in the fall or at night. Indoors, they are usually found in cracks and crevices and under furniture and carpeting.
Mites are extremely small arthropods which are barely visible unless viewed by a microscope or magnifying glass. Most mites either feed on plants, or attack and feed on other arthropods, but some can be found parasitizing vertebrates. There are three mites in southern California which cause frequent problems because they will feed on humans in the absence of their normal hosts.
The tropical rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti (Hirst, 1913), and two mites associated with birds, the northern fowlmite Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Canestrini and Fanzago, 1877) and the tropical fowl mite Ornithonyssus bursa(Berlese, 1888) can become significant pests under certain conditions. When their primary hosts nest in or onstructures, these mites will frequently invade structures and their bites can cause irritation and sometimes painfuldermatitis.
Booklice are found in moist, dark places and usually feed on decaying vegetation. They are so small that – unless you are looking for them – you would not notice them in nature. Unfortunately, they have also found human dwellings to their liking. In a home they are usually found where books are kept, i.e. the library or bookshelf. In libraries booklice can become a major problem as they feed on the starch and glue in book bindings. They will also feed on plant specimens (cellulose) and insects, so can be a problem in dry flower arrangements, herbaria and insect museums. My reference material indicates that booklice are "especially abundant in California."
The Adult Bedbug is 3/16-inch long, oval, flat, and rusty-red or mahogany in color. The bedbug is flat and thin when unfed but becomes more elongate, plump, and red when it is full of blood.
The common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) is the species best adapted to human environments. It is found in temperate climates throughout the world and feeds on blood. Adult bedbugs are reddish−brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye. Adults grow to 4−5 mm (1/8th − 3/16th of an inch) in length and do not move quickly enough to escape the notice of an attentive observer. In size, they are often compared to lentils or apple seeds. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color and become browner as they molt and reach maturity.
Bedbugs are normally active just before dawn, with a peak feeding period about an hour before sunrise. However, they may attempt to feed at other times, given the opportunity, and have been observed to feed at any time of the day. They reach their host by crawling, or sometimes climb the walls to the ceiling and jump down on feeling a heat wave. Attracted by warmth and the presence of carbon dioxide, the bug pierces the skin of its host with two hollow tubes. With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anesthetics, while with the other it withdraws the blood of its host. After feeding for about five minutes, the bug returns to its hiding place. The bites cannot usually be felt until some minutes or hours later, as a dermatological reaction to the injected agents, and the first indication of a bite usually comes from the desire to scratch the bite site.
Although bedbugs can live for a year or eighteen months without feeding, they normally try to feed every five to ten days. Bedbugs that goes dormant for lack of food often live longer than a year, while well−fed specimens typically live six to nine months. Low infestations may be difficult to detect, and it is not unusual for the victim not to even realize they have bedbugs early on. Patterns of bites in a row or a cluster are typical as they may be disturbed while feeding. Bites may be found in a variety of places on the body.