Learning Center

Do you think you have a pest problem but aren’t sure exactly what you’re dealing with? We can help! Your friends at May Exterminating have put together an informative list of the most common bugs found in Eastern North Carolina. Below, we share detailed information about each type of pest, where they are commonly found, and our recommended pest control solutions.

Silverfish

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Silverfish

Silverfish are found just about anywhere, on the exterior as well as the interior. Silverfish are active at night and hide during the day. When objects are moved where they are hiding, they dart out and seek new hiding places. The silverfish lives and develops in damp, cool places (prefers 75 to 95 percent relative humidity), often in the basement, bathroom and kitchen. Water is the key element for silverfish survival.

Their bodies are flattened, long and slender and approximately ½ inch long. They are somewhat carrot shaped. Silverfish got their name from their silvery blue color and that they move like fish. They eat a variety of foods containing carbohydrates or proteins. Items such as rolled oats, dried beef, flour, starch, paper, cotton, sugar, dead insects, as well as glue paste and linen are a part of their diet. They will also eat some synthetic materials. Silverfish infestations are usually small and take quite awhile to grow. Once established, though, they can make for stubborn house guests.

Silverfish females may lay over 100 eggs during a lifetime. Eggs are laid singly or two to three at a time in small groups, hatching in three to six weeks. Silverfish are able to live up to a year without food. Be sure to sweep, vacuum, or mop diligently to help keep them out.

These insects normally hitchhike into the home in food, furniture, old books, papers, firewood and old starched clothing. Once silverfish find a good food source they stay close to it and are very hard to get rid of.

When it is time to say goodbye to the silverfish bug, contact us for a free, no-obligation estimate. We get them out and keep them out!

Termites

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Termites

Subterranean termites are the most common and destructive termite in the U.S. Interestingly, they are found in every state except Alaska.

Subterranean, 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.

Termites easily access a home through any wood in contact with the soil. As a result, nearly every termite prevention list advises storing firewood several feet from the house and keeping the surrounding grounds clear of other wood debris. Regular inspections by pest control companies are highly recommended. A pest control technician can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in home repair bills by conducting routine professional inspections on a regular basis.

Termites are insects with a very defined social strata. A mature termite colony may number in the millions, with each member fulfilling a defined biological role. The castes, not including nymphs (immature termites), are called workers, soldiers and reproductives. Typically, a queen and king reside in a mature colony. Winged adults are referred to as "swarmers." They emerge from the colony and take flight (swarm) during certain seasons of the year, usually late winter to early spring. This marks the beginning of the termite reproductive cycle, as the swarmers are the primary reproductives. Swarming is also significant, as it is during this time that they are most likely to be spotted by humans.

People often confuse swarming termites with flying ants. There are distinctive differences, however. In order to discern a termite from a winged ant, compare the visual biological differences:

  • Ants have a narrow, wasp-like waist (more "cinched" in the middle of the body). Termites do not have a defined waist.
  • Ant wings are about equal to the body size, with the fore and hind wings of unequal length. Termites have four wings of equal length that are nearly twice as long as their bodies.
  • Ant antennae are L-shaped, with a "bend," while termite antennae are straight.

Leading indicators of a termite infestation of the home are scattered, discarded wings on floors and window sills. Other visual evidence is their earth-colored mud tubes (protective tunnels constructed by termites for travel), which are often found in damp basement corners, walls, wooden support beams, posts, doors and window trim. The extensive structural damage termites inflict may go largely unnoticed for lengthy periods of time, as the infested building appears structurally sound from the outside.

If you suspect an infestation or wish to take preventative measures as a homeowner, contact May Exterminating to conduct a professional inspection.

Cockroaches

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Cockroaches

Just about everyone knows what a cockroach looks like; they are everywhere. While it is often jokingly stated that if anything could survive a nuclear war, it would be a cockroach, the idea is clear - they are real survivors.

Once there is a cockroach infestation, it can be very hard to get rid of them. Cockroaches multiply very quickly, and they also adapt quickly, too. It is important to contact a pest control agency quickly if you see them in your home or business.

There are over 4,000 different varieties of cockroaches, but only about thirty of them can comfortably live with humans. This number can be further reduced to include only four varieties; the main species that cause problems in homes and businesses in America. The four main species are the American, German, Asian, and Oriental cockroaches. These vary in size from about 1/2" (German), up to 2" (American). In America, the most common species in homes would most likely be the German variety.

Cockroaches increase in population at a very rapid rate. The German cockroach female lives about 200 days. Each egg case she lays includes thirty to fifty eggs. In her lifetime, she will produce between four to six egg cases. German cockroaches are clearly able to thrive. Once cockroaches infest a home, they are rarely seen. Cockroaches are nocturnal and can live up to a month with little or no food. They can also survive by eating book bindings, furniture, glue, soap, dead insects, shoe linings, and more.

The presence of cockroaches can lead to a definite impression of uncleanness- especially if your guests see them. Contrary to popular belief, a cockroach infestation is not necessarily an indication of poor hygiene. However, an untidy environment will make it all the more difficult to get rid of them. The presence of cockroaches can also lead to health problems, including asthma in children. 

If you spot a cockroach at home or work, there are likely more of them concealed nearby. Contact a May Exterminating pest professional to avoid letting an infestation get out of hand.

Bed Bugs

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Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have largely been thought of as being a “problem of the past.” Unfortunately, we are now experiencing a widespread recurrence of bed bugs in the United States and abroad. The most significant factor that explains their return is the increase in international travel. Bed bugs easily get into clothing or luggage and are brought home. Even the finest hotels are not immune. 

A bed bug does not actually live under your skin, but will simply drink a few drops of blood while you are sleeping. You cannot feel its bite, even though it is actually piercing the skin. Although some saliva will get into the bite, bed bugs are not known to pass on any diseases to humans.

The different species of bed bugs have different feeding preferences. Some prefer human blood while others prefer bats and birds. Bed bugs primarily reside in their target's nests or nesting areas. While many bed bugs hide in mattresses, some may also hide in a sofa or chair, or behind wall paper or pictures. Thoroughness is the only real way to get rid of bed bugs. Every corner and crevice needs to be searched. As you might guess, this means that simply getting rid of an infected mattress will not completely solve the problem.

Bed Bug bites often cause redness and some swelling. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be given to help relieve the itching. Approximately 50% of bed bug victims do not show any evidence of bites.

These tenacious pests are about 3/8" long and are visible to the naked eye. Amazingly, they are able to go without food for as long as a year. After getting their fill of blood, the females will lay eggs in batches of up to 200 at a time. Since their reappearance, researchers have found that the new bed bugs are much more resistant to chemicals that have previously been in use. 

Insecticides that are often used for roaches and similar insects are ineffective on bed bugs. Bed bugs, in particular, require a May Exterminating professional pest control technician.

Ants

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Ants

Ant infestation is one of the most commonly reported pest problems. These tiny scavengers will enter your home or business looking for moisture and an accessible food source. Damp or rotting wood that is moldy can attract ants. Ants also feed on sugar, cheese, meats, vegetables, grease, peanut butter, and dead insects.

Ants often enter a home through cracks around windows or doors, but they can find numerous entrances to your home or building. Once inside, the growing ant colony can become a problem quickly, as ants mature from juveniles to adults within a matter of days.

It is necessary to properly identify the ant species that you have in order to effectively eradicate them. Of the thousands of species of ants, the four listed below are the most commonly found in the United States. 

  • Carpenter Ants: These ants are about five-eighths of an inch long. They tend to burrow in damp wood but have also been known to damage solid wood. They do not eat the wood, but simply remove it in order to build a nest.
  • Red Imported Fire Ants: Fire ants vary in size from one-eighth to three-eighths of an inch. They construct large mounds for nests and administer painful stings. 
  • Pavement Ants: These ants are about one-eighth of an inch long. They generally make their nests in pavement cracks and are also capable of infesting a building. 
  • Pharaoh Ants: Pharaoh ants are about one-sixteenth of an inch long. These ants are commonly found in hospitals and nursing homes, where they are are capable of transmitting Staphylecoccus and Psuedomonas infections. Pharaoh ants also invade restaurants, apartment buildings and similar dwellings.

Ants with wings can easily be mistaken for termites, which may lead to a wrong treatment. In comparison, ants have a very narrow thorax (mid-section), while termites' bodies are more uniform.

Spiders

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Spiders

Spiders are generally good to have around, as they help minimize the population of harmful insects. The problem arises, however, when they negatively affect humans. The mere sight of a spider can be a real scare for some people. Aside from that, many spiders do bite humans and are poisonous, so it is a good idea to have a pest control company address your spider infestation. 

Several spiders pose a serious threat to humans. The two that are the deadliest to humans in the United States are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Since a few people die each year from the bite of either of these two spiders, it's extremely important for any person who is bitten by one of these spiders to seek treatment immediately. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. 

The Black Widow spider can be easily recognized because she is black with a red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen. The male is considerably smaller than the female, and he has a body up to half an inch long. The Black Widow typically remains outdoors. 

The Brown Recluse spider has a darker brown hourglass on its back. The Brown Recluse loves to be indoors and generally stays out of sight. It may never be seen until you startle it by reaching into a dark spot where it is hiding. Then it will bite. 

There are plenty of other spiders in the United States, such as the Grass Spider, Wolf Spider, Hobo Spider, and the Saint Andrew's Cross Spider, just to name a few. These spiders do not have the same strong venom in their bite, but all are painful and treatment may be required. 

If you have noticed spiders in your home, contact a pest management company. They will know the most effective, safest way to eliminate the spider problem, and make recommendations about keeping them away in the future.

Wasps

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Wasps

A bee or wasp problem in or your home or yard can disrupt daily life and put both you and your family in danger. If a family member is allergic to a bee and is stung, the reaction may be serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. A bad reaction can occur even if the allergy had previously been non-existent or mild. Additionally, an individual's allergy can worsen after repeated exposure to bites. Multiple bites can be quite dangerous, especially in regard to the elderly or small children. Regardless, bee stings hurt even without an adverse reaction. If you want to make sure that bee or wasp stings do not pose a danger to you or your family, let a professional exterminator address the problem today.

Exterminating bees or wasps on your own can be difficult and even dangerous. Sometimes a homeowner will attempt to exterminate pests alone, using chemical sprays from a hardware store or supply center. If these sprays are not applied in the correct locations, most of the bee or wasp colony will survive. The most challenging nests to control are those that are located deep inside the walls of a home or in an attic. Often, a homeowner does not even know where the actual colony is located. He or she only sees where the wasps are flying back and forth through a crack or hole in the home. If there are bees or wasps anywhere in your home, extreme caution is advised. A professional exterminator will know exactly where to spray in order to eliminate your bee or wasp problem for good.

Outdoors, bee and wasp nests near human activity can pose a potential problem. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and are attracted to outdoor activities where food and drinks are served. Most bees and wasps will not attack if left alone. However, some people are curious to observe a nest or unknowingly surprise a member of a hive. If provoked, a bee will sting in defense of its nest or itself. Insect sprays should be used with caution. Some of the more caustic over-the-counter sprays on the market can cause harm to children and pets. A professional exterminator knows which sprays to use that will not harm any of your loved ones.

If you attempt to exterminate pests yourself, you could end up spending hours shopping for costly pest control sprays or trapping devices. You could then spend even more time attempting unsuccessfully to kill the wasps or bees, putting yourself or your family at risk in the process. A professional exterminating service can take care of your pest problem efficiently. Exterminators train or apprentice before they begin working independently and know a great deal about insects and insect removal. Contacting a professional exterminator can save you both time and money. The sooner you call a licensed exterminator, the sooner your family's home and lives can return to normal.

Rodents

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Rodents

Mice and rats are a problem when they find their way into your home. They like to be near humans so that they have a ready supply of food. This has earned them the term "commensal," which means "to share one's table."

The class of creatures called "rodents" actually encompasses a much more than just mice and rats. It refers to any animal whose incisor teeth continue to grow, so they must continually gnaw in order to keep them serviceable.

There are more than 2,200 different rodents. Together they make up more than 40% of all mammals. In this group you will find: mice, rats, squirrels, capybaras, nutria, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and many more.

Removing rodents can sometimes be as easy as setting a mouse trap; but a larger infestation (especially with rats or larger rodents) can be larger issue. Rats, especially, are smart and can learn to avoid traps.

Rodents can carry up to thirty-five diseases that humans are susceptible to, which is another reason to eliminate them as soon as possible. Cleaning up after a rodent infestation also requires a great deal of caution. This is necessary because of the possibility of fleas or mosquitoes, which may transmit their own diseases to you, your children and pets. There is also risk involved if you inadvertently stir up the dust of their nests; it can be hazardous to breathe in the bacteria contained within.

Rodents can also do physical damage your home or business. They easily chew through some types of siding and other building materials. They are also known to chew on electrical lines, thereby increasing the possibility of fire. They damage other materials as well, creating holes and gnawing on numerous objects, especially food or food containers.

Removing rodents can be difficult. A professional pest management company will identify nesting areas and feeding grounds and know how to completely eliminate them. Proper cleanup is also performed, ensuring that you and your family are safe from allergies, illness and possible future infestation.