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Pest Corner
Appearance: Insect: Adult: 35-40mm long, dark brown, good flier

Life Cycle : Eggs are contained in egg-case which is deposited by female in a protected place. Nymphs resemble adults but are flightless. Freshly moulted nymphs are white.

Behavior : Found in commercial establishment like restaurants, grocery store, bakeries etc.they are most common in boiler room, heated steam tunnels, base around pipes,etc. The cockroach usually encountered flying into homes. Not a regular house-dweller.

Impact on Human : American cockroaches beside carrying germs and bacteria create mess in the storage spaces and their presence displays poor hygiene condition.
Appearance: Insect : Adult : 10-14mm long, yellowish brown with two dark brown bands behind the head, females larger than males. Smaller and lighter in colour in comparison to the American cockroach.

Life Cycle : Eggs (20-40) contained in egg-case which is carried about by female, protruding from her abdomen. Egg-case is glossy brown, 8mm long. Nymphs resemble adults and molt 6 times before becoming fully grown. Young are protected by the egg-case. Both males and females have fully developed wings, though they are seldom used.

Behavior : It is most common household pest, feeds on all kinds of foods and is usually found in kitchen, cracks and crevices.

Impact on Human : Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces.
Appearance: Insect; adult: torpedo-shaped, wingless with a silvery sheen, has long antennae and sharp, rapid movement.

Life Cycle : Eggs (100), oval, white and smooth, later turn brown and wrinkled; adults 12mm long; life span of nymphs 90-120 days, adults up to 3 ½ years.

Behavior : It avoids light and it can climb only rough vertical surfaces and is found in damp, dark places, books, wash basins etc. It feed on material containing starch such as bindings in books, wallpaper glue and sometimes linen, cotton and artificial silk.

Impact on Human : Silverfish are a starch feeder they damage (eat) fabrics, glues and other organic materials. They may also damage silk and some synthetic fabrics, but they usually avoid woolens.
Workers 4mm queen up to 10mm




Widely distributed in Britain. Commonly found in gardens, will enter buildings when foraging for food.

Mating takes place in flight and occurs between July & September. After mating the male ant dies and the females shed their wings and find shelter to overwinter. The females will produce eggs from late spring.

Ants feed on a wide variety of foods including sweet substances.

What you can do?
Control of these insects is only required when they are entering or living in building structures. The first approach should be to seal up any entry points in the building to prevent ants gaining access to the property. If problems persist a band of insecticide may be applied to harbourages and at entrances to buildings i.e. windows, doors and vents. Ensure that sugary foods are kept in sealed containers and all food spillages are cleaned up.
Appearance: Arachnid; adult 4-5cms, extremely small body and long legs (cobweb spider). They are small, usually black with red or white markings. Sheet web spiders have a pair of dark bands across their yellowish head-thorax.

Behavior : They are common house dwellers , they have distinct long – legged and webbing in corners and ceiling /wall joints. They often found in windows. They are common on shrubs and weeds around the house. They feed on other pest.

Impact on Human : It bites in defense and does not bite humans instinctively. The spider bite is painful and can produce an open, ulcerating sore . Most people have misconceptions about spiders: they are pictured to be poisonous (even deadly), and likely to attack at any time. This not true. There are some species of spider that have a venomous bite, but only a few are found in India and usually not found in and around homes. Spiders are largely beneficial since they feed on other pests.
There are thousands of different species of fly but the most common fly problems are caused by:


Adults 6-7mm. Female houseflies lay 400-600 eggs in decaying matter or faeces which develop into maggot larvae. Attracted to any uncovered food or organic waste.
Blow Flies/Bottle Flies

Adults 6-12mm, usually metallic blue or green but can be black or grey. Significant numbers in a house will often indicate a dead animal (such as a mouse) in the property.

Adults 5mm. Tend to be found near still water where their larvae develop. Our guide to insect bites advises on treatment for bites.
Fruit Flies

Adults 5mm. Can be spotted around fresh fruits/vegtables, rotting fruits and vegetables, drains, garbage and damp organic materials
Drain Flies

Adults 5mm. Can be spotted around fresh fruits/vegtables, rotting fruits and vegetables, drains, garbage and damp organic materials

A wasp is a predatory flying stinging insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. A narrower and simpler but popular definition of the term wasp is any member of the aculeate family Vespidae. Wasps are critically important in natural biocontrol as almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that is a predator upon it. Parasitic wasps are increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they have little impact on crops.
For many species of fly including house flies and bottle flies, it is important not to attract flies with food sources or places for fly larvae to grow:
  • Always cover food – flies spread diseases by landing on food before we eat it
  • Clear away food and liquid spillages immediately
  • Clean food debris from under kitchen appliances
  • Make sure all rubbish bins have tightly sealed lids
  • Keep compost enclosed and covered
  • Clean up after pets – not only are faeces the perfect breeding place for flies but also somewhere a fly may land before landing on your food

Prevent flies being able to develop in standing water:

  • Ensure drains are kept clear and running
  • Treat drains that seem to have flies with bleach
  • Ensure gutters and water gullies are not blocked
  • Cover water butts with a lid
  • Do not leave standing water (eg in watering cans)
  • Introduce goldfish into garden ponds to eat fly larvae
Finally, you can help prevent flies entering your home:
  • After dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains
  • Fit fly screens to windows especially around kitchen and waste areas
Appearance: 6.4-12.7mm long, brown (Anopheles, Culex) to black with white markings (Aedes), thin, long-legged winged insect; adults have three pairs of long, slender legs, with an elongate "beak" or proboscis to pierce skin.

Life Cycle: Eggs lay in stagnant water. Larvae develop in water and pupate after a week. Adults emerge from pupae after 2-3 days.

Behavior : They breed in lakes, ponds, clogged gutters or pools of stagnant water. Anopheles and Culex species bite during dusk, however, Aedes is a day biter, and has a pronounced bite.

Impact on Human : Mosquitoes is often a carrier of diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), West Nile encephalitis virus, dog heartworm, and many others. The females, who drink blood, can carry disease from one animal or human to another as they feed . Anopheles and Culex species bite during dusk, however, Aedes is a day biter, and has a pronounced bite.
Appearance: Insect; wingless, round, flat, reddish-brown.

Life Cycle : Eggs (up to 350), 0.8-1.3mm long, ink-bulb-shaped, laid in cracks and crevices near host and cemented in place by glue; 5 nymph stages lasting up to 50 days; adults can live for more than 1 year without feeding.

Behavior : Usually found in human habitation, it hiding in cracks and crevices and beds. It emerges at night to feed human blood.

Impact on Human : Bedbugs are not regarded as disease carriers, but their blood feeding can cause severe irritation in some people, resulting in loss of sleep, lack of energy, particularly in children. The bite often gives rise to a hard, whitish swelling which distinguishes it from itch is a dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area. Some individuals have even been known to gain immunity from bed bug.
Appearance: Insect; adults 3-4mm, creamish white with brown head; soldiers with brown head and large jaws (mandibles).

Life Cycle : Queen lays thousands of eggs which are looked after by workers. Most eggs hatch into sterile workers and a few become soldiers and males. During favorable conditions, large numbers of supplementary reproductive swarm to form new colonies.

Behavior : It lives in colonies consisting of workers, soldiers and king and queen. Feed on dead / decaying wood. They construct mud tubes from nest to food source - these tubes are a sure sign of infestation. Large numbers congregate just before the rainy season to swarm – females and males fly off, mate and female then starts a new colony.

Impact on Human : The most destructive species of pest. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time
Appearance: Adult beetles are elongate or oval with short antennae in most genera, with the leaf-mining genera being nearly circular in appearance. Nearly all adults havse some metallic coloration on their bodies, often with the brightest coloration under the wings or on the underside.

Life Cycle: Adult beetles are usually short-lived, surviving for a few weeks. Adults emerge in the spring and summer depending on the species. Eggs are laid in crevices in the bark for wood boring species. Larvae develop inside the plant primarily just under the bark for wood borers or inside stems or roots. Leaf-mining species may have several generations per year. However, most species have one generation per year or take multiple years to develop. There are a few records of development over 8 years. Pupation occurs inside the plant.

Behavior : Larvae of most species feed in trunks, branches or twigs of woody plants, usually when the plant is dying. Some species remain in wood after it is used as building materials

Impact on Human : Wood borer are insects which damage wood by tunneling at the larval (grub) stage for food. They can also leave an emergence hole on the surface of the wood after becoming an adult (beetle).Thus damaging the wooden structures.
Appearance: Insect; adult: 1-3mm long, brown (Lyctus) 1.5-9mm long, reddish-brown to black (Bostrichiid).

Life Cycle: Eggs, 1mm, translucent and whitish, several laid in great precision in pores and open vessels in the wood; Larvae, 5mm, ‘C' shaped, white in colour; Pupae - found just below wood surface - white, later turn darker.

Behavior : Found in untreated or unfinished wood products. Typical sign of infestation is presence of numerous fine holes with fine powdery sawdust.

Impact on Human : Some researchers believe that powder post beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products. Larvae bore through wood and can cause extensive damage.
Appearance: Rodent – Adults brown to grey, furry, 10-16 cms including the 5-8 cms tail, large ears and relatively small eyes. They have a characteristic musky odor that identifies their presence.

Life Cycle : Female may have 3-5 litters. Young (4-8 per litter) are born furless and blind, 19-21 days after mating. They reach sexual maturity in six to ten weeks. Life span of adults is about nine to twelve months.

Behavior : They occasionally seen during the day time. Nests are often found in sheltered location made up of fine shredded paper or fibrous material. They eat many kind of food but prefer cereal graines.they have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell, and touch and are excellent climbers and acrobats. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface and can squeeze through openings slightly larger than 1/4 inch in diameter.

Impact on Human : It can spread disease among people, animals and foodstuffs. Mice are capable of causing almost as much damage and pose just as great a risk to health as the rat. This is due to its habit of nibbling small amounts of a wide variety of foodstuffs and urinating over a great deal more. Parasites caused by mice include ringworm, mites, tapeworm and ticks. Mice cause damage to structures and property, and they may transmit diseases such as salmonellosis (food poisoning). They are sporadic feeders, nibbling bits of food here and there.
Appearance: Rodent : Adult : dark brown to black, 10-12cms, with a 15-20cms tail.

Life Cycle : Female can have up to 84 young in her lifetime. Life span of adults is around a year.

Behavior : It commonly found in our home. It is an extremely agile creature, able to scale walls and walks across telephone wire. It builds its in nest in walls, attics, vines or trees near and around homes.

Impact on Human : Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly dangerous bubonic plague. They support many ectoparasites and urinate on food. It is also a carrier for various rat borne diseases.
Appearance: Rodent: Adult : dark, greyish-brown, 30-40cms with an equally long tail. Similar to Mole-Rat, but much larger, weighing as much as 1.4kg!

Life Cycle : Female has between 8-10 litters. Young (8-14 per litter) are born blind and naked. Young reach sexual maturity around 50-60 days after birth. Life span of adults is around a year.

Behavior : It usually occupies the outskirts of human dwellings such as compounds and gardens and is commonly found near garbage bins. They are totally non-fussy eater; it is equally comfortable feeding on household refues, grain and vegetables. Large, aggressive animals that erect their guard hairs on their backs and emit grunts when disturbed. If caged with other bandicoots, it is likely to fight to death within a few hours.

Impact on Human : Its burrowing habits cause great damage to grounds and flooring as it can also tunnel through brick and masonry. A totally non-fussy eater, it is equally comfortable feeding on household refuse, grain and vegetables and is a very serious pest in poultry farms. Like its smaller cousin, it is also a carrier for many diseases.