The average life expectancy for most rodents is approximately three years, though each species reaches maturity at different ages. Rodents kept in captivity generally have a longer life expectancy, living usually no more than ten years. Most rodents only breed once a year, and while mating seasons can differ among species, most rodents will breed in the fall. Most of these creatures have a short gestational period, and females can sometimes produce multiple litters each year. Litters also vary in size, some reaching up to fourteen babies in one litter. While the common rodent only averages a three-year lifespan, they tend to reach maturity at an earlier age and can then reproduce, enabling them to quickly multiply.
Almost everyone has had the unpleasant experience of being bitten by a mosquito. Mosquito bites can cause skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva – this is what causes the red bump and itching. But a more serious consequence of some mosquito bites may be transmission of certain serious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and several forms of encephalitis, including West Nile virus.
Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, but they also can transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to. These include dog heart worms, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
Different species of mosquitoes prefer different types of standing water in which to lay their eggs. The presence of beneficial predators such as fish and dragonfly nymphs in permanent ponds, lakes and streams usually keep these bodies of water relatively free of mosquito larvae. However, portions of marshes, swamps, clogged ditches and temporary pools and puddles are all prolific mosquito breeding sites.
Termites play a vital role in nature. They break down dead wood and other cellulose materials. This is helpful in the ecosystem and the balance of nature. When termites attack homes, though, they are a pest. Termites usually are cryptic, meaning that they don’t come out into the open.
Termites are difficult to detect because of this cryptic nature and are a destructive force when left unchecked. Royalty, workers, soldiers and nonwinged reproductives do not leave the hidden areas. Most of the colony is never seen. Even when visible within the home as flying insects, termites can be mistaken for ants. Some homeowners will dismiss the termites as pesky ants and ignore them with no preventive science-based or extermination methods taken. This allows established termite infestations to grow exponentially.
Flying ants possess many of the same characteristics as flying termites. However, while ants have a distinct pinched waist, the termite is tube shaped. Termites also have four wings of equal size, while the flying ant’s four wings are two distinct sizes. Lastly, ants’ antennae have an elbow or bend, whereas termite antennae are straight.
A further distinguishing characteristic of subterranean termites is the presence of protective tunnels constructed from mud, saliva and fecal matter. These tubes act as entry points for subterranean termites to above-ground food sources. They are most commonly located near the foundation of an infested home. Ants typically do not construct tunnels.
Dry wood termites also enter homes after swarms, usually occurring in the spring. During swarms, an existing termite colony sends out a large number of winged reproductive males and females. These mating swarms may result in several newly fertilized king and queen termites attempting to establish colonies of which many may be within or around a home.
Termites are social insects in that they have an organized structure in a colony with a king, queen and various castes, each of which have a specialized function. Each caste has its own characteristics.
Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, evolving into some of the most adaptable pests on Earth. There are approximately 4,000 living species of cockroaches in the world.
Cockroaches are commonly found in buildings and homes because they prefer warm environments close to food and water. Unfortunately, cockroaches can cause allergies and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. They can also spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria.
Cockroaches are a high risk pest to have in the home.
They carry a range of serious illnesses, including salmonella food poisoning, dysentery, diphtheria, gastroenteritis and typhoid. Furthermore, cockroaches have been identified as a major source of powerful allergens, often the cause of asthma, allergies and eczema, especially in urban areas.
The health risk is particularly high in homes with children, the elderly or those fighting illnesses.
Beyond the health risks, cockroaches are a distasteful pest to have in the home. They are not only a disturbing sight, they cause contamination and can produce an obnoxious odour that taints food and objects which they come in contact with.