They can live for several months without food or water. Most bed bug bites are initially painless, but later turn into large, itchy skin welts. These welts do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites. Although bed bugs are a nuisance, they are not known to spread disease. In most cases, people carry bed bugs into their homes unknowingly, in infested luggage, furniture, bedding, or clothing. Bed bugs may also travel between apartments through small crevices and cracks in walls and floors.
The cooler and drier fall weather brings a reduction in the number of household fleas. However, house pets usually maintain small flea populations throughout the winter, with the numbers increasing slowly in the spring and exploding in mid-to-late summer. Female fleas lay eggs loosely in the host's hair (usually a cat or dog). The eggs drop off and hatch into tiny, hairy, worm-like larvae.
According to the CDC, more than 23,000 human cases of Lyme disease were recorded in 2002, with an estimated 9 out of 10 cases going unreported.
One easy difference to identify between termites and flying ants is their shape. An ant's body has three individuated segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The joints where they meet look like a neck and a waist. Yet a termite's two segments, the head and the thorax, look more like one piece. Species of ants have a variety of colors, from red to brown to black, but swarming termites are usually shiny black. Another simple anatomical difference is their wingspans. Although both kinds of insects develop two pairs of wings just to mate, reproduce, and found new colonies, their wings look dissimilar. A termite's back wings are visible beneath the overlaying front wings. If you outstretch both pairs, you'll see they're actually the same length. On a flying ant, the back wings hide beneath the front wings, so they are shorter. Their wings have tiny, visible veins. It's easy to knock off the wings of a termite, so you'll probably see them scattered around the site of a swarm.
Finally, a noticeable difference between flying ants and termites are their antennae. Look closely and you'll see that ant's antennae curve or bend inwards, topped by a ball called a club. But a termite's antennae gently point outwards without any kinks, bends, or knobs at the end. To further identify them, you'll more likely find termites around wood, where they nest and feed, such as in the rafters in the attic or old furniture. Most ants, of course, prefer the kitchen where they snack on sweets like sugar or fruit.
In areas that are not disturbed, red imported fire ants typically make dome-shaped mounds that are about 18 inches across and about 8 to 12 inches tall. They resemble large gopher mounds or look like crumbly earth with small holes; these mounds readily distinguish red imported fire ant colonies from other California ant colonies. Nests of the native southern fire ant, for instance, are usually irregular and consist of scattered soil with multiple obscure entrances. Unlike the other ant species, red imported fire ants tend to build nests in open, sunlit, grassy areas that are typically irrigated. They will readily run up any object that touches their mound, whereas the other species are much less aggressive.
In some instances red imported fire ants do not build mounds but nest in places such as rotten logs, walls of buildings, or under sidewalks.
Earwigs eat live plants and can do damage to field crops. Earwigs are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation. Their populations build up around foundations. Earwigs produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions. Earwigs live in habitats that also harbor centipedes, sow bugs (roly-poly), and millipedes.