Biting Insects

Mosquito

Color: Pale brown or black
Legs: 6
Shape: Narrow oval with long fine legs
Size: 1/4 – 3/8″
Antennae: Yes
Mosquito adults are small, flying, midge-like insects. Female mosquitoes can be differentiated from similar insects by the presence of a long slender proboscis that is adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood, and long slender wings. They can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days.

Habits
Female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars. They can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days. They are most active from dusk to dawn and will fly up to 14 miles for a blood meal.

Habitat
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tires, children\’s wading pools and birdbaths.

Threats
Mosquitoes are well-known to spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria and dengue fever.

Bed Bugs

Color: Mahogany to rusty brown; red after a blood meal
Legs: 6
Shape: Flat broad oval
Size: 1/4″
Antennae: Yes
Bed bugs get their name because they like to live and feed in beds. They are also found behind outlet face plates and baseboards.

Habits
Bed bugs like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, even wall paper. They come out at night for a blood meal.

Habitat
Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices.

Threats
Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

Yellow Jackets

Color: Black and Yellow
Legs: 6
Shape: Wasp like
Size: 1/8 – 5/8″
Antennae: Yes
There are several species of yellow jackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say, the pattern resembles stripes.

Habits
Yellow jackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc…. They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.

Habitat
Yellow jackets can be found anyplace humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein. Yellow jackets become more aggressive in autumn when the colony begins to die out except for the queen.

Threats
Yellow jackets pose significant health threats to humans as they may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

Flea

Color: Dark redish brown
Legs: 6
Shape: Flat
Size: 1/12 – 1/6″
Antennae: Yes
Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are frequently encountered in homes and are common pests on domestic cats and dogs. Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) look like cat fleas, but are rare in California. Sticktight fleas (Echidnophaga gallinacea) can become a problem when pets frequent areas near poultry. Female sticktight fleas firmly attach themselves around the ears and eyes of their host. Fleas on either cats or dogs in California are most likely cat fleas.

Habits
Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals. They infest both household pests and wild animals. Fleas use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally.

Habitat
Fleas usually remain on their warm-blooded hosts at all times. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They are often found infesting opossums, raccoons, and skunks in urban settings.

Threats
The cat flea is suspected of transmitting murine typhus to humans, but its primary importance is in its annoyance to people and pets. Cat fleas readily try to feed on almost any warm-blooded animal. Some people are bothered by the sensation of fleas walking on their skin, but bites are the major nuisance. Bites tend to be concentrated on the lower legs but can also occur on other parts of the body. The bite consists of a small, central red spot surrounded by a red halo, usually without excessive swelling. Flea bites usually cause minor itching but may become increasingly irritating to people with sensitive or reactive skin. Some people and pets suffer from flea bite allergic dermatitis, characterized by intense itching, hair loss, reddening of the skin, and secondary infection. Just one bite may initiate an allergic reaction, and itching may persist up to 5 days after the bite. Cat fleas may also serve as intermediary hosts of dog tapeworms. Cats or dogs may acquire this intestinal parasite while grooming themselves by ingesting adult fleas that contain a cyst of the tapeworm.