Also known as “roly polies,” Pillbugs are common inhabitants of landscapes and garden sites around buildings. Occasionally pillbugs become pests around the home. In most years pillbugs content themselves in feeding harmlessly on decaying vegetable matter in and on the soil. In Texas, pillbugs may produce two to three generations per year. Adult pillbugs are relatively long-lived, with some surviving several years.
Pillbugs are not dangerous to humans. However when abundant - as in years of high rainfall - they can become a significant pest of landscape plants.
Cockroaches are among the most common pests in homes, schools, and businesses. They like to eat many of the same foods we do and are especially troublesome wherever food is prepared or served. They also may transfer disease-causing organisms.
It’s not that the bugs themselves are dangerous but the germs and bacteria they bring into your homes can easily contaminate food, toothbrushes, and countertops. Roaches are capable of spreading viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can make humans very sick. Occassionally, their shed skins and feces can trigger asthma attacks in people, especially children.
Scorpions are arachnids, close relatives of ticks, mites and spiders. They are easily recognized by their characteristic shape. Scorpions prefer dry habitats but are common throughout Texas. They can be a nuisance when they interact with humans because they will sting when disturbed.
The sting from a Texas scorpion will produce only moderate reactions in most people because the poison has little effect on the nervous system. The severity of the sting does depend on the individual scorpion and the person’s reaction to the venom. A person who is stung by a scorpion should be watched closely for adverse reactions. As with any arthropod venom, allergic reactions are possible.
Silverfish have tear-drop-shaped bodies covered in metallic scales and long antennae. They move quickly using wriggling fish-like movements. These insects prefer starchy foods such as flour, paper, or glue.
Silverfish are not dangerous to humans but do pose a threat to property. Significant damage occurs only if a large population is present for a long period. Damage will mostly be found to books and paper. Books or stacks of paper could end up with ragged edges. It is possible stored items could be stained by fecal material, cast skins, or scales.
Spiders are arachnids. They often find their way inside following the insects they feed on. Spiders will hide out and nest in dark, quiet, and out-of-the-way places where they won't be disturbed. Though spiders are extremely helpful out in nature, when they find their way to our yards in large populations or into our homes, you need to take action to eliminate spiders and their prey.
Spiders are naturally reclusive and want nothing to do with people. The vast majority of spiders that people encounter are harmless. In Texas, there are two species that are very dangerous — the black widow and the brown recluse. Both are dangerous not because they are overly aggressive but because if a bite were to occur, their venom is powerful enough to trigger a serious reaction in humans that does require medical attention.
Texas is also home to tarantulas and wolf spiders. These spiders are often mistaken as dangerous spiders because of their large size. While a bite from either can be painful, their venom isn't strong enough to affect a human.
Subterranean termites are some of the most destructive insect pests in the world. All termites feed on the cellulose found in woods and grasses. In nature, subterranean termites are beneficial because they break down the cellulose in wood into usable nutrients and recycle the carbon in wood to produce humus, which enriches the soil. Therefore, termites are extremely important in the ecosystem. When it comes to your home, however, termites are disastrous.
Termites are extremely dangerous to property and cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Active termite infestations can be difficult to detect so homes should be inspected and treated regularly to prevent severe damage.
Ticks are parasitic arachnids that are part of the mite superorder Parasitiformes. Adult ticks are approximately 3 to 5 mm in length. Ticks are external parasites. They survive by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.
Though many species of ticks are benign, some of them pose serious threats. Ticks are most active during the spring, summer, and fall months. They can carry diseases such as Lyme, Stari, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It is a good idea to consult a medical professional if you have been bitten by a tick.
All wasps, bees, and ants belong to the scientific order called Hymenoptera. The Hymenoptera comprise some of the most interesting and important insects, including many species that are beneficial predators and parasites of pest insects, and many useful pollinator species. Besides ants and bees, the most important stinging Hymenoptera belong to the wasp family Vespidae. Most vespid wasps are social insects, living in nests that they build and defend cooperatively. Vespid wasp nests are constructed of a paper-like material and may be found either above or below ground.
Wasp stings typically result in intense pain, with swelling and redness at the site of the sting. While pain is usually localized at the site of the sting, larger allergic reactions are also possible. About 5 percent of people who experience a large local reaction will suffer an anaphylactic (serious systemic hypersensitivity) reaction if they are stung subsequently. These reactions range from a widespread rash, swelling and itching to difficulty breathing. In severe reactions, victims may develop a rapid pulse and low blood pressure, shock or respiratory distress and even death. It is critical to get someone experiencing a systemic reaction to emergency care immediately.