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Ants are one of the most common insects found in homes.  Colour ranges from black to dark brown to red.   The most common in South Africa are the Karangas, also known as red ants.

While ants are beneficial to us because they eat up dead leaves, insects and animals, but at the same time, they are harmful to humans because they visit filthy places like garbage, drains etc and they may carry germs on their bodies into our homes and on our food.

 Carpenter ants hollow out wooden structures like termites.

 

Ants can usually be controlled by finding and treating their colonies with the appropriate chemicals.

 
About Millipedes & Centipedes      
   
 
Both Millipedes and Centipedes are not insects, but are more closely related to lobsters, crayfish & shrimps.   Unlike their marine cousins, they are land dwellers. They do not carry diseases to either man, animals nor plants.

While Millipedes feed on decayed vegetation, Centipedes feed on small creatures and insects.  Dark and damp areas provide ideal environments for them.

 

Millipedes secrete a liquid that leaves a stain and can cause severe skin inflammation and blindness in humans.   Centipedes seldom bite humans and if they do, their sting is no worse than a bee sting.  However, large centipedes bites can cause severe pain and swelling caused by their venom.

 

About Bees & Hornets      
   
 

Bees and wasps prey on insects, pollinate flowers & produce honey for human consumption.

Larger wasps are called Hornets, or Yellow Jackets.  Both, bees & hornets bear a sting at the end of their bodies which is connected to the venom glands.

Although bees and hornets do not sting unless disturbed, they can pose danger to human beings if they nest near human activities or dwellings.  It is advisable to engage trained pest control personnel to destroy the nests & hives.

 
 
About Mosquitoes      
   
 

Mosquitoes are blood-sucking insects.

They are not only a nuisance to humans and animals but  also agents which transmit diseases such  as malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis and filariasis to humans.

The Aedes mosquitos are day biters carriers of the Dengue fever, while the Culex & Anopheles mosquitos are night biters, carriers of Malaria.

The whole life cycle from egg to adult takes about 7 10 days.

 

Care should be taken to ensure that removal of stagnant water so that mosquitos will not have place to breed.

Insecticidal granules can be added to water in plant bowls and plates and plants beneath the plant pots to kill the larvae.

 
About Rats & Mices      
   
 

Rats and Mice are generally known as Rodents and are mammals.  A female rodent can produce 4 -10 litters in a year and a litter consists of 510 young.

The two species of rats commonly found in South Africa are  the Norway Rats and the Roof Rats.  Another is the House Mice, a very small mouse, who is a good climber, jumper and swimmer.

Rodents can transmit diseases such as leptospirosis (the symptoms ranging from mild fever to jaundice) when they contaminate our food with their urine, faeces and saliva.  They also carry fleas and mites on their bodies.  Rodents need to gnaw constantly to prevent their teeth from growing too long.  Buildings have known to be set on fire because rodents have gnawed through the insulation of electrical wires.

If infestation is high, it is best to seek the service of a professional pest controller who are trained to handle rat elimination and prevention procedures

About Termites      
   
 

Termites, often known as White Ants, are not related to ants.   The only similarity is that Termites build colonies like ants.   Colonies ranging from 250,000 to 1,000,000.

Termites have soft body coverings and therefore need to be protected from dryness.  Hence, they rarely come out in the open but remain in their nests where moisture content is high.

Termites feed on wood.    They are beneficial to nature in that they speed up the breakdown of decayed logs and return the nutrients back to the ground, enriching the soil.

 

 

However, they are the greatest threat to our homes if they establish themselves near or within our homes destroying wooden structures, beams and support to homes and buildings.

 

 

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