Thousands of insects live in and around our homes, most causing no problems. Insects become pests when they sting or bite, destroy plants or property or simply invade our personal space. Identifying the common types of insects that inhabit our homes, gardens, lawns and trees is the first step in finding ways to prevent them.
Particularly in warmer climates, insects enter homes through even the tiniest of openings. Some are carried in by human or pet inhabitants and may cause harm. Insects that bite or sting include ants, bed bugs, conenose bugs, fleas, ticks and lice. Other home insects destroy wood, fabric or food. These include cockroaches, termites, flies, beetles, earwigs, silverfish and firebrats.
Protect gardens from aphids, beetles and caterpillars or you may find leaves and stems chewed and full of holes. The Japanese beetle in the eastern United States is the most destructive beetle, but in general beetles don't do much damage to green plants. Aphids only become a problem in large populations, but caterpillars, the larvae of various insects, cause extensive damage to leafy green plants with their voracious appetites.
The most common and devastating lawn insects destroy lawns as larvae. Grubs, billbugs, chinchbugs and sod webworms all feast on grass, most at the root and stem level. Lawns infested with these insects will also entice the larger pests who feed on them. For example, moles seek large populations of grubs to feed on.
Identify many tree infestations by looking at the leaves, not only for obvious holes or chewing, but also for yellowing and curling. More damage to leaves occurs from insects in the larval stage of development; but trees are also vulnerable to wood-destroying insects. Beetles pose little problem to most garden plants, but may quickly infest and destroy entire trees. Identify the specific beetles that affect your particular tree types to prevent infestation.
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