Social Pests

Social pests present unique challenges for homeowners. They think and act as a collective, build nests together, and are very difficult to get rid of. This is because you can kill a number of them without harming the colony itself. Here, we’ll take a look at some social pests and how Pointe Pest Control manages them.

Termites

 

Termites have been described as an exo-brain. They think and operate as a unified whole under the guidance of a single queen. The queen can live up to 30 years, longer than any other insect in nature. 

Their society is divided into three castes with the queen in a category all her own. There are workers, warriors, and reproductive termites. The workers spend 24 hours a day working. If that seems like a lot, consider that most of their labor involves chewing up your home. They never sleep, and they are responsible for feeding the worker and reproductive termites. Unlike their brothers, the reproductive termites have wings. So if you see flying termites in your home, you know that you have a nest—and a problem. 

Wasps

Wasps may hate everything else, but they do enjoy the company of one another. Hornets, yellowjackets, and paper wasps all live in nests—a common feature of social pests. Not all wasps are social creatures, but the ones most commonly found in North America are. They are ruled by a dominant female, known as the queen, who lays eggs. If the female queen fails in her role, another female will take over for her. Males, interestingly, are hatched from unfertilized eggs. If the queen wants to maintain her status in wasp society, restricting the number of fertilized eggs seems imperative. Yet wasps grow their colonies and reproduce because females go forth and found new ones.

All social wasps are predators, typically feeding on caterpillars and other insects. Drones will chew up the prey into a paste that they will then feed to their larvae. Their main role in the colony is hunting. 

Ants

Ant society is almost identical to termite society. They have warriors, reproductive ants, and workers. By and large, the vast majority of ants are workers. These ants are responsible for creating tunnels, finding food sources, and bringing them back to the colony.

When a worker ant finds a food source, it lays a trail of pheromones for the other ants to follow. This is why when you drop your ice cream on the ground, you’ll find hundreds of little ants clamoring to get at it.

Inside your home, certain types of ants can be very dangerous. While the smaller ones will not generally cause much damage, carpenter ants can do a number on your woodwork and be every bit as destructive as termites.

Rodents

Rats and mice, the two most common rodent house pests, are both social creatures. But the entire family of rodents exhibits social behavior that spans the spectrum. While nake mole rats have a caste system, prairie dogs have “towns”, while European dormice (known as edible dormice since they were eaten as a delicacy in Ancient Rome) are solitary creatures that live their lives much like spiders, feeding on insects and bits of cheese left out by careless homeowners.

The brown rat, which is the most common rodent pest, has spread to every continent except Antarctica. They are capable of metacognition (being aware of their own ability to think) and are known to communicate with one another.

Pups produce ultrasonic chirps to grab their mother’s attention when they’re in distress, but at about a week old, they will be wary of “crying” around male rats as a defense mechanism. 

Rats can make other noises too. These include teeth grinding, as a self-comforting sound, and singing during confrontations. 

Get Rid of Social Pests with Pointe Pest Control

While the sounds of rats singing may be intriguing, you probably don’t want any of these pests in your home. Not only can they destroy your most precious asset, but they carry diseases that can sometimes be lethal. The pest control experts at Pointe Pest Control have the experience you need to get rid of infestations for good. Talk to us today for a free inspection.

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