Southern California’s mild climate attracts homeowners and vacationers from around the world. Unfortunately, that same climate also attracts a wide range of insects and household pests that often invade homes and become a regular nuisance for homeowners.
Here we take a closer look at some of the most common insects and pests you are likely to find as a California homeowner.
- Ants are one of the most common household pests in Southern California, with the top species being the Argentine, Pavement, Pharoah, and Thief.
- While pest infestations of any kind can be worrisome for homeowners, many of the pests found in Southern California can cause extensive property damage and/or spread germs that can make you and your family sick.
- Termites are responsible for over five billion dollars per year in damages in American homes, making them a very costly pest.
What kind of bugs do you find in your house?
No one wants to find bugs or pests of any kind inside their home. Unfortunately, the beautiful weather here in Ventura County attracts a wide range of household pests that often find their way into the home. While most pests are more of a nuisance, some of the pests common in our area can contribute to serious structural damage to your home. In addition, many common household pests can also spread germs and diseases that can make you or your family sick.
Here we look at 15 of Ventura County, California’s most common household pests.
Ants are considered to be one of the most common household pests around the country as well as here in Southern California. Ants can live just about anywhere and prefer to create nests near food and water sources. If you have an ant nest in your yard, chances are you will find ants entering your home in search of food and water. If they find suitable living areas within your home, they can decide to move in permanently.
Common ants in our area include the Argentine, Pavement, Pharoah, and Thief. Argentine ants create large colonies and will create large trails of ants to potential food sources indoors, such as pet food bowls. Pavement ants like to establish homes in your walls or underneath flooring and, if you get in their way, they may bite. Pharoah ants are small yellow ants that often seek shelter in your walls and behind baseboards. Thief ants like sugar and are commonly found in cupboards and pet food bowls. While not considered dangerous, ants can spread bacteria throughout your home that they pick up when walking.
2. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are insects that feed on human blood while you sleep and are most often found in mattress creases, crevices in bed furniture, and behind baseboards in the bedroom. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color and about the size of an apple seed.
Bed bugs can enter your home by attaching on to your luggage or clothing when you travel or come in on used furniture you purchase secondhand. If you have bed bugs, you may wake up with small, red, itchy bumps or notice an offensive musty smell that you are unable to identify. When checking for bed bugs, look for small brown to reddish spots on your bedding that can come from fecal matter or blood. Examining the creases of your mattress may reveal small bugs. While not considered dangerous, those allergic to bed bug bites may experience discomfort and require medical attention.
Termites are considered the most destructive household bug and they are responsible for over five billion dollars of damage in the United States every year. They are socialized bugs that live in large colonies and feed on cellulose from wood products within your home, including wooden support beams and sheetrock in your home. Known as “silent killers,” termites can work to actively damage your home without you even knowing you are infested.
Earwigs can be scary-looking bugs when you find them in your bathtub, but this pest is nothing but a nuisance and causes no harm to humans despite the old myth that said they crawled into human ears to tunnel into the brain, hence giving them their name. This moisture-seeking pest comes into the home looking for water sources and is most seen in bathrooms or areas where pipes may leak. While they have pincers that protrude from the abdomen and can grasp onto your finger, these pests do not sting and have no venom.
Mosquitoes may be one of the most annoying household pests in Southern California, especially with the arrival of the invasive Aedes “ankle-biter” mosquitoes. These small flying bugs feed on blood, and in the case of the Aedes mosquito variety, your ankles. While most mosquitos, such as the native Culex, feed close to sunset, the Aedes will feed throughout the day. When a mosquito bites and feeds on your blood, it leaves behind an itchy, red welt due to the saliva it injects into your skin when it bites. Unfortunately, it can also transmit viruses such as West Nile virus, Zika, dengue, Chikungunya, and yellow fever.
To reduce the risk of mosquitoes in your area, reduce areas of dense vegetation and areas of standing water, which quickly become breeding grounds for these pests.
No one wants to see a cockroach scurrying across their floor or countertop, but they are a common California pest, and if you see one, you are likely to have many calling your home theirs. Three common species, the Oriental, American, and German cockroaches, are common to our area and enter homes looking for food, water, and shelter. They can squeeze through the smallest spaces to make an entry despite their size. These pests are known to carry more than 30 different kinds of bacteria that they easily spread to any surface they touch, creating the potential to make you sick. In addition, cockroaches are often responsible for triggering allergies in sensitive populations.
Unlike other states that deal with a flea season, fleas can survive year-round in Southern California, making them a common nuisance pest for homeowners and pets. These small pests feed on your cats or dogs and, if left uncontrolled, can lead to hair loss, skin infections, anxiety, and anemia. While fleas prefer animals because they have a lot of furs to hide in, they can bite humans. When they bite and suck your blood, they also secrete saliva into your bloodstream. This saliva contains allergens that can cause itching and, in some cases, a more severe allergic reaction that can cause shortness of breath. Treatment for fleas in the home also requires treatment and prevention for your pets.
While an occasional bee inside your home may not seem like a big deal, an entire colony might be a bit too much. Bees, such as honeybees, build their nests in the open or in small cavities that offer protection. While not common, bees can make their way into crevices of your outdoor walls or in chimneys and decide that it offers the perfect place to call home. If you notice dark patches on your walls or ceilings and see signs of bees around or in your home, it may be a sign that bees have created a nest between your walls. Professional pest and bee removal are necessary to deal with these nests and to ensure there is no structural damage.
While most wasps found in California make nests in the ground, paper wasps will make nests in the eaves or in areas of a garage or shed that they deem safe. In Ventura County, the European paper wasp is the most common wasp species, often mistaken for yellow jackets. These wasps can deliver a painful sting, and the removal of an established nest in the home should be left to professionals.
While not technically insects or bugs, centipedes are creepy crawly pests that enter the home with far too many legs. In our area, homeowners can find a variety of centipede species, including the tiger, stone, house, and the giant desert centipede. These pests range in size from an inch to up to eight inches, and finding one in your home can be frightening as centipedes, such as the giant desert centipede, can deliver a painful pinch that also delivers a highly toxic venom into the bloodstream. While rarely fatal, these punctures can cause severe pain.
While millipedes, like centipedes, are not technically bugs but are commonly found in Ventura County. Millipedes are much smaller than centipedes and seek shelter in damp areas, such as near pipes. Inside the home, they are often found in bathrooms or kitchens near water sources. Unlike centipedes, millipedes do not pose any threat to you or your family.
House crickets are light brown with dark bands across their heads and large wings, legs, and antennae, reaching a full adult size of just under an inch. These household pests are known for their continuous, loud, nighttime chirping sounds that can keep even the deepest sleepers awake. They do best in moist, warm environments and often enter homes to escape extreme weather conditions. They are often found in kitchens, bathrooms, or other damp, warm areas.
Silverfish are wingless insects that are white to brownish-grey or bluish-silver in color. They have a teardrop-shaped body and three long bristles on their rear. They thrive in moist climates and frequently move inside during the dryer months looking for moisture. While not harmful to you or your family, silverfish can be very destructive. They feed on sugars and starches and are often found feeding on books, clothing, wallpaper, and food within your home.
While spiders are not part of the bug and insect family, they are common pests found inside homes in Ventura County. While most species of spiders in our area, such as the wolf spider or daddy long leg, are harmless to humans and can help control other pest populations, Ventura County is also home to medically significant spiders, such as the black widow, brown widow, and desert recluse.
While rodents such as rats and mice are not bugs at all, they are common pests that can infest homes, causing potential health risks and structural damage. When rodents make their way into your home, they can spread a wide range of dander and feces that can cause allergic reactions and damage insulation within your home. In addition, these rodents can spread dangerous bacteria and viruses that can make you and your family sick.
Making your home less appealing to pests
Your home is where you come to relax and spend time with family and no one wants to find their home overrun with bugs and other household pests. While this is an example of some of the most common pests in Ventura County, we are home to a wide range of bugs, insects, spiders, and other creepy crawlers just looking for a new place to call home. In order to keep your home from being overrun with pests, it is important to put prevention methods to work before an infestation takes hold. Because we have such a wide variety of pests in the area, a residential pest control and management plan is essential in order to reduce your risk of a bug or pest infestation.
Residential pest control helps keep your home bug-free
At Insight Pest Management, our technicians have a comprehensive understanding of the bugs and pests in Ventura County and are here to help ensure your home remains pest-free. Our experts will address and eliminate any current infestations while also working with you to make your home less pest-friendly and ensure the bugs stay outside where they belong.
Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how our team can help keep you pest-free.