Identifying and Preventing Arthropod Encounters in South-eastern USA Homes
About this episode
Arthropods – which include insects, spiders, centipedes and woodlice – have inhabited this planet for millions of years. They are found in most habitats on Earth – including our gardens and homes. It is in these built environments that a small number are considered a nuisance. An even smaller number damage buildings or belongings, eat our food – even feed on us – so we label them… pests! Preventing pest infestations requires an understanding of their lifestyles and requirements for food, water, shelter, and favourable temperatures. This understanding is predicated on a proper identification. Read More
To better appreciate these ideas, entomologists at the University of Georgia published a guidebook about arthropod species that may be considered pests in South-eastern USA. Titled ‘Insect and Arthropod Pests of Southeastern Neighborhoods: A Guide to Identification and Management’, the guidebook contains 175 colour images of 110 pests. It also provides tips for how to recognise signs of their presence and to prevent infestations. The authors explain that pest infestations are associated with conditions that promote survival and reproduction of particular species.
The first one is temperature. Like us, arthropods have a suitable temperature range. Sufficient food and water are also needed. Arthropods have a wide variety of diets and water requirements, which can be used to predict what pest species may favour particular household environments. Finally, arthropods need shelter. Even tiny cracks can become havens for arthropods thanks to their diminutive size.
By limiting access to food, water and shelter in and around the home, many infestations can be prevented or even eliminated.
The authors suggest keeping human and pet foods in sealed containers, and maintaining a clean environment free from spills and food waste. Specific locations in and around the home are more likely to provide shelter for arthropods. These preferred locations are usually protected from air currents – which can have a drying effect on arthropods. Crawlspaces, attics and inside walls provide hospitable areas for arthropods.
Crevices and gaps, such as behind appliances or cabinets, inside furniture, or between cluttered belongings, can also provide a safe place. Sealing gaps and clearing clutter could therefore reduce sheltering areas.
Garden features that provide sheltering spaces – such as paving stones and thick mulch – can also harbour arthropods that may then move into the home. The authors suggest keeping these garden features away from the house, to reduce the likelihood of pests moving inside.
Excessive and persistent moisture is an important condition for many types of pest infestations to establish. Persistently damp areas allow fungi and microbes to flourish, providing an abundant food source for arthropods. By remedying leaks, condensation, gaps around windows and clogged gutters, homeowners can deter pests that favour damp conditions.
The team’s guide provides comprehensive information about identification and biology of pest species and preventing infestations in the home. However, sometimes even our best efforts are unsuccessful. They also include practical advice about managing pests after identifying an infestation. This comprehensive guidebook has been helping home and business owners in South-eastern USA take the sting out of pest control since 2019, and provides an example for the creation of similar guides for other regions.
Original Article Reference
Summary of the bulletin ‘Insect and Arthropod Pests of Southeastern Neighborhoods: A Guide to Identification and Management’, in the University of Georgia’s extension publications, extension.uga.edu/publications.html
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
What does this mean?
Share: You can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt: You can change, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
Credit: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
Are you ready to increase the impact of your research?
Stay Up To Date With SciTube
Subscribe to receive our latest videos straight to your mailbox