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04 Common Pests

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Okay. So now, we want to take a look at some of the common pests that we find around the world. And we're not going to look at details on how to control or anything like that, we'll talk about those in your initial training here in the U.S. when you come in. What we want to discuss is just some of the basics of the biology and habits that we know about four groups of pests, cockroaches, ants, rodents, and flies. Around the world, these are the four general groups of pests that we are most often asked to control and prevent for our clients. So as I said, we would just want to look at some of the basics of their biology and habits because these are the things that allow us to place our control efforts in place and know that they will work. The methods that we'll discuss in more detail during your training have been proven to work for over 112 years. We know that if we do these things with the tools that we have available to us, we can control pest populations. And all this control is based as I said on their biologies. So as I said, regardless of where you are out in the world, we have these four groups of pest the cockroaches, the ants, the flies, and the rodents. There are differences in the species around the world. For example, we don't find you know fire ants in every portion of the world. We don't necessarily find Norway rats or roof rats in every geography. But the general biologies of these groups are going to be the same regardless of the species in most cases. So that's what we wanna take a look at here. Now when your training is done, they are in your region, we will focus more on the specific species that you have there so that we can get the best control for our clients. Now we're gonna break this session into four different parts, one on cockroaches, one on ants, one on the rodents, and one on the flies. So you'll be able to stop in between each one, make notes for yourself, write down questions that you might have about the pest biologies and so forth, that we'll answer for you when you come in. Okay. So let's start first with the cockroaches. Now commonly found in a large part of the world are the German, American, and Oriental cockroaches. We find these three in almost every country. There are a few exceptions but on the whole, these things are found just about everywhere. Now what our clients don't want to have, of course, is to open the door and see this running around, or worse if it was inside to walk up and see something like that crawling around in their facility. So our clients want us to prevent these things from coming in. If they have them inside, they certainly want to get rid of them as quickly as we can from the inside. We talked earlier about the disease that, the diseases that can be spread from cockroaches, as many as 50 different disease organisms on some of these animals like the German Roach. But why do people not like them so much. And certainly the disease and illness thing but there's also this social stigma and fear. If you have cockroaches in your home, people think you're dirty. If your business has cockroaches inside it, people think that the product might not be safe. If it's a food facility, they think the product, the food might be contaminated, which is certainly a reason that people dislike them. They smell. Some cockroaches have horrible odors that people can detect. And then there is certainly the financial impact of having cockroach problems. Now if you look at this list of five things there, which are more important to the residential client, to the domestic client, versus the commercial client? Well, certainly in a residential setting, the social stigma is a big thing, and the disease and health issues are big things. So when we're doing cockroach management cockroach work for our residential or domestic clients, we have to be aware that their primary concerns are those two things. The social stigma. So we want to make sure that our client does not see cockroaches, or that people that come to visit our client's home does not see cockroaches. But we also want to be mindful that that the home owner quite often is very much concerned about the potential for illnesses in their families. So that's what drives pest management in the residential section. Now in the commercial side, of course, the financial impact, the financial impact and the contamination, potentials, and so forth. Contamination potentials lead to possibly regulatory actions and so forth like we spoke about earlier. So that financial, that bottom line is the impact that our commercial customers are most concerned about. So we have to keep those things in mind as we are approaching cockroach management. Now what is it that our customers really don't like? Now what are some just general characteristics about the cockroaches? Primarily most of the cockroaches are active at night, they're nocturnal. When we see them out in the daytime that generally means that the population is extremely high. There's no more places for those insects to hide and that's why they might be seen in the daytime. Cockroaches like we said before, all animals require food, water, proper temperatures, and shelter, a place to live. Now one thing about cockroaches though is they are a little lazy. They don't really like to have to work hard for their food and water. So they're typically going to live as close as they can to their food and water source. So most cockroaches prefer warm, moist, dark areas, cracks and crevices to live in. So when we're looking for them, we're always looking for those harborage areas that are close to their food and water. Because like I said they're a little lazy. We know that cockroaches can reproduce quickly. Depending on the species of cockroach, the offspring can number into the hundreds, even to thousands over a short period of time. We know that cockroaches in general can carry disease organisms, and they can help to transmit those disease organisms to surfaces and directly to people at times. So, you know, just a couple of the general characteristics, there's many more, we'll discuss some of those. But when we look at those primarily, we have to have that understanding of what the cockroach wants to live, where he wants to live at. He wants to live as close as he can to his food and water, and he wants to live someplace where he has a dark, warm, moist, crack or crevice. They have this biological need is called thigmotropia. Thigmotropic means they like to squeeze into tight dark places. That's where the animal feels the most comfort. So we want to find those, we have to find those areas in order to eliminate the problem and prevent the problem for our client. Now some of the other general characteristics that we see from the cockroaches is they all create droppings. And the droppings can be different sizes depending on the species. We'll talk a little bit about that on the three common ones in just a few minutes. They grow through a molting process. And as they mold they cast off their skin. That dried exoskeleton or skin can cause respiratory problems and aggravate things like asthma in people that have asthma concerns. Generally, they are able to adapt to almost any environment. We'll find them living in extremely hot areas. We will also find them living in cool areas as well. It's not uncommon to find them living in refrigerators and even freezer doors or find them living in oven cavities in a kitchen, so that they can survive and adapt into many environments. This is an animal that's been on this earth estimated over 500 million years and has adapted and changed to survive all the changes on the earth. So it has that ability to survive, many, many things that would not, you know, be conducive to survival to say us in many times. They grow through that gradual metamorphosis. So the metamorphosis is a gradual metamorphosis or simple or incomplete. They all mean the same thing. Egg, the egg hatches into a nymph, the nymph turns into an adult. The nymph lives in the same general areas as the adult. They like the same foods, they have the same biological needs. There are some slight behavioral differences between the nymphs and the adults. But those are things that will discuss in more detail when we're talking about the control efforts. But the egg, the nymph, and adult are the three steps for the cockroach. Let's look at the steps individually. So here's the egg. The egg is placed inside this capsule called ootheca. Now the number of eggs that go into this capsule vary, it depends on the specie of roach. But each roach has a number of eggs that they lay inside these the oothecas, the egg sacks. Depending on the species, they may create these egg sacks every 2.5 to 3 weeks or once a month or once every 60 days, or so, it just depends on the species of roach. The number of eggs inside each will vary as we said by the species. So say a German cockroach may produce as many as 36 to 48 eggs inside each of those little egg sacks. An American Roach may only put 14 or 16 inside those egg sacks. And what the female does with those eggs sacks is going to be a little different by each specie. We'll talk about that in just a little bit more. Now when that egg sack is ready, when those nymphs inside are in the eggs and they decide it's time to come out, they rupture open a portion of that egg sack, that ootheca, and they come crawling out. Now these immature nymphs look like the adult, and they molt several times and grow on their way to adulthood. They may molt four, five times depending on the specie, as they become an adult. When they molt, they cast off that exoskeleton. And for a short period of time, their skin is very soft and very vulnerable. And it will also be a different color. It'll be maybe white, and that's just because the pigment has not completely formed inside the new skin. So they molt by simply breaking out of their skin, the new skin that is on their body will then harden up over a very short period of time, and they'll leave that cast off exoskeleton in place. And that's one of the clues, that's one of the things we're looking for are those cast off skins and exoskeletons. That's where the vacuuming part of our integrated pest management program comes into place. Also because by vacuuming, we're not only picking up the alive insects, but we're also picking up those cast skins which are potentially causing allergy issues, asthma and things like that. Now once the nymph becomes an adult, they are sexually mature, they're able to start reproducing. They may or may not have wings or they may have these vestigial wings, like we spoke about earlier that are just the result of evolution. This is an insect that used to have wings that through the evolution the insects say, "Well, I'm no longer going to fly." So those wings have gotten smaller and smaller. We'll see some pictures of those in just a just a little bit. The adult is as soon as it reaches adulthood, it's capable of reproduction. Now how often and how many depends again on the specie of roach. The most common cockroach in the world is the German Roach. It is the one we find on every continent, and in almost every community that we work in. It's a small indoor cockroach. It's approximately a little over one to two centimeters in length. It is the most common one found around the world like I said. It is considered to be an indoor roach but we will find it at times outdoors. The primary identifiers for this insect, it's kind of golden color. It has two dark stripes on or just behind its head. The these dark stripes are very evident, we can see them without magnifications, it's very plain and very simple to see, and that's one of the primary identifiers for German roach. The droppings, they create a lot of droppings, and those droppings actually kind of look like pepper, like you would put on your food, just kind of sprinkled onto a surface. They run extremely fast. They can cover ground as much as 12 inches in a second, when they're running as hard as they can. They want to live in places like kitchens, bathrooms, places where there's high humidity. The German cockroach requires a lot of water, requires a lot of moisture present, and it requires good heat. It does not live well at cold temperatures. They can adapt and survive in them but it would really prefer to be in the same temperatures that we like. That 20 to 24 type of degrees temperature is ideal for the German cockroaches, which if you think about it really is kind of ideal for us as well. Now the female German roach she's able to produce offspring on a pretty regular basis. She creates those egg sacks that can have as many as 48 eggs inside each of those oothecas. And she will create that egg sack and she will carry it on her body until maybe just a couple of hours before it's ready to hatch. So she has some maternal instinct and that she will create this egg sack, carry it around with her, but just before those nymphs are ready to come out of that ootheca, she will kick that egg sack off of her body and allow those nymphs to be born. Her maternal instincts end at that point. They are not the greatest parents in the world. As a matter of fact, the adults will actually kill and eat some of the nymphs if they don't scatter and get into hiding quickly. So they will create these eggs, carry them around with them at 30 to 48 babies or offspring per egg sack. In the course of the year, she can create as many as 300 direct offspring. And each of those, of course, are able to start reproducing as well if they're female, and so your resulting population can be extremely high in just a few short months because there are so many that come out of that egg sack. She can produce those egg sacks about every three weeks or so and keep doing that for her entire life which may be as long as a year as an adult. So you can see that the potential for a population explosion is tremendous. Now we mention kind of temperatures. Ideally, they love temperatures in that 20 to 32 kind of range. It's the range that they like, the ideal world they love it in that 20 to 24, 25 kind of range but they survive comfortably as high as 32. They will eat almost anything. They love almost any type of food but they, if it's a food that's rotting and off gassing and starting to ferment, they really like those. So they will eat almost anything. As I like to say, they'll eat everything that I will and almost everything that I won't. This is a very omnivorous insect. So taking away the food of the German cockroach becomes a difficult task, it's really not possible to eliminate all of the food that the German roach wants to eat. The German roach is one that is built for survival. Like I said it's been on this earth as long as 500 million years in some estimates that we found fossilized animals stuck in amber and so forth. And, you know, think about it, 500 million years, with the amount of changes that the Earth has gone through, this animal has adapted to all those changes. Climate changes as well as the changes that man has introduced on to this earth. So this is a surviving insect, it's going to outlive all of us, simply because it has learned those adoptive skills or adopted those skills of surviving in the environments that we create. Now one of the other common roaches that we work with is the American roach. And the American roach is a large outdoor roach. It's a large four to five centimeters in length. If we look right here at the top of its head, right here, this is called the pronotum. And the way we identify this insect is this light-colored ring that goes around the pronotum, almost like a halo. So if you have a cockroach, it's four to five centimeters and it has a halo around the top of its head, it's most likely an American roach. The American roach is a large outdoor roach, primarily it lives outdoors but it will come inside. It's most commonly found in commercial settings not residential settings, although they will be there. But this is an insect that that can move around on its legs very well. It runs very good. But it also has the ability to move with its wings. It has very large wings that cover its body. They don't fly terribly well but they glide very well. They're attracted to light. So we'll see them crawling up the sides of structures towards light fixtures at night and then letting go and just gliding for some considerable distances at times. Just spread their wings and float across the air if you will, glide from one place to another. The nymphs when they come out of the egg sack, the ootheca, they are usually a dark solid color, and they are shaped like the adult. There are slightly different color as the adult but they grow up and go through the series of molts and become this very large, large outdoor roach. The American cockroach is primarily associated with outdoor areas like I said, sewer systems, wet areas. But they also will get into vegetation and trees and things like that. The egg sack, the ootheca that the female creates is about 8mm in length and will have somewhere between 14 and 16 as an average eggs inside that ootheca. Again, they will eat almost anything like the German roach will. But they really like fermenting beverages, so liquid materials that are rotting. They have sugars and oils in them and they're starting to break down and rot, and decay and ferment, those are ideal foods and ideal attractants for the American cockroach. The droppings of this animal because of the size of the animal, of the size of this cockroach, the droppings can be pretty big. And they're often can be confused with the droppings of a mouse. Their droppings are very similar in size and shape. The only way you really can tell the difference is by the feel. The droppings of a mouse are typically pretty smooth if you pick it up and run it between your fingers a little bit. The dropping of the mouse will be smooth, the droppings of the American cockroach will be rough. It's called by a lot of different names. The American cockroach is its scientific name or is part of the scientific name. But it's also called things such as a water bug, palmetto bug, and many other names. It has a lot of names and it might be called something different than American cockroach in your area. Now the third most common roach that we deal with is the Oriental Roach and this is probably the nastiest of the roaches, because this roach likes to live in sewers primarily. So we find it a lot in commercial buildings coming up through the sewers and the drainage systems. It's exposed to a lot of really nasty material. It's a big roach that typically doesn't really live inside, it lives outdoors and under the ground in the concrete and under the concrete in the sewer systems. It's a big roach about 2.5 or 3cm long but it does come inside through the drains and sewer pipes, like I said. Dark brown, black in color and the body is very wide, it's a it's a large looking cockroach. You heard us talk about the vestigial wings. This is the example of vestigial wings. Those are wings that used to be there, they used to cover the body but just through time and evolution those wings have shrunk to where they only just kind of sit there on the shoulders if you will. They do not function and this insect cannot fly at all because it does not have the wings whatsoever. This is a female as we see here and it's one of the ways we tell the difference in this roach of male to female is the female has these vestigial wings, whereas the wings of the male cover about three quarters of his body. Neither of them can fly. They cannot glide very well, they walk around surfaces, they can cling to surfaces, they come up out of the sewer systems and spread, potentially spread bacteria and disease organisms that come out of the sewer. These insects are ones, the Oriental roaches are ones that smell very bad. The Oriental roach has a very distinct odor, primarily because of the oils that are on its body because of where it's living at. So when you walk into a facility, you can really smell this insect, it's very distinct. The egg sack, the ootheca is about 8mm long and has about 16 eggs inside it as an average. Now all three of these insects will live about the same amount of time. They can live somewhere as an adult in the 9 to 12-month range if they're not brought under control. So with the potential for reproduction, populations can get out of hand particularly with the German roach, very fast, very quick. Now the amount of offspring that the American roach and the Oriental roach create are slightly smaller. They do not produce the egg sacks quite as often. So their population does not necessarily get as high as the German roach does, but the potential is still there for all the high population. Because in very short period of time, those nymphs are going to mature, and they're going to be able to start producing offspring as well. So that's just some of the general characteristics of the cockroaches. There are specific things that are more common to the each specie. And we'll talk about those more in your training here as we talk about the control. Because those specific things about the cockroaches, the individuals are what give us the control techniques that we're going to utilize for some of these animals. So as I said, we'll pause now, you can take time to write down any questions you have about the general biology or habits of these cockroaches and also think about the cockroaches that you have specifically in your country. And when you come in for your training here, bring those questions with you and we'll discuss and make sure that we have all those answers for you.

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Posted by: rbanderas on Dec 20, 2016

04 Common Pests

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