Revision of no. 89; Oct. 193*.
Other Household Pests
WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION
Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator
Henry G. Alsberg, Director of the Federal Writers' Project
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Tallahassee, Florida
Nathan Mayo, Commissioner
Revised August, 1940
FEDERAL WRITERS' PROJECT OF FLORIDA
Termites .............................. P
Chiggers or Red Bugs .................46
The damage of the destructive termite, apparently greatest in the Southern states is centered upon those buildings which were constructed without thought of termite invasion. There is a great need to equip the farmer and the city resident alike with the proper weapons to combat this formidable foe. v.nd to advance methods of stamping out the pest through the proper construction of buildings.
WHAT ARE TERMITES?
Termites represent an important group of social insects, other groups being ants, bees, and wasps. While resembling true ants, termites belong to an entirely distinct order of insects, and are closely related to the Blattidae, or roaches-Termites occur in numerous forms throughout the world but in greatest abundance in subtropical and tropical countries. For our immediate purpose, however, we are concerned only with termites which may occasion serious damage to woodwork of buildings or to stored articles, including furniture, books or other articles of plant origin. The common type of destructive house termite of North America includes ground-nesting forms that cannot live without moisture, which they get from the earth. There is also a type of dry wood termite, which does not live in the ground but may attack directly at any point in a building, gaining access through windows or doors. In the United States this type is restricted in distribution to the Atlantic coast from Norfolk. Va., south, up the Pacific coast to northern California. These termites occur practically throughout the United States, but serious damage to buildings and contents is more apt to be experienced in the Southern states.
Termites feed almost exclusively on dead vegetable substance and all the wood eaters that have been studied have been found to contain numerous symbiotic infusorians in their food canal which prepare the "dry-as-dusf food. Infusorians are generally regarded as the most highly organized of the protozoans; the form is definite; there are
IiKI'AKT.MKXT OK AGRK'ULTURK
usually special places for the ingestion of food and exit of excrement, and the processes for locomotion are often highly developed. By slightly raising the temperature it is easy to kill the partner infusorians without injuring the termites and, in this way. it has been proved that the symbiosis is indispensable. In the cases that have been studied, the termites cannot utilize the masticated wood unless the Infusorians first work on it. Althought termites are in many places very common and their ant hills or termitarie is very conspicuous, the insects themselves are not seen as often as the true ants, for they have usually a great dislike for the light of day and therefore hide their pale thin-skinned wingless bodies in covered galleries and tunnels. The dark-skinned sexual forms are winged, but fly about for only a very short while.
The young termites that hatch out from the eggs are not very different from the adults in size. In other words, there is little or no metamorphosis. The termite's brain is relatively small. Sounds are mechanically produced by working one part of the body against the other. These sounds are probably means of communication.
Among the higher type termites, there may be hundreds of thousands of individuals in a colonysometimes millions. But in primitive species, there may be only a few dozen or less. In the great majority, there are five castes, three fertile and two normally sterile. First, there are the "kings" and "queens," the ordinary males and females, deeply pigmented with relatively large brains and eyes. After the nuptial flight, they discard their wings and the female settles down to extraordinary maternity. Second, there are complemental or substitutional kings and queens, less pigmented, with small brain and eyes and with vestigal wings. Third, there are peculiar, not very intelligible adults, scarcely pigmented, entirely wingless and small-brained. Fourth, there are the wingless, unpigmented, non-reproductive workers, arrested individuals of both sexes, small-
braned and often blind. Ffth, there are the wingless, big-headed and small-brained, usually more or less blind soldiers, also arrested individuals, that attain complete development. As there are often two sizes of workers and three sizes of soldiers, there are 16 different kinds of individuals, though no single colony may show them all.
It was once thought the differences were due to variations in nurture, but further investigation points to the conclusion that the differences are largely germinal, that is. determined in the eggs. Thus, in the youngest stage there seems to be a distinct difference between the reproductive and the sterile. Here it should be noted workers and soldiers are occasionally fertile, apparently producing others like themselves. The kings and queens can produce all of the castes; the complementals give rise to complemen-tals, ergatoids, workers and soldiers; the ergatoids can give rise to ergatoids, workers and soldiers.
The dark-colored kings and queens leave the nests in the aerial swarm, but the association in couples occurs on the ground after a short flight and after the wings are discarded. A hole is dug by the young king and queen and this is the beginning of the termitarium. Only after some construction is completed does the actual pairing occur, and the whole colony is the progeny of the two.
In the higher termites, the queen's abdomen eventually becomes extraordinarily swollen, even four inches long, '20.000 times th': volume of the worker. According to the Scientist Escherich, she may, for a long period, lay an egg every few seconds, about 30,000 a day; 10 million may be laid in a year and 100 million during her lifetime of about ten years.
The complementals or the ergatoids may take the places of the king and queen if these should die. The workers have to do with foraging, feeding, nursing, building and re-
pairing. The soldiers are defensive, but some with vestigal jaws, known as nasuti, squirt drops of sticky fluid on their assailants. The domestic economy includes feeding one another with saliva, regurgitated food and faecal matter. Moreover, all the castes form exudates which the others lick off. This is most copious on the swollen queen, who is therefore much licked, and not always gently, by workers.
The inter-relations of termites with other organisms are many. No mixed colonies are known, but there are compound nests whose galleries are tenanted by two or more species. True ants often live in termitaries. Various insects, the "termitaries," habitually live in association with termites just as true ants and in both cases the associates may be grouped as injurious intruders, parasites, tolerated guests and true guests. The last exude excretions which are greedily devoured by the termites. In exchange they sometimes receive regurgitated food. But they may also help themselves to young termites. Most of the termito-phites are beetles, but there are representatives of other orders too, such as Diptera. Very remarkable is the development of abnormalities among some of the guests, resulting in abdominal enlargement, accumulation of fat, blindness and winglessness, which has been attributed to confinement within narrow galleries and chambers, the very limited supply of oxygen, the absence of light, and the abundance of carbohydrate food.
TERMITES IN BUILDINGS
The normal habitat of these termites is in connection with dead-wood, old stumps, etc., on which they feed, and in such locations they may establish large colonies containing queens, wingless workers, and soldiers. In the spring, and sometimes in the fall, males and femaleswhite-winged but with black or brown bodies.swarm from the outdoor colonies, or in buildings to which their work has extended, to seek favorable points out-doors for the estab-
lishment of new colonies. These colored, winged forms should not be confused with the narrow-waisted, true ants. These swarming, or flying, termites do not attack wood or other articles in houses and must reach the open if they are to be successful in founding new colonies. The descendants of these winged migrants, the workerscream-colored "white ants," are the wood-mining and destructive members of the colony. These shun the light and are concealed in their runways or behind a protecting shell of wood which is always left and are seen only when wood in which they are working, or their connecting runways over masonry, etc., are broken open.
HOW TO STOP TERMITE DAMAGE
The means of stopping termite injury in a building are substantially the same as those to be employed in new construction to prevent the entry of termites. Inasmuch as contact with soil moisture is absolutely essential to the life of ground-inhabiting termites, reconstruction of a type which permanently breaks and makes impassable the ground connections maintained between the parent soil colony, and any building will result in the prompt death of any termites remaining in the woodwork or furniture or contents of the building even if they have reached the second or third floors. However, if through water leakage or other sources such woodwork is kept more or less permanently moist, termites cut off in the building may continue to work as long as this condition lasts. This applies particularly to damp corners of basements or similar conditions which may result from leakages of water pipes in bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
THE TWO BEST REMEDIES
The most lasting and effective remedy is the replacitent of wood in or near the basement of the building with concrete. Second in order of effectiveness and durability
is the replacement of such wood with treated wood or timbers, and, in regions of excessive termite damage, the employment under both methods of protective shields. By this means contact between colony and building is permanently broken and relief from termite damage is assured. This means that joists imbedded in concrete and the basement floor and baseboards should be replaced with any type of plain or ornamental concrete. In basement rooms so constructed, movable furniture of wood, and also built-in furniture, particularly if resting on concrete footings, can be employed with safety.
CAPPING AND FACING
To give the capping and facing to basement walls of frame buildings it is rarely necessary to jack up the building, but usually it is possible to remove the upper tier of brick or upper portion of the masonry unit in sectons and replace it with Portland cement mortar and suitable capping of slate or mortar.
Where poor grades of mortar have been used in masonry walls below the ground, it may be advisable to coat the outside, and, if necessary, the inside of the wall, with portland cement or concrete, to keep termites from boring through.
METAL TERMITE SHIELDS
The termite shields of metal can easily be inserted over or in the masonry foundation of buildings or around pillars, supports, piping, etc., below the frame superstructure.
The possibility of stopping, for a temporary period at least, termite work in buildings by means of soil poisons placed about the foundations is indicated by experiments which have been under way for several years by various
agencies interested in termite control. The use of such soil poisons, is, however, still very much in the experimental state and on present information cannot be recommended as a permanent remedy. On the other hand, where termite reconstruction herein recommended is deemed by the owner to be impracticable or too expensive, the following type of soil poisoning may be used and should give temporary relief:
The most promising of the soil poisons for such use is a full strength of crude liquid orthodichlorobenzene. This chemical should be applied alter a trench has been dug 30 inches deep (in no case lower than the top of the footing) and at least 12 inches wide at the top around the foundation walls and piers supporting the main structure or porches, etc. The soil at the bottom of the trench should be saturated with full-strength orthodichlorobenzene at the rate of one gallon per ten linear feet. The soil should then be replaced to within three inches of the surface and the treatment repeated. Before making such applicati on,
The cautions to be observed in the use of his chemical are not to let it come in contact with the face and hands, as it burns slightly, and is distinctly painful if it gets into the eyes. In applying it to a closed space beneath the building, the operator should not remain too long subject to the fumes, and it is desirable to secure as good ventilation as possible while applying the chemical.
Where there is danger of orthodichlorobenzene reaching the roots of ornamental plants, etc., paradichlorobenzene in the crystalline form may be used in the manner specified above. This chemical may also injure vegetation but will not spread as deeply as the liquid orthodichlorobenzene. In
the Northern states this crystal is ordinarily used during warm weather, when soil temperatures are likely to be high. Crystals should be used at the rate of approximately 5 pounds per 10 linear feet. Coal-tar creosote used along or diluted with three parts of petroleum oil is also effective as a soil poison if applied at the same rate as orthodichlorobenzene. Like the latter chemical, it is injurious to plant life.
The use of these and other soil poisons is especially applicable to buildings raised on masonry pillars or partially filled-in basements or porches, but as already indicated, such treatments lack adequate proof of effectiveness and permanency.
Termite damage to the woodwork of buildings can be remedied by the householder himself or by the employment of an intelligent contractor. Common sense and not the services of an expert are needed to put into effect the following recommendations. However, it is always advisable to outline the scope of the work necessary in repairing the various types of buildings damaged by termites. Indeed often it is well to have a contract drawn up. The following suggestions are suitable for remedying the normal termite damage in the average types of buildings and afford the basis for such contracts. Sometimes, it is necessary to call for expert advice on reconstruction based on a knowledge of termites.
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION
Where wooden floors, foundation timbers, architraves either upright or joists, sills, porches, steps, etc., are in contact with the earth, sleepers laid on concrete are included.
SCOPE OF WORK
Remove from basement or cellar the present wood floors, sleepers, filling between sleepers, wood wainscot, wooden thresholds, wooden subsills, window stools, partitions, baseboard, stairs, and the coal bin.
Excavate or fill in basement, or cellar, where wood floors are removed, as may be necessary to bring sub-grade to depth of four inches below level of present floors.
Form cement coves, thresholds and bases where cement paving is done and in other locations when hereinafter specified.
Remove all old wood forms where same are found still remaining in place. All old boards, wood scraps, debris, and any other materials that will attract termites, now located throughout the basement and unexcavated areas under the buildings, shall be entirely removed from the premises by the contractor. Debris, specified to be removed from the premises shall be carried to a dump and burned.
In basement, or cellar, shore up, if necessary for removal of uprights, cut off bottom ends and replace on cast iron bases. Cut off bottom of door jambs and architraves in basement.
Cement shall be of an approved brand or a mortar composed of one part Portland cement to three parts of sand graded from fine to coarse, with no grains larger than will pass through the No. 10 sieve, to which may be added 10 per cent by weight of the cement or some workable agent, such as hydrated lime.
Sand shall be clean and sharp, free from loam or vegetable matter and preferably with grains varying in size.
Stone shall be hard and durable and broken so as not to exceed two inches in any direction. Clean, washed gravel of same size may be used instead of stone.
Remove partitions, stairs, floors and sleepers in basement or cellar; excavate or fill, as may be necessary, to bring
earth to even surface of four inches below top of present floor. Lay a paving base three and one-quarter inches thick, composed of one part cement, three parts sand and six parts broken stone or gravel. Before concrete base has set, apply a smooth top dressing three-quarters of an inch thick, composed of two parts of cement and three parts sand or fine granite screenings (not dust). All expansion joints shall be filled with coal tar pitch. All thresholds shall be formed of top dressing mixture and troweled to a smooth surface.
Where plastered walls are furred or stripped, cut away plaster, studs of stripping to a height of six inches above floor and build a cement base tight against brick wall and flush with face of plastering.
Cut off lower part of door jambs and casings six inches above floor and replace with cement plinths. These plinths shall project one-quarter inch beyond jambs and casings and shall be offset so as to properly receive the architraves, sink down strips of metal from woodwork into concrete.
All cement plinths, bases, etc., shall be reinforced with heavy wire lath well anchored to walls.
Where wood wainscot and wood base are removed in basement or cellar, patch if necessary, and white coat and make a neat job where plastering joins new cement base; patch with gypsum-two-coat work, to finish even with surface of present work.
Baseboards, plinths or other concrete work shall be suitably painted to match plaster or woodwork.
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION
Where filled-in porches, steps, etc.. are in contact with the main building and joists from the main building project into such earth filled areas; or where there are unexcavated areas under floors.
COST OF TERMITE-PROOFING SLIGHT
A few hundred dollars additional spent in the proper construction of buildings may save thousands of dollars later in repairs and replacements. It is much simpler and cheaper to keep termites out of a building than to get rid of them and repair the damage after they are once in, because necessary repairs are involved which may be too costly for the small householder. These suggestions for the prevention of termite damage to buildings will probably add only one to two percent to the initial cost of the buildings (mainly chargeable to supervision), but they are a form of insurance, not only to the householder, but to the persons financing the buildings. Bankers have shown their understanding of this point by their willingness to loan more money or give a lower rate of interest to a home-owner constructing a building in accordance with these provisions.
Where there is considerable damage by dry-wood termites, impregnation with standard preservatives of all woodwork to be used in buildings is recommended as a further precaution to persons who can afford this expense. But such use of impregnated wood will increase the initial cost of termite-proofing to approximately ten percent, which would cover the additional cost of handling treated timbers.
In view of the fact that but few termite-resistant woods occur in the world, it is in general, not recommended that attempts be made to obtain such woods, but rather that commercial woods grown in the United States be impregnated with standard chemical wood preservatives.
TESTS OF MORTARS FOR FOUNDATION WALLS
Tests of mortars and concretes of various different chemical and physical combinations, as well as of mortars with poisons included when mixed, have been conducted by
the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine to determine the most effective combinations for foundations below the surface of the ground for the purpose of preventing penetration by termites. Some termites, sub-terranean in habit, are able to dissolve certain grades of lime mortar. The amount of hydrated lime used in foundation walls should not exceed ten percent by weight of the cement.
MODIFICATION OF CITY BUILDING CODES
One of the simplest, most effective, and practical means of preventing termite infestation would be to modify the building regulations or codes of cities, as has already been done in many cities, so as to include in the mandatory section a few simple specifications recommended by the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine to protect buildings from such damage by Termites. These suggestions, of course, would have to be enforced or they would be worthless. Essentially these specifications pertain to methods of keeping termites from coming up from the ground, where they live and obtain moisture, and from burrowing into the untreated woodwork of buildings. Recommendations are as follows:
1. No untreated wood shall be used in foundations, basements, or cellars.
2. Cement mortar shall be used in masonry foundations.
3. All masonry foundations shall be capped with concrete or mortar and slate.
4. Metal mechanical barriers shall be placed over foundations.
5. Proper ventilations.
6. Screening of all ventilation openings and doors.
7. Earth shall not be used as a filler for the foundations of porches or sun-parlors adjoining houses.
As has been explained, termites infesting beams or other wood will dry up and die if the wood is disconnected from the ground, even if they have penetrated to the third floor. Knowledge of this fact will save time and expense, especially in the case of old frame buildings, where extensive repairs would be unwarranted. Eaten timbers need not be removed or replaced, unless seriously weakened structurally.
Wooden floors laid directly on the ground, or on stringers on the ground, or set in concrete, should be removed. There should be a solid layer of concrete between the earth and the wooden floor. Wooden sills and baseboards should be removed if not on concrete.
INDICATIONS OF INFESTATION
The emergence of large numbers of the flying termites is an indication as well as a warning that the woodwork is infested, and the point of emergence indicates the approximate location of the infested timbers. Large numbers of the dead winged adults or of the discarded wings will usually be found near infested timbers following swarming. Grass and earth thrown out of crevices through which the insects emerge are also evidences of their presence. Branching shelter tubes of small diameter, made of earth mixed with finely powdered wood, on foundation timbers or other wood-work, or over the surface of stone, brick or other impenetrable foundation material across which the insects travel from the ground to the woodwork, is another aid in locating infestations.
In the case of the non-subterranean termites, which infest wood directly, evidences that they are damaging wood are the impressed pellets of excrement w'hich are expelled from the wood. Other evidences are the holes, similar in size to BB shot, where the insects entered the wood.
KILLING THE WINGED ADULTS WILL NOT STOP THE
When efforts are made to prevent further damage by termites in buildings, it should be realized that the numbers of these insects may be constantly recruited from some undiscovered, outside, central colony. The destruction of the winged colonizing adults at the time of emergence, although beneficial in preventing the establishment of new colonies, out of doors, will not eradicate the insects infesting the woodwork. These winged adults are harmless indoors and will soon die. Sweeping them up with a vacuum cleaner is a simple method of getting rid of them. The most destructive forms are the white, wingless workers, which remain within the wood.
DISTRIBUTION OF TERMITES
While termites occur most commonly and in greatest numbers of species in the tropics and subtropics, they are also native in temperate countries, and are found from approximately latitude 50 degrees north to latitude 50 degrees south.
There are 1,997 different known species of termites in the world, including 65 fossil species. In the United States there are 56 living species and 9 fossil; the fossils occur in rocks in the States of Washington, Colorado, and Tennessee. The age of the rocks bearing termite fossils indicates that termites were present on this continent at least 55 million years ago, far earlier than man. Also, fossil termite pellets have been found in Florida, in more recent formations.
In the United States termites have been found in all states except North Dakota. Twenty-five species occur in Arizona, twenty in Texas, nineteen in California, fifteen in Florida, eight in Nevada; and other states have from one
to five species. Only five have been recorded from New Mexico, doubtless because of lack of thorough investigation.
PREVENTING AND REMEDYING INJURY TO LIVING VEGETATION, FRUIT, NUT, SHADE AND FOREST TREES
Termites cause occasional but serious injury to individual living trees, shrubs, nursery stock, and grapevines. In case of shade trees the infestation may start as local at the base and extend more generaly through the heart wood. A wise preventive measure is the removal of all loose wood which may afford them shelter, such as primings, dead and dying trees, and the like, and untreated fence posts and similar material.
Termites are also occasionally a pest in orchards, not only in new orchards planted on freshly cleared land where there is such debris, but also, because of neglect, in old orchards, in both Florida and California.
Cleanliness in orchard and forest management is important. Since termites in the Southern States render unmerchantable the forest trees that have been killed by insects, fire or disease, all timber from such trees should be utilized or removed as promptly as possible in areas where termites are common.
In the case of the pecan it is recommended that two or three cereal crops be grown on newly cleared land before the young trees are set out.
In vineyards all dead or diseased vines should be removed. All exposed areas left by pruning should be painted with preservative coatings, and the primings should be burned promptly. Nearby stands of tree windbreaks should be carefully tended and kept free from infestation by termites. Trellis posts should be creosoted.
FIELD AND TRUCK CROPS, DEEP FALL PLOWING
Deep, late, fall plowing will be of value in breaking up the galleries and nests of subterranean termites On ground planted to field or truck crops. Irrigating the land, where practicable, will be effective; this can be done before planting the crop.
Care should be taken not to plow under stubble which will serve as food for termites; it should be burned. The use of commercial fertilizers instead of animal manure is also recommended where subterranean termites are common in the soil.
ROTATION OF CROPS
As a result of the frequent stirring of the soil, rotation of crops will aid in preventing termites from injuring them. Plowing and fallowing are more practical than the use of insecticides in preparing the soil to prevent termite damage.
FLOWERS AND GREENHOUSE STOCK
Termites injure a great variety of flowers in gardens, as well as many plants grown under glass in greenhouses, where the warm, moist atmosphere maintained throughout the year promotes greatly the activity of the insects. Injury from termites is especially common where the plants are perennial and have woody stalks.
AVOIDING STABLE MANURE
In flower gardens, especially those located near the woodwork of buildings, commercial fertilizer should be substituted for stable manure in order to protect the buildings and growing plants.
SOURCES OF INFESTATION
Heavily manured flower beds are sources of infestation to the stems of the flowers, as well as to the woodwork of buildings near by, if suitable protection is lacking. Ter-
mites can obtain food from the animal manure. Untreated wooden stakes used as supports of plants often become infested, and in time the insects attack the plants. Where greenhouses have already been built and termite damage is due to poor construction, termites often attack old label sticks, the wooden uprights supporting wooden benches set on or in the ground, and the wooden bench bottoms and plant pots, and later attack the growing plants. The insects come up through the ground and form dirt galleries over che supports, or burrow up through the wooden bench legs and run galleries the full length of the benches. They enter the soil in the pots through the drainage holes and eat out the main stalk of the root, killing the plant very quickly.
Either carbon disulphide or carbon tetrachloride can be used to kill termites in the soil if it is moist and not compact. These gases should not be used too near the infested plants, or the plants should be removed temporarily until the soil has been treated. Small holes should be made near the infested plants, and a small quantity of the liquid chosen poured in and the holes immediately closed tightly with earth. Calcium Cynide has also been found effective, but it should not be placed near living plants; it mixes readily with and enriches the soil giving off an insecticidal gas which should not be inhaled, as it is poisonous.
An effective control may be found in the use of kerosene nicotine oleate or a five percent kerosene emulsion. If the greenhouse benches are infested, but for any reason cannot be replaced, they should be soaked thoroughly with this emulsion, as should also the ashes and sand under the pots on the benches. This may be done by removing the potted plants from a section of the bench, spraying that section, and moving the pots on the bench to cover the treated area, thus giving access to another section. Potted heliotropes and geraniums have been treated directly with the five percent kerosene emulsion without injury to the plants, and the white ants in the soil of the pots were all killed. The
soil should be wet down before this spray is used. This treatment should be given late in the afternoon and be followed early the next morning with a thorough syringing of the soil with water to wash out the surplus oil. It is important to remove all infested pots from the bench as soon as the infestation is noticed and to destroy the termites with kerosene emulsion.
WHAT TERMITES COST NATION
It is estimated that termites cause a loss of 40 million dollars annually in the United States. From 2.000 to 2,500 cases of termite damage to the woodwork of buildings are reported annually to the United States Department of Agriculture and, of course, this represents but a small portion of the actual damage. From November 1930 to August 15, 1931, 1,840 cases of termite damage were reported to the Termite Investigations Committee of the University of California as having occurred in Los Angeles County alone. There are at present no accurate figures of the extent of infestation or money losses for the entire country. In many cases of infested buildings, actual damage is but slight and can be easily remedied.
By man's disturbance of the balance of nature in felling and clearing forests and woodlands, his cultivation of the fields, and the encroachment of civilization, evidenced by more extensive buildings operations, drainage, and irrigation, termites have been forced from their natural habitats and have been driven to the status of termites from the role of scavengers to that of pests.
Ninety-five percent of termite damage in the world is caused by the subterranean type. Practically all damage can be avoided by proper construction. Termites are selective feeders and choose the most suitable species of wood, etc., for food. Much damage by termites to materials such as shoes, lead-sheathed cable, and other substances not containing cellulose is due to the fact that these materials were in the way. Damage to rifles, razor blades, and other im-
penetrable materials is caused by the corrosive action of moisture brought up by subterranean termites with the earth and excreated wood with which they build tunnels or runways over these metals.
CAUTION AGAINST EXAGGERATED FEARS
Without desire to minimize the damage that may be occasioned to buildings and their contents by termite attack, especially if long continued, it should nevertheless be pointed out that serious termite injury to buildings, particularly in the more northern parts of the Temperate Zone, is relatively infrequent; and that termite work may go on for years without involving the necessity for extensive repairs or reconstruction of foundation timbers and flooring. Many instances could be cited of old houses, dating back to Colonial times, in which the presence of termites has been known for 50 years, probably for two or three times that period, without radical injury resulting. Such immunity is due, in part, to the more massive timbers used in these older types of houses, the foundation beams of which were often of large size and hewn from the mature centers of hardwood trees.
Once having invaded a building, however, termites will continue their work and extend their damage slowly or rapidly, unless and until their means of entrance from the outside has been removed by effective reconstruction. With the breaking of the connection between the building and the external soil moisture, all the subterranean termites in the building promptly die and injury ceases.
While, therefore, the risk of sudden collapse of any fairly well-constructed building, solely from termite injury, can be dismissed as very rare in the United States, the discovery of termites in a building, as shown either by swarming or by yielding flooring and timbers, certainly indicates the desirability of having an examination made to determine what means should be taken to stop damage.
Bedbugs are sucking insects. Their mouth parts are modified to form an elongated sharp beak which can be thrust into the skin and through which blood can be drawn. It requires a weii-grown bedbug from three to five minutes to become engorged with blood if its feeding is unmolested. Once filled to capacity, the bug withdraws its beak and quickly crawls to its hiding place where it remains for several days digesting its meal, seemingly indifferent to its host. When hunger finally reasserts itself, the bedbug seeks out its host for another meal.
FOOD OF BEDBUGS
The food of bedbugs is the blood of warm-blooded animals, principally of man. Sometimes bedbugs become very abundant in hen houses, where they feed upon poultry at night. Rabbits, guinea pigs, white rats, canaries, and other pets may be weakened by loss of blood due to bedbug attack.
Many believe that bedbugs develop in trees and can subsist on sap, or on dried juices of seasoned wood in houses, but there is no evidence that this is true. Moreover, bedbugs cannot eke out a subsistence from dirt in floor cracks and other places in buildings. A very persistent belief that is without foundation is that old pine wood breeds bedbugs.
WHEN BEDBUGS FEED
Bedbugs are normally nocturnal. When the lights are out they emerge from their daytime hiding places and seek to feed upon their host. Sometimes, when very hungry, they will feed during the daytime in subdued light. Their normally nocturnal habit is modified necessarily when they infest furniture in rest rooms, in stores, theatre seats, desks in offices, and similar situations that are not frequented by man throughout the night. In some places bedbugs often bite persons during the day.
IRRITATION CAUSED BY FEEDING
When bedbugs bite, they inject a fluid into the skin of their host which assists them in securing blood. In many instances the bite results in no irritation and many persons are blissfully unaware that they have been bitten. Only too often, however, the skin is greatly irritated by the biting process and inflamation and welts develop, accompanied by much itching.
The offensive odor associated with heavy bedbug infestations of considerable standing is the result of an oily liquid emitted by the insect from two scent glands. These glands open by two separate orifices on the under side of the thorax between the bases of the second and the third pair of legs on each side.
HOW BEDBUGS ARE DISTRIBUTED
Bedbugs are distributed in many ways. They crawl freely between their victims and their hiding places but do not migrate from room to room or from house to house as freely as many have believed. Probably clothing, baggage of travelers and visitors, secondhand furniture, and laundry done in private homes are the chief means of spread. Operators of public gathering places find it necessary to guard their furnishings from bedbug infestations brought unwittingly to their establishment by patrons.
The mature female bedbug, under favorable conditions, is said to live from six to eight months, and may lay as many as 541 eggs, although 200 eggs is probably a fair average. When temperature and food conditions are favorable these are laid at an average rate of three or four a day. No eggs are laid at temperatures lower than 50" F. and very few between 50J and 60 while maximum oviposition
occurs only above 70" and when the female has ample opportunity to feed. Starved females soon stop laying eggs.
At temperatures above 70" F. the eggs hatch in six to 17 days. At lower temperatures they may not hatch for 28 days. The eggs are white, about one thirty-second of an inch long, are shaped as indicated in figure four, and at first are coated with a mucilaginous substance which forthwith dries, sticking them to the object upon which they are deposited. The unhatched eggs and the milk-white eggshells are seen singly or in clusters about the crevices or hiding places where bedbugs congregate.
The newly hatched translucent and nearly colorless young-bedbug feeds at the first opportunity. During growth the young bedbug closely resembles the parent insect. It molts or sheds its skin five times in reaching maturity. It must feed after each molt in order to grow and molt again. The cast skins are white and fluffy and often accumulate in piles in spaces about window and door frames or in the cracks where bedbugs hide. Full nymphal growth requires from four to six weeks during warm summer weather or in houses continuously heated. One bedbug that hatched on January 30, 1937, was kept in a room in which the temperature was above 70' F. It was given an opportunity to feed on human blood each day. It fed on January 30, and February 4, 9, 15, and 23. It molted on February 3, 8, 12, 19, and 28. After becoming mature through its molt on February 28, it did not feed until March 17. This individual record is probably typical of the development of young bedbugs under ideal temperature and food conditions and agrees closely with the growth of other specimens hatching at the same time. There may be three or four generations, or even more, a year in the average house. Owing to variations in the period of development, even among bedbugs hatching at the same time, the generations become hopelessly confused and all stages are present at all seasons of the year, except in unheated rooms, in which the insects over winter mostly as adults.
STARVATION AND ITS EFFECT ON LENGTH OF LIFE
Much interest centers upon the length of time bedbugs can live, especially without food, because of the bearing this information has upon the survival of infestations in unoccupied houses and the insects' ability to remain alive without food in situations where it may be carried accidentally but where it finds no food. It has been stated that bedbugs can survive at least one year under starvation conditions. When normally fed and laying eggs, individual bedbugs have lived from 54 to 316 days. It is common for older bedbugs to go two weeks to two month without food. At 82" to 89" F. newly hatched bedbugs have survived unfed up to 18 days, while at 60 to 65 they have lived 136 days unfed and nine months when given a chance to engorge once. Young mature bedbugs kept at 71.6 F. under starvation conditions have lived 20 to 38 days. Evidently there is great difference in individual hardiness, and the chances for long life are influenced much by opportunity to feed. Growth, when food is available, is greatly prolonged by periods of adverse temperature. It is said that bedbugs are able to live throughout a severe winter in unheated structures.
In combating bedbugs, first find where they are secreting themselves during the daytime. When first established in a room they are apt to hide about the tufts or seams of the mattress or day bed and later in the cracks and crevices of the bedstead. Upon becoming more numerous or after the housewife has been fighting them in a haphazard manner, the bugs usually become scattered and establish themselves behind baseboards, windows and door casings, pictures, picture moldings, and loosened wallpaper, or in cracks in the plaster. Partitions of composition board or sheathing are ideal for bedbugs, for usually there are many cracks about the unions in which bugs can hide. Bedbugs do not crawl into the wall spaces for hiding to any great extent. They hide usually on a flat surface just away from the
bright light. Bedbugs seem to develop a shrewdness in finding openings in which to elude the housewife, and she in her search, should look with suspicion upon all cracks and openings as possible and likely places of concealment and egg laying.
Habitual hiding places of bedbugs are usually made evident by the disfiguring spots that stain surfaces upon which the bugs rest. These black or brown spots of irregular shape are the dried excrement of the bugs, and they always indicate that bedbugs are, or have been, present in that place. The daytime congregating places of bedbugs are usually close to the victim's sleeping quarters and are easily detected.
There is no better way to stamp out an infestation quickly than by fumigation. A fumigation of 12 hours or more is desirable, although in rooming houses, or in homes that cannot be vacated for 12 hours, excellent results have followed fumigation of only two to four hours. Of the fumi-gants now commercially available, hydrocyanic acid gas is particularly effective when used in detached vacated buildings. Because it is so deadly to human beings it should be used only by a well-informed person, preferably by a professional fumigator or exterminator working under a license issued by the local health department. In the hands of such a person, short fumigations in auto camps, trailers, rooms, etc., can be effectively done with little interference with business or inconvenience to householders, and there is no disagreeable odor or the necessity for exasperating and frequently repeated applications of smelly liquids. There are safer fumigants than hydrocyanic acid gas, but none are available that kill so effectively in the average none-too-tightly constructed dwelling.
Professional insect exterminators can fumigate, with safety, individual rooms in congested areas with one of the
reasonably safe mixtures of carbon dioxide with ethylene oxide, methyl formate, or methyl bromide, provided certain precautions are taken; these carbon dioxide mixtures can be used in treating an infested apartment without the evacuation of the entire building. Fumigation with sulphur dioxide, liberated during the burning of two pounds of sulphur for each 1,000 cubic feet of space treated, is easily available to anyone; however, it will tarnish all metals not removed or coated with vaseline, and is apt to bleach delicate colors in fabrics and wall paper that it should not be employed unless these possibilities of injury are taken into consideration. The Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine will give information regarding fumigants suitable to any situation, provided local conditions are explained clearly in correspondence.
The advantage that effective fumigation has over the application of sprays and liquids is that the vapors enter the cracks and crevices and kill the bedbugs and their eggs. In reasonably well-constructed rooms, one fumigation usually destroys all insects. When fumigation is out of the questionand a very large percentage of the population are prevented from fumigating because of their location or because of prohibitive costsdependence must be placed upon liquids or sprays and heat.
Heating rooms and even entire buildings to a temperature of 120' to 125' F. for several hours will completely eliminate bedbug infestations. Superheating has been resorted to repeatedly with success during hot summer weather when advantage can be taken of the normally prevailing high temperatures. In summer, most home heating equipment is sufficient to raise the temperature of infested rooms to 120 to 125' F., if not higher, without harm to furnishings. It is well to place thermometers in various parts of the room or rooms in order to note the temperature obtained. The temperature in the cracks where the bugs are secreted must be held as high at 120 F. for sev-
eral hours. In loosely constructed frame buildings it may not be possible to secure a killing temperature at points close to wall spaces. Some institutions such as colleges operating dormitories, find the heat treatment effective and cheap.
USE OF SPRAYS
Ordinary fly sprays (which can be home-made or purchased at stores), consisting largely of high-grade, water-white kerosene, practically stainless with small additions of pyrethrum extract, are dependable for the destruction of bedbugs and their eggs. They must, however, be brought into contact with the bugs, and to accomplish this nothing is better than power sprayers operated by professional insect exterminators. The ordinary hand sprayer, such as can be purchased at stores for about 25 cents is useful in applying solutions, but the force behind such applications is not equal to the driving force generated by the power sprayer operated by an experienced person. Vaporizing machines which fill rooms with a mist or fog of insecticide are not ordinarily dependable for quickly stamping out bedbug infestations.
HAND APPLICATION OF LIQUIDS
When no equipment for applying sprays is at hand much good can be accomplished by using a large feather or small brush to apply kerosene, turpentine, benzene, or gasoline to cracks of bedsteads and other hiding places of the bugs. While these hand applications are tedious and smelly and call for persistence and intelligence, they can be made thoroughly effective at practically no expense aside from the cost of the liquids. When using these liquids, keep the windows open and all fire away during the period of application, otherwise fire or explosions may occur. A good bedbug solution for home application, in use for years, can be made as follows: One ounce of corrosive sublimate (mercury bichloride) dissolved in one pint of alcohol, to which is added one-fourth pint of turpentine. Corrosive sublimate
is a poison; it should be used with care and never applied to substances which might be chewed by children or pets.
TREATING INFESTATIONS IN UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE
Infested overstuffed furniture can best be rid of bedbugs by fumigation either in connection with a general fumigation of the house or in the vault of a dependable storage concern or insect exterminator. Such vault-fumigation services are available at reasonable rates in most cities. If such services are not available, the furniture should be placed on an open porch or in a shed and the parts affected, treated with liberal applications of clear gasoline. Very frequently the early elimination of bedbugs from upholstered furniture, where they have become established after having been brough' into the home on clothing prevents room infestation.
COMMUNITY EFFORT TOWARD CONTROL
If city dwellers living in apartment or row houses could realize what a protection a general fumigation of the entire building or row. or a specially safeguarded fumigation of any particular apartment or house, is to surrounding occupants, the bedbug problem could be solved satisfactorily by fumigations. The haphazard treatments given by many, and the indifference of others even to heavy infestations, make possible the spread of bedbugs to adjoining houses
and apartments. Apartment operators are often placed at a disadvantage in control work by the lack of cooperation of all apartment dwellers. Many do not realize that the destruction of insects in one apartment is to the advantage of all other apartments in a building. The bedbug nuisance could be greatly abated by community effort.
Cockroaches, notoriously troublesome in the kitchens and pantries of houses, restaurants, stores, etc., can become destructive to any establishment. Not only is it the food and other possessions, such as bookbindings and fine fabrics, which they eat or disfigure that make them important enemies to man, but the pollution of foods over which they run places them in the role of disease carriers. Of the large sums spent for pest-control, a very large proportion is for cockroach suppression.
KINDS OF COCKROACHES
Five kinds of cockroaches are frequently found in American homes. The American cockroach, the largest, is from one and one-half to two inches long when full-grown. It is light brown. All of the adults have long powerful reddish-brown wings. The Australian cockroach resembles very closely the American cockroach but is seldom more than one and one-fourth inches long and is easily identified by a bright yellow heavy line on the outer edge of the basal half of the wing.
The oriental cockroach, or ''black beetle," is entirely black, or deep brownish black, attains a length of about one and one-fourth inches, is the most sluggish in its movements, and thrives best in very damp places. The female is almost wingless and cannot fly.
The German cockroach, "croton bug," or "water bug," never more than five-eighths of an inch long, is one of the smallest roaches. It is light brown and marked on the back between the head and wings with two dark parallel stripes. The wings are of a uniform light-brown color.
The tropical cockroach, a more recent pest of cities in the Gulf coast region, is slightly smaller than the German cockroach, many females being only three-eights of an inch long, whereas the males are about one-half inch long. The females have bodies much broader than the males and
wings that are reddish brown; the wings of the males are much lighter. Both sexes are distinguished from the German cockroach by two cross bands of light yellow, one at the base of the wings and the other about one-sixteenth of an inch further back.
HOW COCKROACHES DEVELOP
Cockroaches lay their eggs in leathery capsules, which the mother roach carries for some days partly extruded from her body. She often glues these capsules finally to some object, but sometimes merely drops them unattached about the places she frequents. The capsules of the croton bug and of the tropical cockroach, which are hardly one-fourth of an inch long, often contain from 25 to 30 eggs. Roaches of all species are very small when hatched but so resemble the broad and flattened shape of the parent insect that they can be identified easily as cockroaches. It is only after they reach maturity that the wings are well developed (except in the adult female oriental roach, which has only short wing pads). Cockroaches develop rather slowly and are capable of subsisting under unfavorable food conditions for long periods. As a result, roaches in all stages of growth are usually present at the same time. The German roach may pass through two or three generations a year, but most roaches require about one year to become mature.
Cockroaches are nocturnal in habit, hiding during the day in sheltered, darkened places, where they congregate in large masses. In the home they usually hide near the sink and the trim of doors and windows, etc. They forage at night, when all is still and dark. If disturbed, they run rapidly for shelter and disappear through cracks, through holes in wall plaster, down along water or steam pipes, and through similar openings. After dark, when they have come out to feed, enter the room suddenly, turn on the
light, and watch them run for their hiding places. Knowledge of where they conceal themselves is a key to their control.
The offensive, sickening, or fetid odor associated with cockroaches is due largely to an oily liquid secreted by scent glands. This oil leaves the characteristic roachy odor wherever the insects are abundant. Food is ruined by it, and dishes over which cockroaches run may seem apparently clean yet give off the odor when warmed unless thoroughly washed in hot water and soap. The pellets of excrement, as well as the ink-like liquid emitted by roaches from their mouths, contribute to the development of the nauseating odor.
Cockroach elimination is not difficult if the sources of infestation can be controlled. In loosely constructed buildings or where a mild climate permits roaches to develop outdoors, houses are constantly being reinfected from outside by crawling and flying roaches. No control will keep a house free from roaches continuously if sources of rein-festation exist.
One of the best ways to prevent roaches from becoming established in a home is to watch carefully all baskets or boxes of food supplies and laundry brought into the house. Roaches hide among packages and about clothing and are frequently carried from place to place. Kill these stray roaches with a fly swatter, or, if they are encountered unexpectedly and no weapon is at hand, crush them underfoot. Trade at roach-free stores.
For the immediate elimination of roaches in tight rooms there is nothing better than a thorough fumigation by a professional fumigator. Fumigations are expensive, however, and in congested areas, where renifestation is apt to take place quickly, the expense is seldom warranted. In more loosely constructed buildings the fumigant usually escapes so fast that the eggs of roaches, protected in the egg capsules, are not killed, and a second fumigation about three or four weeks later may be necessary.
Crack fillers, such as putty, plastic wood, or plaster of paris, can be used effectively in closing many openings used by roaches as avenues of escape to hiding places. These cracks and openings can be located by watching the roaches run for concealment. Fill all cracks about water and steam pipes passing through floors, cracks leading to spaces behind baseboards, door and window trim, etc. This is particularly important if roaches are coming into the room from adjoining apartments, through wall spaces, along the plumbing, or beneath doors.
SODIUM FLUORIDE POWDER
Sodium fluoride powder is the best all-round cockroach remedy. It is poisonous to man if taken internally in sufficient amounts, and should be kept out of food and away from children and pets, but if used carefully in roach control, no harm will follow. It may be applied with a small duster or bellows, or, better, with a modern electric power duster with an extension rod so shaped that the powder can be blown into the hiding places rather than about the room. It can be sprinkled by hand along the back of shelving, drainboards, etc., where roaches run must frequently, dusting the hiding or congregating places affects more
roaches at one time, and they die rapidly when the powder is blown directly upon them. However, when the powder is placed where the roaches run over it, it kills chiefly as a stomach poison. It sticks to their bodies, and in cleaning, themselves they transfer the powder to their mouths and thus swallow it. As a stomach poison it is slow but sure. Sodium fluoride powder is the basis of most effective roach powder sold under various trade names. It remains effective indefinitely in dry situations but in very damp places it may cake over and become useless. Application of the powder in the evening is advised, and it is best not to clean it up for two or three days. The application should be repeated at intervals of a week or two until all roaches disappear. Usually one or two thorough treatments are sufficient.
Pyrethrum powder, used in the same way as sodium fluoride, is excellent when thoroughly applied to the hiding places or to the roaches themselves. It quickly stupefies the roaches. They usually turn on their backs, and although they live for some time, eventually die if thoroughly treated. The stupified roaches should be swept up and destroyed several hours after treatment before those least affected can revive. Pyrethrum powder is a safe remedy and will not injure man or pets. Upon exposure to air it loses its effectiveness after some days, and only fresh, finely ground powder should be used. It can be most thoroughly applied by means of an electrically operated dusting machine.
Phosphorus pastes, obtainable at drug stores, are excellent for the control of roaches, particularly the larger species and the tropical roach. They are ideal when roaches not not numerous. If the paste is spread on a small piece of flexible cardboard, which is then rolled into a cylinder with the paste on the inside, and with the cylinder held
firm with a rubber band or string, it can be inserted behind books, etc., without danger of soiling anything; or the cylinders or other containers can be tacked to the back of cabinet drawers, the interior frame-work or springs of upholstered furniture, or in other situations where they will not be seen. They are especially effective in very damp climates.
Sprays consisting largely of kerosene oil and pyrethrum extract are excellent for killing roaches. They kill only by contact; hence the roaches must be hit and made wet by the spray. As roaches run rapidly, sprays are not so easily applied to isolated specimens. If possible, the liquid should be sprayed into the hiding places, where more of the roaches can be hit at one time. Much good can be done by applying sprays with a hand sprayer, but the liquid can be introduced into hiding places more effectively with a power sprayer.
There are on the market today various makes of machines operated by electricity, which break up oil-pyreth-l'um preparations and some other sprays into a fine mist that can be made to fill a room. This mist is very irritating to roaches and causes them to run out of their hiding places into the open, where they die if a sufficient amount of the spray particles comes in contact with their bodies. By repeated applications roaches can be controlled by the spray from these machines in modern tight rooms. Vaporizers have a tendency to drive roaches into surrounding rooms; hence, before using them, all openings to the exterior should be closed so thac the roaches cannot escape from the room under treatment. When loosely constructed rooms are infested, many roaches are in the surrounding wall spaces, and the irritating vapors penetrate these only sufficiently to annoy the roaches and drive many to parts of the building to which they normally would not spread, thus complicating the problem of control.
Pestiferous Insects of the Household
The following material has been added to this treatise from other sources than the Federal Writers' Project.
In no realm of animate creation has nature displayed such diversity of design, form, mode of life, fecundity or persistence as in the insect world. The zoologists place these animals in the class of insecta, of the phylum Arthropoda and whose scientific study forms that branch of zoology termed Entymology.
In this short treatise we are concerned only with a few of the more pestiferous kind that infest dwelling houses and the contents of same. The number of the species of insects that have been classified and named is approximately 300,-000which is more than half the number of words in the English languagethousands more have been found but have not been named.
The practical end of this discussion is not concerning the structure, life habits, process of development or other biological features but HOW TO PREVENT AND DESTROY THEM. In the limited space which we can use we shall confine the subject to this is in main; other phases of the subject will be referred to incidentally as circumstances seem to require. It has been said by some very keen thinkers that the last great struggle of the human race for existence will be with the insects that prey on vegetable and animal life and pathogenic bacteria. Any agency of destruction that can be marshalled against these formidable foes will be for the advantage of humanity.
Scientific investigation has discovered that houseflies carry the germs of typhoid fever, cholera, cholera infantum, tropical dysentery and other diseases. The germs are carried on the feet, legs, and bodies and in the digestive tract of flies.
Other insects carry the germs of certain diseases on their bodies, the insect being the host of the particular germ that produces a particular disease. Yellow fever is caused by a
particular parasite carried by a particular mosquito. Malaria is caused by a particular parasite carried by a particular mosquito. Cattle fever is caused by a particular parasite carried by a particular tick. In each of these instances the insect has to bite the victim before the parasite which he carries can enter the person or animal that is bitten. The parasite then enters the blood stream and multiplies by the millions and produces the fever. It is not by this method that the housefly carries the causes of diseases from one to another. It is a scavenger and gets germs on its feet, legs, body, and in its ailimentary canal. No germ seems to bother it that is pathogenic to other creatures.
The discovery of pathogenic germs placed the practice of medicine on a scientific basis for the first time; prior to that it had been empirical. The research of medical scientists has proven that a great per cent of diseases are caused by germs and that each disease has its particular germ. Not all micro-organisms are detrimental, but the pathogenic types arc numerous and have wonderful powers of self-preservation and perpetuation. Some diseases are thought to be traceable to fungi, whereby vegetable growths fasten themselves on animal tissues. Science is not yet through with the task of isolating the causes of some diseases.
Insects and bacteria would not come under the same discussion but for the fact that insects carry bacteria to human beings and to other animal or vegetable life. We have included pests that have nothing to do with health. Insects that annoy the household, destroying clothes, carpets, books, food, the timbers of the home itself, etc.. are a part of the problem of keeping the home free from the deprivation of the insect world.
"In the zoological sense ants are a very natural group of insects which forms the superfamily Formicoidea of the order Hymenoptera. They are easily recognized by the el-
bowed antennae, the conspicuous "waist" formed by a constriction of the abdomen where it unites with the thorax and generally by the absence of wings. Ants live in socie-ties which inhabit nests of various kinds; each society consists of numerous wingless, sterile, worker individuals together with males and egg-laying females. The fertile males and females are commonly winged and they eventually leave the nest, often in great swarms; mating takes place in the open, and the fertilized females (queens) cast their wings and proceed to found new colonies. Ants exhibit a great variety of food preference; many ants are carnivorous, others feed upon nectar and honeydew, some gather in seeds, etc.. and some live on fungi which they cultivate." Encyclopedia Hritannica.
There are various kinds of ants which may inhabit the household, or its surroundings. Chief among these are the red ant, the black ant, the Argentine ant. and the carpenter ant. (This does not include the white ant or termite.)
The Red AntThe red ant is only about one sixteenth of an inch long. Because of its very small size, it gets into everything that is not almost hermetically sealed. It may come in great swarms to a source of food suply, and it seems an almost hopeless task to get rid of them. Some of their number will act as scouts to try to find food, and as soon as they have dicovered some. report to the community. The scout will then lead swarms of the workers to the food, and together they will transport the food to their nests for safekeeping.
The one redeeming feature of the red ant is that they destroy bedbugs. It has been suggested that these ants might be introduced into dwelling houses for the purpose of exterminating bedbugs. If the ants would leave after they had clone this, all would be well; but if they chose to become permanent dwellers it would be a question whether any gain had been made.
It is also known that red ants will kill grub-worms in the soil. Perhaps we are more deeply indebted to them Tor destroying these ground larvae than we realize.
The Small Black AntThis ant is approximately the same size as the red ant, though he may be a trifle smaller. However, it may be easily distinguished from the red ant since it is very dark in color. The black ant is not strictly a house ant, since it sometimes builds its nests under stones in the yard, or even in the open. Their nests are marked by small craters of soil around the entrance. It seldom invades the household unless in search for food.
The Pavement AntThe pavement ant is not a native of this country. It is widely distributed in Europe and is a common meadow ant of that country. It is not known when this ant was brought to this country. There are wide differences in opinion as to the date.
It builds its nest under the pavement or under stones in the yards of dwellings. From these places of vantage and closeness to dwellings it has acquired the habit, of entering houses, and at times has become as much of a pest as the red ant.
The colonies of the pavement ant are usually very large, and they may sometimes be found in masses of a quart or more by lifting stones in the yard or by lifting flagging in the paths.
The Large Black Carpenter AntThe natural haunts of the carpenter ant are decaying stumps or logs. They may often be found on the trunks of large trees, especially oak. However, they have a habit of leaving this natural environment and taking up their abode in dwelling houses. Here they may do severe damage to rafters and beams.
The queen of this species of ant builds her own nest, and has nothing to do with the others. Here she may be found
brooding over a few eggs, larvae, cocoons, and small workers.
The Argentine AntThe Argentine ant is not known to exist in Florida. Therefore it will not be treated in this bulletin. Suffice it to say that it is one of the most vicious and destructive of all the species of ants.
METHODS OF CONTROLLING ANTS
Since no ant colony can be thoroughly exterminated as long as the queen is alive, all methods for permanently getting rid of them must be effective in killing the queen. In the great majority of cases some liquid has proved to be more effective than other agencies. The reason for its great effectiveness, both against the queen and the colony as a whole, is the fact that it is more penetrating. A solid material will not easily reach the lower rooms of the ant house, and a gas is both inconvenient and dangerous to the user.
There are several liquids which are effective in killing ants. Probably the most effective of all substances is carbon bisulfide (CS2). The liquid itself is poisonous to ants, but to add to its effectiveness, it vaporizes very quickly. The gas thus liberated penetrates every nook and corner of the ant house, killing practically all of them. Caution Although this substance may be used with perfect safety in the open or away from fire, it must not under any condition be brought near a flame while in the hands of the user. It is very highly inflammable, and under certain conditions is explosive. When being used in the yard or in some place where it could do no damage, it may be purposely exploded by igniting it with a long pole. A candle, torch, or other substance that will burn easily may be used on the end of the pole to set fire tothe carbon bisulfide. The operator should, however, always remember to keep at a safe distance. The explosion thus obtained will serve to drive the fumes even further into the ant house, providing a better chance of killing all the ants.
Another substance which is very effective in killing ants is gasoline. It may be used in exactly the same manner as carbon bisulfide, which we have just discussed. However, it will be found to be much cheaper than carbon bisulfide, and will be almost as effective.
The reader may have noticed that the two preventives thus far discussed are of such a nature that they would be worthless for use inside the house, especially in the kitchen. If taken into the body in any appreciable amounts, they are both poisonous. Moreover, the danger of an explosion from ignition by the kitchen stove would certainly be too great to warrant their use there. Obviously, then, we must turn to some other substance or substances for inside use.
A very effective method of controlling ants is to treat sponges with some kind of syrup, honey, or other sweet substance, and place them in the house Avhere the ants are most numerous. If desired the sponges may be put in cans which have had holes punched in them. The ants will readily penetrate the pores of the sponges in order to get the food. They may then be killed by dropping the sponges and all into boiling water. The sponges may be recharged and the process repeated as long as the ants persist in remaining, or until they are all killed. Usually they are so bewildered and discouraged by such great losses in numbers that they abandon the house for good.
Various forms of arsenic poisoning have also proved very successful in killing ants. In addition to this there are many kind of patented sprays and insecticides which may prove satisfactory, at least in repelling the ants if not in killing them.
There are three kinds of lice that infest the body of man. Like the bedbugs, they are known to have existed as far back as any history is kept. Herodotus and Aristotle re-
ferred to them in some of their writings, and so have many other naturalists. These three types of lice are commonly called the head louse, the body louse, and the crab louse.
As in the case of the bedbug, human lice are nothing more than a loathsome thought to the vast majority of cleanly people. Here again it is the dirtier class of people that is affected.
Especially in time of war do men suffer from these pests. Men are often forced to stay in trenches for extended periods of time without a bath or a change of clothing. Since the louse lays its eggs in the seams of the clothing and in other places where they are hard to remove, the troops are very greatly affected. Lice are also prevalent in prisons, jail camps, laborers' camps, slums of cities, and other unsanitary places.
All three kinds of lice are alike in that they all have approximately the same kind of mouth parts. These mouth parts are not fully understood by anyone. They are drawn back inside the head when not in use. This makes the task of examining them a very difficult one. The mouths of all three are the blood-sucking kind. No chewing lice have ever been discovered. The bites thus inflicted, though scarcely noticeable at the time, becomes as annoying as fleas and bedbugs. Scratching is inevitable, and the skin becomes rough and bronze-colored. However, the worst thing about lice is that they are carriers of the three dreaded fevers known as typhus fever, trench fever, and relapsing fever. The first two of these were very prevalent during the great World War. At this time the mortality of typhus fever alone was usually between 50 and 70 per cent. The other two were not quite this high.
METHODS OF CONTROL
Head lice are possibly more easily dealt with than the others. They may be killed by soaking the hair in a 2 per cent solution of carbolic acid for a few minutes. The lice and any eggs which they have laid may then be removed by
combing with a fine-tooth comb. At the end of the treatment the head should be thoroughly washed with warm soap and water. Another method of treatment for head lice is to thoroughly shampoo the head with a solution of equal parts of kerosene and olive oil. This also should be washed out an hour or two after it is applied with warm water and soap. In some instances it may be necessary to clip the hair in order to remove all traces of lice and eggs.
It may be somewhat harder to get rid of body lice than head lice. In the case of body lice it must be remembered that such lice and eggs as may infest the clothing must be destroyed, as well as those on the body. Many methods for accomplishing this have been devised. One of the best is to heat the infested clothes in a steam oven for 20 minutes. If a steam oven is not available a dry oven may be used. Another way to kill lice in the clothes is by fumigation in a tight box with carbon bisulfide or carbon tetrachloride. During this time the victim should bathe thoroughly with hot water and soap, or with the kerosene and olive oil mixture. Sleeping quarters should either be treated with live steam or the same as in the case of bedbugs.
The crab louse is much harder to deal with than either of the others. The reason for this is that it is so easily transmitted from one person to another. It seems to infest only that part of the body at the crotch of the legs and in the armpits. For this reason it is likely to be deposited on bath room appliances, especially toilet seats. From these appliances it may be transmitted to other people. The generally accepted remedy for crab lice is Mercurial ointment. Herms advises a mixture of 10 parts mercuric oxide, I part salicylic acid, and 89 parts of vaseline. Also, the application of kerosene and vinegar followed by a bath in warm soapy water has been found to give excellent results.
In case of a bite from any one of the three forms of lice, zinc ointment will give a soothing effect on the skin.
CHIGGERS, OR RED RUGS
There seems to be some controversy as to what red bugs, (or chiggers) really are. The best authorities say that they are the immature forms of different kinds of mites. It is noticeable, however, that red bugs have only three pairs of legs while the mites have four. It is believed that the extra pair of legs is formed when the chigger becomes the adult mite. There is also some dispute as to how the chigger goes about biting his victim. Some think he bores in at the root of a hair, some think he goes down the sweat pores, and still others think he makes his own hole and does not bother with either hairs or pores. The best authorities seem to cater to the last of these theories. However important these and other issues of debate may be, we will not go into a lengthy discussion of them here. We know that we have often been bothered with them as a result of a picnic or a trip to the woods. Let us, therefore, turn directly to their treatment.
METHOD OF CONTROL
One of the best means of preventing red bugs from attacking an individual is to dust powdered sulphur inside the stockings and underwear. Of course this precaution can be taken only when one knows that he is going to a place which is infested with redbugs. A hot bath immediately after a visit to a place contaminated with redbugs will usually get rid of them before they can do any damage.
Baking soda, a weak solution of ammonia, alcohol, and camphor are also useful in removing or lessening pain inflicted by redbugs.
Redbugs may be removed from lawns by dragging a piece of cloth which has been soaked in kerosene over the infested area. Tall grass and weeds must be kept cut to insure that they will not harbor redbugs.
Kerosene (coal oil) and gasoline are both effective in killing redbugs. They may be applied directly to the skin
where red bugs are, which is easily determined. Mercurial ointment or zinc oxide ointment are soothing to the bites, and will kill the bugs also.
Fleas are harmful to man in two ways. First, they are the carriers of the germ which causes the dreaded bubonic plague, and second, they may inflict bites which are very painful and annoying even though they are not poisonous.
There are three kinds of fleas that are prevalent in this country. They are the human flea, the dog flea, and the cat flea. However, any of these species will readily attack man. In the case of most household pests, when a victim is found, the pest hangs on for dear life, sometimes even burying a part of its body in the skin. This, however, is not true of the flea. He will readily go from one person to another, or from one animal to another. The chief animals which are subject to attack by fleas are man, clogs, cats, rabbits skunks, hogs, rats. mice. Bubonic plague, which he carries, occurs in man, rats, mice, certain ground squirrels, and some other rodents.
The flea has piercing mouth parts with which he takes blood to and from his body. Should he bite a person having bubonic plague, he would suck some of the victim's blood into his stomach. Here the disease germs would be multiplied, and expelled into the blood of the next victim.
One of the most interesting things to notice about fleas is the remarkable power which they have in their small legs, especially the hind ones. It is estimated that a flea can jump more than 200 times his own length. In comparison to this a man could easily jump over the United States Capitol building in Washington. And the walls of jails would have to be a quarter of a mile high. Fleas may easily jump a distance of 12 to 14 inches in one jump, and they may jump as high as 7 or 8 inches.
METHODS OF CONTROL
It is evident that in ridding a house of pests, the first thing to be done is to remove the source of the pests. In the ease of fleas this source will nearly always be found to be a cat, dog. or other pet. Such pets should not be allowed to stay in the house, for if they are, sooner or later the house will become infested with fleas. Pets should be provided with mats to sleep on, and the mats should be cleaned out at least once a week. The pets themselves should be kept as clean as possible by washing them in a solution of creolin made by adding two to four teaspoons of creolin to each gallon of water, or by frequently dousing them with powdered pyrethrum. When using this latter method, the fleas that fall off should be caught on a paper or cloth and burned. Another method of ridding pets of fleas is to bathe thorn in certain miscible oils or creosote dips.
The problem of ridding a house of fleas is much harder than that of ridding pets of them. One of the best ways to treat an infested house is to fumigate it with hydrocyanic acid gas. The fumigation should be started about 8 o'clock P. M., and left until the next morning. The windows should be opened from the outside, and the house should not be entered for at least two hours after it has been opened up. Burning sulphur may also be used for fumigation instead of cyanide. Both of these methods are injurious to paint and furniture.
Another method of killing is to sprinkle napthalene flakes on the floor of the rooms and close all the doors tightly for several hours. This is a very excellent way.
The author has achieved excellent results by spraying creosote dip over an area infested with fleas. This method was used under a house to rid the ground of them, and might be harmful to furniture if used to any extent on the inside.
In ridding a house of fleas it may be necessary to take up all the carpets, and thoroughly wash all the floor space
with hot water and soap. This is for the purpose of getting them out of the cracks of the floor, and other places where they might be hiding. In extreme cases it may be necessary to replace the carpets with rugs. There is no better place for the larvae of fleas to develop than in the thick matting of a carpet. It not only affords protection to the insect during its various stages of development, but it will probably contain enough dust containing organic matter for the insects to feed upon.
Sometimes fleas may be driven out by the persistent use of pyrethrum. The material should be silted in the carpets, along the base boards, and in any cracks between boards of the floor. However, in some cases this treatment has utterly i'ailed.
Another method which has been used successfully is to sprinkle benzine on the carpets and floor. However, in doing this it should be remembered that benzine is highly inflammable, and care should be taken not to get it near a fire.
Even fly paper has been successfully used in ridding a huge room of fleas. In one instance the fly paper was tied around a man's legs, and as he walked about the room hundreds of fleas became stuck fast as they jumped on the paper.
It has been said that oil of pennyroyal will drive fleas out of a room if it is sprayed thoroughly therein.
There is probably no household pest known that is more annoying and more dangerous to man than the common house fly. To begin with, the fly is filthy. He much prefers to be in a pile of manure or other filthy place than in a clean place. Alsothe fly has various habits and features about him that make him very adapted to carrying various kinds of bacteria. For example; when a fly lights on a surface he immediately sets to work with his proboscis to rub the surface. When he has rubbed it slightly rough, and has got
some of the surface into solution with his saliva, he proceeds to suck it up into his body. Thus any germs which happen to be on the surface would be sucked into his body also. These germs are more than likely to be deposited on the next surface which the fly lights on. In many cases he may light on food, dishes, various kitchen and eating utensils, etc. Consequently, the fly is excellently adapted to carrying disease germs in his alimentary canal. In addition to this he is provided with microscopic hairs on the bottoms of his teet and on the sides of his legs. These hairs, especially the ones on the feet, are constantly kept sticky with a solution excreted by the fly for the purpose of aiding him to walk upside down without failing. Unfortunately, also, it is very effective in catching and holding disease germs which it may come in contact with.
The disturbing thing about the fly is that he can carry so many different kinds of disease germs. It is known to carry the germs which cause typhoid fever, tuberculosis, cholera, dysentery, infantile diarrhea, leprosy, anthrax, tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, opthalmia, yaws, erysipelas, gonorrhea, septicaemia, abscesses and gangrene.
It is the fly's unending curiosity that makes him so great a disease carrier. He seems actually to get into everything. This is why he is so likely to come in contact with such a great variety of germs.
METHODS OK CONTROL
The best way to get rid of flies is not to allow any more to hatch. The favorite place for flies to lay their eggs is in manure (preferably horse manure.) For this reason ail stables and barns should be kept as clean as possible. Where they have floors other than dirt they should be scrubbed at least once a week. If a pile of manure is left standing lor over a week, in the summer time, it may, on some occasions, be found to be full of the larvae of flies (maggots.) In a short time these larvae become pupa and will eventually become adult flies. It has been thought in the past that flies in tin- larvae stage would eat up enough filth to
make up for an? damage they might do when they become adults. However, since it has been found that flies carry so many disease germs this theory has been proven to be wrong many, many times.
Another precaution which should be taken against flies is that all dwelling houses should lie screened. Of course this will not destroy any flies, but at least it will keep them from entering the house and going about at will.
In cases where fly paper is used it is better to use sticky paper than poisoned paper. There is always the danger that poisoned paper will come in contact with something that it should not, and sticky paper is just as effective. This paper should be hung in strips where the flies are most numerous, and any fly that touches it will become stuck fast. When the paper is covered with flies it should be disposed of and replaced by fresh paper.
There are, of course, various patented insecticides which may be effective against flies. Hut in most cases it will be found they act as repellants rather than destructives.
It is also true that various kinds of devices have been made for the trapping of flies. This may prove effective when used over a garbage can or other small place frequented by flies, but usually it will prove very futile since so many more flies can be hatched. A pound of manure can produce about 1200 flies, and this is considerably more than a trap could catch in a long time.
Another important item in controlling flies is to do away with open privies wherever it is possible. These provide very excellent breeding places for flies and are also more than likely to contain some disease germs. If it is not possible to have adequate sewerage disposal as in the cities.the privy should be placed over a creek or river. If this is not possible it should be built away from the house, and if the household is dependent on a well for its water supply the privy should not be near this well because it will contaminate the water. Moreover, if a privy must be built away from
running water, it should be disinfected regularly with some disinfectant such as lime or chloride of lime. The disinfectant should be provided in a convenient box, and a paddle or small scoop or large spoon should accompany it so that some of the disinfectant can be scooped into the pit every day.
It is important that everyone should know how to prevent and kill mosquitoes. For these small insects are the only carriers of the germs which cause four very serious diseases. In addition to being disease carriers they can inflict a very painful bite. Of the diseases the mosquito can transmit, the one most dangerous and most familiar to the majority of people is malaria fever (sometimes known as chills and fever). The germ which causes this disease must undergo a certain stage of its development while in the body of the mosquito. The other stages can take place in the human body. Thus we see that if there were no mosquitoes there could be no malaria. To narrow the subject down still more we may say that there would be no malaria if we could stamp out even one species of mosquitothe one known as the malaria mosquito. The other disease transmitted by mosquitoes, known as yellow fever, filaria-sis, and dengue or breakbone fever, could in the same way be wiped out if we could rid ourselves of mosquitoes.
There are more than 350 different species of mosquitoes known to exist in North America. The three most common of these types are the Culex (common). Anopheles (malarial), and the Aedes (yellow fever.) All mosquitoes pass through a complete metamorphosis, and to do this they must have water that is not in rapid motion; stagnant water is better. With this fact in mind we turn to preventive measui*es.
METHODS OF CONTROL
Since mosquitoes cannot reach the adult stage without having had water in which to breed, the best method of combating them is to not permit water to stand stagnant.
If this water cannot be disposed of, it may be rendered unfit for mosquitoes either by pouring oil on the surface or by using chemicals in dust form, such as paris green or sodium arsenite.
In some cities and towns a mosquito inspection force is maintained by the city government. In such instances every house and lot in the city limits is inspected regularly for the larvae of mosquitoes (wiggle tails). It is also the duty of this force to turn over any receptacle which contains water or which might contain water after a rain. In the case of barrels full of water that have been set aside for use in an emergency such as fire, it is the duty of the inspector to see to it that some preventive be placed on the water surface lor this purpose This method of mosquito prevention is indeed very effective when carried out efficiently.
One method of preventing mosquitoes on larger bodies of water is by the introduction of top-feeding fish or minnows. These fish will feed on the larvae of the mosquitoes.
Another precaution which should be taken against mosquitoes is the screening of all houses. This should be done carefully and completely, since the mosquitoes are so small that they can enter through very small cracks.
Mosquitoes may be cleaned out of a house by means of pyrethrum sprays, certain commercial oils, or by fumigants. When one must be exposed to mosquitoes gloves, netting, and repelling oils will prove effective. Of all the mixtures and compounds that have been developed for repelling mosquitoes probably the best one is oil of citronella.
Moths are different from most insects that bother man in that they attack property instead of man himself. There are any number of different kinds of moths, and each species attacks a different kind of property. Some moths feed on clothing and may cause considerable damage in this way. Others feed on certain crops such as grain, grapes, berries, peas, potatoes, etc. Of course it would not be possible to
discuss each species of moth which is known, but it is interesting to note that in every case where damage has been done by moths it is the moth in the larval stage that does the damage. It is also interesting to note that practically all moths except the clothing moth are attracted by light. At night hundreds of them may be seen flying around a light bulb if it is possible for them to gain access to it.
METHODS OF CONTROL
Clothes MothClothing that is in daily use is rarely attacked by moths if ever. But when clothes are packed away for a season they are in great danger of an attack by moths if not propery packed. The method which is most commonly in use and which is probably as good as any other for protecting clothes that are packed away is to sprinkle napthalene flakes over the goods at the rate of one pound to 10 cubic feet of space. Clothing should be thoroughly shaken and brushed before it is packed. This may get rid of any moths or eggs that infest it. Another substance that will give complete protection from moths and will kill all stages of insect is paradichlorobenzine. It is used in the same way as napthalene.
Infested clothes may be freed from moths by fumigation with carbon bisulfide. This also will kill all stages of the insect.
Cedar chests are effective in keeping adult moths out of clothing, and will kill any larvae that hatch out in the clothing, but if larvae are introduced into cedar chests after they have developed to an extent, they will eventually mature into adult moths.
Heating will kill all stages of the moth, and clothes will not be damaged by moths if they are kept in cold storage. (45 degrees F. or colder.)
Other Types of MothThe most effective method of killing moths other than the clothes moth is by spraying. It has been found that spraying with lead arsenate will give almost complete control of this insect. Three pounds of this
chemical to 50 gallons of Bordeaux mixture is a very good proportion.
The Silver Fish MothA second kind of moth that is very destructive to books, etc., is called the silver fish moth. This moth has no wings and its body is only about 1/3 of an inch long. Books that are packed away in dark, damp rooms are almost certain to be attacked. This suggests that any valuable books or papers should be stored in light, airy rooms. The frequent use of powdered pyrethrum on the books and on the shelves about them will give added protection. This powder must be renewed often because it loses its strength. In badly infested houses this moth may even attack starched clothes, stiffened silks, and similar fabrics which remain packed away for any length of time. Another way of combating the fish moth is to put a mixture of white arsenic and paste on pieces of cardboard and place them where the moths can easily get to them.
There are countless varieties of weevils that feed on grain and other crops in the field. But, however, since this bulletin deals only with such pests as come in and immediately around the house, these field weevils will not be. treated here. It is only those weevils that attack household goods that we are interested in.
The Granary WeevilThese weevils lay their eggs in a small hole which they make in a grain of wheat, bean or corn. When the egg hatches the young weevil feeds on inside of the grain. However, they will usually make their appearance in the finished product. They have been found in shredded wheat biscuits, and even on Pullman dining cars, where one pays for the very best quality of food. The
corn and bean or pea weevil are the ones that most concern the people of Florida.
The rice weevil is the second one that enters the household. It and the granary weevil are really the only two that come under this classification. As one would suppose it gets its name from the fact that it was first found in rice. The rice weevil is supposed to have originated in India, and from there it has spread all over the world. It is the most harmful of the two that inhabit this country, but it is not as widely distributed as the other.
The rice weevil feeds upon the grains of rice and often invades boxes of crackers, cakes, and other bread-stuffs, and is found in barrels of flour and sacks of meal. In the summer it may remain in the field, but in the winter it will retreat to barns, houses, or any other place where grain is stored.
METHODS OF CONTROL
The most effective method of combating weevils is with carbon bisulfide. This liquid should be used at the rate of two or three pounds to every 1000 cubic feet of space.
A good way to keep weevils from infesting various kinds of seed is to store the seeds in tight dry goods boxes. The boxes should be filled to within 3 or 4 inches of the top. If weevils should infest them they should be treated with carbon bisulfide. CautionNo form of fire whatsoever should be brought near the carbon bisulfide until the fumes have thoroughly dissipated in the surrounding atmosphere.
The best thing to do with any small box of cereal, crackers or other food that has become infested with weevils is to throw it away entirely.
All stages of weevils will be killed if a temperature of about 130 degrees can be maintained for several hours.