Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Household spray equipment...
 Application of residual sprays
 Insect repellents
 Clothes moths and plaster...
 Silverfish and booklice
 Carpet beetles, flour beetles and...
 Insects detructive to the house...
 Insect pests annoying to persons...
 Sandflies and gnats
 Houseflies and other flies

Group Title: Bulletin
Title: Household insects and their control
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094962/00001
 Material Information
Title: Household insects and their control
Series Title: Bulletin - Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 143
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kuitert, L. C ( Louis Cornelius ), 1912-1999
Kelsheimer, E. G ( Eugene Gillespie ), 1902-
University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1950
Copyright Date: 1950
Subject: Household pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Household pests -- Control -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "June, 1950."
Statement of Responsibility: by L.C. Kuitert and E.G. Kelsheimer.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094962
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 79047604

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Household spray equipment and aerosols
        Page 4
    Application of residual sprays
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Insect repellents
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Clothes moths and plaster bagworms
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Silverfish and booklice
        Page 17
    Carpet beetles, flour beetles and moths
        Page 18
    Insects detructive to the house itself
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Insect pests annoying to persons and pets
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Sandflies and gnats
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Houseflies and other flies
        Page 32
Full Text
Sub-Tropical Experiment Station
Bulletin 143

June, 1950

Household Insects and Their
Associate Entomologist and Entomologist, Florida Agricultural
Experiment Stations








(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
H. G. CLAYTON, Director
Frank M. Harris, Chairman, St. Petersburg
N. B. Jordan, Quincy
Hollis Rinehart, Miami
Eli H. Fink, Jacksonville
George J. White, Sr., Mount Dora
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee
J. Hillis Miller, Ph.D., President of the University'
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agriculture'
H. G. Clayton, M.S.A., Director of Extension
Marshall O. Watkins, M.Agr., Assistant to the Director
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor'
Clyde Beale, A.BJ., Associate Editor'
J. Lee Smith, District Agent
K. S. McMullen, M.Agr., District Agent
F. S. Perry, B.S.A., District Agent
H. S. McLendon, B.A., Soil Conservat. nist
R. S. Dennis, B.S.A., Executive Offi.-' P. & M. Admin.'
W. W. Brown, B.S.A., Asst. Boys' Club Agent
C. W. Reaves, B.S.A., Dairy Husbandman
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husbandman'
O. F. Goen, D.V.M., Animal Husbandman
A. W. O'Steen, B.S.A., Supervisor Egg-Laying Test, Chipley
L. T. Nieland, Farm Forester
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist'
Charles M. Hampson, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management'
D. E. Timmons, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing
F. W. Parvin, B.S.A., Associate Economist, Marketing and Farm Manage-
John M. Johnson, B.S.A., Agricultural Engineer
Fred P. Lawrence, B.S.A., Citriculturist
A. M. Pettis, B.S.A., Farm Electrification Specialist'
John D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
V. L. Johnson, Rodent Control Specialist'
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Agronomist'
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Vegetable Crop Specialist'
Stanley E. Rosenberger, M.Agr., Asst. Veg. Crop Specialist
Forrest E. Myers, M.Agr., Asst. Veg. Crop Specialist
James A. McGregor, B. S., Asst. Animal Industrialist
Joe N. Busby, B.S.A., Asst. Boys' Club Agent
Julian S. Moore, M.S.A., Extension Poultryman
Mary E. Keown, M.S., State Agent
Ethyl Holloway, B.S., District Agent
Mrs. Edith Y. Barrus, B.S.H.E., District Agent
Anna Mae Sikes, M.S., District Agent
Joyce Bevis, A.M., Clothing Specialist
Mrs. Bonnie J. Carter, B.S., Home Improvement Specialist
Grace I. Neely, M.S., Asso. Economist in Food Conservation
Lorene Stevens, B.S., State Girls' 4-H Club Agent
Mrs. Gladys Kendall, A.B., Home Industries and Marketing Specialist
Floy Britt, B.S.H.E., Negro Home Demonstration District Agent
J. A. Gresham, B.S.A., Negro District Agent
SCooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
SIn cooperation with U. S.

Household Insects and Their Control
Introduction _-.....-..~.- ..... --.. ------.-- ---------------- ---------- 3
Household Spray Equipment and Aerosols -- ------- --- -- 4
Application of Residual Sprays .---....----------------.------.....- 5
Precautions -...........----------------------- 7
Household Fumigation _.....-_.- ----------------.--- ----..... 7
Insect Repellents .....--._-_.....- .... -- ----- .....---- ------- 8
Insects Destructive to Materials in the Home ..--__.........------------------ 8
Cockroaches . .--.---..... ..----- --------------------- 8
Ants ___.. ------.....--...-..- --------.........~. ---- 12
Clothes Moths and Plaster Bagworms ..---------...... ------------..... 14
Silverfish and Booklice ... - -.-----.......--.. .------ 17
Carpet Beetles, Flour Beetles and Moths -...._............. ----------- ..- 18
Insects Destructive to the House Itself .--.............-----.-------- 19
Termites _-...-..._..-- ----__-.-------------------- 19
Powder Post Beetles -........------..... ..--.---.....-... ---.. ---- -- ..- 25
Insect Pests Annoying to Persons and Pets ....-- ...-- --- ----- 27
Mosquitoes ... -..__..-... ___....._.__.. ..-.....-. ------- 27
Sandflies and Gnats ---.~~...... .... -------....._------..-........--- 29
Fleas .._......-... ...-----...- ---- -. 30
Houseflies and Other Flies ....------. --.------.-----......-------- 32
Bedbugs .......... ... .... .......... ................----.--- 32

From time immemorial man has shared his habitations with
other creatures. He has tamed animals of various sorts and kept
them as household pets. He has been a reluctant host to such
unwanted guests as rodents, reptiles, spiders and insects. Insects
in the home are objectionable for various reasons. They infest
and destroy practically all kinds of food materials; they eat holes
in clothing, blankets, rugs and other fabrics; they damage books
and papers; and they attack wood, not only in furniture but even
parts of the house itself. These pests not only destroy man's
possessions, they even go so far as to attack his person. Some of
them bite or sting, others are blood suckers, and some merely
provoke or irritate. Not the least of their annoyances is the em-
barrassment they cause housewives who consider the presence of
insects in the home a sign of slovenly house-keeping. In addition
to all their depredations, household insects may also be a menace
to human health, as they carry and transmit various ailments
and diseases.
Throughout the years man has waged a constant warfare
against the insect hordes that invade and infest his home. In
early ages he sought to rid himself of them by invocations,
charms and other mystic rites. Later he discovered that pyre-
thrum and certain other plant materials, as well as compounds of
arsenic, fluorine and mercury, would either kill or drive away
many household pests and these materials have been used ex-
tensively. At best these insecticides were not too good, and it
is only since the advent of the new organic insecticides that man
has had really satisfactory weapons to use against household

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

pests. An occasional roach, ant or silverfish in the home is no
disgrace, for all of these pests can live out of doors in Florida.
Few, if any, houses are built so well that insects cannot enter.
However, the new insecticides are so effective that the continued
harboring of these pests can no longer be excused.
In the pages that follow our more common household insect
pests are briefly discussed. Even though the new insecticides
are effective against a wide variety of pests it also is true that
each material surpasses all others in the control of certain pests;
and by the same token each is relatively ineffective against other
pests. Thus it is important to know which pests are present be-
fore attempting control measures. Some of the pests are recog-
nized by everyone, but other less common ones may be encoun-
tered at times. Users of this bulletin can identify the various
pests by reference to the descriptions and illustrations of the in-
sects themselves or by the damage they do.
No attempt has been made to list or describe all methods and
materials that may be used against the various pests. In each
case we have given the one or two control measures which are
considered most generally available, effective and practical.
All insecticides are poisonous and all can produce injurious
effects if they are used improperly or handled carelessly. Before
using any insecticide be sure to read the label completely and
carefully to be certain that it is the right material for the task at
hand. Pay particular attention to any warnings or precautions
that may be given and follow them explicitly, for they are put
there for your protection. Always be certain that packages of
insecticides are properly labeled and make sure they are kept
well out of reach of children or irresponsible persons. When
using insecticides in the home be especially careful to avoid con-
tamination of foods, dishes, tableware and cooking utensils.
Never spray in a hot, unventilated room. When using either
DDT or chlordane in spray form, take care to keep it from con-
tact with the skin; if the spray does get on the skin wash it off
immediately with soap and water.

Household Spray Equipment and Aerosols
Hand spray guns have been used in homes for many years.
The idea of an aerosol bomb (Fig. 1) quickly captured the imagi-
nation of the public. The response was tremendous. Too soon
the public found that aerosol bombs were not too satisfactory
and the novelty soon wore off. The authors have worked with

Household Insects and Their Control

Fig. 1.-Right: Cornelius sprayer. This small sprayer is especially
good in cupboards and closets. Left: Aerosol bomb. Used most effectively
against occasional insects and in confined areas. (Photograph by H. N.
many types of aerosol bombs and not once have they found fault
with the formulation, but the mechanics of the bomb dispenmr
were frequently unsatisfactory.
Use and handle your aerosol bombs according to the manu-
facturer's directions. If the valve sticks and you cannot close it,
do not under any circumstance attempt to stop the flow of the
vapor with your hand or fingers. The container gets very cold
and the fingers or hand will receive a severe burn due to the
freezing action of the propellent.
A hand sprayer as illustrated (Fig. 1) gives all of the ad-
vantages of a bomb plus the added fact that it can be refilled. Such
a small compression type sprayer is handy around the house.
Another handy piece of equipment is the compression type oil
can (Fig. 3) that can squirt liquid insecticides into inaccessible
Frequently the home owner prefers to use a dust instead of a
spray. Such hand dusting devices as pictured in Fig. 2 have
proven quite satisfactory.

Application of Residual Sprays
To obtain best results from either DDT or chlordane when
used as sprays apply them so as to get adequate coverage. Take

Fig. 2.-The applicator at the far right is a water bulb sprinkler used
by florists; the bulb next to it is a clothes sprinkler used by housewives.
The two applicators at the left of the picture were made especially for
household dusting. (Photograph by D. G. A. Kelbert.)

Fig. 3.-A pump oil can used to dispense DU'I' nousenold spray.
(Photograph by D. G. A. Kelbert.)

Household Insects and Their Control

advantage of their long-lasting, or residual, properties. Do not
expect immediate control. The insecticides should be placed where
the insects will walk through it at some time. Keep in mind the
habits of the insects to be controlled. For example, to control
clothes moths, apply sprays principally in closets and bedrooms,
but to eliminate roaches apply the sprays in kitchens, bathrooms
and other moist and protected places. Attempt to leave an ef-
fective residue on all surfaces which may be visited by the insects.
Apply these formulations to surfaces which are frequented by
the insect to be controlled. Apply enough to moisten the surface
thoroughly. Repeat the treatment before there is an appreciable
loss in effectiveness of the previous treatment. Leave an effective
residue on all surfaces over which the insects crawl, such as be-
hind cabinets, or the under side of shelves, tables and drawers,
and behind stoves, refrigerators, mopboards and pictures.
There are several precautions to be observed when using
household sprays or dusts. Keep in mind that all insecticides are
poisons and should be handled as such. Keep the insecticides
labeled at all times and store them out of the reach of children.
When using either DDT or chlordane take care to prevent
contamination of dishes and foodstuffs. Remove dishes from
shelves before making applications of these insecticides. Also, if
young children are present, restrict the application to areas in-
accessible to them.
Under certain conditions the insecticides or the kerosene may
cause irritation to the skin. Wash off immediately with soap and
water any material which comes in contact with the skin. Avoid
inhalation of spray droplets.
Household Fumigation
Fumigation, once the popular method of control for household
insects, has lost its importance with the advent of DDT. The
new insecticides having long-lasting or residual properties are
considerably more effective than fumigation if they are applied
properly. Fumigation, although giving immediate control, is not
effective in keeping out future infestations, while the new in-
secticides, although not acting as quickly, are effective for

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

periods of three to four months. In addition, it is not necessary
to vacate a building prior to treatment.
Under certain conditions it may seem feasible to fumigate a
building. As the fumigation process is rather expensive and
dangerous, the owner should consult a specialist for advice.
Actual fumigation should be done only by a commercial operator.
Under most conditions the effective insecticides having residual
properties are much more satisfactory than fumigation.
Repellents of various kinds have been used for years as per-
sonal protection against biting insects such as sandflies and
mosquitoes and other pests such as gnats and redbugs (mites).
The residual qualities were low and some were so obnoxious to
the person applying them that their effectiveness was reduced
through failure to apply them properly. Perhaps the safest and
most effective repellent brought out during World War II was a
composition called Rutgers 6-12. This material, dimethyl phtha-
late, and indalone are the ones now most widely used. A mixture
of these materials, in the ratio of 2-6-2 respectively, now known
as "6-2-2 Mix," is effective against a wider range of species than
any of the individual repellents.
These repellents must be applied to the skin to be effective.
For this reason those people allergic to the compound should
avoid its use. Further, be sure the liquid does not get in the
eyes, nose or mouth, as it will irritate these membranes. DO
The most common method of application is to shake a few
drops of the liquid into the palm of the hands, rub the hands
together and apply to the parts to be protected, taking care to
avoid the mucous membranes.
Insects Destructive to Materials in the Home
Cockroaches are probably the most common and most loathed
of all insects that inhabit the household. Since cockroaches
originally inhabited wooded areas before adapting themselves to
buildings, and as they are able to live out of doors the year
around, the Florida housekeeper has a constant fight to rid her
premises of these loathsome insects. Fortunately, not all of the
cockroaches carried into the house become pests. They are
nocturnal in habit and hide during the day in sheltered, darkened

Household Insects and Their Control

Cockroaches, commonly referred to as water bugs, have a
characteristic body appearance that makes them easy to dis-
tinguish from other insects. They vary in size and color, but
generally they are broad and flattened and have long feeler-like
antennae. The head of the cockroach is turned under the large
first segment of the thorax. The adult cockroach may be winged
or wingless. The immature stages (nymphs) are always wing-
less. The nymph, apart from being much smaller, resembles the
The female roach deposits several egg capsules, called
"o6theca." This curious, bean-shaped object is often carried about
by the female projecting from the end of her body. After several
days the obtheca is de-
posited behind pictures
or baseboards, in desk
drawers, under sinks, or
around water pipes. Each
egg capsule contains 16
to 24 eggs, although
those of the German
cockroach may contain
as many as 40. The
presence of egg capsules
or nymphs in a house in-
dicate that roaches are
breeding in the house.

All the following cock-
roaches have been ob-
served and collected from
dwellings in Florida. All
are obnoxious and a con-
stant source of worry for
the housewife. A resi-
dent in Florida soon
ceases to wonder where
or how infestations start. Fig. 4.-The Australian cockroach.
A household can be im- (Photograph by D. G. A. Kelbert.)
maculate and yet cockroaches may enter the home, because they
are ever-present outdoors in large numbers. The German and
brown-banded roaches are generally carried in on clothes or in
groceries; the other species are carried in on firewood, or they

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

crawl through cracks or
under doors to enter the
Australian C o c k -
roach.-The Australian
cockroach (Periplaneta
australasiae (F.))
(Fig. 4) resembles the
American, but is
smaller, measuring 11/4
to 13/8 inches in length.
There is a bright yellow
band on the thorax and
a narrow yellow spot on
each front wing.
American Cock-
roach. The American
cockroach (Periplaneta
americana (L.)) (Fig.
5), a native of tropical
America, is one of our
largest cockroaches. It

Fig. 5.-The American cockroach.
(From Bul. 122.)

measures between 11/4 to 13/ inches in
length. The color is a chocolate brown,
except for a light brown band around
the edge of the pronotum. Both sexes
are strongly winged. Individuals of this
species frequently fly about the room,
hitting the wall or other objects with a

/ German Cockroach. The German
cockroach (Blatella germanica (L.))
(Fig. 6), commonly known as crotonn
bug" or "water bug," is the smallest
Fig. 6. The German species commonly found in dwellings
cockroach. (From Conn. and one of the hardest to control. It is
Agr. Exp. Sta Bul. 400.)
from 1/2 to 5/8 inch in length. It is a
light brown color with two dark brown, longitudinal stripes on
the thorax. This roach apparently requires more moisture than
the other species and in houses is commonly found around sinks..

Household Insects and Their Control

Brown-banded C o c k -
roach. The brown-
banded cockroach (Supella
supellectilium (Serv.) )
(Fig. 7), frequently called
the "tropical cockroach,"
is equally as hard to con-
trol as the German roach.
Its habits differ from
those of the German roach
in that it inhabits the en-
tire house, although it is
most frequently found in
closets. The egg capsules
are usually deposited near
the ceiling in closets or be-
hind pictures. The adults
may fly when disturbed.
This cockroach is similar
to the German roach in
size and general appear-
ance, being slightly over
1/2 inch in length. The


Fig. 7. The brown-banded cockroach
Male at top. (From Indiana Agr. Exp.
Sta. Bul. 451.)

color is variable but in general the body is brown with the wings
a lighter brown crossed by two pale bands, one band at the base
and the other 1/3 of the length from the base. The young are very
distinctive because the markings are quite pronounced.
Oriental Cockroach.-The oriental cockroach (Blatta orien-
talis L.) (Fig. 8), is dark brown to almost black in color, measur-
ing from 1 to 11/4 inches in length. The males are slightly smaller
and possess wings that nearly cover the abdomen. The female
has very short wing stubs, appearing practically wingless. This
species is normally introduced into the house with firewood.
There are many "controls" for cockroaches. Some people
rely upon a giant spider to rid their premises of cockroaches.
Just as many people object to the spiders. There are also many
chemical controls and baits. DDT and chlordane applied as
household dusts and sprays have proven very effective.
All species of cockroaches with the exception of the German
and brown-banded are easily and effectively controlled by the use
of 10 percent DDT dusting powder. A 5 percent chlordane dust

12 Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Fig. 8.-The Oriental cockroach; female at left, male at right.
(From Conn. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 400.)
is effective against all species. Sift the powder around the edges
of the baseboard and in all corners, in and around cupboards, and
especially on runways of cupboard drawers. The applicator may
be a rubber bulb having a metal perforated rose (Fig. 2), similar
to the type used to sprinkle clothes. A rubber bulb with a de-
tachable metal cone (Fig. 2) is even better for applying dust to
baseboards and hard-to-reach places.
A 5 percent solution of DDT or 2 percent of chlordane in de-
odorized kerosene may be used instead of the dust or as a sup-
plement to them. It is difficult to use a spray gun in hard-to-
reach corners and drawer slides of cupboard drawers. A force or
pump oiler similar to the one shown in Fig. 3 was found ideal for
application of liquid DDT or chlordane in those places which
could not be reached with a spray. A stream of the liquid can
be forced down behind baseboards, back of the stove and refrig-
erator, and around the sink and other places where cockroaches
may hide. It is important to find and treat all hiding and breed-
ing places of the cockroaches, especially the German and brown-
Most roach sprays, like all household sprays, are combustible
mixtures and should not be used around open flames.
House Ants
Many species of ants invade the household. Through their
habit of seeking food in pantries, shelves and other storage

Household Insects and Their Control

places, they become an annoyance to the homemaker. Some of
the common species that have been identified in Florida are:
Camponotus abdominalis floridanus (Buckley), carpenter ant
(Fig. 13).
Dorymyrmex pyramicus (Roger), pyramid ant. Common in
lawns but invades the house.
Monomorium floricola (Jerdon). This species feeds upon the
grease on the bottom or sides of a cake and the gristle of meat.
Monomorium pharaonis (L.) Pharoah ant. This is a tiny,
very slow-moving ant.
Paratrechina longicornis (Latr.) crazy ant.
Solenopsis geminata (F.), fire ant. This fiery terror is a
yard ant that comes into kitchens and pantries to feed upon food-
stuff. It is especially attracted to meat and milk products, sweets
and cereals. Both the bite and the sting are painful.
Tapinoma melanocephalum (F.), little grey ant or sugar ant.
Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger), little fire ant in lower
East Coast and central parts of state.
If ants are controlled by means of a 5 percent chlordane dust
in the yard and around the house, invasion of the household by
Fig. 9.-Adults and larvae of the webbing clothes moth (X 2). (Courtesy
USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine.)

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

ants is greatly reduced. Some species of ants can be controlled
with 10 percent DDT dust. Never treat ant hills found in lawns
with an oil spray, as the oil will kill the grass. A household
pyrethrum spray is recommended around foodstuff. For other
areas not in contact with food, use chlordane 2 percent spray or
5 percent dust where the residue will not be objectionable. Spray
2 percent chlordane in refined kerosene onto surfaces where ants
will crawl over the chlordane deposit which remains after the
kerosene has evaporated. The places to treat are baseboards,
table legs, floors beneath tables and refrigerators and in and
around sinks. Applications may be made by hand sprayer, oil
can or paint brush.

Clothes Moths and Plaster Bag-worm
Clothes moths (Fig. 9) are present throughout Florida in a
large proportion of the houses. They may be carried from one
place to another in infested materials. Once the insects become
established in a home, they spread to all parts of the house by the
flight of the adults. Clothes moths may be found in every life
stage at any time of the year. The moths avoid strong light and
do not fly in the daytime nor do they fly to lights at night. Only
the larvae cause damage. The larvae feed on all kinds of dry
materials of animal origin, such as wool, fur and feathers. Cloth-
ing and other woolen fabrics are most generally damaged by the
case-making clothes moth and the webbing clothes moth.
Besides these clothes moths, housewives have to combat the
plaster bag-worm, Tineola walsinghami Busck (frontispiece and
Fig. 10). It is closely related to the other two species and the
adults are very similar. The larvae are characterized by the
flattened, gray, watermelon seed-shaped cases which they con-
struct. The larvae live within these cases and pull them around
wherever they go. The moth is small and flies in dark or semi-
dark places. The plaster bag-worm attacks woolens like the
clothes moths, but ordinarily it is not very destructive to cloth-
ing. It most frequently attacks rugs where furniture comes in
contact with the rug. Fortunately, it is so conspicuous that its
presence is noted long before the presence of other clothes moths
would be suspected.
A home may be freed of clothes moths by the use of DDT.
Either a 10 percent dust or a 5 percent oil spray can be used.
The 10 percent dust is really stronger than necessary, but it is

Household Insects and Their Control

Fig. 10.-Larvae and cases of plaster bagworm.
(Photograph by H. N. Miller.)
more economical to use, since it can also be used against certain
cockroaches and as a control for fleas on the dog. The 5 percent
dust is not very effective against ants and cockroaches. A 2
percent chlordane oil spray is equally effective against clothes
moths and it is much more effective than DDT against roaches
and ants.
At housecleaning time remove all clothing from closets. Brush
all clothing thoroughly, particularly under all collars and lapels
and in cuffs of trousers. Hang all woolens on the clothes line
during the noontime sun period. All stages of the insect are
quickly killed by exposure to hot sunshine.
After the clothes are removed and the closet is cleaned, it is
ready for a thorough spraying with a 5 percent solution of DDT
in deodorized kerosene or a 2 percent chlordane formulated the
same way. It is best to force the spray under the edges of base-
boards and door casings. This may be done quickly and effec-
tively with a force or pump oiler similar to that used for the con-
trol of cockroaches. The closet walls and ceiling should be
thoroughly sprayed with a sprayer having considerable pressure.
The general "flit-type" sprayer is not too satisfactory but san be
used. At least one-half pint of material should be used for the
usual large closet. The door of the closet should be left open to

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

hasten drying. Drawers or chests where blankets and other
woolens are kept should also be sprayed. There is no fumigation
from the DDT. It kills by contact and should be placed where the
larvae will come in contact with it. Treat at least twice a year.
Oil sprays are generally combustible, so don't be careless in their
application. When applying the spray avoid breathing the mist
particles and wear a respirator if possible.
Put woolens away clean and dust lightly on both sides with
10 percent DDT. Blankets or wearing apparel should have the
dust shaken out of them when they are to be used. The small
amount of dust left on the clothing is harmless. Clean woolens,
properly treated with DDT, can be kept free from the attacks of
moths for one complete season.
Rugs and upholstery also suffer damage from the attacks of
clothes moths. Spraying or dusting with DDT will protect floor
coverings and furnish-
ings. Two applications
a year are sufficient for
protection. Rugs should
be rolled back and the
DDT dust sprinkled on
the pad. Sprinkle the
dust especially liberally
SS in places where furni-
ture rests on a rug, as
this is usually a favorite
place for insect attacks.
The insecticide is pulled
{ up into the rug when
the rug is vacuumed.
The felts on the
piano are also a favorite
t,- place for moths. To
--- -control moths in a piano
always use a 5 or 10
percent DDT dust.
Never use a liquid, as a
mistake could be made
and a water solution ap-
S plied, which would be
Fig. 1l.-Adult silverfish (X 5). (Courtesy detrimental to the
USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant
Quarantine. From. Bul. 122.) piano.

Household Insects and Their Control

Use the DDT and chlordane with the same care as you do
other household insecticides. Remove birds and cover fish aquar-
iums while treating a room. Do not spray heavily in a hot, un-
ventilated room unless you wear a respirator. Remember the oil
spray should not be used around open flames.
Silverfish and Booklice
Silverfish are glistening, silvery or pearl-grey insects having
three long tail-like appendages (Fig. 11). They are primitively
wingless insects and approximately one-half inch long when full
grown. Usually this is the insect which scurries for cover when
old books, papers, or clothing are suddenly moved (Fig. 12). Be-
cause of its glistening body and quick movements it has received
a number of popular names such as silverlouse, bristletail, silver-
witch, silverfish moth and slicker.
Silverfish are nocturnal in habit. They shun lights and have
the ability to quickly find places of concealment and consequently
are seldom noticed until they have become very abundant. In
many homes silverfish are first noticed crawling in bathtubs or
other receptacles from which they cannot escape.
Booklice, although they are in no way closely related to the
silverfish, are included here because their feeding habits and con-
trol are identical. Booklice are minute, delicate, whitish insects that

Fig. 12.-Damage by silverfish. (Courtesy USDA Bureau of Entomology
and Plant Quarantine. From Bul. 122.)

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

are commonly found in old books and insect collections. They
are also frequently found in breakfast foods and other cereals.
Booklice are most frequently found in dark, damp, seldom-
used rooms. They are not generally injurious in occupied build-
ings; however, in Florida this is not always true. These insects
often cause serious damage to bookbindings, clothing and other
household objects while attempting to get at the starch or glue in
them. They do little injury to objects in daily use or to those
kept in a dry, light place. Forgotten remains of cereals in
packages or spilled flour or meal on pantry shelves furnish excel-
lent breeding places for booklice and are common centers of in-
festations in homes.
Frequent airing, brushing and shaking of clothing discour-
ages these insects. Infestations can be eliminated by careful
spraying of infested articles with a 5 percent DDT solution in a
non-staining kerosene. Dust stored books and newspapers with
10 percent DDT dust. To keep these insects out of closets apply
either a 5 percent DDT or 2 percent chlordane solution in a non-
staining kerosene, as a residual spray to closet walls and clothing.
Residual sprays are effective for two or three months.

Carpet Beetles, Flour Beetles and Moths
Under ordinary conditions these insects seldom become a
problem when effective insect control measures are used against
the major household pests. Little damage will result from carpet
beetles if rugs, furs and woolens are thoroughly cleaned every
year. If a carpet beetle infestation is found a 5 percent DDT-
deodorized kerosene solution can be used. Thoroughly wet all
cracks around the baseboard, quarter rounds, door and window
facings and mantels. Clothing stored in tight boxes, trunks or
closets may be protected by using liberal amounts of naphthalene
flakes or paradichlorobenzene crystals. About one pound of
either of these materials should be used for a trunkful of
Food products infested with insects should be removed from
cupboards and destroyed. After all food and kitchen utensils
have been removed, spray surfaces of cupboard bins or shelves
with a 5 percent solution of DDT in deodorized kerosene. Wait
until the spray has dried thoroughly before replacing food
products if they are to come in direct contact with the sprayed

Household Insects and Their Control

Protection of food is important in preventing these insects
from establishing an infestation. Any food products which are
to be stored for a period of time should be kept in tight con-
tainers. Infested food products should be removed from cup-
boards and pantries and destroyed to reduce the danger of other
foods becoming infested. Do not attempt to carry over small
quantities of food products from one season to another, as they
generally are forgotten by the housewife but not by the insects.

Insects Destructive to the House Itself
Termites were in Florida long before the first white settlers
arrived. In those early times they fed upon the dead wood and
decaying vegetation in the forests. With the clearing of wood-
lands and the construction of frame buildings, termites began to
feed upon the wood in
man-made structures, in
the absence of their nor-
mal food supply.
Many people refer to
termites as "white ants"
Sand the two groups of in-
sects often are confused.
Actually, termites are
more closely related to the
roaches than the ants.
The confusion stems from
the fact that termites are
social in habit, live in
colonies, and have four
wings as do ants. To dis-
tinguish an ant from a
termite, examine the shape
of the body and the wings.
The ants have a slender,
or constricted, waist (Fig.
Fig. 13.-Carpenter ants. Upper row: wic, wis -
Female or queen on left, male on right; 13) which joins the ab-
lower rows: Workers of various sizes. (Pho- domen to the remainder
tograph by H. N. Miller.) of the body (thorax and
head), while the termites do not have a slender waist. The
four wings of the termites are almost equal in size, have in-
distinct veins, and extend considerably beyond the end of the

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

body (Fig. 14). The wings of the ant have prominent veins and
the hind wings are much smaller than the front wings.


Fig. 14.-Subterranean termites, winged adults. Note abdomen broadly
joined to thorax and wings extending considerably past the end of abdomen.
(Photograph by H. N. Miller.)
Termite damage can be readily distinguished from damage
caused by other wood-infesting insects. The galleries of the sub-
terranean termite follow the soft wood of the annual rings and
the walls are lined with dirt and excrement (Fig. 15). The
workings of the dry-wood termites are dry and the walls of their
runways are clean and smooth. The galleries usually are par-
tially filled with their excrement, in the form of small elongated
pellets of uniform size. The galleries of the powder post beetle
are full of a fine wood powder (Fig. 18).
Thirteen species of termites are known in Florida and these
may be divided into two major groups: subterranean and dry-
wood. The subterranean termites may be sub-divided into two
types: the true subterranean and the damp-wood termites. Only
one species of damp-wood termite is known to infest buildings in
Florida and it appears to be confiend to the lower East Coast
area. A single house in some areas in Florida may be infested
with all three types.

Household Insects and Their Control

Fig. 15.-Mud tubes broken away to show damage by subterranean termites.
(Photograph by H. N. Miller.)

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Subterranean Termites.-Subterranean termites, when in-
festing wood out of contact with the ground, construct shelter
tubes from the ground to their galleries in the wood. These mud
tubes protect them from direct light, the drying effects of the
atmosphere and exposure to enemies, and provide a covered run-
way to moisture in the ground.
The damp-wood termites include three species of wood-
dwelling termites which require considerable moisture. These
termites usually locate their colonies in dead, damp but not
rotten, wood. However, one species is sometimes found in living
trees. Only one species is known to invade buildings.
Winged termites (Fig. 14) emerging from cracks or from
behind baseboards are a good indication that the building is in-
fested. Any suspicious soft or hollow sounding boards or tim-
bers may indicate termite damage. Mud tubes extending from
the ground surface up to wooden materials are sure signs of the
presence of termites. These mud tubes often follow cracks in
foundations and areas where boards are joined together.
The best way to prevent termite damage is to use proper con-
struction so that termites cannot enter buildings. Most build-
ings have places that termites can enter and to keep damage
down to a minimum all buildings should be carefully inspected
each year so that any termites present will be discovered before
they have done extensive damage. No wooden parts of any
structure should ever be in contact with the soil. Inspect both
exterior and interior surfaces of foundation walls, and especially
areas beneath porches. Examine carefully every crack in all
foundation walls and pillars. Take special care to examine the
area where floor joists and foundation plates meet. By poking
the wood with an ice pick, you can determine the soundness of
the wood. Any soft or hollow sounding timbers may indicate
termite damage and these should be cut into to see if they con-
tain termite galleries.
Destroy all tunnels that lead from the ground to the wood.
If possible, install metal termite shields between the foundation
and the wood of the house to prevent the termites from re-
establishing contact with the ground. Spraying underneath
houses is not an effective way to eliminate termite infestations.
Treat the soil underneath houses and around the foundation with
paris green. The paris green can be used either in its concen-
trated form or diluted 1 to 1 with pyrophyllite. Work the paris
green into the top three or four inches of soil. Other materials

Household Insects and Their Control

which have proven effective are 10 percent DDT, creosote and
Dry-wood Termites.-Dry wood termites are not dependent
upon the soil for their existence. Much of the insect damage to
furniture and hardwood floors in some areas in Florida is due to
termites and not to powder post beetles, as is often suspected.
The presence of shot holes in furniture or woodwork is good evi-
dence of an insect infestation. Constantly reappearing small
piles of a dirt-like or sawdust-like material is characteristic of
dry-wood termites and powder post beetles. The material de-
posited by dry-wood termites consists of fecal pellets which have
a particular form and size (Fig. 16), while that of the powder
post beetles is a flour-like powder material (Fig. 18).

Fig. 16.-Fecal pellets of the dry-wood termite.
(Photograph by David G. A. Kelbert.)

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Dry-wood termite infestations may be present for several
years without being noted. Materials most frequently attacked
by dry-wood termites are exterior and interior trims, picture
moldings, furniture and floors. Favorite places for these pests
to enter furniture is through the back of the furniture where
another piece of wood has been screwed on to give support
(Fig. 17). Furniture which is seldom moved may be attacked

Fig. 17.-Left: Exit and entrance holes of dry-wood termites in wooden
block used as a brace on back of a bed. Right: Chamber hollowed out by
dry-wood termites in headboard of a bed. The large round hole is a screw
hole where the block at left had been fastened. (Photographs by D. G. A.

Household Insects and Their Control

through the legs from infested flooring. These insects swarm at
night and are attracted to lights. A favorite place for them to
enter the attic or second story of a house is through the louvers.
To control dry-wood termites in furniture, treat infested
areas with 5 percent DDT in deodorized kerosene. You can apply
this material with a paint brush. Force as much material as
possible into the small exit openings so that the kerosene can
penetrate into the galleries of the termites. No damage to the
finish will result if the excess material is wiped off after several
minutes. Colonies located in the woodwork or floor may be
treated with 5 percent DDT by means of an oil can. Several
treatments may be required to eliminate the infestation. Keep
all openings into the house covered with a fine-mesh screen to
exclude the winged termites at swarming time.
If these home remedies are not effective, employ only a pro-
fessionally trained and licensed operator. As the dry-wood
termites present in Florida work slowly, do not feel that some-
thing must be done immediately, as there will be ample time to
select a control remedy.

Powder Post Beetles
These insects live in dried wood and are particularly destruc-
tive to hard-woods used for furniture, flooring, wooden orna-
ments, tool handles and interior structural finishing. One species
is a major pest of articles of bamboo. In Florida the typical
powder-post beetles belong to the genus Lyctus. The beetles of
this group are called powder post beetles because of their effect
upon the wood in which they work. They are pests of the sap-
wood of seasoned hardwoods such as oak, hickories, ash and pop-
lar. They may reduce the entire interior of a piece of wood to a
fine, flour-like powder, leaving only the exterior shell intact.
Usually the first indication of a powder-post beetle infestation
is the presence of small piles of a fine, flour-like powder on the
infested wood. If this powdery material has escaped notice you
may find the wood peppered with the small, round exit holes
which the beetles have cut to the outside (Fig. 18). Until the
insects emerge as adults there is often no sign of the infestation.
These beetles feed only in dry, well-seasoned wood. As a rule, a
full year of air-drying is required before the wood becomes suit-
able to the taste of these beetles, although small pieces may dry
out more rapidly and become susceptible to attack eight months

Florida Agricultural Extension Service


The eggs of the lyctus powder post beetles are laid in the
pores of the sap-wood. When the young larvae or grubs hatch
from these eggs they find themselves in a desirable location and
begin to feed on the solid dry wood. The larvae cut irregular
begin to feed on the solid dry wood. The larvae cut irregular

Household Insects and Their Control

winding galleries in the wood. As they progress they pack the
finely pulverized frass behind them in the tunnel. They pass the
winter in the larval stage. In early spring transformation, first
to pupae and next to adults, takes place in the wood. The adult
beetles then cut their way to the outside in order to emerge, mate
and lay eggs. The life cycle requires about one year.

Because these beetles lay their eggs in cells or pores of the
wood, they find fewer places to deposit their eggs if these pores
are filled with wax, varnish or paint. No material can be de-
pended upon for complete permanent control.
As with other troubles, prevention is better than cure. In-
spect sapwood lumber carefully before using it in interior work
and destroy all infested wood. Do not store new lumber next to
lumber that has been stored for a number of years. Unfinished
furniture left in infested storerooms may become infested with
powder post beetles. Rough sawed lumber seasoning in drying
sheds also may become infested and if the larvae are small when
the wood is made into furniture they may not be noticed.
A penetrating paint is an effective control under average con-
ditions. An oil spray containing 5 percent DDT, when applied to
wood surfaces by means of a paint brush or power sprayer, is
very effective. Make an effort to get as much of the oil spray as
possible to run into the exit holes. Pentachlorophenol, 5 percent,
in a pentroleum solvent, has excellent penetrating qualities and
may be used for treating infested timbers in garages or other
out-buildings. Several applications may be required to eliminate
powder post beetles from large timbers.

Insect Pests Annoying to Persons and Pets
Mosquitoes have always plagued man and animals. Up until
the turn of the century man had always considered them as
abominable pests about which he knew little and cared less. He
was suddenly awakened to their extreme importance by the dis-
covery of Sir Ronald Ross in 1898 that mosquitoes are vectors of
malaria. Two years later man was again shaken by the discovery
that mosquitoes also carry yellow fever. Other important dis-
eases of man known to be transmitted by mosquitoes are dengue
and filariasis. Florida probably has more than her just share of
mosquitoes. Thus far, 62 species representing nine genera have

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

been recorded from the state. Included in these are all of the
important species which have been incriminated as vectors of

disease. (Fig. 19).




Fig. 19.-Adult yellow fever mosquito (X 9).
(Courtesy USDA Bureau of Entomology and
Plant Quarantine. From Bul. 122)

Mosquitoes are
small, two winged
flies belonging to the
same order as house-
flies. There are four
stages in the life of
a mosquito egg,
larva (often called
wrigglerr"), pupa,
and adult. Mosqui-
toes breed only in
water. The eggs are
deposited on water
and in moist places.
The eggs of some
salt marsh mosqui-
toes are able to
withstand long dry
periods. The incuba-
tion period for the
common pest mos-
quitoes usually re-
quires two or three
days under opti-
mum conditions. The
larval stage may
last from four to 10

days, during which time the larva molts four times. The pupal
stage requires two to three days. The adult mosquito can lay
eggs a day or two after emerging from the pupa.
Among the blood-sucking species a blood meal is usually
necessary for the production of eggs. Only the female mosquito
has mouth parts adapted for piercing and in some genera even
the proboscis of the female is not adapted for piercing. Most
species of mosquitoes may fly one-half to one mile from their
breeding areas and for this reason shrubbery and houses may
become infested when their breeding places cannot be easily
Mosquitoes attack numerous kinds of animals including dogs,

Household Insects and Their Control

cows, horses and poultry. Some species even feed on snakes
and turtles.
The most effective and often the simplest means of controll-
ing mosquitoes is to control or eliminate their breeding areas.
Do not permit water to collect in old tin cans, old tires, buckets
or any other containers. Keep mosquitoes out of the house by
using screens of 18 to 20 mesh per inch. Always keep window
screens and screen doors in good repair, as mosquitoes are adept
at finding holes in screens and screen doors left ajar.
To eliminate quickly mosquitoes from a room use sprays or
aerosol bombs containing 0.2 percent pyrethrins and thiocyanate.
Take care to spray behind pictures and curtains, under chairs
and beds, and in closets. After spraying close the room for 15 to
20 minutes.
DDT should be used as a residual spray. Residual sprays,
when applied to surfaces, leave a residue or deposit which re-
mains effective for several months. Insects walking over the de-
posit of the insecticides do not die immediately but may fly away
and die one to several hours later. A residual spray should consist
of a 5 percent solution of DDT in a deodorized kerosene. When ap-
plying DDT spray, remove birds and other pets and cover aquaria
while treating a room. Do not spray heavily in a hot unventilated
room. Keep sprays away from open flames, as the oil solvent is
flammable. Treatment of the places where mosquitoes might en-
ter the house are also beneficial. Apply the spray to porches and
entrance shelters. A paint brush is recommended for applying the
insecticides to screens. Surfaces exposed to the weather may have
to be treated every month or two. Residual sprays containing
DDT are most effective when the spray is applied to all surfaces
frequented by mosquitoes.
Sandflies and Gnats
For their size, gnats probably cause more personal annoyance
than any other insects. The term "gnat" is applied to many dif-
ferent insects, but here it is restricted to the sandfly and the eye
Sandflies, Culicoides spp., are exceedingly small flies (up to
0.1 inch in length) with fine hairy legs which display a charac-
teristic iridescent spotting. They attack at all times, bite fiercely
and the irritation remains for several hours or even days. They
attack at the neck line, belt line, shoe top or where sleeves
leave off.

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Control of Sandflies
Actual control of these pests is difficult because they breed in
a variety of places where the soil is continually wet. Tidal fiats
are especially favorable breeding areas. Relief from the pests
can be had by using the commercial brands of repellents (dis-
cussed on page 8) which will give protection for about four
hours. Painting of the screens with an insecticide every 48 hours
when the sandflies are especially bad will help keep them out of
the house. Insecticides with lethane as the principal toxic in-
gredient have proven the most successful, as the toxic in-
gredient acts as a repellent.
Eye gnats, Hippelates pusio Loew, are the cause of an acute
conjunctivitis called "sore-eye." The adult flies resemble vinegar
flies or fruit flies. The pests abound in countless numbers in the
rich farming areas where the soil is frequently cultivated and
there is an abundance of decaying organic matter in which they
can breed. No field control has proven practical.
The use of repellents ____
applied to the parts of
the body subject to at-
tack (eyes, ears, mouth
and back of the neck) af-
fords the only known re-
lief from their attacks.
Painting of the screens,
such as advised for the I
sandflies, will help to
keep them out of the

Several different --
species of fleas frequent Fig. 20.-Adult cat flea (X 19). Cour-
dwellings. The species tesy Bureau of Entomology and Plant
Quarantine. From Bul. 122.)
present depends on the
type of animal kept by a family. Fleas most commonly found in
homes are the cat flea (Fig. 20) and dog flea. Usually homes
become infested only when animals have access to the building.
If both dogs and cats are kept in sleeping quarters outside the
home a chief source of fleas in dwellings will be eliminated. Oc-
casionally, people who visit the quarters of their pets will bring
fleas indoors on their clothing. If this is to be avoided the sleep-

Household Insects and Their Control

ing quarters of dogs must be kept clean and the animals should
be treated to keep the insects from becoming numerous. All
fleas require a blood meal before laying eggs.
Fleas are grouped in a very small order, very well defined and
not closely related to any other group of insects. All of the
species are wingless and all are, in the adult stage, external para-
sites on warm-blooded vertebrates. They are almost unique
among insects in being flattened, or thin, from side to side, like a
sunfish. The legs are long and adapted for jumping. The body
wall is hard, polished and provided with many hairy and short
stout spines directed posteriorly. The mouth parts are of the
piercing, sucking type.
The adult is the only stage of the flea that is known to people
generally. The life cycle of a flea includes four stages-egg,
larva, pupa and adult. The eggs are not fastened to the host like
the eggs of lice, but are laid loose amongst the hair of the animal,
and so they are not noticed. The eggs drop off the host animal
to the floor of the nest, kennel or other dwelling of the host. The
larvae which hatch from the eggs are very small, cylindrical,
whitish maggots with a distinct head, antennae and mouth parts.
The larvae, which are very active, live on such dead animal and
vegetable matter as may be found in the cracks of floors or in the
dirt about the sleeping quarters of their hosts. The larval stage
lasts nine to 15 days and then the larva spins a cocoon in which
the pupal stage is spent. The adult emerges in several days. An
entire generation from egg to adult may require less than a
month. Thus it is easy to understand how heavy infestations can
build up so quickly.
Fleas are readily controlled with either a 5 or a 10 percent
DDT or 5 percent chlordane dust. To control fleas on a dog, rub
one tablespoonful of the dust thoroughly through the dog's hair.
Do not use DDT or chlordane on cats, as they lick their fur and
may thus obtain a toxic amount of the insecticide. To eliminate
fleas from cats use 1/2 of 1 percent rotenone or pyrethrum powder.
Rabbit hutches and sleeping quarters of cats, dogs and other
animals may be treated with either 5 percent DDT or 5 percent
chlordane dust. To control flea larvae spray cracks in the floor
and baseboards and beneath carpets with a solution of 5 percent
DDT in a non-staining deodorized kerosene. Excellent results
have also been obtained when substituting 2 percent chlordane in
a deodorized kerosene for the 5 percent DDT spray.

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Houseflies and Other Flies
Houseflies are generally of but little importance in Florida.
However, they are mentioned here because it is not impossible for
fly populations to build up to large numbers, given the necessary
conditions in a given area. Apparently, during the summer rainy
periods the larval mortality is very high, thus keeping fly popula-
tions to a minimum. Other flies which come into houses are the
flesh flies, blue bottle and green bottle flies, fruit flies and gnats.
The last are treated separately, as the control measures applied
for the control of the other flies are not effective against gnats.
The prevention of fly breeding is of considerable importance
in the control of houseflies. The housefly prefers to lay its eggs
in fresh horse manure but it also breeds in the moist excrement
of chickens and other farm animals. Garbage and fermenting
wastes from packinghouses are other favorable places in which
houseflies breed. Garbage and other wastes should be kept in
tight containers to exclude flies, or buried, or spread thinly,
where practical, to make it unattractive to the flies for breeding
purposes. Because some flies may enter the house despite efforts
to prevent breeding, it becomes necessary to take action against
the flies themselves. A residual spray containing 5 percent DDT
in deodorized kerosene applied as for mosquito control, or 2 per-
cent chlordane solution in a deodorized kerosene applied as for
roaches, will aid considerably in eliminating flies from the home.
Bedbugs when not engorged are flat, nearly transparent to
pale brown colored insects. After feeding they are more oval in
shape and reddish-brown in color. They are parasitic insects which
usually gain entrance into homes on laundry or traveling bags. Bed-
bugs are nocturnal and conceal themselves in cracks and crevices,
behind wallpaper, in seams and under tufts of bed mattresses.
DDT, used either as a 10 percent dust or a 5 percent solution
in a deodorized kerosene, is very effective. Treat all cracks and
crevices of walls, behind baseboards, mattresses, bedsteads and
other areas where bedbugs are likely to hide. One treatment is
usually effective in preventing reinfestations for several months.
DDT is so effective that older remedies, such as fumigation and
other contact sprays, are seldom used. With the advent of DDT,
bedbug infestations have become practically non-existent.

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