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Bug Buddies: Do Critters Flock Together?

Have you ever heard stories about homes that have gotten infested by termites, ants, fleas, and some other kind of bug all at the same time? It's not unusual for homeowners to wonder if bugs travel in packs. While there are some examples of bugs working together in nature (such as ants which protect and "farm" beetles and grubs), most of the pests that invade American homes prefer to keep to themselves.

Some insects are extremely social. Everyone knows that bees and ants live in colonies, for example. Such highly organized insects are known as eusocial. But even non-hive insects flock together. Cockroaches are extremely social animals, and can even suffer from "isolation syndrome". Of course, lonely cockroaches don't rate high on most people's list of things to worry about.

True Traveling Companions

Rodents and fleas travel together on occasion. If a critter such as a raccoon, squirrel, or mouse finds a way to make a nest in your home, then it's almost certainly bringing along fleas for the ride. The good news is that the fleas have very little incentive to wander away from their host. After all, that rodent is literally their meal ticket. However, if the host animal dies, then the fleas will abandon ship. If there are enough of them in the home, this could become a problem for you and your pets.

Mistaken Identity

Our general terms for insects and other pests are actually very broad groupings that can refer to different types of bugs. Cat fleas and dog fleas, for example, are different species (Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis, respectively) though most people would need a microscope to see their differences.

In addition, it's not unusual for one or two types of pest to be mistaken for another. In some areas, worker termites are referred to as "white ants" because most people who find evidence of a colony don't spend time closely examining the critters. While it may look like there are termites and ants simultaneously invading your home, it could just be one or the other.

Common Ground

In many cases where multiple types of pests truly are present, it's not that insects are invading in an organized, friendly fashion, so much as multiple pests can be drawn by the same features (i.e. wood siding that touches the soil, etc.). In addition, the presence of one species of bug often triggers an increase in the number of predatory critters. Damp basement corners can attract insects, and become popular hangouts for spider webs as a result. Similarly, if your home is dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, you may find that predators such as woodpeckers begin raiding your siding in search of an easy snack.

Often you'll find that if you deal with the issues that drew in one type of pest, you're also eradicating the source of any other infestations. To get a more thorough breakdown of what can be done to deal with all the different types of pests on your property, contact the pros. Trained experts will be able to assess the level of your problem. They'll take measures to eliminate the bugs - and their buddies.