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BASIC BIOLOGY

The purpose of this series of pages is to help you, the average consumer, to understand how to identify a pest problem that may exist within your home or business. Identification is the first step in proper elimination and control of that pest. Identification will lead to what the pest feeds on, where it rests or harborage sites, its reproduction needs and capabilities, its size, its mode of entry, and so forth. In essence, why the pest is becoming, or may become, a problem within your home or business.
We will discuss several categories of pests that could become a pest problem. There will then be links to other sites that will give you more specific information concerning that pest. This site is designed to point you in the right direction.
All living creatures are divided into two kingdoms, plants and animals. The only plants that can become a pest problem within a structure are fungi. These are related basically to moisture problems within the structure. If you have a wood rot problem, you may want to check out Pestdude's WOOD DESTROYING ORGANISMS site where you will find more information on fungi.
All other pests that we will discuss will be classified into the animal kingdom. This kingdom is divided into several categories known as Phyla. We are concerned with several of these phyla.

AVES

This category is concerned with birds. Distinguishing characteristics are that this animal:
  • Is covered with feathers
  • Lays eggs
  • Has two feather covered wings
  • Has one feather covered tail
  • Has a hard beak without teeth
  • And has two legs with 2, 3, or 4 toes.

Although many people like to watch birds, they can become a pest, especially if they nest within a structure. They can also be major carriers of pests. See BIRDS for more information.

MAMMALS (mammalia)

Mammals cover a large category of animals, including humans. Although we are not concerned with your problems with humans, there are some mammals that are of a concern.

Mammals are animals that:

  • Give birth to live young
  • Are warm-blooded
  • And the mother nurses the young by providing milk through mammary glands.

The mammals that we are concerned with are what we will categorize into two subsections:

  1. Rats and Mice
  2. Nuisance Wildlife

Rats and mice are called commensal rodents. Characteristics of mice and rats are they:
  • Have, besides molars, only an upper and lower pair of enlarged chisel-like incisor teeth and lack canine teeth.
  • Have 4-toed front feet and 5 toed hind feet
  • Are elongated in form
  • Are built close to the ground with short legs
  • Have a long, skinny, almost naked tail slightly shorter or longer than their body and head combined.

For more information on these, go to the MICE AND RATS page.

All other rodents (such as squirrels, moles, etc.) as well as other mammals (such as bats, skunks, raccoons, etc.) can be found on the Nuisance Wildlife page.

ARTHROPODS (arthropodia)

The majority of pest problems at home and at work is found in this category. They comprise the largest group in the animal kingdom, making up almost 90 percent of all known animal species. The characteristics for arthropods are:
  • The body is segmented (jointed) with segments usually grouped into two or three more or less distinct regions
  • Paired, segmented appendages such as legs and antennae
  • An external skeleton (ecktoskeleton) which it sometimes sheds periodically as it grows
  • Bilateral symmetry (right and left sides are the same)

Arthropods can be further divided into classes. For more on this to help refine your pest problems, go to ARTHROPOD IDENTIFICATION .

Other pests that may be problems tend to be reptiles and amphibians (things like snails, snakes, salamanders, etc.). Although we do not cover management of these pests, you can find out more about these animals by checking out these sites:

REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!