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Pest Identification Guide

Know Your Pests

Ants

Ants are the most common problem facing homeowners in our area. Do-it-yourself treatments can often exacerbate the problem and rarely address the nest – the source of the problem. There are many different kinds of ants such as pavement ants, crazy ants, Pharoah ants, Argentine ants and odorous house ants. Our treatments are based on a proper identification.

What do they look like?

Size: Varies, many are 3-10mm in length

Color: Varies, many are brownish-black

What are its identifying characteristics?

Ants are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. Different species have differing characteristics. You can identify an odorous house ant by crushing it - if it smells of coconuts it's probably an odorous house ant.

What does it eat?

Ants are scavengers and will feed on virtually anything.

Where does it hide?

Many ants nest near or along structures such as foundations and sidewalks. They may also construct nests inside your home near water and food sources.

What can it do to me?

Some ants, such as fire ants, sting. Most ants are simply an annoyance.

Bed Bugs

Are you noticing red, itchy bumps after a night in bed? Have you ever looked under your mattress? If you notice rust colored stains you may have a bed bug infestation. Bed Bugs are a small pest making a big comeback in the United States. Bed bugs travel, and spread, easily. They are no reflection on the sanitation of your home or business.

What do they look like?

Size: 6-10mm in length/ eggs are up to2 mm in length

Color: Reddish-brown

What are its identifying characteristics?

Adult bed bugs are brown, wingless insects with flattened bodies. Their size depends on the amount of blood consumed. When engorged, their bodies change from brown to a dull red color as they swell. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts.

What does it eat?

Bed bugs feed exclusively on the blood of animals and people.

Where does it hide?

Adults and nymphs hide in cracks and crevices of walls, furniture, or other items. They also are found on the tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses.

What can it do to me?

When bedbugs bite, it is painless, but the insect's saliva may later cause severe itching around an inflamed bump.

Beetles

If every species on Earth lined up in a row, you would encounter a beetle in every fifth spot. These abundant insects exhibit an astonishing range of sizes, colors and shapes. From the familiar fireflies and ladybugs children chase in the summer to the extravagantly proportioned stag beetle, over 40% of all insects are beetles.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length

Color: Various

What are its identifying characteristics?

Beetles are characterized by the hard outer covering formed by their front wings that protects the back of the insect. Many species of beetle, in many colors, shapes and sizes invade structures.

What does it eat?

Some beetles feed on stored food products in your pantry, the wool sweaters in your closet, or even the structure itself.

Where does it hide?

Beetles that invade structures are rarely found far from their food source. Typically they are found in dark corners or cracks and crevices in pantries, cabinets, closets, wall voids, basements or attics.

What can it do to me?

Beetles can ruin stored foods by their mere presence, but some cause real damage to textiles or even the structure itself.

Boxelder Bug

You may notice groups of these distinctive bugs sunning themselves on your house in the fall. As the temperatures drop, the masses try to move inside and make a mess of your walls and carpets. Don't crush them on your furnishings – that will create both an odor and a stain. There are better ways to handle this bug!

What do they look like?

Size: 1/2 inch long

Color: Black with orange or red markings

What are its identifying characteristics?

Adult Boxelder bugs are easily recognizable with black bodies and orange or red markings, including three stripes on the area below the head. Their wings are flat on their bodies and overlap to form an “x”. Nymphs are 1/16 inch long and are bright red.

What does it eat?

Boxelder bugs feed on soft plant tissue.

Where does it hide?

In the fall and winter, Boxelder bugs find their way into buildings through cracks and crevices. They generally remain inside walls or behind siding until spring when they may gather on a sunny spot on the brick or siding. Heating units may revive Boxelder bugs when activated in the winter.

What can it do to me?

Boxelder bugs are a nuisance because they usually appear in large numbers. They don't bite but may stain walls, curtains and other surfaces.

Carpenter Ants

Are you noticing piles of sawdust in your home? These may be created by a nest of black carpenter ants. Carpenter ants don't eat wood – they only nest in it. Still, this nesting can cause significant structural damage to your home if left untreated. Carpenter ants prefer moist wood which is easier to tunnel through so you may notice them in areas of your home that have moisture problems such as a leaky roof, window or pipe.

What do they look like?

Size: 1-2 cm in length

Color: Black or blackish

What are its identifying characteristics?

Carpenter ants range in size, but are often large and black. They have a single spine, or node, on their waist and never have bumps humps or spines on their backs.

What does it eat?

The black carpenter ant is omnivorous and eats a variety of food. They cannot digest cellulose, or wood, but they do cause damage by tunneling through wood.

Where does it hide?

Carpenter ants favor moist wood and will nest in the wooden members of a house or structure. Carpenter ants create galleries in the wood and sawdust-like piles sometimes accumulate below their tunneling activity.

What can it do to me?

Carpenter ants have been known to cause significant structural and property damage to homes.

Carpenter Bees

Have you been noticing perfectly round 1/2 inch holes drilled into your wooden siding or deck? Chances are Carpenter Bees are hard at work excavating tunnels in the wood. These bees rarely sting, but can cause quite a mess.

What do they look like?

Size: 3/4 inch in length

Color: Black and yellow

What are its identifying characteristics?

Adult Carpenter Bees are large, black and yellow bees similar in appearance to Bumble Bees. Carpenter Bees have shiny black abdomens and often drill perfectly round holes (1/2 inch in diameter) into wood into which they lay eggs.

What does it eat?

Similar to most other bees, adult Carpenter Bees eat nectar. They collect pollen to feed to the developing larvae.

Where does it hide?

Carpenter Bees are often found hovering around the holes that they drill into wood. They can also be seen collecting nectar and pollen at nearby plants.

What can it do to me?

Female Carpenter Bees can sting, but rarely act aggressive. Males will often buzz around the heads of curious humans when they get too close to their holes. Fortunately, males are unable to sting. Like all male bees, wasps and hornets, they lack a stinger. Carpenter bees are considered wood destroying insects due to the damage that they cause to wood during the construction of the brood galleries. The sawdust and excrement stains at the entrance to the galleries can devalue exterior wooden surfaces.

Cockroaches

Have you encountered an insect scurrying across your countertop when you flip on the lights for a midnight snack? Cockroaches can hitchhike into even the cleanest of homes on items as innocuous as your grocery bags.

What do they look like?

Size: Adults range from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length. Young cockroaches may be much smaller.

Color: Tan, reddish-brown or brownish-black

What are its identifying characteristics?

Cockroaches are medium-sized flattened insects. Wings, if present are leathery in appearance, and may not cover the entire abdomen. The most common cockroach, the German cockroach is mostly light brown or tan except for two dark lines behind the head.

What does it eat?

Cockroaches will consume everything humans eat. Fermenting foods and beverages are highly attractive to German cockroaches. They can survive on toothpaste, glue, and even soap. In some instances, adults can live a month on water alone.

Where does it hide?

Adults and nymphs hide in cracks and crevices of walls, cabinets, appliances and other items close to a food or water source. German cockroaches prefer kitchen and bathrooms, However, other species may be found in crawlspaces, basements or other areas of structures.

What can it do to me?

German cockroaches often infest areas with poor sanitation. These conditions are often places where disease-causing organisms can be found. The German cockroach has been identified as a carrier of many pathogens that cause food borne illness.

Fleas

These tiny terrors aggravate people and their pets with their itchy, painful bites. Fleas account for more than half of the dermatological conditions requiring veterinary assistance and even a single flea bite can be intensely irritating. Bites tend to be concentrated on the lower legs but can also occur elsewhere. Some bite victims also suffer from allergic dermatitis characterized by intense itching, hair loss, reddening of the skin and secondary infection. Cat fleas, the most common type of flea found in our area, may also be an intermediary host of dog tapeworms to animals and murine typhus to humans.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/16 to 1/18 inches in length

Color: Dark-colored

What are its identifying characteristics?

Adult fleas are small, dark-colored, wingless insects that are flattened from side to side. The most commonly encountered flea is the cat flea or Ctenocephalides felix. It has an incredibly tough body and it is difficult to kill a flea just by squeezing between the fingers.

What does it eat?

Adult fleas feed exclusively on the blood of animals and people.

Where does it hide?

Flea larvae like to hide in dark areas close to the ground, like carpets. Eggs are commonly found on or near pet's resting areas. Adult fleas prefer to live on the host animal.

What can it do to me?

In addition to their annoying, itchy bites, fleas also spread diseases by serving as a vector for disease producing organisms. Fleas transmit diseases to both people and pets such as dermatitis, murine typhus, plague and tapeworm.

Flies

Not merely a nuisance, houseflies can spread over 200 pathogens and parasites to humans. These so-called filth flies feed and reproduce on garbage and animal waste, spreading bacteria and disease-causing organisms. House flies, for example, have been known to spread food poisoning and dysentery.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/8 to 1/4 inches in length

Color: Gray to black

What are its identifying characteristics?

The head of the house fly has two velvety stripes that are silver colored above and gold colored below. There are four vertical black lines on the dull, gray thorax. The abdomen is usually dark brown.

What does it eat?

Flies gravitate towards foods high in sugar and are also known to feed on rotting produce, meat scraps and feces. Flies cannot eat solid food so they regurgitate onto solid food, and the digestive juices turn it into a liquid that they can soak up.

Where does it hide?

When inside, flies generally occupy the air space 5 feet off the ground or lower.

What can it do to me?

Flies are vectors of over 65 types of disease causing agents including salmonellosis, tapeworms and diarrhea.

Hornets

Hornets are one of the most largest, difficult and dangerous wasps to control. Their nests look like inverted tear-drops and contain thousands of aggressive hornets. Hornets, like yellow jackets, can mobilize their entire nest to attack. Avoid killing a hornet near its nest – the distress signal could trigger the remaining hornets. Perfume, or other chemicals that might be confused with pheromones, can also trigger a group attack. A hornet sting is painful and its toxicity varies according to species.

What do they look like?

Size: 5/8 to 3/4 inches in length

Color: Mostly black with a white pattern on most of the face

What are its identifying characteristics?

Baldfaced hornets are large insects that build spherical (egg-shaped) gray paper nests. These large nests may be found either close to the ground or very high in trees, overhangs, sheds, etc. The nests are used for one year and then abandoned.

What does it eat?

Bald faced hornets feed on other insects and flower nectar.

Where does it hide?

Baldfaced hornets are active in the daytime and spend the evenings in their nests.

What can it do to me?

Baldfaced hornets are stinging insects. If the nest is located near a structure or close to the ground they may pose a hazard to anyone who accidentally or intentionally disturbs the nest. They will sting aggressively when disturbed.

Mosquitoes

Not simply a pest, mosquitoes are a vector for some of the world's most dangerous diseases such as Encephalitis, Malaria and West Nile. Home Paramount offers dependable, flexible, and effective residential and commercial mosquito treatments and extermination services. Clients can choose from a range of preventive and responsive pest management services and solutions, all delivered by trained and dedicated pest control professionals. Home Paramount is the premier pest management company serving Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, and Washington DC.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/8 to 3/8 inches in length

Color: Dark brown

What are its identifying characteristics?

The body and legs are covered in fine scales. A long, straw-like proboscis is found on the head. The legs are very long and extend far past the abdomen.

What does it eat?

Adults feed on plant nectar and the adult female feeds on blood.

Where does it hide?

Larvae are found in standing water – puddles, ponds, bird baths, sewers, ditch drains, clogged gutters. Adults will rest on the underside of leaves, in tree cavities and other moist areas during the day. They become most active at dawn and dusk.

What can it do to me?

Mosquitoes are the most medically important of all pests. In many African and Asian counties, mosquitoes transmit deadly and debilitating diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and many forms of encephalitis.

In the United States, mosquitoes in the genus Culex are the most important species for transmitting West Nile Virus. They are also capable of transmitting Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.

Rodents

As autumn approaches, many homeowners find rodents seeking shelter indoors for the winter. These inventive invaders can squeeze through an opening the size of a dime to find food and shelter. Unfortunately, rodents such as rats and mice bring some baggage. According to the CDC, they are responsible for the spread of over 35 diseases worldwide. After invading the home, rodents can contaminate food sources, transport fleas and spread diseases such as plague, murine typhus and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Don't worry, Home Paramount has the extermination treatments to help you get rid of rodents.

What do they look like?

Size: House mouse: 5 1/2 to 7 inches long ; Rat: 13 to 16 inches long (including tail)

Color: Brown

What does it eat?

Rodents are well adapted to life with humans and will eat many of the items that we consume. In general, mice prefer cereals and grains, while rats prefer garbage, but both will eat whatever food is available.

Where does it hide?

Rodents are typically nocturnal and may hide inside wall voids, under furniture or appliances. Rats often nest outside in soil near foundations or dense shrubbery.

What can it do to me?

House mice are a primary contributor to allergies and can trigger asthma in susceptible individuals. The constant gnawing of mice and rats can cause damage to structures and property and may even cause fires if electrical wires are damaged.

Spiders

Little Miss Muffet and Ron Weasley aren't the only ones afraid of spiders. Arachnophobia is a common enough condition and spiders consistently rank among the least appreciated insects. Don't be afraid, Home Paramount can handle the problem.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/4 to 1 inch in length

Color: Various

What are its identifying characteristics?

Unlike insects, spiders always have four pairs of legs, two body parts, no wings and no antennae.

What does it eat?

All spiders are venomous predators. Most feed on small insects. Some spiders, spin webs to catch their prey, some actively chase their food, while others prefer to quietly wait for lunch to come to them.

Where does it hide?

Spiders can be found in a variety of places, but typically are found in dark corners or behind stored items.

What can it do to me?

Although all spiders are venomous, they rarely bite and very few are dangerous. The Black Widow Spider and the Brown Recluse spider can cause serious health concerns if they bite and medical attention should be sought if a bite occurs.

Stink Bugs

Home Paramount offers residential and commercial clients a range of preventive and responsive Stink Bug management extermination services and solutions, all delivered by trained and dedicated pest control professionals. Home Paramount provides dependable, flexible, and effective residential and commercial Stink Bug treatments and extermination services. Home Paramount is the premier pest management company serving Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, and Washington DC.

What do they look like?

Size: Adults are approximately 5/8 inch long

Color: Mottled dark brown, with light and dark banding on the last two antennal segments and the exposed edges of the abdomen.

What are its identifying characteristics?

Adult Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are shield shaped and can release an unpleasant odor from glands on its abdomen.

What does it eat?

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs feed on many different shade trees and ornamental shrubs including common species such as Norway Maple, Butterfly Bush, Honeysuckle, and Catalpa. These bugs are becoming a serious agricultural pest as well, causing damage to tree fruits like apples and peaches as well as corn, soybeans, tomatoes and peppers.

Where does it hide?

Stink bugs congregate on buildings in large numbers during warm sunny days in the early fall. As temperatures cool, stink bugs will enter houses, seeking shelter for hibernation. They do not feed or reproduce indoors; their lifecycle is completed outdoors, when they exit structures in the spring.

What can it do to me?

Although stink bugs possess piercing-sucking mouthparts, they don't bite humans. When disturbed or crushed they can release a disagreeable odor as a defense mechanism.

Termites

Termites work constantly and can go undetected while doing serious damage to your home. Because homeowner insurance does not generally cover termite damage, a professional termite program is essential to protect your largest investment – your home.

What do they look like?

Size: 8-10 mm in length

Color: Creamy white or brownish black

What are its identifying characteristics?

Termite swarmers have four wings of equal size with two dark veins on the front edge. Their bodies are brownish black and they can fly. Termite soldiers are creamy-white, have soft bodies and large, symmetrically rectangular heads. Termite workers are creamy-white, soft bodied and do not have wings or any specialized structures.

What does it eat?

Termites eat cellulose materials – primarily wood and paper.

Where does it hide?

Subterranean termite colonies are located underground, up to 12 feet down. Colonies can contain 200,000 to 5 million termites. There can be as many as 4 large subterranean termite colonies per acre of land. Worker termites forage for food, constructing mud tubes to shelter them and keep them moist on their search. Once a food source is located; worker termites will construct galleries inside the wood and journey back and forth from the food source to the colony.

What can it do to me?

Subterranean termites are an economically significant pest – they can do considerable structural damage to your home. Termites cause more monetary damage than hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms combined, up to $5 billion worldwide.

Ticks

If you or your pets spend any time outdoors, chances are you've encountered a tick. Understandably, many people worry about the diseases that these tiny parasites transmit, such as Lyme Disease. Tick monitoring and prevention is an important part of outdoor activity. Inspect everyday for ticks, practice safe tick removal practices and ask about our Premium Green program targeting the risky ecotone areas of your yard.

What do they look like?

Size: 1/16 - 1/8 inches in length

Color: Reddish brown to brown

What are its identifying characteristics?

Before feeding, the female is about 1/8” long, orangeish-brown in color (her body becomes darker when engorged), the region behind her head is dark reddish brown, and her legs are much darker than her body. The male is smaller, about 1/16”, long and has a reddish-brown body overall. Both sexes are flattened from top to bottom. Nymphs and larvae resemble adults, except they are much smaller (0.7mm-1.8mm). Larvae only have six (6) legs.

What does it eat?

The deer tick feeds exclusively on the blood of mammals like humans, mice and deer.

Where does it hide?

Ticks climb to the top of grasses and shrubs and wait for a passing host. They are concentrated in transitional areas such as where the forest meets a field, where a mowed lawn meets a natural area, grasses next to a trail, etc. They may also be found in the den or nest of its host.

What can it do to me?

Deer Ticks are vectors of Lyme disease. Spirochete bacteria, injected into the host from the tick's body, cause Lyme disease.

Wasps

Ouch! A wasp sting hurts and can cause an anaphylactic reaction in some people. Home Paramount offers dependable, flexible, and effective residential and commercial wasp treatments and extermination services. Clients can choose from a range of preventive and responsive pest management services and solutions, all delivered by trained and dedicated pest control professionals. Home Paramount is the premier pest management company serving Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, and Washington DC.

What do they look like?

Size: 16-20 mm long

Color: Usually brown with either yellow or red markings, or yellow with black or brown markings

What are its identifying characteristics?

Coloration in adult paper wasps is usually brown with either yellow or red markings, or yellow with black or brown markings. Their bodies are about 16-20mm long and elongated with a spindle shaped abdomen. The area behind the head is usually triangular, and they have very long legs in proportion to their bodies. Their middle legs have 2 pointed spurs about half way up their leg. They also have a very narrow waist in between their thorax and abdomen. Wings are long and narrow.

What does it eat?

Paper wasps mainly feed on small insects. These wasps also feed on sweet carbohydrates and can be destructive to fruit orchards and vineyards when they feed from the fruit.

Where does it hide?

Paper wasp nests are usually found hanging upside down under eaves, decks and railings.

What can it do to me?

Paper wasps can inflict a painful sting.

Yellow Jackets

With a potent sting and aggressive nature, yellow jackets can be a formidable foe. Mowing the lawn, doing home improvement projects, or even walking by a nest can incite an attack by one or more yellow jackets who mobilize to protect their home. Home Paramount has the tools and experience to take back the yard for you – contact us today to handle your yellow jacket problem.

In some species, a chemical alarm is released upon stinging that causes the other yellow jackets to join the attack. Unlike bees, yellow jackets do not lose their sting after an attack and can therefore sting repeatedly. Multiple stings can be inflicted by a swarm of yellow jackets in a very short time.

What do they look like?

Size: 3/8 to 5/8 inch

Color: Yellow and black

What are its identifying characteristics?

Yellow jackets are mid-sized wasps with yellow and black abdomens. The abdomen does not taper at the waist, but is broad.

What does it eat?

Some yellow jackets are predators, hunting caterpillars, flies and other insects. Others species are scavengers, preferring to feed on garbage and carcasses.

Where does it hide?

Yellow jackets will construct their papery nest in the ground, or in structural voids, attics and crawlspaces.

What can it do to me?

Yellow jackets may be aggressive when disturbed and can deliver a painful sting.

Know Your Wildlife

Bats

Bats are the only mammals capable of natural flight and are in the order Chiroptera. Chiroptera comes from the Greek for hand (cheir) and wing (pteron), which describes how bats fly – by spreading out their digits rather than their forelimbs.

Most bats are insectivores that rely on echolocation to identify prey. Bat echolocation is a system in which ultrasonic sounds produce echoes, which provide detailed images of a bat's surroundings. As bats fly, they emit these high-pitched ultrasonic sounds audible only to other bats. When the sound waves impact an insect, the echoes return to the bat and guide it to the food source. Bats are nocturnal, hunt at night and consume several hundred insects in a few hours.

Bat infestations can cause odor problems, property damage and contamination. Bats typically reside in building walls, attics or between the roof and the ceiling. The longer the bats infest a building, the more difficult it is to remove them. Bats are carriers of rabies. The inhalation of bat droppings can also lead to histoplasmosis.

Regulations prohibit the disturbance of bat populations May through October when bats are breeding and the young cannot fly. During the other months, Home Paramount conducts bat removal and exclusion. We will conduct a thorough inspection, identify the entry points and design a professional and effective service plan.

Birds

Pigeons, starlings, grackles, sparrows and gulls are considered nuisance pests because of the health and safety concerns raised by their nests and droppings.

Their acidic droppings can cause property damage to painted surfaces and represent a health concern. Bird nests around buildings can represent a fire hazard and inhibit proper ventilation. Histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis and psittacosis are all associated with bird feces. Secondary pest infestations may also develop in areas fouled by birds.

Groundhogs

The groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, is actually a rodent. It is part of a group of large ground squirrels known as marmots and measures between 18 and 26 inches long, weighing 5 to 10 pounds. Its fur has a frosted appearance and it has a short tail. Perhaps the most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil who celebrates Groundhog Day every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Groundhogs are omnivorous and eat grasses, vegetables, berries, insects and other small animals. They burrow to sleep, raise their young and hibernate. These expansive tunnels can create problems for building foundations, lawns and residential enjoyment. When cornered, groundhogs will defend themselves with their incisors and front claws. They may also bark and squeal when threatened.

Moles

Moles are part of the mammal family Talpidae. Moles are furry, with cylindrical bodies, pink appendages and small eyes. They are mostly blind but can probably detect light. Moles breed in the spring, usually around March or April and the young reach adult size in four to eight weeks.

A mole's diet consists mostly of earthworms, insects, grubs and other soil invertebrates. Mole saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze small invertebrates, allowing them to store their prey for later consumption.

Moles are active creatures and burrow lawns to create underground galleries. Raised molehills pushed up from deep or shallow tunnels can destroy lawns and plant roots, earning moles their designation as a pest.

 

Opossum

The Virginia Opossum is the only Eastern North American marsupial. At its largest the opossum is the size of a cat, at its smallest it is the size of a mouse. They have grayish/black fur, black eyes and pink noses feet and tails. The word opossum comes from the Algonquian term wapathemwa.

Opossums are nocturnal and omnivorous. They will eat a variety of foods such as birds, carrion, frogs, insects, fruit, grasses, rodents and even snakes. This broad diet prompts them to raid food sources provided by people such as garbage and pet food, creating their pest status.

When threatened, they may “play possum” – that is, they will pretend to be sick or dead. This is an involuntary physiological response. They may also hiss, growl or bare their 50 sharp teeth to deter enemies.

Opossums are generally noticeable to homeowners when they raid food sources such as garbage, compost heaps and pet food. Because they are reluctant to build their own shelter, they may inhabit man-made structures. Opossums have been known to carry rabies, fleas and ticks, but are not a significant risk to humans.

Raccoons

The raccoon is a mammal native to North America. It ranges from 16 to 28 inches long and generally weighs between 8 to 20 pounds. Its distinctive facial mask and dexterous claws make it easily recognizable. The word raccoon is derived from the Algonquin word ahrah-koon-em meaning “one who rubs, scrubs and scratches with his hands.”

Raccoons are nocturnal and make their dens in warm, dry places such as chimneys, roofs and attics. Their strength and dexterity allows them to penetrate most building materials and they have been known to damage flashing, shingles, soffits and wire in their effort to build or access their den. Raccoon damage is common, particularly when the dealing with a mother raccoon and her kits.

Raccoons are omnivorous, eating a variety of foods including invertebrates, plants and vertebrate animals. Their highly manipulative claws allow them to raid garbage cans and open latched doors, gaining them access to human food sources.

Rabies and roundworm are two health risks commonly associated with raccoons. Rabies is transmitted to people and pets by means of infected saliva, typically through a bite. Raccoon feces are commonly infected with Baylisascaris, a roundworm with serious health implications for humans.

Skunks

Skunks are nocturnal animals who make their dens under structures without a foundation such as a deck or a shed. They create their dens by chewing or burrowing through wood, siding and other building materials which may lead to structural deficiencies. Skunks will often dig in yards to find food such as insects. Skunks are known for their strong odor and skunk spray can cause nausea, vomiting and temporary blindess.

Skunks have an extremely high incidence of rabies. Rabies is transmitted through an infected animals' saliva, typically through a bite.

Home Paramount offers skunk extraction and exclusion services. We will conduct a thorough inspection, identify the animals and its entry points and design a professional and effective service plan.

Snakes

Snakes are reptiles like turtles and lizards. They routinely shed their dry, scaly skin and cannot generate body heat. Snakes have a long body that allows them to crawl, climb and slip into small spaces. Although snakes have no ears, they can feel low frequency vibrations.

Snakes are carnivorous and their prey includes insects, fish, birds, eggs and rodents. Snakes are generally non-aggressive and avoid confrontations. However, if you do experience a snake bite you should seek immediate medical attention without waiting for signs or symptoms of envenomation.

Most of the snakes in the Home Paramount service area are not venomous. In Maryland, for example, there are 27 common species of snakes, 2 of which are venomous – the Northern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake. In Pennsylvania there are 21 native snake species, 3 of which are venomous – the Northern Copperhead, Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake and Timber Rattlesnake. In Virginia, there are approximately 30 native species, 3 of which are venomous – the Northern Copperhead, the Eastern Cottonmouth and the Timber Rattlesnake. It is sometimes possible to determine whether a snake is venomous by the shape of their eyes. If a snake's eyes are round it is generally not venomous. If a snake's eyes are elliptical it is possibly venomous.

Home Paramount's snake services involve exclusion work, trapping and removal. Sometimes, snakes are a secondary infestation – snakes may enter homes to follow food sources such as rodents or insects. Home Paramount also offers professional pest controls services to address the entire problem.

Squirrels

Squirrels are actually rodents and are members of the Scuridae family that includes groundhogs and chipmunks. They are prolific in our area and easily recognizable by their grayish fur and long, bushy tail.

Squirrels eat a variety of foods such as nuts, seeds, cones, fruits and vegetation. They are less likely to consume meat and insects. Squirrels prefer to nest in trees and are expert climbers. Still, they are highly adaptable and are a common part of the urban environment, as well.

Squirrels can cause significant economic and property damage owing to their constant urge to chew. Their chewing habit maintains the sharpness of and prevents the over-growth of their continuously growing teeth. Squirrels make large nests (called “dreys”) in attics, chimneys, vents, roofs and walls using readily available materials such as wood, insulation and drywall. They will chew through virtually anything including electrical wires, insulation, shingles and wood. This destructive habit can lead to property damage and fire hazards. Squirrels are active creatures and can often be heard in attics or walls.

Home Paramount provides squirrel removal and exclusion services. We will conduct a thorough inspection, identify the animals and its entry points and design a professional and effective service plan.