What Do Pests Eat?
January 18, 2017
It's so often that when talking about pest maintenance that there are two reasons why pests are trying to get into your home: First is for shelter and warmth, usually more so in the winter; Second, and more pertinent through all seasons, is that all pests are scavenging for food.
Between vermin and insects, their motivation during all four seasons is to find food to survive. We've addressed some of the Myths regarding pest diets, but what is it in your home that is attracting pests to come inside? Some are more obvious than others, but here are some of the top pests trying to get into your home and what they're trying to eat.
Top Pests To Worry About
What kind of food ants eat is specific to what kind of ants we're talking about. All ants are omnivores, capable of taking most types of food back to their colonies. That doesn't mean they don't have preference or goals in what they're trying to eat.
Fire Ants are more attracted to meats, which usually means they're eating other insects and bugs. That's what makes it less likely to encounter fire ants inside your home. Unless you already have another bug infestation, these guys are perfectly happy staying outdoors for their meals.
Carpenter Ants eat meat too (again, it's just other bugs that they eat) but are more attracted to sweet sugars that you can find in fruit. Contrary to their name, they don't actually eat wood, but be prepared for them to go after you fruits, pet food, honey, sweets, or anything that is full of sugar.
The other two types of ants recorded in North Carolina are the Red Pavement Ant and the Formica ant. Both are similar to Carpenter ants in that they are more attracted to sweet sugars among all things they eat. When dealing with either of these specific ants in your home, you should call your local pest control services for consultation, as they are not like the average fire or carpenter ant.
Bed Bugs & Fleas
Have you ever wondered why Bed Bugs and Fleas both feast on blood, but only specific mammals? We know these bugs like to feast upon us and our furry friends, but there is a reason why the two don't just go after every warm blooded animal. The habitat of each of these bugs is what truly makes a difference.
Bed Bugs don't live on their hosts, while fleas do. Bed Bugs don't reside on their hosts, they take refuge in places that are as nearby and out of sight as they can be. Most of the time they will hide in your mattress, sheets, headboard, box spring, anywhere that keeps them hidden away from you. Once you're asleep, they have a numbing solution in their saliva to keep you asleep while biting you, which is how you don't discover the bites until you wake up itching. Their habitat is what really sets the difference between them eating from you rather than your pets.
Fleas don't just consume from your pets, but also live in your pets. This is why a lot of owners don't like their pets jumping onto beds or couches, as there is a significant risk for them to spread. If fleas make their way onto your dog or cat, it's not impossible to be bitten by them. Especially if you're the type who sleeps with their pets, you'll often wake up with bites just like with bed bugs. The big problem with fleas is that they live on your pets because it keeps them warm and provides a safe place for their eggs to hatch.
The biggest attraction in your home for cockroaches is standing water, which is why you'll see them in kitchens and bathrooms before other areas of the house. Usually they like to stay in dark places too, making the back of your laundry machines, fridges, and cabinets with plumbing perfect places for them to migrate to. Water is the main sources for a cockroach's life span, without it they will die within a few weeks. If only provided with water, they are capable for living for months at a time. Outside of their need for water, cockroaches are omnivores.
They like sweet or starchy foods, but since they can go just about anywhere so long as they have water, they'll eat unconventional things as well. Sewer cockroaches will literally just consume sewage, so anything in your home is fair game. Consider that they eat starches, well that extends to literal paper and glue. Since they're okay with eating anything, in dire situations they're also prone to eating their own young. These guys can really eat just about anything and continue on with their day.
In our Pest Myths Busted article, we talked about what it is that mice like. Thanks to cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes, the concept that mice eat cheese has long been imposed upon us. If you are trying to catch a mouse, what do you use? Cheese. Well, that's not the case at all. In fact mice and rodents don't really care for cheese, it's not in their food preferences unless there's literally nothing else to eat. Mice and rodents prefer sweets, carbohydrates, and are basically omnivores. They will eat several unusual things, and that's before they'll look at cheese twice.
Have you ever seen the video of a hamster eating spaghetti? Because rodents will sooner try to eat your spaghetti unless you like it with lots of Parmesan. Outside of that they are attracted to fruits and meats, so be careful if you have a rodent infestation. They may be after your own food, but they have been known to resort to cannibalism in dire situations.