Louisiana has it’s share of insects and pests.

Every house has insects crawling through its foundation, from the smallest termites to the largest cockroaches. These insects can all be identified based on characteristic shapes, sizes and body coloring. Below are some common household pests in Southwest Louisiana.

Fire Ants

  • Inflict painful stings.
  • Single queen mounds can number 30-100 per acre with up to 250,000 ants each.
  • Nest in soil at base of trees, shrubs, grass or in homes.
  • Known to kill cattle and other animals.

Pharaoh Ants

  • Can spread a variety of bacteria.
  • Colonies contain several reproductive females and hundreds of thousands of workers.
  • Workers are about 1/16” long.
  • Nest in wall voids, behind baseboards, and between liners.

Carpenter Ants

  • A silent menace that destroys wood; damage to home can be worse than that produced by termites.
  • Thrives in same environment as humans.
  • Queen lives as long as 15 years.
  • Workers live as long as seven years.
  • Can forage up to 300 feet from colony.
  • Carpenter ants bite people when disturbed.

Ghost Ants

  • Workers are extremely small.
  • Colonies can occupy several different nesting sites.
  • Can spread a variety of bacteria.
Adult Flea

  • Fleas are pests of humans and domestic animals all over the world.
  • Flea larvae feed on organic debris and fecal blood.
  • Adult fleas and ticks feed on human or other animal blood.
  • Fleas transmit several diseases such as plague and Murine Typhus.
  • Fleas were responsible for the black plague that killed over 100 million people in the 14th century.

Brown Dog Tick

  • Brown Dog Ticks are one of the most widely distributed ticks in the world.
  • The most common host is the domestic dog and is virtually restricted to this host in the United States.
  • Ticks can transmit Lyme disease.
German Roaches

  • The most troublesome domestic species.
  • They can cause infection and disease.
  • One female produces 35,000 offspring in one year.
  • Found in moist areas.
  • Up to 5/8” long.

American Roaches

  • Includes largest of species; up to 1-1/2” long.
  • Also known as Palmetto or Flying Water Bug.
  • Attracted to sweets, grains, hair, soap.
  • Found in home foundations, under wood and near pools.

Oriental Roaches

  • Also referred to as the waterbug.
  • Up to 1.25 inches long.
  • Oriental roaches feed on all kinds of filth.
  • Generally found outdoors and migrate indoors during cold weather.

Smoky Brown Roaches

  • Closely related to the American Roach.
  • Feeds on plant material.
  • Commonly found living in wood, shingle roofs and in gutters.
  • Feeds on decaying matter.

  • More than 3,000 species found in North America.
  • Most poisonous species are the Black Widow and Brown Recluse.
  • Predators who paralyze or kill their prey with venom.
  • Feed mainly on insects.
  • Most are nocturnal.
  • Bites may occur when cleaning neglected areas or putting on seldom-worn clothes.
Roof Rat

  • Also known as the black rat or ship rat.
  • Roof rats are smaller and sleeker than the Norway Rat.
  • Primarily occupies coastal areas and are very common in seaports.
  • Adults weigh between 5 and 9 ounces.
  • Roof rats are thought of as vegetarians because they prefer fruits, seeds and vegetables.

Norway Rat

  • Also known as the house rat.
  • Are the most widely distributed rat in the United States and are found in all states.
  • Are stronger and more aggressive than roof rats.
  • Can adapt to cool climates better than any other species.
  • Its stocky body weighs between 12 and 16 ounces
  • Prefers meats and proteins for food.
  • Largest of the rats.

House Mouse

  • House Mice came to the United States on boats from Asia in the 1500’s.
  • House Mice can be found all over North America.
  • House Mice are nocturnal and use shredded paper, insulation material, and string to form their nests.
  • They cause damage in residential and commercial structures.
  • They contaminate food and carry diseases.
  • Unlike rats, mice like to explore new objects.
  • House Mice have poor vision, which is compensated by other senses, such as taste, smell, hearing and touching.

  • Generally nocturnal.
  • Live outside.
  • Enter homes seeking moisture.
  • Feed mainly on clothing and carpet.
  • Also eat papers, cotton, linen and proteins.
  • Usually 3/4″ to 7/8″ long.


  • Feed primarily on starch found in paper.
  • Cause damage to clothing by feeding on cotton and linen.
  • Wingless with flattened body.
  • Usually 1/2″ to 3/4″ long.
  • Found almost everywhere.


  • Earwigs are primarily scavengers and feed on dead plant and animal material.
  • Most active at night.
  • During the day they seek shelter under stones, boards and debris.
  • Readily recognizable by the forceps-like appendages at the end of the abdomen.

Sow Bugs

  • Sow bugs are closely related to shrimp and crawfish.
  • They feed on decaying vegetable matter.
  • They frequently invade damp basement and crawlspace areas.
  • They are found under mulch and vegetable debris and may infest potted plants.