Branden Runyan brought these specimens from a customer’s house in Dorrington.
Dr. Philip Ward identified then as alate queens, in the subfamily Formicinae, probably a species of Lasius.
11 September 2020
These ants were collected on a manzanita in Pine Mountain Lake, Groveland, California by Ryder Richards. 12 August 2020.
The ants are Pseudomyrmex apache, identified by Dr. Philip Ward. He states “an elegant arboreal ant that belongs to a predominantly Neotropical genus. One of my favorites.” Indeed, this ant is special. (and they never invade homes)
Dr. Ward has published a number of papers on this family of ants. Here are just a few, of many:
There is no common name for this particular species, but members of the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinaeenus are often called big-eye arboreal ants, Dr Philip Ward tells me.
Ryder Richards brought in two glueboards that had a total of six adult cockroaches, three females and three males, on August 4, 2020, from a home in Valley Springs.
These specimens represent the first confirmed sightings, to my knowledge, of the existence of Turkestan cockroaches in Calaveras County, and maybe this part of the state. I have recently, in the last two weeks, seen some specimens that the staff has brought in from parts of Tuolumne County that were very similar, and strongly suggestive of Turkestan roaches, but this sample leaves no doubt.
The Turkestan roach was first reported in the US at the Sharpe Army Depot, near Stockton, in 1978. But we have never seen this roach here, in the foothills, until now.
These specimens came from a house in Valley Springs, Calaveras County, California. These glueboards captured the roaches inside the house, in a bedroom and in the closet of the same bedroom. The roach is seen as primarily an outside pest, but that is clearly not their only choice of habitat.
8/17/2020 Update. We found Turkestan roaches in another home in Valley Springs, on Hartvickson.
I spoke to the homeowner. They had a mouse problem and had put out these glueboards to catch the mice. One did catch a mouse, as you can see hair on one of the boards. She said her dog ate the mouse off the glueboard. (I thought that was interesting.) She said that she’d seen one roach in her garage and had stepped on it. She spoke to a neighbor who told her that they, too, had seen roaches in their garage. She saw these roaches on her glueboards on Sunday and then called us on Monday. She started a pest control service, today, Tuesday.
Note. It might be that our mild winter, with almost no freezing days, have allowed these cockroaches to rapidly expand their population up here in the foothills.
Jason Price brought in samples of drugstore beetles infesting a bathroom in a house in Valley Springs, Calaveras County, California. This is unusual, indicating a food source in that area. The problem started, to my knowledge, at least in May of 2020.
It turns out that this house had a bad mouse infestation in the rent past (prior to the new owners), and we are now going to search for rodent bait or a rodent cache in this area, beneath or within the wall there.
22 June 2020.
Ryles Richards brought in samples of an unusual ant he saw at a home in Pine Mountain Lake, Groveland, California. He said the ants were very fast and ran in erratic paths, not following trails. We took photos and sent them to Dr. Philip Ward for ID. Based on these photos, he thinks they might be Formica aerata.
12 June 2020
Kissing bugs, triatoma protracta, are parasites of pack rats, living in their nests, and feeding on their blood, while the rat sleeps. Eggs are laid within the nest, and the kissing bug nymphs will also feed rat blood. Sooner or later, the pack rat will die, by predation most likely, and the dependent kissing bugs will not have anything to eat. Starvation forces them to leave the nest and seek a new host; this activity is most common at dusk, after prolonged hot spells. Being strong fliers, they are attracted to lights, but do not flutter around lights, like moths; they will land and walk the remaining distance. If a kissing bug enters your home, remember, it is there for food, and you are the target.
Kissing bugs appear to be attracted to heat and odor. People report finding them in their beds, basically waiting. It is customary for people that have a lot of kissing bugs, to take the sheets off, and check their beds before going to bed.
The name ‘kissing bug’ comes from reports, back in gold rush days, of people being bitten around the lips. This author has not seen that, and most reports of bites are on other body parts. This author was once bitten by one, on the foot. I never felt the bite, but the bite was prominent, and I’d categorize it as a nasty bite, large and really annoying. I tore the place apart looking for it and never found the bug, until…. it came back to get a second feeding a week or so later.
Below are images of adults and nymphs.
Specimens below collected by Paul Cooper, Jason Price, Heather Nordstrom.
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Kissing bug nymphs
Specimens collected by Paul Cooper.