Cimex lectularius is a cosmopolitan, or widely distributed, species, most frequently found in the northern temperate climates of North America, Europe, and Central Asia. It occurs more sporadically in southern temperate regions. In tropical regions, C. hemipterus is the dominant species, but this species does not occur in California. The most common species found in California is C. lectularius.
Ants are among the most prevalent pests in households. They are also found in restaurants, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and other buildings where they can find food and water. On outdoor (and sometimes indoor) plants, ants protect and care for honeydew-producing insects such as aphids, soft scales, whiteflies, and mealybugs, increasing damage from these pests.
There are six species of cockroaches in California that can become pests: German cockroach, brownbanded cockroach, oriental cockroach, smokybrown cockroach, American cockroach, and Turkestan cockroach. A seventh species, the field cockroach, is not really a pest. It is usually found outdoors, but sometimes comes indoors when it is hot or dry and is often mistaken for the German cockroach.
Cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, are the most common ectoparasite on domestic cats and dogs. Dog fleas, C. canis, look like cat fleas but are rare in California. Sticktight fleas, Echidnophaga gallinacea, are commonly found on ground squirrels and poultry; the females firmly attach themselves along the ears and eyes of their host.
Many people fear or dislike spiders but, for the most part, spiders are beneficial because of their role as predators of insects and other arthropods, and most cannot harm people. Spiders that might injure people—for example, black widows—generally spend most of their time hidden under furniture or boxes, or in woodpiles, corners, or crevices.
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