Pests are a consistent problem both in cities and in the countryside in all cities around the world, and this is no different for Brazil. In this article, we will learn more about the most common pests in Brazil.
The rise in the number of urban pests can be attributed to the intense urbanization process, which Brazil went through in the second half of the 20th century. While in 1940 only 26,3% of the Brazilian population lived in cities, in 2010 this number grew to 86,5%. As a direct result of this, pests benefitting from precarious hygienic conditions thrive and tend to multiply, posing a serious problem for individuals and municipal governments.
Let us take a look at the most common urban pests in Brazil.
Cockroaches are one of the most ancient insects in the world, as they have existed for more than 300 million years. As an omnivorous insect, cockroaches eat any kind of material, but are more attracted to sweet and greasy food. With high reproductive potential, these insects are responsible for diseases like cholera, diphtheria, diarrhea and toxoplasmosis, among many more.
There are two main species of cockroaches in Brazilian cities:
- Sewer cockroaches are medium-sized and brown in colour and are the most common type of cockroaches in Brazil. They are able to fly small distances
- German cockroaches are highly reproductive and these small-sized insects are extremely resistant to the most common pesticides
Rats are commonly known as urban pests that are responsible for transmitting diseases such as salmonellosis, leptospirosis, hantavirus and even the bubonic plague. They breed very quickly, meaning that if one rat is seen, it is likely there are a lot more hiding close by. The most simple way of finding rats is through the appearance of their feces, which look like small black pellets. They have well-developed physical abilities, being able to gnaw hard materials, balance themselves on ropes and wires and excel at swimming and diving.
Although rats are widely considered as urban pests, they are not so common in Brazilian cities.
The most common species of rats in Brazil are:
- Rat, or sewer rat - large in size and grey in color
- Black rat or roof rat - medium in size and black color
- Mouse - small in size and white or grey-brown color
There are around 30 different species of ant that are considered urban pests. These are known for causing structural damage to furniture and electrical appliances, as well as causing skin diseases. These insects are responsible for more than 15% of all hospital infections. They possess multiple nests, makes their disposal much more complicated.
There are around 30 species of scorpions in Brazil, with all of them being potentially poisonous. All of the most dangerous scorpions in Brazil are from the Tityus family. It is not common to find scorpions in Brazilian houses, since they gather around areas where debris is piled.
The most common species of scorpions in Brazil are:
- Brazilian yellow scorpion - considered as the deadliest scorpion species in South America, it is yellow in color, can measure up to seven centimeters and its sting has lead to a number of child deaths
- Tityus Bahiensis, commonly known as the Brazilian brown scorpion - this species is responsible for the largest number of scorpion stings in Brazil. Although it is less poisonous than the Brazilian yellow scorpion, its venom is still strong
- Tityus stigmurus, commonly known as the Northeastern scorpion, as it only appears in that Brazilian region
Also present in urban areas in Brazil, are the following pests that are most common in the countryside.
There are over 35.000 species of spiders around the world, but most of them are harmless and can hardly be accounted for as pests, since they are predators which contribute to regulating the population of other insects. Despite this, there are five species of spider that are more dangerous:
- Bird catching spider - the largest of the spider species, as it can reach up to 30 cm. This species does not have a very potent poison, and will defend itself only if threatened directly. It can release its pelage in order to protect itself, as it is highly allergenic
- Brazilian wandering spider - one of the most aggressive spiders in Brazil, they can reach up to 17 cm and can jump up to 40 cm. The Guinness World Records classified its venom as the deadliest in the world in 2010
- Tarantula - reaching up to five centimeters, its venom is not very potent. Tarantulas generally live near houses and swimming pools, which causes a lot of accidents
- Black widow - reaching up to 3 cm, the female spider is black with a red spot on its abdomen. Contrary to other black widow species, the Brazilian black widow is not poisonous
- Brown spider - reaching up to 2,5 cm, this species is known for the destructive power of its poison, which may cause necrosis in the area near the bite
Found in all types of environments, ticks will wait on an animal or human to pass near them and attach themselves in order to suck blood from its host. They are vectors of inumerous viruses and bacterias.
The most common species of ticks in Brazil are:
- Cattle tick, known for attacking cattle
- Cayenne tick, known for attacking all kinds of living things. This tick may carry the Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Brown dog tick, known for attacking dogs
Known for eating through all kinds of materials which contain cellulose - especially wood - termites are not only a common countryside pest in Brazil, but also an urban pest, with more than 250 species being present in Brazil. Subterranean termites are the most common in the countryside, while drywood termites are a common pest in Brazilian cities.
Known in Brazil as Caruncho, the bean weevil is a common countryside pest. Small in size - up to only 22 mm, and dark in color, bean weevils generally lay their eggs in stored grain, but ultimately will benefit from all stored food such as cookies and pasta. When the larvae hatch, they chew their way into the inside of the grain, warranting a source of food for their developmental stage.
If not taken care of quickly, bean weevils will reproduce quickly and infest other food and grains in a storeroom.