PestWorld for Kids Glossary
allergen: Any substance that can cause the body’s defense systems to overreact in sensitive individuals.
allergic reaction: An over-reaction of the body's defense or immune system to an allergen. Allergic reactions include breaking out in hives, breathing difficulties, sneezing, rapid loss of blood pressure, or loss of consciousness.
anemia: A lack of red blood cells.
anesthetic: A chemical that causes a loss of sensation or consciousness.
asthma: A life-long disease in which the airways unexpectedly and suddenly narrow making it extremely difficult to breathe. Asthma is often triggered in response to an allergen, cold air, exercise or emotional stress. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.
bubonic plague: A highly contagious and often deadly disease caused by bacteria transmitted by flea bites. These fleas are usually carried by rodents, such as rats.
brood: A group of offspring such as a brood of cicadas.
carbon dioxide: A colorless, odorless gas present at room temperature. This molecule is formed from breathing in and burning materials made mostly of carbon, such as wood and coal.
clotting: When a liquid becomes semi-solid. For example, when blood clots it becomes a scab.
colony: A group of social insects. (See social insect)
communicate: To provide message by chemicals, touch or noise.
contagious: A disease that is easy to catch or transmit to another person or sometimes another organism.
contaminate: To make unclean or unsanitary.
cross pollination: An important step in the reproduction of plants and flowers. Seeds are carried by the wind or various animal species (such as bees, birds, butterflies, moths and beetles) from one plant to another, allowing them to spread and grow.
crustacean: A large group of arthropods (insects are also arthropods), which include shrimp, crabs, barnacles and crayfish.
cryptococcosis: A type of fungus which is related to yeast and can cause life-threatening diseases such as meningitis.
Dengue fever: A tropical disease caused by a virus that is carried by mosquitoes. Symptoms of the disease include fever, rash and severe pain in the joints.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis: An illness spread by mosquitoes. It is caused by a virus that is most active in the eastern US. An average of 6 human cases of EEE are reported annually in the United States, according the to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of these cases have been reported in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. In humans, the disease can cause swelling of the brain, coma and eventually death.
ectoparasites: A parasite that lives on or in the skin; fleas and lice are ectoparasites.
environment: Our living and working world.
exterminator: The term "exterminator" is out of date. It does not describe the full-range of services and knowledge a pest control professional uses to prevent and remove threats to health and property. Please see the term "pest control professional" below.
forage: To search for food; ants will forage for food.
forensic scientist: A scientist that gathers physical clues and information to figure out what happened in the recent or distant past.
fungus: A member of the kingdom "fungi" which reproduces by spores; common fungi include molds, mildews, yeasts and mushrooms.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: A potentially fatal disease transmitted by rodents. About one-third of the people who caught Hantavirus have died. However, this is a rare disease with only 616 cases reported in the United States through December 31, 2012. Most cases have been in Southwestern states. The urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents contain this virus. Humans can catch the illness if they breathe in particles of the droppings, saliva, or urine that are in the air. They can also catch Hantavirus if they touch or are bitten by infected animals.
histoplasmosis: A disease transmitted by birds that primarily affects the lungs and can be fatal if left untreated.
host: An animal that provides food and shelter for a pest, such as ticks, fleas or lice.
immune system: The system in humans and other animals that protects them from illness.
infest: To be occupied by pests such as "infested food".
infestation: When insects, rodents or other pests establish a home within or around buildings or hosts.
insect: A type of arthropod in the biological family of insecta; all insects have six legs.
larva: The early stage of an insect’s life immediately after hatching from an egg; mealworms are the larvae of moths. More than one larva is called "larvae".
litter: A group of young born mammals.
Lyme disease: Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are spread by the bite of infected deer ticks. Named after the town in Connecticut.
marsupial: Marsupials have pouches on their bodies in which they feed and carry their young. Kangaroos and koalas are marsupials.
malaria: Malaria (meaning "bad air") is a tropical disease spread by mosquitoes that kills over one million people in Africa, Asia and the Americas every year.
mate: To reproduce or have offspring.
monogamous: An animal that has only one mate. Geese have only one mate, where as rats and insects will have multiple mates.
murine typhus: A mild form of a disease transmitted from rats to humans by fleas. Symptoms include fever, headache and muscular pain.
nocturnal: An animal that is active at night.
organic: A chemical that contains a carbon atom. The term is also used for "natural" foods and products.
ovipositor: A tube used to deposit eggs. Only females have ovipositors.
parasite: An organism that grows, feeds and is sheltered by a host.
pest control professional: A pest professional is a trained expert who knows how to manage pests effectively and is dedicated to protecting the public’s health and property. Pest professionals conduct inspections, identify pest problems and eliminate infestations by applying product, baiting, monitoring and communicating with the homeowner or property owner.
pesticide: A substance that repels, controls or reduces pests.
pheromone: A chemical that sends signals to others of the same species or colony. For example, female insects can put down pheromones to attract males for mating. Males may put down pheromones that alert others of possible danger or to food.
pollinate: To help plants reproduce by spreading pollen; bees are important pollinators and are vital in ensuring pollination for food production.
proboscis: A tube-like organ used for feeding, defense or touch around the mouth. Examples include an elephant trunk, human nose or the tube that insects use to feed.
reproduce: To create offspring.
reproductive: The insect whose only job is to reproduce; others in the colony are workers or drones and will not reproduce.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: A disease caused by bacteria spread by tick bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and rash. Most cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever occur from April to September. Although the disease is named Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, most cases of the disease occur in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.
salmonella: An illness that can be spread by roaches or rodents. The illness is commonly called "food poisoning" because people most often get sick by eating food with salmonella.
scavenger: An animal that feeds on dead animals including insects.
social insect: Social insects usually stay together as a "family" through at least two generations. They work as a group to feed the colony, protect their nest and raise the young.
stagnant: Still, unmoving. An example is water in bird baths, ponds and wading pools.
sterile: Unable to mate.
structural: Having to do with how a building is constructed and able to remain standing.
symbiosis: A mutually helpful relationship between the individuals of two (or more) different species.
toxoplasmosis: A food-borne illness caused by the protozoan, or a parasite with one cell, Toxoplasma gondii. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60 million Americans carry this parasite. You can prevent spreading this disease by properly washing food before cooking or eating.
typhus: A highly contagious disease spready by arthropod (lice, fleas, mites) bites. Symptoms include severe headaches, chills, high fever and sleepiness.
unsanitary: Dirty, unclean or contaminated.
warm-blooded: When animals maintain constant body temperatures, even when the temperatures outside their bodies change. Mammals, marsupials and birds are warm-blooded.
West Nile virus: A disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands and potentially paralysis. West Nile virus can be fatal.