Most homeowners know to watch out for signs of German cockroaches, bedbugs, and ants. While these pests are common, they are not the only bugs that can take up residence in your home. The more you know about pests, the better prepared you will be to fight them. Here are six lesser-known house pests that you may want to watch out for.
The first time you come across an earwig in your home, you're likely to feel a bit fearful. Earwigs are oblong, brown insects with two scary-looking pincers (cerci) emerging from their rear ends. Thankfully, contrary to popular rumors, they won't crawl into your ears and eat your brain. In fact, they rarely even pinch — and when they do, they don't typically break the skin.
Earwigs may not be dangerous, but they are an annoyance. They usually enter a home when moisture is an issue. Address plumbing leaks, a humid basement, or other sources of moisture to keep them at bay.
Another scary-looking bug, silverfish are silver-gray in color with three long “spikes” (cerci) on their rear ends and long, curved antennae on their fronts. Like earwigs, they congregate in moist areas like basements and bathrooms. Unlike silverfish, they do present a danger to your home. Silverfish will eat almost anything that has starch, including wallpaper paste, pages from books, and cardboard food packages. Many people are allergic to them and sneeze when they are around.
Getting rid of silverfish can be a struggle since you need to treat both the adult bugs and their eggs. Hire a professional exterminator for best results. They will often use a combination of traps and pesticides to get rid of the silverfish.
These bugs are named after their affinity for the box elder tree, but in the fall, they seem to like homes even better. Boxelder bugs often congregate on siding and door frames as the weather becomes colder, and if there are cracks in your home exterior, the bugs may migrate inside.
Luckily, box elder bugs do not breed inside homes, so they are not hard to get rid of. They're also fairly harmless beyond being an annoyance. They don't bite people or eat home materials, though their excrement may leave stains.
If you take care to seal any cracks and crevices in your home exterior, this will usually keep boxelder bugs outside. If they are a continuing nuisance on the outside of your home, a pest control company can come apply insecticides to get rid of them.
German and American cockroaches get all of the attention, but Oriental cockroaches can be a problem, too. They often enter a home through sewage drains, and they congregate around leaky pipes and plumbing fixtures. Males are reddish-brown and about 25 mm long with three-quarter length wings. Females are slightly larger and wingless.
Oriental cockroaches can spread diseases like E. coli and Salmonella, and they can also emit a strong, unappealing odor. You should always call in an experienced pest control expert to get rid of Oriental cockroaches since doing so requires a combination of baits and pesticides.
When you think of crickets, you probably think of the large, black bugs that rub their wings together and disturb you at night. These are field crickets, and they are only one of many types of crickets. Another type of cricket is the house cricket, which is yellow-brown in color and about 20 mm long. House crickets, similar to field crickets, make chirping noises at night.
Beyond the annoying noises they make, house crickets are rather harmless. You can usually get rid of them with traps intended for cockroaches. Then, seal any holes in the exterior of your home to keep additional crickets from entering.
These long, slender insects may not have a million legs, but they do have many body segments and two pairs of legs per segment. Millipedes usually live outside under mulch and in garden beds. When outdoor conditions are dry, millipedes sometimes enter homes in search of moisture — which the bugs may find in a crawlspace or basement.
Millipedes are rather harmless and don't cause any serious issues in the home. To get rid of them, just vacuum any you see up with a shop vacuum. Then, seal any cracks or crevices in the exterior of your home. Check the weather stripping along the bottoms of your doors. Millipedes may enter through worn, torn weather stripping.
Keeping all of these pests away can feel overwhelming at times, but if you keep your home clean, dry, and well-sealed, you'll be off to a great start. If you run into trouble or find a bug you cannot identify, contact American Pest Control Inc. for assistance.