Some of the common insect pests our Technicians encounter are listed below.
Carpet beetles come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Most resemble a ladybird beetle in shape, but are usually less than 0.5cm long; their color ranges from black to brown and even white and yellow. Adults are commonly found indoors at windows while the small larvae wander around the infested structure. Larvae can damage many types of materials, including products made of wool, fur, cotton, and silk.
Silverfish are one of the most primitive insects. Adults are 0.5cm – 2cm long, silver grey in colour and carrot-shaped with three bristles on the end of the abdomen. Silverfish can be found almost anywhere in a home, but prefer moist, warm conditions. They feed on a variety of items, including grain products like flour and oats, meats, and other silverfish. They can also cause real damage if allowed to get into your paintings or book collections.
Their name is derived from the superstition that they will crawl into the ear of sleeping people and bore into the brain. Adults range from 0.5cm to 2.5cm long, dark brown in color and have forceps at the hind end. The forceps, which are curved in the male and straight in the female, are not poisonous and will simply give you a small pinch. The female lays about 40 eggs a year and then rears the young herself – which is unusual in the insect world. Earwigs feed on live or dead plants and insects and will sometimes damage vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Sometimes called “thousand-leggers”, commonly encountered millipedes can be as large as 11cm long and are usually brown or black. Many species protect themselves by secreting foul-smelling chemicals. They’re scavengers which feed mostly on decaying plant matter. Massive millipede migrations of hundreds or thousands sometimes occur, often as a result of heavy rains. They’re primarily a nuisance, but large numbers often require professional control.
Centipedes are long, flat multi-legged animals, ranging from 0.5cm to 15cm long, depending on the species. In the home, the house centipede prefers dark, damp locations during the day, then comes out at night to search for prey. Unlike millipedes – with whom they are commonly confused – centipedes can bite.
Ladybugs are considered a beneficial insect – an insect that helps to control a pest insect. Rose growers often release ladybugs to provide natural aphid control. However, when large numbers of even a beneficial insect enter your home, they are considered a pest.
Black Field Cricket
This mostly black to dark brown Black Field Cricket has a long slender antennae and strong hind legs modified for jumping. It is 20mm long and found in suburban yards. They are often found in groups under rocks and logs and feeds on exposed vegetation and plant life.
Bird mites are tiny parasites typically associated with bird nests. Bird mites will feed on people and their bites can cause tremendous itching. When a bird leaves an infested nest, the mites may come inside, where they can infest bedding. Clover mites are slightly larger than bird mites and are bright red. They typically enter homes during the fall, sometimes in large numbers, when vegetation dies, but spring invasions may also occur. Clover mites will leave red stains on walls and furnishings if crushed.
Pillbugs and Sowbugs
Pillbugs and Sowbugs are actually crustaceans, similar to shrimp and lobsters, that have adapted to living completely on land. About 1.5cm long, they feed on decaying vegetation. They require high moisture to survive and quickly die as a result of water loss when they enter a home.
The brown dog tick is the species most often found indoors and is common on dogs. Adults are about 1cm long, and when engorged can expand to 1.5cm long. Females can lay up to 5,000 eggs which she places into cracks and crevices. After feeding, they hide in cracks and crevices and can survive for months without food. The American dog tick is usually found outside along paths and tall grassy areas. The deer tick is responsible for transmitting Lyme disease