Boxelder Bugs are a nuisance in and around homes from fall through early spring. This bug is about ½” long as an adult, black with three lines on the thorax, a red line along each side, and a diagonal red line on each wing. The immature forms are smaller and are easily distinguished from the adults by their red abdomens and lack of wings.
The Varied Carpet Beetle is a 3 mm-long beetle that can be a serious household pest. The small larvae feed on natural fibers and can damage carpets, furniture, and clothing. The Carpet Beetle has an unusual life cycle for an insect, developing from larvae to adult in 1 – 3 years.
Centipedes are venomous. Their venom allows them to attack prey and defend themselves against predators and other natural enemies. 5-hydroxytryptamine, which can break down cell walls, is present in some centipede species found in North America. Centipede venom is not fatal to humans, although some individuals may be allergic to it.
Yellowish-brown and about 1” long, House Crickets are heard more often than they are seen. They create a distinctive chirping sound, especially in the dar. They are happy to be outside, but will stray toward warm interiors. They eat just about anything and can bite if captured.
Earwigs are small, with pairs of horny, forceps-like abdominal appendages, larger in the male than in the female, and short, leathery forewings that cover the membranous hind wings when folded.
Fleas have been around for millions of years, sucking the blood of animals and humans. Fleas live on pets, mammals, in carpets, in sofas, as well as other household and farm goods. Female Fleas lay eggs that turn into grub-like larvae. The larvae then develop into pupae and settle inside a cocoon. They wait for a host to start their life and suck blood.
Millipedes do not have a poisonous bite, but many protect themselves by offensive odors produced by stink glands. Some produce highly irritating compounds that can injure the skin or eyes of attackers. They feed mostly on decaying vegetation, although some will consume decaying animal food. Some species attack plant roots and cause crop damage.
These guys like to eat paper, glue, starch, and textiles. Silverfish will feed on wallpaper and are often found in books or cardboard packaging. They are nocturnal and flee from light; they might even jump away. They are silvery-white, cone-shaped, and 1/2 – 3/4” long.
Springtails are minute, wingless insects about 1/16 – ⅛” long. The get their name from the ability to leap through the air 3 – 4” by means of a “furcula” or tail-like mechanism tucked under the abdomen. Populations are often high, up to 100,000 per cubic meter of surface soil. They occasionally invade homes and can be a year-round pest.
Ticks are found on pets, domestic animals, wildlife, and people. They are parasites, feeding on the blood of their hosts. Ticks are known vectors of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and can also cause paralysis in children and dogs.