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MISCELLANEOUS PESTS

This category of pests covers a wide variety of phyla and orders of arthropods. These tend to be only occasional intruders inside structures but can sometimes invade in large numbers. I will provide a brief description of each arthropod. Usually, treatment involves a barrier spraying of the outside of the foundation to prevent them from coming in. Also, elimination of conducive conditions also helps and that usually applies to removal of decaying organic matter, especially plant matter. Unless noted otherwise, these arthropods all feed on these materials. As I describe each arthropod, if there is more or less that can be done, I will explain that.
Sowbugs and Pillbugs
Adult sowbugs and pillbugs are dark to slate gray and contain seven pairs of legs. While sowbugs possess two prominent tail-like appendages, the pillbug's appendages are not visible. Capable of rolling up into a loose ball when disturbed.

Sowbugs and pillbugs require a large amount of water or moisture. By removing moisture sources, this should help alleviate the infestation. See Pestude's MOISTURE CONTROL page for ideas on how to reduce moisture. You should also eliminate possible sources of food, which for sowbugs is decaying organic matter, such as grass clipping, leaves, etc.

Millipedes
Adult millipedes range in size from 1/16 to 4 1/2 inches long. These worm-like creatures are usually black or brown, but some are red or orange. Most body segments (and their could be 15 to 50 segments) have two legs each.

In addition to correcting moisture situation inside, the following will help reduce the population outdoors, thus reducing the possibility of interior invasion:

  • Dethatch the lawn in order to reduce moisture retention
  • Mow the lawn closely to promote quicker drying
  • Remove debris from lawn such as leaves, wood debris, rocks, heavy mulch etc.
  • Water lawns in morning to let sun dry lawn during day
Centipedes
Centipedes range from 1/8 to 6 inches in length. These worm-like arthropods have 14 to 50 body segments, most all having a single pair of legs. Some species of centipedes can have a painful bite.

Centipedes require a high level of moisture. So moisture control programs are essential for centipede management. Indoors, centipedes can easily be removed with a vacuum.

Lady Beetles / Lady Bugs
Adult lady beetles are about 1/32 to 3/8 inch long with a distinctively oval to nearly round shape. Their color is red, orange, yellow, brown, or shiny black, usually with various marking in such as white, bright yellow, red, orange, or black spots.

These beetles are beneficial insects, feeding on aphids, which destroy plants. However when they enter a house in the fall to winter over, they become a nuisance pest because they can enter by the hundreds. Since they tend to enter through very small openings anywhere in the structure, the spraying of a preventative barrier treatment will not work. All crevices, especially around window and attic vents, should be sealed and screened. This may help keep them out.

Silverfish
Adult silverfish are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, wingless, with a teardrop shape. They are silver in color. Their antennae are long and threadlike. They possess three distinctive long bristle-like appendages at the posterior end.

Treatment of interior infestation of silverfish usually requires a pest management professional because of the type of pesticide required.

House Crickets
Adult crickets are about 3/4 to 7/8 inch long. Their color is light yellowish brown with three dark crossbands on the head. Their antennae are thread-like and longer than their body.

Keeping lawns mowed, plant beds weeded, woodpiles away from the house and so forth will eliminate potential breeding areas near the structure. This is the first step in a successful cricket management program. Since crickets are attracted to lights, changing outdoor lights to less attractive yellow "bug" bulbs and sealing all possible entry points should go a long way to keeping crickets out.

Earwigs
Earwigs are about 1/4 to 1 inch in length with their color ranging from pale brown with dark markings to uniformly reddish brown to black, but with paler legs. They have distinctive forceps-like appendages protruding from the rear of the abdomen.

Control for the earwig is as explained above under Miscellaneous Pests.

Clover Mites
Clover mites are extremely difficult to see, only 1/64 inch in size. They are dark red, olive green, or rusty brown in color. They are usually noticed because the leave small red stains when crushed.

An 18 inch grass free strip around the structure will reduce the number of clover mites entering the structure. The barrier treatment described above will also work.

Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are small, about 3/16 inch long, and are brown to reddish brown (after a blood meal). These bugs will harborage in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed. Their primary food source is human blood and will ofter be found in bed (hence its name). Beside their characteristic obnoxiously sweet odor, another clue of an infestation includes the presence of bed bugs or their small red to reddish brown fecal spots here and there on surfaces.

Treatment for bed bugs includes the spraying of mattresses, bed frames, wall crevices, and baseboards. Care should be taken to minimize potential exposure from the pesticides by spraying the mattresses too much.

Booklice
Adults are very small, only about 1/32 to 1/4 inch long. They are soft bodied insects that look like tiny termite workers. Antennae are long and threadlike. They are found in areas of high relative humidity because they need to keep their soft ectoskeletons moist as well as the fact that they feed on mold which requires a high level of humidity.

The easiest way to control booklice is to lower the humidity (moisture) within the structure. If the humidity in the air is dropped below 50 percent, then the booklice will die off. The lower the humidity, the faster they die off. See Pestudude's MOISTURE CONTROL site for ways to reduce the humdity levels. On rare occations, a pesticide application may be needed. For this type of treatment, you will need to hire a pest management professional.

Scorpions
Adults are about 2 to 4 inches in length, with the abdomen distinctly segmented with the rear of the abdomen elongated into a 5 segments tail-like structure, usually curved upward, which has a stinger at the end.

Scorpion management includes the following steps:

  1. Identification
  2. Harborage removal - includes removal of piles of wood, trash, and debris, storing lumber and firewood off the ground, eliminating stones and landscaping timbers, etc.
  3. Food or prey reduction - consists of reducing the arthropod population around the structure. Use an 18 inch grass free perimeter band along with a barrier pesticide treatment.
  4. Exclusion - includes the use of tight door thresholds, window with tight fitting screens in good condition, caulking around door and window frames, utility pipe entrances, vents, facia boards, etc.
  5. Pesticide application - inside, this may be needed if the scorpions are in the wall voids. This will probably need to be done by a pest management professional.

See also: HOW TO CHOOSE A PEST MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!