There are certain pests that prefer to live indoors, such as German cockroaches and bed bugs. There are others, however, that predominantly live outside and only invade a home when the conditions are right. Pests of this type are sometimes called occasional house pests or opportunistic house pests.
Occasional house pests present problems that are just as troublesome as those presented by more common household pests, and they can be just as tough to get rid of. In fact, many homeowners particularly struggle to get rid of occasional house pests since they’re not as well-known as pests like ants and roaches. Here’s a closer look at five occasional house pests you may spot in your home one day.
Centipedes are named for the fact that they appear to have 100 legs, but in fact, they truly have about 15 pairs. These long, thin insects are yellow-gray in color and have long antennae on their heads. They can scurry out of the way quite quickly, and thankfully, they are more of a nuisance than a danger since they don’t usually bite humans.
Centipedes are more likely to come into your home during the winter when they are seeking refuge from the cold. They thrive in moist environments, so you may see them if you have a moist basement. Centipedes like to feed on other smaller insects, like bed bugs and termites, so if you’ve been battling these more-common household pests, you might start to see some centipedes, too.
Millipedes have more legs than centipedes, but they certainly don’t have a million. These ovular-shaped bugs look like a cross between a worm and an insect. Most are reddish brown in color and up to 1 1/2 inches long.
Millipedes usually live outside under rocks and in piles of lawn debris. If you have wood piles, mulch, or piles of leaves directly against your home’s foundation, the millipedes inhabiting the pile may start making their way inside.
The problem with millipedes is that they love to eat damp and decaying wood. So if they find their way into your home and you have any sort of moisture problem, they can replicate quickly and eat away at your wooden structures.
You’ve probably seen these little bugs outside under rocks and logs. They’re often known as doodle bugs or roly polies. They’re about 1/4 inch long, and if you touch them, they curl up into a black-brown ball.
Pill bugs are not a common indoor pest, and if you find them, it’s definitely an indication that you have a huge problem with moisture in your home. Pill bugs are very water-dependent and will dry out and die inside without a good water source.
Removing moisture sources will quickly eradicate pill bugs from your home. If you are unable to keep your home dry — for example, if you have a dirt cellar — then you’ll need to be very careful about sealing cracks, holes, and other openings through which the pill bugs can enter. The good news is that these pests are not dangerous to your health or your home — they’re just a nuisance.
When crickets find their way indoors, you will know it. These chirping insects will keep you up at night. House crickets, a brown species named for their tendency to move into homes, are the most common. However, you may also find black garden crickets in your home if you have a moist, dark basement.
House crickets can eat holes in fabric and carpet, so it’s important to get rid of them ASAP. Address moisture problems, and also focus on moving wood piles and debris away from your home, since crickets may initially be attracted to these areas before migrating indoors. Make sure your crawlspaces and attic are well-ventilated. If these areas become too warm, they may attract crickets, who won’t thrive in chillier spaces.
Earwigs are intimidating-looking insects with pincers. They’re brown in color with long bodies, and they vary in size from about 5 to 25 mm in length. Earwigs usually live outdoors, but they may move inside during hot weather if your basement or kitchen is moist, cool, and undisturbed.
Earwig infestations are rare. More often, you will come across one or two earwigs who wandered inside “on accident,” and if you get rid of them, your troubles will be over. If you do start to notice large numbers of these pests, you may have an infestation. Getting rid of earwigs usually requires insecticide application.
If you have these bugs outdoors, you can generally keep them from wandering inside by ensuring water drains away from your home properly, keeping tree branches near the home trimmed to eliminate shade, and shining outdoor lights into the yard. Earwigs are attracted to light and will follow it; if the light shines into your yard, they’ll move away from your home rather than towards it.
If you catch any of these occasional household pests in your home, contact Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management. We’ll get rid of the pests and help you pinpoint what is attracting them into your house so you don’t continue to attract other opportunistic pests in the future.