How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Hair

How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Hair


My husband and I acquired bed bugs from a stay in a motel. Now it has been weeks of sleepless nights. Currently we are dealing with the infestation using OTC bed bug products and trying to reduce the small amount of clutter we have. The worst part is that we feel the bed bug eggs are hatching in our hair. Now, I know this might sound crazy and that most experts will refute these claims saying bed bugs do not get in the hair. But my husband and I are pretty sure that that’s the case. We have even used lice combs to comb out the nymphs and eggs. Help! What can we do?”

Sounds familiar? Are you also dealing with bed bugs in your hair and scalp? Then read on: we have important information for you…

Can bed bugs get in our hair?

Yes. Bed bugs can go pretty much everywhere. If you are dealing with an infestation, chances are that you have brought it through one of your travels: either from an infested motel, bus, train or even the air plane! Bed bugs multiply rapidly and, within a short time, tend to grow to large numbers. They lay eggs in cracks and crevices, and come out to feed on your blood at night. Naturally, during their nightly travels, they might hide in your hair. Most experts are not in agreement. They feel that, unlike lice and hair mites, bed bugs simply do not have the body parts with which they can attach themselves to human scalp or pet hair. However; many reports from people suffering bed bug infestations have showed that bed bugs do get in the hair and, once they do, they are rather difficult to get rid of.

So what can you do to get bed bugs out of the hair?

  1. Bed bugs in hair and scalp can be an exhausting experiencing owing to the fact that you will need to comb, comb and comb some more and also undergo frequent hair washing.
  2. Many people have had some success by using 91% rubbing alcohol with their regular shampoos, but despite this, some bed bug eggs might still be left behind in the hair and scalp. Hence, repeat treatment is necessary.
  3. People with a beard must thoroughly comb it out to remove eggs, nits and nymphs from there. Additionally, you might want to consider trimming or shaving it completely to rid of the bed bug eggs.
  4. Cedar oil products have proven themselves very effective in treating bed bugs on the body and hair. You can add Cedar oil to your bath gel and shampoo and this can help kill bed bug eggs and nymphs hiding in the scalp and hair. Note that the oil can irritate your scalp, so do use some anti-itch scalp medication to counter this.
  5. You could apply mineral oil or olive oil to your hair and cover it with a shower cap overnight to prevent bed bugs from biting the scalp. This remedy can also help kill the eggs and suffocate the nymphs. You can wash the hair the next morning using anti-lice solution or medicated shampoos etc.
  6. Sauna treatment which includes sitting in steamed room (where temperatures reach 120deg C etc) is another great remedy since bed bug eggs can be killed off at such high temperatures. Naturally, it is best to talk to a doctor if this remedy is right for you particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions like heart trouble, blood pressure etc.
  7. Bed bugs in hair are more common in people wearing wigs or infested hair pieces. In extreme cases, one might have to get rid of these infested items.

Treat bed bugs in the premises first

Bed bugs get in your hair and scalp usually come from infested headboards and bedding items. Naturally, you must treat these items first rather than just combing and shampooing.Here are some steps you must follow:

  1. De-clutter the house as bed bugs love to hide in cluttered premises.
  2. Vacuum, vacuum and vacuum some more.
  3. Wash all mattresses, linen, sheets, comforters, blankets, pillow cases, pillows etc in hottest water with detergent and bleach where allowed.
  4. Dry the items in the highest setting of the dryer to kill eggs, nymphs and adult bugs.
  5. Place the mattresses in encasements.
  6. Treat the box springs with bed bug products like bed bug sprays, powders etc. Rubbing alcohol is also useful though it is flammable.
  7. Place the bed legs in mineral oil. Alternatively, sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder all around the bed to kill the bed bugs.
  8. Throw away heavily infested items using plastic bags that have been marked as ‘bed bug infested’. This will prevent them from being picked by other people.
  9. Invest in a good steamer to steam all the bedding items, including encasements. Isolating bedding and mattresses will prevent new infestations and also prevent the bugs that are already inside from getting out.
  10. If needed, contact a professional pest control company to have the premises professionally inspected and treated for bed bugs.

Bed bugs in the hair can be disgusting and hard to get rid of. These pointers should help you regain a good night’s rest.

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Got bed bugs? Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.

How Bed Bug Larvae Looks and Where to Find Them

Bed bugs, like any other pest, go through stages of growth. Identifying bed bug larvae and knowing where to look for them can assist you in determining if you have a bed bug problem. Early detection is the key to ridding your home of bed bugs as soon as possible by a professional bed bug exterminator Toronto.

What Do They Look Like?

Nymphs, or bed bug larvae, are bed bugs that have not fully matured. They look just like a bed bug, only smaller and bright red in color. They look like a tiny seed and have a flat body, just like adult bed bugs. Each time the nymph eats, it grows roughly a half millimeter in size. The nymph may appear even redder than usual after it is done eating because the body fills with blood.

Nymph Skins and Egg Casings

As they grow, a nymph will continually shed its skin. You may often find the casing of its skin in the crevices of your mattress. The skins appear yellowish in color. It takes roughly a week for the nymph to transition through growth periods. You should also look for larvae egg casings, which are very small and white in color.

It is often difficult to spot live adult bed bugs. Therefore, knowing how to identify larvae is the best way to confirm a bed bug infestation. The larvae are easier to find, as is the signs that they are living in your bed. A nymph will molt roughly five times. Therefore, if you have a heavy infestation, you will find plenty of skins and casings in the crevices of your mattress.

Where to Look

Of course, your bed is the best place to look for bed bug larvae. That is most commonly where you will find them. However, bed bugs may also lay their larvae in between couch cushions, in your carpet, in the folds of your curtains, and in the crevices and joints of your dresser drawers. Make sure you search all of these areas when searching for nymphs.

The reason why your bed is such a hot spot from nymphs is the fact that they will need a food source once they hatch. The female bed bug realizes that you are the best source of food. Therefore, the female will more than likely lay her eggs in your mattress, since that is where you sleep. If you sleep on a couch, then your couch is the likely target.

See also:  Controlling Carpenter Ants Without Pesticides

Make sure you take the time to reach out to a professional exterminator if you see any signs of an infestation. Call the Exterminators 647-496-2211, we offer professional help. The second you spot any larvae, call a professional immediately before things go haywire. In addition, our online store offers bed bug related products such as mattress covers and bed bug monitors.

Bed Bug Larvae – How They Look and Where to Find Them

Bed bugs go through various stages from eggs to adulthood. Identifying them in their larvae, or nymph stage can help you determine if you have a bed bug infestation and need a bed bug control exterminator. Nymphs are bed bugs that have not fully developed into adulthood. Because of their small size, they may be hard to see, but with the proper knowledge, you can identify them easily.

Nymph Identification

Nymphs look almost identical in comparison to adult bed bugs, but they are smaller. Like an adult bed bug, the nymphs are small and flat. Adult bed bugs look like apple seeds because they are usually dark brown and seed-shaped. Seed shaped nymphs are also brown, which makes them look like a smaller version of an apple seed.

However, when nymphs engorge themselves with blood, they taken on a reddish appearance. As they grow, larvae will shed their exoskeleton, which leaves a translucent shell behind. Adult bed bug sightings are uncommon because they stay well hidden. To identify a bed bug infestation, you will have better luck finding the eggs, the larvae, or their exoskeletons.

Larvae eggs are white and roughly 1mm in size, which is approximately the same size as a small grain of rice. You will usually find eggs, or even newly hatched larvae tucked up under the edge of your mattress or in a crevice inside your dresser or nightstand. If you see anything that looks like bed bug eggs or nymphs, contact a professional immediately.

Nymph Development

A nymph grows larger in size after each blood meal. Morphing into the next stage of molting takes roughly a week. Keep in mind that a nymph will not grow until it feeds. However, that does not mean that you can hope to starve bed bugs to death. In fact, a nymph can survive months without eating a blood meal. Adults can survive without food for approximately a year.

Hiding Places

Although the piping of your mattress is the most common place where you will find nymphs, there are other areas you should search, too. Search the following areas for bed bug larvae:

  • Every crevice and joint of your dresser drawers and nightstand
  • The folds of your curtains
  • Inside electrical outlets (be careful when doing so to avoid any risk of electrocution)
  • In corners where walls and floors or walls and ceilings meet

The reason you will commonly find nymphs in or around your mattress is because adults prefer to lay their eggs nearest a meal. Nymphs that dwell in your mattress will have easy access to the blood meals they need by feeding off you while you sleep. The smallest of cracks and crevices can serve as a hiding spot for bed bugs. If you can slide a debit card into the crack, it is big enough to shelter a nymph.

Contact a pest control professional as soon as you spot any signs of an infestation. An exterminator can effectively destroy a bed bug population fast and effectively. Call the Exterminators at 647-496-2211 if you need to solve problems with bed bugs, feel free to check out our selection of bed bug control products in our online store.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

A healthy carpet beetle diet consists of EVERYTHING you have in your house. If you have noticed small ladybug-like creatures roaming your home and are finding holes in your clothing, furniture, and carpets you may be facing the terror of the carpet beetle.

We have covered how to deal with various other bugs that like to eat particular objects and materials before. The carpet beetle may be named for eating floor coverings but don’t be fooled as they can and will eat anything. Now, let’s go on a carpet beetle hunt!

How to identify a carpet beetle

There are three known species of carpet beetle that can be found in the U.K. These are the Varied Carpet Beetle, the Furniture Carpet Beetle, and the Black Carpet Beetle.

  • Varied Carpet Beetle. Or«Anthrenus verbasci». These are the smallest of the carpet beetles measuring in at around 0.25cm. They have a slightly rounded shell and are usually black/brown in colour with flecks of white on their backs.
  • Furniture Carpet Beetle. Or «Anthrenus flavipes». These cousins of the Varied Carpet Beetle are slightly larger in size at around 0.3-0.5cm and have a more rounded shell, their shells are light brown speckled with black and white markings.
  • Black Carpet Beetles. Or «Attagenus unicolor». The final member of the carpet beetle family on our list is also the largest at approximately 0.3-1cm in length. They are also more noticeable than their counterparts as they do not share the same rounded shape as the others and their shells are either solid brown or shiny black.

While all carpet beetles will eat anything they do have preferences, the Varied and Furniture carpet beetles tend to focus on devouring natural fibres such as wool and leather. The Black carpet beetle has more refined tastes, they tend to feast on dry foods such as cereal, oats, and dry pet food.

Signs that You have Carpet Beetles at Home

Carpet beetles are often found living outdoors where they live, breed and feed on nectar and pollen, but they are attracted to light and food sources in your home, too. Just like every other pest, carpet beetles like to live in human habitats due to the overabundance of food, lack of adverse conditions such as frost and rain, and there are no natural predators which means that they can breed in safety. The main signs of a carpet beetle infestation are:

  • Holes/damage trails in carpets or rugs which contain natural fibres.
  • Damage to animal products such as fur and feathers.
  • Holes/damage to leather furniture.
  • Damaged photos, paperwork, and book covers.
  • Shed skins, result of larvae transforming into fully grown adults. Those shells are reason number 1 for itchy irritations due to the bristle hairs.
  • Faecal pellets that appear black or brown in colour and are very small and dry.

Signs of a carpet beetle infestation can easily be misinterpreted as evidence of moth activity, so check our guide on how to deal with moths. While the damage looks similar carpet beetle damage is usually confined to one area whereas moth damage is often spread over a larger area.

How does a carpet beetle get in your home?

As they are quite small carpet beetles don’t experience much trouble in finding a way into your home. The common methods employed by these six-legged invaders are to hitch a ride on any flowers or plants you bring into your home, through air vents, and flying through cracks or open windows. Some ingenious members of the species may also cling to pet hair or your clothing in order to be brought inside undetected. It’s also possible that the little mischiefs use chimneys, plumbing openings, electrical conduits and vents as a sesame door to your home.

Where can you find carpet beetles?

Once in your home, carpet beetles infest an array of household furniture and items. Wool-made clothings, rugs and carpets are an easy prey. If you are a hunter and have a collection of mounted trophies, carpet beetles can be attracted to their animal hides. If a small animal, such as squirrel or a rat, has been trapped in your walls and died, the beetles will infest its fur, too. Some types of beetles nourish on dried flowers and potpourri, dry pet and human food (pasta, flour, breadcrumbs, etc.). If you’ve looked into all those places, and still you are not finding the source of the infestation, consider checking out a professional pest control service.

How to get rid of carpet beetles

Now that you are armed with the knowledge needed to identify carpet beetles it is time to begin “Operation: Beetle Removal”. Follow the steps below and your home will be beetle free in no time.

  • Locate the source . Before you can remove any pest you first need to find out where they are most active and where they live. As we said above, carpet beetles are not very adventurous so they tend to live in dark places close to their chosen food source such as beneath or inside of furniture, in cabinets which store dry food and at the edge of carpets. Look for damaged areas and you will find the carpet beetles nearby.
  • Unleash the might of your vacuum . Once you have located the source, or sources, of your carpet beetle infestation the first thing you should do is vacuum the area thoroughly, following this vacuum the rest of your home. Next, vacuum every part of your upholstered furniture (sofas, armchairs, etc) that cannot be machine washed, be sure to use the appropriate attachments to vacuum in the hard to reach places. You will need to vacuum your home meticulously at least once a day until the infestation is removed.
  • Use Boric acid powder . Boric acid is to insects what holy water is to vampires. There are very few insects which do not die upon contact with boric acid, thankfully carpet beetles are susceptible to this insect-apocalypse causing product. Sprinkle boric acid liberally on your carpet and vacuum it up after two or three hours, this will kill the beetles, larvae, and eggs. Warning: boric acid might cause unwanted effects on your pets, so you better keep them away from the cleaned area for a few hours or so.
  • Get rid of infested clothing . If you have found evidence of extensive carpet beetle damage on one or more pieces of clothing it is best to throw them away. Although you may be tempted to keep such items there may be carpet beetles or their eggs hidden within the fabric, disregarding this possibility is likely to prolong the infestation.
  • Wash everything . Every piece of machine washable fabric should be washed in hot, soapy water, this includes clothing, towels, bedding, cushion covers, and curtains. Machine wash these items on the highest temperature setting and laundry detergent. To be sure that your carpets are no longer harbouring these destructive beetles, it is advisable to either shampoo your carpets with hot water or use a steam cleaner.
  • Remove infested food . Get rid of all food which shows signs of beetle activity or which you suspect are beetle targets.
  • Release your inner hunter . Place insect traps around the infested as well as suspected areas after cleaning. Most traps will work but pheromone glue is recommended as you will be able to see whether or not you successfully removed the entire infestation.
  • Replace natural linens with synthetic sheets. If you want to go fully radical, you can substitute all your natural fibre textiles with synthetic ones. The natural materials contain keratin, which is a tasty protein for all insects that dine on clothes, carpet beetles included. Keratin is abundant in hair, so it comes with no wonder that items made from wool or leather are an easy prey. Cutting the carpet mites from the food source can force them to leave forever.
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Carpet Beetle FAQs

Can you kill carpet beetles in the dryer?

Dry cleaning kills carpet beetles on cloth materials. However, with carpet beetles you need to remove their dead skin sheds and hairs too, as they are a cause of allergic reactions.

Do carpet beetles cause allergic reactions?

Yes, it’s possible that their dead skin sheds and hairs cause skin irritation. You have to physically remove them to stop the reaction and increase the humidity level in the house. Pesticides alone won’t stop any irritation as the problem is about the physical presence of dead skin shells.

How to get rid of carpet beetles dead skins and hairs?

Vacuuming regularly is one of the best ways, however, if you install a HEPA filter you will ensure the dead skins won’t emit more fibers in the air. It’s all about increasing the level of humidity in the infested area, so that you avoid build up of shells. Sprinkle distilled or cool pre-boiled water in the area to wash out the remains.

How long do carpet beetles live for?

Carpet beetles live the longest as young ones — between 9 months and 2 years. Their larvae eggs hatch between 7 to 35 days and larvae subsequently can survive at least 4 weeks without a food source. Adults don’t face the same fate — they live for a few weeks to hatch eggs and die.

Can carpet beetles fly?

Yes, adult beetles can easily fly from one room to another or from the outside through an open window, thus spreading the infestation. Young ones and larvae do not fly.

Can carpet beetles live in a mattress?

Carpet beetles do not live in beds — they can often be confused with bed bugs. Carpet beetles feed on fabrics, not human blood. However, if your house is particularly infested, some of the carpet beetle larvae can be found feeding on the fabrics in your bed.

How do exterminators treat carpet beetles?

Fantastic Pest Control incorporates the method S.T.O.P. (Survey, Treatment, Observation, Prevention). Every pest control treatment begins with a survey of the area to fully determine the extend of the infestation. The affected surfaces are treated with strong professional insecticide that has a long-lasting effect. Professional exterminators also include a second visit in a full service option within several months after the point blank. Lastly, in every pest control job, the subsequent prevention plays a big role in avoiding future problems with pests — check our tips below.

How to keep carpet beetles from invading

Once you have gotten rid of the existing infestation the last thing you want is to be plagued with another, following the advice below can help you to deter unwanted beetle house guests.

  • Clean regularly . Keeping your home clean and free of hair, dust, and lint removes potential food sources and hiding places.
  • Store dry food in air-tight containers . Containers with lids will keep those pesky beetles out of your favourite foods, your pets will also thank you as they will no longer have beetle-breath.
  • Protect clothing in dark closets with plastic covers or cedar . Regardless of how hard they try, carpet beetles cannot chew through plastic. Keeping your unused clothing sealed in plastic will ensure that no bug can turn your favourite top into lunch. As with most insects, carpet beetles detest the smell of cedar so placing some fragrant cedar wood in your closet or drawers will help keep the bugs at bay.
  • Open closet doors for a couple of hours a day . Since carpet beetles live in the shadows opening your closet up to natural light for a few hours each day can dissuade them from setting up a colony in your wardrobe.
  • Routinely remove bird and animals nests from around your home . Carpet beetles are among the many pests which call bird and animal nests home, removing nests from in and around your property will help keep you protected from potential beetle invasions as well as mites and ticks.
  • Install window screens or keep windows closed . The easiest way to stop these tiny beetles of destruction from entering your home is to simply keep your windows closed. If you must have open windows, installing window screens is worth your consideration as it will keep the vast majority of pests outside where they belong.
  • Carefully inspect plants before bringing them into your home . Carpet beetles love to hide on plants and freshly cut flowers for a free ride to the beetle promised land (your house), inspect flowers and plants for beetle activity carefully before bringing them inside.

So there we have it, your guide on how to get rid of carpet beetles. All you need to do is find the source, vacuum thoroughly each day, throw away infested items and wash everything else in hot water. If you have been struggling against a carpet beetle infestation and are at your wits end it may be time to call in the experts, contact us here at Fantastic Pest Control for a quote and let our pest control experts rid your life of the carpet beetle menace.

Still cannot handle the carpet beetle infestation?

Household Bugs & Insects: An Identification Guide to the Species in Your House

Authoritative and detailed guides to the things you’re curious about.

How to Identify the Bugs in Your House

There are many common bugs that are found in homes including centipedes, spiders, silverfish, and many other creepy-crawlies that share your space, whether you want to or not. To most people, all house bugs are pretty much the same. They’re either big brown bugs or little black bugs, scampering out of sight behind the washer in the basement. They may look the same, but they’re not all the same. Of course, some of these insects are good to have in your home while others are not so good. This guide will help you identify the bugs, insects, and spiders that you find in your house so that you can decide if you have a problem or not.

It pays to know which bug is which since they may not all be poisonous or even harmful. In fact, you may want to leave the bug alone if their presence is beneficial. On the other hand, some house bugs are actually a sign of infestation or unsanitary conditions. For example, do you know what a «moth fly» is? You might want to spend a few minutes getting to know the bugs in your house that you see scampering across your kitchen floor. This guide will help you do just that.

  1. The Bad News Bed Bug
  2. The Destructive Termite
  3. The Harmless Earwig
  4. The Unsanitary Moth Fly
  5. The Fearsome Brown Recluse Spider
  6. The Helpful Household Centipede
  7. The Red Imported Fire Ant
  8. The Venomous Black Widow Spider
  9. The Irritating Clothes and Meal Moths
  10. The Slightly Strange Silverfish
  11. Scorpions (Handle With Care)
  12. The Icky Cockroach

1. The Bad News Bed Bug

Bed bugs used to be a problem strictly for the southern US, but in the past few years, these irritating pests have spread north as far as Canada. Global warming may have something to do with it, as bed bugs are not the only species enjoying a northern invasion.

Whatever the cause, bed bugs are now a real threat, and they are really nasty. They live in colonies in seams and crevices around your bed, coming out at night to bite you and drink your blood. They like to bite, take a few steps, and bite again. This means they track their poop into the bites, sometimes causing infections. The bites themselves are itchy red bumps, often in a line. If you have think you have bed bugs, there are products you can buy online before you make the expensive and toxic call to the exterminator.

2. The Destructive Termite

You should immediately look into an exterminator who can assess and hopefully remedy the situation if you think you have termites. Termites are a little like ants, with one major (and bad) exception—termites eat wood. If you live in a wood house and you have termites, then they are eating your house. Little by little, termite damage introduces moisture and rot, and the result can be catastrophic. Do not waste time if you find insects in your home that resemble small, pale ants. Call a pest control service, and get it taken care of. If you’re worried that termites may be eyeing your home preparing for an invasion, then you might consider one of the several termite detection systems that are available. These kits cost a lot less than treatment from an exterminator, and don’t involve any poisons or invasive treatments.

3. The Harmless Earwig

Poor Earwig. His only crime is looking dangerous thanks to those scary pincers. Scientists believe that the pincers may serve a role in mate selection or possibly protection since they look so intimidating. But actually, unlike pincers on some beetles and other biting insects, the earwig’s biters are on the rear end and lack the muscles needed to actually bite anything with any force.

This peaceful, harmless little animal spends most of his time outside nibbling on the edges of leaves. Earwigs become household bugs in the winter when they are looking for a place to stay warm. They don’t go in your ears, they can’t bite, and those pincers on their butt are incapable of actually pinching anyone. This means you can take a deep breath, and leave them alone!

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4. The Unsanitary Moth Fly

These cool-looking, but annoying little insects love dirty drains and unsanitary conditions. They look like little gray moths with broad wings and feathery antennae, but they’re really a species of fly that has adapted to life in your home. They often show up flying around in the stall while you’re taking a shower, and they’re surprisingly hard to smack because they’re fast like most flies. Moth flies indicate an unhealthy situation in your drains.

Moth flies live in your tub and sink drains. They especially like the dirty conditions they find in most basement drains. They’re not too hard to deal with once you know where they live. Simply pour some bleach into the drain, and you’ll kill both the adults and the larvae (and yes, since these are flies, their larvae are called maggots.)

5. The Fearsome Brown Recluse Spider

Identifying brown recluse spiders can be tricky, since they tend to look like any number of harmless house spiders. This easy guide will assist you in determining if you have a problem with these venomous arachnids.

In my experience, the only good way to control brown recluse spiders is with sticky traps. Using toxins and poisons is only going to kill everything in your house! The brown recluse is a venomous arachnid that lives in dark corners of basements and garages (and in nature under rocks and in stumps). It goes out hunting at night, which means you can sometimes get bitten without even knowing it. The good news is that scientists are starting to suspect that the brown recluse rarely injects a lot of venom when it bites. The bad bites attributed to brown recluses may be due to other factors—meaning the spider is less of a threat than was once thought.

I Found a Brown Recluse Spider—Now What?

If you think you have found a brown recluse, carefully coax the spider in a jar, and take it to the local nature museum or exterminator for identification. A dead, smashed spider will not be easy to identify, so it needs to be alive if possible. If it turns out that you do have a brown recluse infestation, you can take steps on your own to fight back. Fortunately, brown recluse spiders are easy to trap with «sticky traps.» Put a few of these around your basement and the night-wandering spiders (and other bugs) will get tangled up and stuck forever.

6. The Helpful House Centipede

House centipedes, with their multiple long legs and feelers, are definitely among the creepier of the your household bugs, but they are also one of the most helpful. They live in dark corners and under your basement boxes and are also found outside in the warmer months. There are numerous species of centipede, and some of the ones that live in the desert Southwest can deliver a really nasty bite. The house centipede is essentially harmless—it can deliver a very mild bite if you, say, pick it up and squeeze it in your fist. But why would you do that? Centipedes are mainly concerned with staying away from you, and will run like lightning the minute they see you.

House centipedes help you by feeding on the eggs of cockroaches, silverfish, and other insects. They also scavenge other dead insects and basically eat every nasty thing that accumulates in your corners. Also, it is basically impossible to eradicate centipedes, since they’re fast and can evade most poisons. Let these guys share your space with you, and they will do a lot of dirty work free of charge.

Fire Ants are Invading the USA

7. The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA)

Red fire ants are not household bugs since they live outside, but I included them here because they are a real threat to the security and enjoyment of your home. These little red ants (they also come in black) are just the biggest jerks of the insect world. They will bite you hard for no reason at all. They grab a bit of skin, bite into it, and then spray formic acid into the wound (this is why the family they belong to is called «Formicidae»). You end up with a nasty, stinging blister that can take days to go away.

I have a personal hatred of these guys ever since a colony chewed its way into my tent when I was camping in a jungle in Panama. I woke up in the dark to dozens of burning bites all over my legs.

8. The Venomous Black Widow Spider

The black widow lives in dark corners in basements and garages where it spins a characteristic tangled web to ensnare passing insects.They are not very common, but where there’s one, there are probably more. They are also pretty easy to identify. If you’re looking at a big black spider with a round body and a red hourglass on the underside, then it’s a black widow. There are no other non-venomous arachnids in North America that look like this.

The black widow’s bite is potentially fatal, so most people don’t tolerate the arachnid in their house. You can safely and easily capture this spider with an insect vacuum or a regular vacuum cleaner.

9. The Irritating Clothes and Meal Moths

You may see this little insect buzzing through the air in your house, especially near the kitchen. It is a bonafide pest, but the moth itself never eats anything. It is the caterpillar that you may never see that actually does the damage.

These related insects feed on either organic fibers like wool, or stored grain like flour. You’ll know you have clothes moths if you find holes in your sweaters, and you’ll know you have meal moths if there webby clumps with little yellow caterpillars in them infesting your flour or corn meal. These larvae have evolved quickly to feed on a relatively new food source, processed grain and stored fibers, and have adapted to coexist with humans in a way few animals have.

There are many ways to control clothes moths including very effective moth balls. Meal moths have to be dealt with by throwing away all of the infested flour or meal.

10. The Slightly Strange Silverfish

This prehistoric-looking animal lives in your pipes and walls. If you ever see one at all, it is probably in your sink where it has become trapped during its midnight ramblings. Wash it down the drain if you will, but it will almost certainly survive. Silverfish are an essential part of your home’s all-night housekeeping crew along with centipedes (see above). They consume all of the dead insects and other organic debris that drifts down to the basement and lowest levels of your house. Even though they may creep you out a little, they’re actually on your side.

Interestingly, the silverfish is an insect, even though it looks nothing like the butterflies in your garden.

11. Scorpions—Handle With Care (or Not at All)

Everyone knows what scorpions look like, but not many people have actually encountered one. This is partly because they are so effective at hiding during the day. At night, scorpions come out to prowl the floors and counter tops of your home looking for roaches, crickets, and other small insects. It’s at night that you’re most likely to find a scorpion, and they’ll almost always run away rather than confront you. Their sting is painful, similar to a wasp sting, but they mainly use it to kill the bugs that prowl around your house. So, yes, scorpions are beneficial!

12. The Icky Cockroach

Of all the house bugs out there, cockroaches are pretty much the most hated. Most of us already know a cockroach when we see one. The common one, German cockroach, is brown with long legs and leathery wing covers. There are many kinds of cockroaches out there, but only a few are pests in your house.

Cockroaches are incredibly successful animals that have been around for millions of years longer than our species has. There’s a reason for that—they can live anywhere, eat anything, and survive any catastrophe. Roaches hide from light and spend their time reproducing. If you see one, you likely have hundreds or even thousands. Then it’s time to call the exterminator, because there’s really no other way to clear out an infestation.


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New Guestbook Comments

Rob Hemphill

7 years ago from Ireland

Interesting information, and a good read. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara Radisavljevic

7 years ago from Templeton, CA

Sorry. I still don’t like earwigs. Thanks for writing about these insects. The ones I find most in my house are the earwig and the sowbug. They, along with the spiders, manage to crawl in under the front door, which we simply can’t figure out how to fix.


Frankly everyone should know about this


Ick. I’ve been finding a few teeny tiny baby roaches in the house lately, so I KNOW there are more somewhere. Somehow, they don’t skeeve me out anywhere near as much when they are teeny as when they are big.

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