Common Indoor Bugs
As you enjoy a rare, delicious moment of solitude at home, you may be surprised to find you’re not really alone after all. Virtually all homes have some tiny, uninvited visitors at any given moment. Discover some of the most common varieties that may be keeping you company.
Unseen Dust Mites
Although dust mites are too small for the human eye to detect, they find their way into practically every home. Here are a few facts you should know about them:
- Dust mites aren’t true insects. Since they have eight legs rather than six, they belong to the Arachnid family like spiders and ticks.
- Dead skin cells are the primary food source for dust mites. Since humans and pets are constantly shedding skin cells, dust mites are never going to starve in your home.
- Areas that collect lots of dead skin cells such as mattresses, pillows, bed linens, clothing, upholstered furniture and carpets are the places dust mites favor.
- Since dust mites can’t ingest water, they also love humid places where they can absorb moisture from the air.
- Dust mites themselves don’t pose health issues; the problem is an allergen in their droppings. These droppings cause allergies in sensitive individuals and may make children pre-disposed to asthma more likely to develop this condition.
Getting rid of dust mites is nearly impossible. To keep them under control:
- Wash linens frequently in hot water.
- Use dust mite proof covers for mattresses and pillows.
- Vacuum and steam clean carpet frequently.
- Dehumidify when feasible.
Armies of Ants
Famous for being classic picnic-spoilers, ants also make things unpleasant at home. They can cause aesthetic and structural damage and some even have a venomous bite. At least nine different species of ants get into people’s homes. These two are the most common:
- Carpenter ants: These large black insects live in colonies and bore through wood to create living quarters, which can damage the structure of your home. A telltale sign that they’ve been around is the fibrous sawdust they expel when tunneling.
- Moisture ants: These insects are small to medium sized and are attracted to damp or wet, rotting wood.
If you’ve got a large ant infestation, you’ll probably need to treat the area with insecticides, boric acid and/or baited traps. You may even have to hire a professional exterminator. To keep ants away, get rid of any rotten wood that may have attracted them to your home.
No one wants to think about having cockroaches because of the attached stigma, however, cockroaches are really common and can find their way into the cleanest homes. Cockroaches are a problem because:
- They feed on and can contaminate human and pet food.
- They chew up items such as stamps, paper, book bindings and even starched clothing.
- They carry microbes that can be dangerous to humans.
- Sometimes they have an offensive odor.
To get rid of cockroaches in your home, use the same methods (boric acid, bait traps and insecticides) as you would to control ants. Be sure not to leave food items exposed and call a professional exterminator for serious infestations.
Flying bugs are major household pests. Some of the most common of these include:
- House Flies: House flies actually include a number of different species of fly. Most flies breed in decaying matter, reproduce quickly and may carry germs to food. To control flies, use good window screens, keep doors closed and close garbage cans tightly. If infestation is serious, you may need insecticides and the help of a professional exterminator.
- Fruit flies: These tiny insects nest and breed anywhere where fruit rots or ferments and anyplace with organic, moist substances. Fruit flies are difficult to control with insecticide. The best way to manage them is to eliminate any possible breeding grounds.
bedbugs are tiny, flat parasitic insects that are between ¼ and 3/8 of an inch long. They feed by piercing the skin and drinking blood, usually eating at night. They gain entrance to your home by getting into luggage, clothing or second hand upholstered furniture. bedbugs hide in the tufts of mattresses, upholstered furniture, window and door casings, cracks in plaster, loosened wallpaper and behind baseboards.
Like cockroaches, bedbugs carry a stigma, however they also invade the cleanest and most beautiful of homes. If they get into yours, don’t try to get rid of them on your own. bedbugs are extremely difficult to eliminate and you’ll definitely need a professional to make sure they’re gone for good.
Other Common Household Bugs
The list of household bugs is practically endless. Here are a few more of the ones most likely to visit your home:
- Spiders: Even if you’re afraid of spiders, many of them do more good than harm, since they catch and eat other insects. If you have spiders in your home, check with a professional to find out if they’re venomous. Non-venomous spiders can be captured and released live outside.
- Silverfish: Silverfish love humid areas and are often found in bathrooms, basements, closets and attics. The mainly eat polysaccharides, which they can find all around your house in items like paper, glue, sugar, photos, hair, dandruff and carpet. They can also eat lots of fabrics and leather. To get rid of silverfish, try to remove as many of their food sources as possible and treat with boric acid.
If your home has unwanted little visitors, don’t panic. You’re bigger and smarter, and eventually you’ll get the situation under control. Recognizing the problem is the first step toward making it a thing of the past.