There are a myriad of insects that can get into your home, usually just to bug you! But they can be difficult to get rid of and it’s not fun to constantly be throwing stinkbugs down the toilet. We can help with most of the pests who find their way indoors.

About Centipedes

Centipedes are elongated, flattened arthropods with numerous legs – one pair per body segment. They are predaceous on many different arthropods including insects. Although all centipedes have poison glands and the means to inject their venom, bites are infrequent and normally do not cause more than temporary, localized pain.

Most centipedes can be found under boards, logs, rocks and other protected, damp locations outside. These centipedes are of little concern to homeowners. The house centipede, believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, was introduced into Mexico and the Southern United States and has increased its distribution. It was first recorded in Pennsylvania in 1849. Today, the house centipede can be found in many buildings throughout the United States. It does not survive winters outdoors in Pennsylvania, but readily reproduces in heated structures.

Because of their secretive nature, scary appearance and darting motions, homeowners typically fear the house centipede. In 1902, C.L. Marlatt, an entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture writes in Circular #48 – The House Centipede: “It may often be seen darting across floors with very great speed, occasionally stopping suddenly and remaining absolutely motionless, presently to resume its rapid movements, often darting directly at inmates of the house, particularly women, evidently with a desire to conceal itself beneath their dresses, and thus creating much consternation.” Undoubtedly, the current favor of blue jeans as a preferred article of clothing has not appreciably reduced the angst felt by the household “inmates” when a centipede is seen scurrying across the basement floor.

Credit: http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/house-centipedes

About Millipedes

Millipedes are arthropods that have two pairs of legs per segment (except for the first segment behind the head which does not have any appendages at all, and the next few which only have one pair of legs). Each segment that has two pairs of legs is a result of two single segments fused together as one. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical bodies, although some are flattened dorso-ventrally, while pill millipedes are shorter and can roll into a ball, like a pillbug.

Millipedes (all 6,000+ species) are in the class Diplopoda and are not insects at all. They are arthropods and more closely related to crustaceans and spiders than they are to bugs. A millipede, if the conditions are right, can live from five to seven years or longer. They are detrivores, which means they eat dead and decaying plant matter. These little beauties produce new legs almost every time they shed their exoskeletons and can have more than 400 total. Millipedes have a tendency to wander indoors in the late fall when temps start to drop in search of somewhere to overwinter. They also get restless in times of excessive rain. The overabundance of moisture can drive them out of their own homes and into yours. In some species, it can take up to five years to reach sexual maturity. Seems like a good thing, however, as once they do hit that mile marker, they can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. This is why they are so abundant and become such a problem for people, especially if you have them nesting indoors. As much as I like millipedes, I understand and respect other people’s fear of, disgust of, and desire to get rid of millipedes.

About Pavement Ants

Located under stones, in cracks, along the curb edges, in cracks of masonry and woodwork and under concrete slabs (hence the name). It is common to see their ant mounds in the cracks of driveways or sidewalks. During the cooler months, pavements ants may make their way indoors.

The pavement ant is an introduced species and is one of the most commonly encountered house-infesting ants in Pennsylvania. The ants were likely carried to the United States in the holds of merchant vessels during the 1700s to 1800s. These ships were filled with soil from Europe to provide ballast on the trip to the States. Once in port, the soil was removed, and goods were loaded on the ships to carry back across the Atlantic.

The pavement ant workers are about 2.5–4 mm long and vary in color from dark brown to black, with parallel furrows or lines on the head and thorax. The pedicel, which connects the thorax and abdomen, has two segments. The posterior/dorsal thorax has two spines that project upward to the rear, and they carry a stinger in the last abdominal segment.

The swarmers or reproductive ants are winged, about twice the size of the workers, and also have a furrowed head and thorax. The spines are evident on the females but absent on the males.

About Stink Bugs

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an insect not previously seen on our continent, was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, but probably arrived several years earlier.

This true bug in the insect family Pentatomidae is known as an agricultural pest in its native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Recently, the BMSB has become a serious pests of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region and it is probable that it will become a pest of these commodities in other areas in the United States.

BMSB becomes a nuisance pest both indoors and out when it is attracted to the outside of houses on warm fall days in search of protected, overwintering sites. BMSB  occasionally reappears during warmer sunny periods throughout the winter, and again as it emerges in the spring.

Description: Adults are approximately 17 mm long (25 mm = one inch) and are shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces (Fig. 1). They are the typical “shield” shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. To distinguish them from other stink bugs, look for lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous, overlapping part at the rear of the front pair of wings. They have patches of coppery or bluish-metallic colored puntures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.

Credit: http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug

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