Occasional Invaders

Occasional invaders come in many shapes and sizes. They invade structures when the outside environment becomes too unfavorable for their survival or to overwinter. They enter the structure through utility penetrations, soffits, loose siding, cracks and crevices, improper door sweeps, missing caulk, holes in screens, or firewood and potted plants that may be brought inside.

Being that they live and reproduce outside, they do become a nuisance when they move inside and bite, pinch, contaminate food, stain clothing, damage household goods, or create foul odors. Our team uses a variety of control measures to eliminate these occasional invaders. Let our professionals protect your living environment when these invaders decide to make your home their home!

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Occasional Invaders Identification

Though they aren’t often common pests, occasional invaders still can become a nuisance. The first step to rid your location of any pest is to identify what kind of pest you have on your hands. The following are some common occasional invaders you may experience.

Asian Lady Beetle

Identification Tips:

  • Color: They have a wide spectrum of colors from red and orange to a dull cream and can have a varying number of spots
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: About 1/4-inch long
  • Identifying Characteristics: Asian lady beetles can be identified by their “M” shaped mark behind their head

Characteristics of this insect:

  • The USDA, the Forestry Commission, and private agencies have released these lady beetles in several parts of the US as an alternative to pesticides to relieve the hardwood forests and various food crops of harmful insects
  • When these beetles feel threatened, they release a foul-smelling chemical to deter predators. The fluid can create orange stains, making them a nuisance when entering your home
  • Asian lady beetles have been known to seek out crevices and cracks to invade homes, attics being a common place, during the winter months to seek warmth and shelter. In the fall and spring these critters will swarm along buildings. They like to rest on the sides of buildings where the light hits during the afternoon sun
  • These beetles do not reproduce indoors and they do not attack, wood, food or clothing. They are more of a nuisance to homeowners, however, hygienic establishments such as hospitals do not tolerate contamination of any kind

Centipedes

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Grayish yellow
  • Legs: 15 pairs of long legs
  • Size: Adults measure 1 to 1 1/2 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 3 dorsal longitudinal dark stripes; antennae and last pair of longs longer than its body; sometimes called “hundredleggers”

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Actually, not an insect. They are more closely related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp
  • Outside, found in areas that retain moisture such as under stones, beneath loose bark, under porches, under piles of leaves or grass clippings, and mulch to name a few
  • Inside they can be found all over, but key places are the basement, bathrooms, crawlspaces, and other damp, dark areas
  • Beneficial insect that feeds on tiny insects and spiders. However, due to being frightening to people, they are controlled once inside
  • After over-wintering, the house centipede will lay eggs in or on the soil usually in the summer. They can produce approximately 35 eggs over a period of days

Clover Mites

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Bright to dark red or rusty brown
  • Legs: Four pairs of legs; pair of front legs are as long as its body or twice as long as the other legs and move like antennae
  • Size: Adults measure less than 1/16 inch long
  • Identifying Characteristics: Leave red stain or streak when smashed; look like little, dark red moving dots

Characteristics of this insect:

  • No male clover mites in USA. Females lay about 70 eggs through summer and autumn. Eggs laid in the fall will hatch the following spring
  • Prefer grass and low weeds adjacent to the structure. Will build up on south side of the structure where it is warmer than 69 degrees Fahrenheit on sunny days and when the air temperature is lower. When temperatures exceed 75 or are lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, egg and mite development and activity suspend
  • Clover mites excel in new subdivisions where landscaped by seeding or raking bare Earth. Also, well fertilized lawns help contribute to the mites’ success. They will enter the structure through cracks in foundations, underneath sheathing, or windows or doors where the caulk may have cracked
  • Clover mites are primarily plant feeders, feeding on 200 different plant species

Earwigs

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Light red-brown to black with paler legs, antennae and wing covers
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: 1/2 – 3/4 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: Easily recognized by their forceps-like pinchers at the end of their abdomen; adults are winged and common in Midwest

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Active mainly at night and are found around lights. During the day, they hide in moist, shady places such as under stones, landscape rocks or mulch
  • During spring or autumn, females lay 20 to 50 eggs in below ground chamber. Both eggs and adults overwinter
  • They feed on mosses, lichens, algae, fungi, and small insects both dead and alive
  • They are capable of producing foul-smelling, yellowish-brown liquid from their scent glands

Millipedes

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Light brown to black
  • Legs: Most body segments have 2 pair of legs (usually 30-90 or more pairs of legs
  • Size: Species vary in length from less than 1-2 or more inches
  • Identifying Characteristics: Wormlike; head is rounded with short antennae; often called “thousand-leggers” or “rain worms”

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Actually, not an insect. They are more closely related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp
  • Millipedes are not poisonous, but many species have glands capable of producing irritating fluids that may cause allergic reactions
  • Considered scavengers that feed on decaying vegetation and leaf litter, although some species may attack roots of living plants
  • Millipedes spend most of time in soil, which is where they overwinter. In the spring, 20 to 300 eggs are laid in the soil
  • They may build up in large number and may migrate in dry weather and enter basements, ground floors, and window wells. They are a particular problem for homeowners situated in a woodland setting

Pillbugs and Sowbugs

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Brownish or slate gray
  • Legs: 7 pairs of legs
  • Size: Up to 3/4 inch long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 2 pairs of antennae; Both look like little armadillos, but only the pillbug can roll into a tight ball; Sowbugs have two taillike appendages on the rear end, while pillbugs do not

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Both are slow moving and are related to crayfish shrimps and lobster (crustaceans), not insects
  • Live mainly outdoors, protected by objects outside and feed primarily on decaying and live vegetable matter and fungi. Adequate moisture is key to their survival
  • Heavy infestations outside cause them to find their way inside structures. Inside they will migrate to damp areas including basements, first floor, and garages to name a few
  • Both mate throughout the year with the most activity occurring in the spring. Females lay between 7-200 eggs, which are capable of taking care of themselves in eight weeks. There are two generations per year
  • Adults can live up to three years depending on environmental conditions

Silverfish

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Covered in silver or gray scales
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Adults measure 1/2 to 3/4 inches, not including their tails
  • Identifying Characteristics: Long antennae in front with three bristle like appendages on the rear of their body; teardrop shape

Characteristics of this insect:

  • This insect prefers dark, humid areas (50 to 75% relative humidity) with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees
  • They feed on starchy substances such as flour, starch, glue, paste, and starch sizing on textiles. This insect can digest cellulose fibers
  • They build up around feeding areas. Their feeding leaves irregular shaped, yellow stained holes in textiles and paper, surfaces removed from corrugated cardboard and irregular areas grazed off clothbound books. Damaged products may have fungus growing due to humidity and fecal deposits
  • Silverfish lays 1 to 3 eggs per day or close to 1,000 per year. Most silverfish can live up to 3 years

Spiders

Marked by eight legs, a circular body and fangs, spiders are a common pest. There are over 35,000 described species of spiders worldwide, with about 3,000 occurring in North America. All spiders are predators and will invade homes to feed on insects and other small arthropods. Upon invasion, spiders seek the dark, moist or dry areas of the basement and attic of your structure. Most spiders are nocturnal or active at night and will scurry away when disturbed unless they are tending egg sacs or young. During the day, they usually remain hidden and inactive in cracks and crevices, their webs, etc.

In the United States, only two spider groups are considered dangerous to humans: widow spiders and the recluse spiders. If spiders invade your home, please follow these procedures:

  • Inspect your structure (preferably at night as they are nocturnal)
  • Identify the species (use our Upload Your Bug link and we can identify for you)
  • Implement preventative steps such as repairing torn screens, caulking gaps, utilizing yellow bulbs, etc.
  • Keeping premises free of debris such as boxes, papers, clothing, etc. Outside, remove debris, leaf clutter, stacked firewood, and keep grass mowed to 3”
  • Mechanically remove spiders, webs, and egg sacs
  • Appropriate application of product by a professional applicator like Apex

Springtail

Identification Tips:

  • Color: A range of colors from white to black. Some species purple, red, orange, grey, yellow or multicolored
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: range in size from 0.2 mm to 10 mm
  • Identifying Characteristics: Springtails require high humidity environments such as in mulch, damp lawns. They feed on molds, mildew, fungi, decaying vegetable matter, and sometimes decaying animal matter such as earthworms. Occasionally they can cause damage to greenhouses and cultivated mushrooms

Characteristics of this insect:

  • These critters have two main body shapes: either elongate and cylindrical or spherical and compact
  • Have an abdominal appendage called the furcula, which is used to propel the springtail through the air. This is used as a means to evade predators as it can propel the springtail up to 100 times its body length
  • If temperatures rise high enough, Springtails possess the ability to reduce their body size by 30% through molting
  • Springtails sometimes enter homes with high humidity and mold growth. This is more commonly found in bathroom and basements

Stink Bug

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Colors range from lime green to inky black. Some are recognized by a spotted brownish-grey color
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: between 1/3 – 3/4 inches in length
  • Identifying Characteristics: Stink bugs get their name from foul-smelling compound that they expel when they feel threatened. As this smell deters predators, the smell also sends a chemical message to other stink bugs to alert them to danger. The smell also plays a role in attracting mates

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Known for its “shield” shaped body
  • Stinkbugs can be a mixed blessing to gardeners as they feed on both plants and other insects. They damage various fruits and vegetables and they can overpower caterpillars or beetle larvae
  • Stink bugs do not bite humans, however they can produce allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to the bugs’ odor. If the insects are crushed against exposed skin, it has been reported that it can cause dermatitis at the point of contact
  • The most common complaint is their foul-odor when disturbed or the noise they make when they fly around
  • In homes, stink bugs can be found in cracks and crevices, around windows and door trims. Stink bugs will not reproduce inside structures or cause any significant structural or cosmetic damage to your home