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Boxelder bugs are very common and found almost anywhere that boxelder trees grow as their favorite food source. In the fall the bugs congregate on the sides of buildings in large numbers where the sun warms them during the day and evening. Boxelder bugs spend the winter inside wall voids or attics, and may be seen during the winter, sunning themselves on the south or west side of a building. They will not harm clothing, food, people, or structures, but may leave soiled areas due to their excrement


Ground beetles are predators, and many are beneficial because the feed on harmful pests. The beetles are most active at night, and many species are attracted to light. They can run rapidly, but seldom fly. They typically enter structures at night when internal lights are on by crawling under a door or through an open window. They are harmless to humans and do not reproduce indoors.


Crickets are most common during the late summer or early fall. In the fall, crickets move indoors when outdoor vegetation dries up or in unfavorable weather. Crickets are attracted to lights, mulch and other debris around building foundations. They enter structures through cracks in poorly-fitted doors, windows, foundations, or siding. Crickets do not breed or live long indoors, but the chirping of the male cricket can be an extreme nuisance. Crickets can also damage furniture, rugs, and clothing.


Earwigs have tail-like pincers that are used to capture prey and serve as defensive weapons, but are too weak to “pinch” humans. Earwigs are active at night, hiding during the day under stones and other dark protected areas. Sometimes earwigs build to large numbers and invade a structure by hiding in cracks and crevices during the day. They feed on organic matter and plants, but do little damage indoors. They will also emit a foul odor when disturbed.


Centipedes are very common and reside in damp areas, such as under leaves, stones, rotting boards, and mulch. The centipede’s body is worm-like and adapted for fast running. These animals are beneficial because they feed on insects and other small organisms. They have poison jaws that paralyze their prey, but are usually too small to bite humans. Only the house centipede typically reproduces indoors. Once indoors, centipedes cause no damage and generally stay at or below ground level.


Firebrats and silverfish (also called bristletails) are wingless, carrot shaped insects that are frequently found indoors. They prefer warm, moist areas close to food sources. These insects live for two to three years, and they can survive for long periods without eating. Because firebrats and silverfish like a wide variety of foods containing protein or carbohydrates, they can be found eating and damaging books, cloth, dried meats, glues, pastes, wallpaper, labels, and paper products.


Millipedes are hard, brown to black in color, worm-like creatures that commonly invade structures. They are slow moving and have a habit of curling up when disturbed or resting. They feed on decaying vegetation, so they are attracted to mulch, thick lawn thatch, decaying leaves, etc. In late fall, extreme dry or wet weather will cause millipedes to move indoors, sometimes in very large numbers. They do not bite or cause damage, but they give off an unpleasant odor when disturbed. Millipedes can live up to eight years.


Sowbugs and Pillbugs are very common and resemble miniature armadillos. Pillbugs roll into balls (or pills) when disturbed, however, sowbugs do not. Both require very moist conditions, so they are found under rocks, grass clippings, ground plant covers, or other similar materials. Extreme weather will drive them indoors through ground level openings, where they usually die because of the lack of moisture or food. They cause no damage indoors, but are considered to be a nuisance.

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