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Boxelder Bugs

Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black with orange or red markings, including three stripes on the prothorax, the area right behind the head. Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’.The immature nymphs are 1/16th-inch long and bright red when they first hatch. As they grow older and become larger, they are red and black. You can potentially see all stages at any given time during the summer.  Adults feed on low vegetation and seeds on the ground during spring and early summer, and begin mating a couple weeks after they started feeding. Starting in midJuly, they move to female seed-bearing boxelder trees where they lay eggs on trunks, branches, and leaves. They are rarely found on male boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs may also feed on maple or ash trees. There is no noticeable feeding injury to these trees. During years of high populations, you may find nymphs on the ground or in gardens feeding throughout the summer.

Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance because they enter homes and other buildings, often in large numbers. Fortunately, they do not bite people and are essentially harmless to property. When abundant, they can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement. Occasionally some may seek moisture and may be found around houseplants, although they rarely attack them. In the few cases when they do feed, boxelder bugs are very unlikely to injure indoor plants. The best management of boxelder bugs is prevention — take steps to keep them from entering your home from the start. You can partly do this through exclusion though it largely depends on how your home was constructed. Learn more about the Boxelder bugs here.

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Stink Bugs

This species will feed on over 300 different species plants, including many fruits, vegetables, and row crops. The injury from their piercing-sucking mouthparts can lead to significant crop damage and severe economic losses.To survive the winter, this insect must find shelter, often taking cover in houses, garages, or barns. They can become a nuisance in fall when many bugs can invade a home.True to their name, stink bugs can stink. The smell of them is slightly earthy, some say it resembles cilantro. This defensive liquid is secreted from the underside of their thorax when the stink bugs feel threatened.

They are also spread with help from humans. By hitchhiking on cars, trucks, campers, suitcases, and even mailed packages, this bug can move from an infested area to an uninfested area very quickly. Starting in midJuly, they move to female seed-bearing boxelder trees where they lay eggs on trunks, branches, and leaves. They are rarely found on male boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs may also feed on maple or ash trees. There is no noticeable feeding injury to these trees. During years of high populations, you may find nymphs on the ground or in gardens feeding throughout the summer.

Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance because they enter homes and other buildings, often in large numbers. Fortunately, they do not bite people and are essentially harmless to property. When abundant, they can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement. Occasionally some may seek moisture and may be found around houseplants, although they rarely attack them. In the few cases when they do feed, boxelder bugs are very unlikely to injure indoor plants. Learn more.

Stink Bugs

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Centipede

Centipedes are highly venomous, and inject paralyzing venom to their prey. They can have various number of legs from 30 to 354 total contrary to their name that implies 100 legs because they always have an odd number of legs. They range from a variety of sizes from a couple of centimeters long to 12 inches. Centipedes can also be found in numerous environments and in homes, which the tend to migrate in damp areas or in basements. They require a moist environment because they lose so much of their own moisture due to their lack of a waxy coating on their bodies. Centipedes as well as Millipedes are seen in gardens and may be found wandering into homes. They are different from insects, which have three clearly defined body sections and three pairs of legs because they have numerous body segments and numerous legs. Like insects, they belong to the largest group in the animal kingdom, the arthropods, which have jointed bodies and legs and no backbone. Their bodies are covered with a shell-like covering called an exoskeleton. Read More about the Centipede here.

Centipede

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Millipede

Millipedes have a tendency of living in and feeding on rotting wood, many types of leaves and other kinds of decaying moist plant matter. Generally, they play a major beneficial insect that helps to break down dead plants and leaves. But a times they are numerous of having a large population, they may damage seedlings, sprouting seeds, or strawberries and other types of ripping fruits that ly on the ground. On occasions individual millipedes make their way into moist living places into some homes, but they usually die very quickly due to the lack of moisture and lack of food. Occasionally, large numbers of millipedes migrate when food supply dwindles or their living places become either too wet or dry, due to the lack of rainfall. They also find their way into swimming pools and end up drowning. Eliminating moist hiding places around the home will kill or discourage millipedes. Outdoors, this includes removing rotting wood and decaying grass and leaves from around the house’s foundation. This also eliminates millipede food sources. If there is excessive moisture in subfloor crawl spaces or basements, take measures to dry out these areas like a dehumidifier that works very well. To discourage millipedes in garden areas, reduce mulch and other organic matter and avoid excessive moisture. Read more about the Millipede here.

Millipede

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Fleas

Adult cat fleas of both sexes range from 1–2 mm long and are usually a reddish-brown colour, although the abdomens of gravid females often swell with eggs causing them to appear banded in cream and dark brown. Like all fleas, the cat flea is compressed laterally allowing it to slip between the sometimes dense hairs of its host just above the top layer of the skin, resulting in an extremely thin insect that may be difficult to observe even if the host’s coat is pure white.

The cat flea’s primary host is the domestic cat for which it has a distinct feeding preference, but it is also the primary flea infesting dogs. The cat flea can also maintain its life cycle on other animals, but these are only chosen when more acceptable hosts become unavailable. Adult cat fleas do not willingly leave their hosts, and inter-animal transfer of adult fleas is rare except in animals that share sleeping quarters. A flea which becomes separated from its host will often die within hours from starvation.

Although humans are susceptible to bites from this insect, such bites tend to be rare and are all but unheard of if a more suitable host (i.e., a cat) is anywhere within the vicinity, especially as the adult insects only become separated from their hosts accidentally. While some research has shown that a female cat flea, if allowed to feed undisturbed for 12 consecutive hours on a human, may be capable of producing at least some viable eggs after mating a long-term population of cat fleas in a human-only environment has never been shown to be sustainable. Learn more about the flea here.

Fleas

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German Roach

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is a small species of cockroach, typically about 1.1 to 1.6 cm (0.43 to 0.63 in) long. In colour it varies from tan to almost black, and it has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks on the pronotum running anteroposteriorly from behind the head to the base of the wings. Although Blattella germanica has wings, it can barely fly, although it may glide when disturbed. Of the few species of cockroach that are domestic pests, it probably is the most widely troublesome example. It is very closely related to the Asian cockroach, and to the casual observer the two appear nearly identical and may be mistaken for each other. However, the Asian cockroach is attracted to light and can fly rather like a moth, while the German cockroach cannot. Learn more about the German Cockroach here.

German Roach

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American Cockroach

The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), also colloquially known as the waterbug, but not a true waterbug since it is not aquatic, or misidentified as the palmetto bug (see Florida woods cockroach for the differences), is the largest species of common cockroach, and often considered a pest. It is also known as the ship cockroach, kakerlac, and Bombay canary. Despite the name, none of the Periplaneta species are endemic to the Americas; P. americana was introduced to the United States from Africa as early as 1625. They are now common in tropical climates because human activity has extended the insect’s range of habitation, and are virtually cosmopolitan in distribution as a result of global commerce. Learn more about the American Cockroach here.

American Cockroach

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Oriental Cockroach

The oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), also known as the waterbug, is a large species of cockroach, adult males being 18–29 mm (0.71–1.14 in) and adult females being 20–27 mm (0.79–1.06 in). It is dark brown to black in color and has a glossy body. The female Oriental cockroach has a somewhat different appearance from the male, appearing to be wingless at casual glance but has two very short and useless wings just below her head. She has a wider body than the male. The male has long wings, which cover two thirds of the abdomen and are brown in color, and has a narrower body. The odd male is capable of very short flights, ranging about 2 to 3 meters. The female oriental cockroach looks somewhat similar to the Florida woods cockroach, and may be mistaken for it. Originally endemic to the Crimean Peninsula and the region around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, its distribution is now cosmopolitan. Learn more about the Oriental Cockroach here.

Oriental Cockroach

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Silverfish & Firebrats

Silverfish and firebrats are small, carrot shaped insects. They are very similar in appearance, with the major difference being coloration. Silverfish are a grey color while firebrats are a mottled brownish grey. They can be found in stored cardboard boxes, bookshelves, cereals, flour, cotton, linen and woolen clothes. They are attracted to these items for a food source. Protein from glues, starches from sizing in clothing as well as carbohydrates are their preferred food. You will sometimes find them in a sink or tub because they can’t climb out of the slick, curved surface. They thrive in areas with high humidity and temps that range from the upper 70’s to the 90’s and more. They are very fast when you try to catch them. A multi-service agreement is recommended for these infestations. Attic treatment is highly recommended. Learn more about the Silverfish here.

Silverfish

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Clover Mites

Clover mites are an extremely small yard insect that will invade a living space on occasion. Their actual size is smaller than a pin head. They range in color to an orange to a dark blackish brown. Clover mites are typically seen in large numbers, migrating from the exterior to inside via doorways and windows. They will be on window sills, walls, draperies, etc. They are most active in the spring and fall. You will typically see them on the sunny side of a structure. Vacuum, rather than wiping them up, will avoid the red stain they leave when crushed. Learn more about the Clover Mites here.

Clover Mites

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Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse, Loxosceles reclusa, Sicariidae (formerly placed in a family “Loxoscelidae”) is a spider with a venomous bite. Brown recluse spiders are usually between 6 and 20 millimetres (0.24 and 0.79 in), but may grow larger. While typically light to medium brown, they range in color from whitish to dark brown or blackish gray. The cephalothorax and abdomen are not necessarily the same color. These spiders usually have markings on the dorsal side of their cephalothorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider, resulting in the nicknames fiddleback spider, brown fiddler, or violin spider. Learn more about the Brown Recluse Spider here.

Brown Recluse Spider

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Hobo Spider

The hobo spider (Eratigena agrestis, formerly Tegenaria agrestis) is a member of the genus of spiders known colloquially as funnel web spiders, but not to be confused with the Australian funnel-web spider. The medical significance of its bite is still poorly understood and debated. Individuals construct a funnel-shaped structure of silk sheeting and lie in wait at the small end of the funnel for prey insects to blunder onto their webs. Hobo spiders sometimes build their webs in or around human habitations. The Hobo spider is a resident of fields, rarely entering human habitations due to the presence of major competitors, particularly the giant house spider (Eratigena atrica) which is a common resident of houses and other man-made structures in Europe. As a result, human contacts with the hobo spider are uncommon in Europe. Learn more about the Hobo Spider here.

Hobo Spider

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Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, from the Ancient Greek word “λύκος” meaning “wolf”. They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly solitary and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some will wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow. Wolf spiders resemble Nursery web spiders (family Pisauridae), but wolf spiders carry their egg sacs by attaching them to their spinnerets (Pisauridae carry their egg sacs with their chelicerae and pedipalps). Two of the wolf spider’s eight eyes are large and prominent, which distinguishes them from the Nursery web spiders whose eyes are all of approximately equal size. This can also help distinguish them from grass spiders. Learn more about he Wolf Spider here.

Wolf Spider

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Black Widow Spider

Latrodectus is a genus of spider in the big spider family Theridiidae, most of which are commonly known as widow spiders. The genus contains 32 recognized species distributed worldwide, including the North American black widows (L. mactans, L. hesperus, and L. variolus), the button spiders of Africa, and the Australian redback. Individual species vary widely in size, but in most cases the females are dark-colored and readily identifiable by reddish hourglass-shaped markings on the abdomen. The venomous bite of these spiders is considered particularly dangerous because of the neurotoxin latrotoxin, which causes the condition latrodectism, both named for the genus. The female black widow has unusually large venom glands and her bite can be particularly harmful to humans. However, despite the genus’ notoriety, Latrodectus bites are rarely fatal. Learn more about the Black Widow Spider here.

Black Widow Spider

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Cave (Camel) Crickets

Most cave crickets have very large hind legs with “drumstick-shaped” femora and equally long, thin tibiae, and long, slender antennae. The antennae arise closely and next to each other on the head. They are brownish in color and rather humpbacked in appearance, always wingless, and up to 5 centimeters (2.0 in) long in body and 10 centimeters (3.9 in) for the legs. The bodies of early instars may appear translucent.

As the name suggests, cave crickets are commonly found in caves or old mines. However, species are also known to inhabit other cool, damp environments such as rotten logs, stumps and hollow trees, and under damp leaves, stones, boards, and logs. Occasionally, they prove to be a nuisance in the basements of homes in suburban areas, drains, sewers, wells and firewood stacks. One has become a tramp species from Asia and is now found in hothouses in Europe and North America. Some reach into alpine areas and live close to permanent ice.

Their distinctive limbs and antennae serve a double purpose. Typically living in a lightless environment, or active at night, they rely heavily on their sense of touch, which is limited by reach. While they have been known to take up residence in the basements of buildings, many cave crickets live out their entire lives deep inside actual caves. In those habitats, they sometimes face long spans of time with insufficient access to nutrients. Given their limited vision, cave crickets will often jump towards any perceived threat in an attempt to frighten it away. Although they look intimidating, they are completely harmless. Learn more about the Cave Cricket here.

Cave (Camel) Crickets

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Carpenter Ants

They normally are deep dark black in color and are a common ant to find in and outside the home. The carpenter ant plays a major role in decaying types of wood that is normally found around a resident. Most of the time you will find them having a nest of some sort in a dead tree of stump that is high in moisture and not dry wood. When looking for a food source that is when they forge into a home in a quest for food and water. These ants make holes into the wood but most of the time do not cause extensive, structural damage. Any home with moisture problems, or homes built surrounded by woods is at high risk of an infestation. A good visible sign of an infestation is when wingless black ants are found inside the home. The visible ones found inside your home are call the worker ants. They come out and feed in the middle of the night during May through July. IT is wise periodically to check your basement or garage in the middle of the night with a flashlight to prevent a large infestation. Learn more about the Carpenter Ants here.

Carpenter Ants

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Odorous Ants

They are very common in the Midwest area and are blank shiny ants and has a very strong odor when smashed. They are relatively smaller ants in size about 1/8 of an inch long. They favor dead and also living insects and lots of aphids that are on plants. They wander in no spefic path but occasional make a path or trail. These trails are found on branches of trees, sidewalks and edge of siding and even carpet. They nest in very shallow areas under rocks, flower pots and other debris. They can be in great quantities ranging from 5000 to 15,000 workers in one colony. Learn more about the Odorous Ants here.

Odorous Ants

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Pavement Ants

They are a different color than the rest of the ants we just discussed. They have a reddish color and found on pavement and sidewalks. Their diet consists of greasy foods and also sweet foods as well. They look for small cracks in homes foundation or small opening in basement windows. They tend to be inside during the winter months because they cannot handle the cold weather in the Midwest. Learn more about the Pavement Ants here.

Pavement Ants

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Acrobat Ants

They get the name acrobat because they lift their abdomen over its head. The acrobat ant gets its common name from raising its abdomen over its thorax and head when disturbed. These ants have several different species, and like the odorous ant will give off a strong odor when disturbed. Learn more about the Acrobat Ants here.

Acrobat Ants

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Ground Beetle

The ground beetle will grow a little over half an inch long. It is nearly all black with some dark reddish-brown coloring on antennae and legs. Many grooves run lengthwise down the beetle’s wings. They feed on insects, other invertebrates (such as snails), and seeds. They live on the ground, on plants, under bark, or as “miners” underground. They prefer to live in moist woods, fields, and gardens. They feed on other organisms and other insects like caterpillars, aphids and weed seeds. Ground beetles will sometimes climb trees, shrubs, or other plants looking for food but do not fly. Predators of ground beetles are the same as those of other beetles, including toads, small snakes, shrews, and birds. The ground beetle is actually important for farmers as a natural pest control insect by control other damaging organisms to the farmer. Ground Beetles breed in late summer. The female lays eggs just below the soil surface. Larvae hatch and spend the winter in the soil. In early spring the larvae begin feeding and then turn into pupae (resting stage). They come out as adult beetles in the summer. Learn more about the Ground Beetle here.

Ground Beetle

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Multi-colored Asian beetle (Lady Bugs)

Lady bugs have oval, dome-shaped bodies with six short legs. There is a wide variety of them, depending on the species. They can have spots, stripes, or no markings at all. Seven-spotted coccinellids are red or orange with three spots on each side and one in the middle; they have a black head with white patches on each side. The main predators of coccinellids are usually birds, including frogs, wasps, spiders, and dragonflies. The bright colors of many coccinellids discourage some potential predators from making a meal of them. This phenomenon, called aposematism, works because predators learn by experience to associate certain prey phenotypes with a bad taste. A further defense, known as “reflex bleeding”, exists in which an alkaloid toxin is exuded through the joints of the exoskeleton, triggered by mechanical stimulation (such as by predator attack) in both larval and adult beetles, deterring feeding. There average life span is up to 2 years. In the United States, coccinellids usually begin to appear indoors in the autumn when they leave their summer feeding sites in fields, forests, and yards and search out places to spend the winter. Typically, when temperatures warm to the mid-60s F in the late afternoon, following a period of cooler weather, they will swarm onto or into buildings illuminated by the sun. Swarms of coccinellids fly to buildings in September through November depending on location and weather conditions. Homes or other buildings near fields or woods are particularly prone to infestation. Learn more about the Lady Bugs here.

Asian beetle – (Lady Bug)

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