Category Archives: Household pests

Posts on insect pests of structures.

Benefits of cockroach baits






You may not have cockroaches in your home. But cockroaches remain one of the most important indoor pests of homes, especially in multifamily housing.  If you do have occasional problems with the small kitchen cockroaches, known as German cockroaches, there is good news, and it’s as close as the insecticide shelf in your grocery store. A story Before starting graduate school in entomology I worked as a pest control technician out of college. One of my accounts was a sprawling, multi-story public housing complex. These visits were frustrating… Read More →




Not all presents under the Christmas tree are welcome






The last week in November and first three weeks in December are Christmas tree season in the U.S.  All over the country, excited families take to the nearest tree lot to pick a recently cut tree for home.  Some of these trees, however, come with more than just needles and flocking. Giant conifer aphids in the genus Cinara, are among the most commonly encountered insects on fresh Christmas trees.  These aphids form colonies on trees outdoors.  Smaller colonies and lighter infestations are often missed by the tree farm,… Read More →




New fact sheet on indoor flies






Got flies? A new House and Landscape Series fact sheet will help you figure out what you have, and how to search out the source of the problem. Indoor flies are opportunists.  Give them a place to breed, and they’ll be all over the place just like, well, flies.  Knowing where these breeding sites are is much easier when you know what kind of fly is driving you crazy.  Indoor Flies and Their Control (ENTO-050) reviews and provides pictures and descriptions of the most common small and larger indoor… Read More →




Ten top pests that can hurt your home






In a recent paper, researchers from North Carolina State University tried to estimate how many species of insect-like critters (arthropods) could be found in homes.  They intensively searched 50 North Carolina houses and looked for as many different kinds of living and dead arthropods as they could find. Altogether they identified 579 different species from 304 different families.  In fact, out of the 554 rooms scoured for the research, only 5 rooms had no detectable arthropods at all (I bet they didn’t look hard enough). It shouldn’t come as much surprise… Read More →




All Bugs Good and Bad webinar series






If part of your new year resolutions was to take charge of your life (and enhance your knowledge base about insects!) have we got a deal for you.  This year the eXtension group (pronounced EE-extension) is offering a new series of webinars on insect-related topics that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your easy chair or desk or wherever you log on. For gardeners topics will include fruit and vegetable insect control, fire ants, bee protection, proper fertilization and even snakes!  For homeowners and apartment dwellers,… Read More →




Rodents in attics






There are few household maintenance issues as alarming or frustrating as hearing rodent footsteps in the ceiling or attic.  This happened to me earlier this year in my home, and recently my wife’s office has been hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet above the ceiling tiles at their place of work. At my home the culprit turned out to be a squirrel that had loosened mortar on the roof/siding interface on my roof.  A 1/2 inch gap is all that a squirrel needs to get into an attic.  In my wife’s office… Read More →




Kissing bug identification requires closer look






Because most of us take little time to look closely at insects, it should not be surprising that recent television stories about “kissing bugs” and Chagas disease have created a frenzy of sorts among people thinking they have captured or seen kissing bugs around the home.  While a few of these have turned out to be actual kissing bugs (genus Triatoma), most are not; and laboratories set up to identify and test kissing bugs have been overwhelmed this month with samples. But not all insects vaguely resembling the pictures you… Read More →




Tougher head lice in schools this year






Sending your children off to the first day of school comes with plenty of concerns.  Will they enjoy their new teachers?  Will they make good friends?  But one concern often overlooked in the rush of the new school year is head lice. Now the last thing anyone should stress over when it comes to schools is head lice.  But with a new school year, reports of head lice always go up.  And according to a new paper delivered at the American Chemical Society and reported this week in Smithsonian.com, this year’s head… Read More →




Flag waving for Americans






The ensign wasp is one of the odder insects found occasionally in homes.  A small insect, only 5-7 mm long, it does not sting or bite.  In fact, it does no harm; but it is a beneficial parasite of at least three household cockroaches, the American cockroach being the most common. Ensign wasps are experts at locating not the cockroaches themselves, but the egg cases (oothecae) that cockroaches deposit.  According to one account, when the female ensign wasp encounters a cockroach egg case, she first taps it with her antennae, presumably… Read More →




Rutgers study shows best home treatments for bed bugs






Bed bugs are best treated by an experienced professional.  Let me say that again…  If you have bed bugs, and you can hire a professional who knows what they’re doing, then do it.  It can save you much grief and lost sleep. Now that I’ve said that, let me address those who, for whatever reason, must fight bed bugs without professional help. If professional service is not in the cards for you right now, you have some options. First consider the approach outlined in my fact sheet on… Read More →