Other Crawling Insect Species

Millipedes

(Diplopoda) 

Appearance

  • Brownish and blackish.
  • 1 to 2.5 to 4 cm long.
  • Segmented, with two pair of legs per segment.
  • Sometimes called "thousand-leggers."

Lifecycle

  • Eggs are deposited in the soil. 
  • Most species reach sexual maturity in the second year and live several years after that.

Habits

  • Millipedes normally live outdoors in damp places. Around homes they live in flowerbeds and gardens. 
  • People find millipedes under mulch, piles of dead leaves, or under piles of grass clipping. Millipedes also live under structures like dog houses and storage sheds. Millipedes thrive in places where the soil stays damp. They eat dead leaves and decaying wood particles that they find. 
  • In the fall, millipedes often migrate. They move out of their normal habitat. Scientists suspect they may be trying to get ready for winter. However, millipedes have also been seen migrating after a heavy rain has flooded their habitat. During these migrations, millipedes often find their way into homes. 
  • When they come to a home, millipedes gather on porches and patios. They climb the foundation of the home and they often find entryways. They enter through basement doors and windows, crawlspace vents, and garage doors. Many homeowners find millipedes in their basements. They may hide under furniture or boxes of stored items. Since many basements are dark and undisturbed, the millipedes can be very active. 
  • Crawlspaces are excellent millipede habitats. There are often boxes of stored items and pieces of lumber on the ground under a home. The millipedes can feed on dead leaves that have blown into the crawl space or small pieces of damp or decaying wood. 
  • As they move around, many millipedes move into the living space of the home—often in great numbers. Millipedes can enter homes by crawling under doors that have missing weather stripping. They also enter homes from the garage or by coming up from the crawl space through the floor.

Centipedes

(Chilopoda) 

Appearance

  • The name centipede, which means “100 legs,” can be somewhat misleading: centipedes may have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. 
  • They are elongated, with flat, segmented bodies that contain a pair of legs per segment. 
  • Centipedes occur in several colors and patterns but most common are brown and reddish orange.
  • Centipedes range in size from 4 to 152 mm, depending on the species. 
  • The heads of centipedes have a pair of long and sensitive antennae. 
  • They have small mouths and have large, clawlike structures that contain a venom gland. 
  • Because most centipedes are carnivorous creatures that forage for food at night, they use their claws to paralyze their victims, such as worms, spiders and small vertebrates.

Lifecycle

  • Adult centipedes hide in moist, dark and secluded areas during winter. 
  • Place eggs in dampened soil during summer or spring. 
  • As centipedes become adults, they grow a complete set of legs and extra segments. 
  • Live for more than a year and some up to six years.

Habits

  • Centipedes may enter houses and buildings, but they do not roam during daytime. 
  • Hide in damp areas around bathrooms, closets, basements and other sites typically infested by pests. 
  • Typically leave no direct signs other than the sighting of the centipede itself.

Earwigs

(Dermaptera) 

Appearance

  • There is a superstition that earwigs burrow into the ears of people while they sleep. 
  • This is a myth and without any scientific basis. Earwigs frighten many people because of the pincers on the back of their abdomens. 
  • Earwigs use these pincers for defense and for sparing with rival earwigs. 
  • Adults range from ¼″ to 1″ long, dark brown in color and have forceps at the hind end. The forceps, which are curved in the male and straight in the female, are not poisonous and will simply give you a small pinch.

Lifecycle

  • The female lays about 40 eggs a year and then rears the young herself – which is unusual in the insect world. 
  • Earwigs feed on live or dead plants and insects and will sometimes damage vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.

Habits

  • Earwigs are active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flowerbeds. 
  • Earwigs eat plants and insects. 
  • Outdoors, earwigs spend the winter in small burrows in the ground. 
  • In spring the female lays eggs in the burrow. She tends the eggs until they hatch. Then she cares for the nymphs until they can find their own food.
  • Earwigs are attracted to lights. 
  • They can become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings. In the morning they will be gathered under things like cushions that were left outside overnight. 
  • Earwigs move into homes to find food or because of a change in weather.

Crickets

(Gryllidae) 

Appearance

  • Crickets are small to medium-sized insects with mostly cylindrical, somewhat vertically flattened bodies. 
  • The head is spherical with long slender antennae arising from cone-shaped scapes (first segments) and just behind these are two large compound eyes.

Lifecycle

  • House crickets have three stages in their life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult. 
  • They can live for over six weeks and their entire life cycle lasts two to three months depending on their surroundings. 
  • These crickets thrive when the temperature is between 80 and 90*F. 
  • It can live indefinitely in homes, laying its eggs in cracks, crevices and other dark areas. 
  • A cricket begins its life in an egg. After about 14 days, it will have developed into a nymph. It will break the egg capsule and dig out of the substrate.

Habits

  • Crickets often migrate into buildings to seek shelter from approaching cold weather or during hot, dry weather in search of moisture. 
  • Crickets can damage clothing and their chirpings irritate some people. Female crickets lay about 700 eggs in their lifetime.

Pillbugs and Sowbugs

(Isopoda

Cat fleas are often unable to determine whether a host is suitable until it has been bitten. If it is deemed unsuitable, the flea soon drops off.

Appearance

  • Sowbugs and pillbugs range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and are dark to slate gray. 
  • Their oval, segmented bodies are convex above but flat or concave underneath. 
  • They possess seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae (only one pair of antennae is readily visible). 
  • Sowbugs also have two tail-like appendages which project out from the rear end of the body.

Lifecycle

  • Although a male is usually involved, these creatures can reproduce by parthenogenesis as well. 
  • The female produces eggs that take from three to nine weeks to hatch out about two dozen offspring. 
  • The young spend three to nine days in the mother’s pouch, which is composed of plates on her underside. She may have two to three broods each year.

Habits

  • Sowbugs and pillbugs may leave their natural habitats at night, and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. 
  • They often invade crawl spaces, damp basements and first floors of houses at ground level. 
  • Common points of entry into buildings include door thresholds (especially at the base of sliding glass doors), expansion joints, and through the voids of concrete block walls. 
  • Frequent sightings of these pests indoors usually means that there are large numbers breeding on the outside, close to the foundation. 
  • Since sowbugs and pillbugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.