How to identify household bugs & insects

Written by contributing writer
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Household bugs and insects are a major nuisance in many homes. It is therefore important that you know how to identify them so you can deal with them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Insect identification book
  • Pen or pencil

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  1. 1

    Research and learn the habits and life cycle of household bugs and insects. Look for information in books, magazines and on the Internet. Pay attention to the details of each class of insects and bugs and note them.

  2. 2

    Get to know the possible hiding places and feeding habits for different bugs and insects. This information will help you identify them. For example, the feeding habits will help you know whether what you saw in the kitchen was a cockroach and not another household bug. Find out also if a particular insect or bug is a bloodsucker, woodborer, grain eater, etc.

  3. 3

    Search for signs of household bugs and insects such as fecal stains on the mattresses, walls and curtains. Also be on the lookout for dried skins left behind and bloodstains on bedding. You might physically see the bugs on the bed frames, under furniture, mattresses' seams, windowsills and inside box springs.

  4. 4

    Categorise the insect or bug into the classes that you have learnt. These classes include ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, wasps, true bugs, lice, termites, bedbugs, woodlice, centipedes, millipedes and crickets.

  5. 5

    Try to match each insect or bug with an image that you might have seen during your research. You can identify an insect or bug by various factors such as the number of legs, whether it has wings or not and its colour.

  6. 6

    Look for ways to get rid of the insects and bugs once you have fully identified them. There are many insecticides and bug sprays. Read the instructions and use labels to identify the particular insect or bug it is likely to get rid of.

Tips and warnings

  • Identifying some of the young insects can be challenging because they do not have normal insect characteristics until they mature. Be knowledgeable about the life cycle of some of these insects for better identification regardless of the insect's or bug's life stage.
  • Be cautious when handling insects such as bees and spiders because some inflict painful bites and stings, of which some are poisonous, while others may cause itching and swelling of the skin.

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