How to Identify Bugs Inside Your House

Updated February 21, 2017

Any number of insect pests has the ability to invade your home and set up shop, establishing themselves in the walls, attic, basement, closets and other places. To identify these indoor bugs you will have to pay close attention to such details as their colour, size, shape and where you find them within your house. Some of the most frequently found bugs inside the home are the bedbug, silverfish, German cockroach, termite, ant, millipede and European earwig.

Note the flat shape of a bedbug that enables it to hide in the tiniest crack or crevice. Bedbugs are only about a fifth of an inch long and have oval flat bodies. They are brown to red-brown in terms of colour but a deep red after they have enjoyed a meal of blood. The mouth resembles a beak.

Ascertain a bug is a German cockroach when it has two parallel lines running down the back of the head to its wings. These cockroaches have a set of wings, but they cannot fly. German cockroaches, typically found where the environment is moist and warm, are a light brown colour and up to 5/8-inch long.

Determine a bug is a silverfish by its colour and flattened and elongated shape. Silverfish have three projections that grow from the tail end and two antennae on the head. They are a silvery shade, with some being a light brown colour. They lack wings and have a soft body, growing to 3/4-inch long.

Identify the millipede by the four legs that go with each segment of its body. Most are dark brown, and when you discover a dead millipede, it will have curled up into a spiral. Millipedes typically do not survive long inside a home unless they are in a moist part of the house such as a bathroom or basement.

Distinguish a termite from an ant by the difference in some of their anatomy. Termites have a broad "waist" while ants possess a slim one. Termites have straight antennae on their heads while an ants have a shape like the letter "L." The four wings possessed by a termite are all the same length; an ant's are of two different lengths.

Recognise the European earwig by the forceps at the end portion of its abdomen. These forceps resemble a pair of pincers, and the earwig defends itself against other insects with them. Earwigs, which often hide in old newspapers, laundry baskets and inside walls, are about 5/8-inch long and are a dark brownish-red colour.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.