Types of bugs in a household

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Household bugs can contaminate your food, destroy your woodwork, bore into books and generally make your house seem unfit for occupancy.

The first step to controlling bugs in a household is proper identification, both of the type of insect and its mode of entry to the house and implementing proper control measures to eliminate infestation and prevent reinfestation. Moisture and improper sanitation are often contributing causes, as well as rotting or moist wood.

Flying insects

Meal moths or pantry moths infest dry foods like grains, cereals and pet food, with the larvae producing webbing over the infested food. Adults are often grey with markings on the wings. Mosquitos are common household pests that can transmit encephalitis. All mosquitos breed in still water; the eggs will not hatch unless moistened. Houseflies and gnats all breed in decaying organic matter and infest homes. Flies carry diseases such as shigella, salmonella and cholera.

Burrowing insects

Fleas that infest homes are wingless, reddish-brown insects that cannot fly but are powerful jumpers. The white, hairy larvae feed on dried animal matter lodged in pet beds, between floor cracks and under carpets. Carpet beetles infest food, woollen fabrics and other items of animal origin. The adults are oval, 3 mm (1/8 inch) long and dark-brown or multi-coloured.

Crawling insects

Cockroach species that invade homes vary from 9 mm to 3.75 cm (3/8 to 1 1/2 inches) in length and are tan to black. In addition to food, cockroaches feed on books, paper and starched clothing. House centipedes are about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long with antennae and 15 pairs of legs. They thrive in damp areas and eat cockroaches, flies, spiders and other small insects. Many species of spiders are common household pests, with the majority of spiders being beneficial because they eat small insects.

Microscopic bugs

Dust mites are microscopic, contain eight legs and do not bite. The faeces and body parts of dust mites become airborne and produce allergies and asthma when inhaled. House dust mites feed on animal dander, human skin scales, pollen and fungi. Dust mites need temperatures between 24 to 27 degrees C (75F to 80F) and 70 to 80 per cent humidity. Scabies mites are microscopic organisms that burrow under human and animal skin, producing mange in dogs and scabies in humans.