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SEASONAL INSECTS

House Centipede

Description & Behavior:

Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda. They can range in size from 0.1-11 inches in length. Although the word Centipedes mean 100 feet, most do not have 100 legs. The number of legs depends on the number of segments on their bodies. There are normally between 15 to 30 segments with a pair of legs in each.

Centipedes are one of the oldest insects on earth, found in fossils dating over 400 million years. There are many species of centipedes found worldwide and they come in a variety of colors. The most common House Centipede found in Toronto and the GTA is a yellowish-brown.

Centipedes are carnivores, feeding on a variety of insects such as spiders, earthworms, small insects, and even other centipedes. They are predators, which means that they eat moving prey. They find their prey using their antennae, and then immobilize it with venom injected from their maxilliped fang. Female centipedes lay an average of 60 eggs at a time, which are buried in soil or decaying wood.

Centipedes will bite or sting if handled, or in defense against its enemy. These bites, although rare, can cause serious allergic reactions in humans and may become painful or swollen, much like a bee sting.

Outdoors, Centipedes primarily reside in and around decaying matter, however, they can invade homes or nearby structures to escape the elements and in search for food. In homes, they are found in warm, humid areas such as basements, bathrooms and kitchens and can also live in and around plumbing, cracks and crevices, in walls as well as damp cellars.

Prevention:

Centipedes are generally not found in large numbers indoors. However, frequent sightings may mean that there are other species of insects in your home for them to prey on, and/or they are attracted to the moist environment your home provides. Identifying and eliminating these factors, will help control the centipede population in your home.

  • Reduce the amount of humidity in your home by installing a dehumidifier.

  • Keep your air conditioner running, particularly in the summer months.

  • Eliminate centipede habitat around your home such as leaf and yard debris or rotting logs.

  • Seal and caulk cracks and crevices around foundation.

If you have a problem with Centipedes in your home, don’t delay, call DPC today!!

Millipede

Description & Behavior:

Millipedes are arthropods in the class Diplopoda, which means they have many legs. They can range in size from 0.1-14 inches in length and are usually brown to blackish in color. Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment, and have an elongated rounded body, which curls up when disturbed.

Millipedes are herbivorous which means that they feed on decomposing vegetation or organic matter mixed with soil. A few species may prey on small insects such as centipedes or earthworms. Some species have piercing mouthparts that allow them to feed on plant juices. Unlike centipedes, they do not have venomous fangs and do not bite.

Millipedes prefer living in moist dark places. They can be found under garden rocks and logs, under dead leaves and garden clippings or any place where the soil stays damp. They tend to migrate into homes particularly in the fall during heavy rains when the ground is saturated. For this reason, they are usually found in basements and/or ground floor when indoors. Once inside, millipedes do not survive for long, however, in moist conditions, they can survive for longer periods.

Prevention:

Millipedes are generally not found in large numbers indoors. Frequent sightings may mean that they are attracted to the moist environment your home provides.

  • Reduce the amount of humidity in your home by installing a dehumidifier.

  • Keep your air conditioner running, particularly in the summer months.

  • Seal and caulk cracks and crevices around foundation.

  • Keep lawn well maintained, as long grass provides a moist hiding place.

  • Eliminate millipede habitat around your home such as leaf and yard debris, as well as mulch.

  • Divert rainwater away form the house.

Although insecticides will not stop millipedes from entering the home, it will help reduce their numbers. If you have a problem with Millipedes in your home, don’t delay, call DPC today!!

Sowbugs & Pillbugs

Description & Behavior:

Sow bugs and pill bugs (Also know as Roly-Polies or Potato bugs) look and are very similar at first glance. They range in size from 0.25 – 0.50 inches long and are dark to slate gray in color. They have 7 pairs of legs and have an oval shaped body that curls up in a ball when disturbed. Although they are crustaceans, they have adapted to living their entire life on land but thrive in areas of high moisture.

Sow bugs and pill bugs are scavengers that feed on decaying organic matter. They can feed on plants but rarely cause significant damage. They tend to remain hidden during the day under objects such as flowerpots, rocks, mulch, and wooden boards, resting on damp ground. Indoors, they are usually found in crawl spaces, damp basements and sometimes on the ground floor as well. Once inside, Sow/Pill bugs do not survive for long, however, in moist conditions, they can survive for longer periods.

Prevention:

Sow/Pill bugs are generally not found in large numbers indoors. Frequent sightings may mean that they are attracted to the moist environment your home provides.

  • Reduce the amount of humidity in your home by installing a dehumidifier.

  • Keep your air conditioner running, particularly in the summer months.

  • Seal and caulk cracks and crevices around foundation.

  • Keep lawn well maintained.

  • Eliminate sow/pill bug habitat around your home such as leaf and yard debris, as well as mulch and rotting logs.

Although spraying insecticides will help reduce the amount of Sow/Pill bugs in your home, it will not eliminate the problem permanently. If you have a problem with Sow/Pill bugs in your home, don’t delay, call DPC today!!

Earwigs

Description & Behavior:

Earwigs (Forficula auricularia) have a long shaped flat body that is usually brown to blackish in color and are about ¾ inch in length. Although there are myths about how the earwig got its name, there is no scientific proof that earwigs enter people’s ears at night when they are sleeping. Earwigs have pincers located at the back of their bodies, which they use during altercations with other earwigs, and although they may pinch if handled, they do not harm humans.

Earwigs primarily feed on plant roots, decomposing matter, plants, ripe fruit, and garbage. They can be beneficial insects since they prey on garden pests such as aphids, slug eggs, insect larvae etc. Earwigs, however, can also cause a lot of damage to crops and gardens, as they are not picky about the type of vegetation they eat.

Earwigs are nocturnal insects and will hide in cool, dark, moist places during the day. Some of these places include, under stones, in garden debris, and other cracks and crevices. Earwigs are considered accidental invaders. They enter homes through cracks and crevices in their search for food or due to adverse weather conditions.

Prevention:

Since Earwigs are accidental invaders, the ideal time to begin control measures is in early spring.

  • Reduce the amount of humidity in your home by installing a dehumidifier.

  • Keep your air conditioner running, particularly in the summer months.

  • Seal and caulk cracks and crevices around foundation.

  • Cultivate the soil in your garden. This will expose newly laid eggs, which would be less likely to survive.

  • Remove damaged fruits and vegetables in your garden that attract earwigs.

  • Keep lawn well maintained.

  • Eliminate sow/pill bug habitat around your home such as leaf and yard debris, as well as mulch and rotting logs.

  • Divert rainwater away from the house.

Although spraying insecticides will help reduce the amount of Earwigs in your home, it will not eliminate the problem permanently. If you have a problem with Earwigs in your home, don’t delay, call DPC today!!

416-446-0278 or 905-737-1366