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Termites and other home wreckers

Pantry Pests

Biting and Stinging Pests


Occasional Invaders




Pest Animals



              Boxelder Bug Silverfish/Firebrat   | Earwig |



Crickets The field cricket is one of the most common household accidental   invader insect pests. There are several species of field crickets ranging in    size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch, but the best known is the black field cricket, a large, shiny black insect. Like other accidental invaders, field crickets spend most   of their life outdoors where they feed, grow, develop and reproduce. Only during a limited portion of their life cycle do they wander indoors by mistake and create an annoyance.

Field crickets spend the winter as eggs laid in the soil. These eggs hatch in late spring or early summer, and tiny immature crickets called nymphs begin to feed on a variety of succulent grasses and weeds. The nymphs look like the adults except for their smaller size and the absence of wings. Nymphs develop into adults within approximately 90 days. The adults mate and lay eggs in late summer before succumbing to old age or freezing temperatures in the fall.

Chirping, one of the hallmarks of crickets, is done only by the males as a way to attract the females of their own species. Chirping is produced by rubbing the wings together.

There is no single, perfect solution for the control of crickets that are invading the house. However some combination of the following suggestions will work. Treat with Diazinon or Dursban Granules outside according to the label for long lasting protection against migrating crickets.Niban Bait is an excellent bait to use for crickets in areas inaccessible to children and pets in that it will keep controlling crickets inside and outside for long periods of time. For  heavy infestations of crickets inside spraying with Empire 20 followed by treatment with the Pro Control Fogger offers quick relief and a high mortality rate. Ultimately, cricket problems end in the fall when the adults are killed by heavy frost or freeze.

  • 1. Seal cracks, gaps and holes in foundation, siding, windows, doors, screens, and other possible entry points. Remove vegetation and debris from next to the house that serves as a hiding place or breeding site.
  • 2. Reduce the number of pests at the source if possible with the sprays and granules previously mentioned.
  • 3. Use barrier perimeter sprays,Granules and Baits on and along the foundation to stop migrating invaders. In years of abundance the barrier should extend all the way to the source if possible; that is,all the way to the fence row, ditch bank or other identifiable habitat for crickets.
  • 4. For invaders already inside the house, vacuum or sweep them up and discard.

Indoor residual treatments with "cockroach" sprays have little in any benefit. Do not use lawn and garden insecticide concentrates indoors. Direct application with Empire 20 or fogging with  Pro Control Fogger is one of the best ways to eliminate crickets that are inside.

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Leptocoris trivittatus
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     The boxelder bug may be a pest both of outdoor trees as
well as a household nuisance.  It is the latter that is of most
to homeowners.  The bugs overwinter as adults in protected dry
places, often in wall voids or attics of houses and buildings.
During warm days in the fall and spring the bugs become active
and invade homes becoming an extreme nuisance.

     The adult boxelder bug is about 1/2 inch in length and
brownish-black in color with red stripes on the thorax and wing
margins.  The body is also bright red.
     Eggs are a rusty red color and are not often seen as they
are deposited on boxelder trees. The nymphs, also found on the
trees, are bright red in color with the head end darker.  Nymphs
resemble adults but do not have fully developed wings and are
not able to reproduce.  The change from nymph to adult is a
gradual one.

     The boxelder bugs pass the winter in the adult stage in
dry, sheltered places where they have accumulated in gregarious
masses.  They often choose buildings or houses as a protected
place to overwinter.  When weather warms up in the spring, the
bugs leave their places of hibernation to fly to boxelder trees
where they deposit their eggs.  Eggs are usually deposited in
bark crevices and hatch in 11 to 14 days.  The nymphs feed by
inserting their beaks into leaves, fruits or soft seeds and
sucking the plant juices.  Feeding continues throughout the
summer and the nymphs gradually mature becoming adults as cold
weather approaches in the fall.  In some areas there may be
two broods of this insect, one reaching maturity in mid-summer
and the second one in early fall.

     Since the presence of these bugs is associated with boxelder
trees,they will generally be considered to be an area problem as 
opposed to a local problem.
     Out of doors insecticides have been used effectively on
the trees to control the nymphs while they are actively feeding.
Either the insecticide Dursban Pro or Delta Dust is recommended.  
may be sprayed by the homeowner, but large trees and large groups
of trees should be done by a certified pesticide applicator.
Dursban Pro may be used for nuisance pests (including boxelder bugs)
out of doors where boxelder bugs accumulate.
     Indoors vacuuming up the bugs and discarding the contents of
the vacuum bag when finished is a good effective housekeeping
method.  (If bugs are left inside the vacuum they may crawl out
in the storage place.)  Tightening up the routes of entry the
bugs use by caulking or screening is a more permanent solution.
Please read the label before applying any pesticide.
Injecting Delta Dust next to the foundation under the siding will inhibit 
Boxelder migration into the structure.

For inside treatment of Boxelders the Pro control Fogger is recommended.

Silverfish and Firebrats                                                                                                                                         

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Silverfish and firebrats eat a wide variety of foods, including glue, wallpaper paste, bookbindings, paper, photographs, starch in clothing, cotton, linen, rayon fabrics, wheat flour, cereals, dried meats, leather and even dead insects. Silverfish often live in damp, cool places such as basements and laundry rooms. Sometimes, they are found in a bathtub, sink or washbasin, unable to climb out. Firebrats live in hot, humid places such as attics in summer and near furnaces, fireplaces and heat pipes in winter.


Silverfish and firebrats have flat, elongated bodies 1/3 to 3/4 inch long and broad near the head, tapering toward the rear-somewhat "carrot" shaped. These fragile, wingless insects are covered with scales and have two long, slender antennae at the head and three long, antennae-like appendages at the rear. These three appendages, one directed straight back and the other two curving outward, plus the two antennae, are nearly as long as the body. Sometimes these insects are known as "bristletails."

The silverfish adult is about 1/2 inch long with a uniform silvery or pearl-gray color, whereas the four-lined silverfish is about 5/8 inch long and the back displays four dark lines the length of the body. The gray silverfish is about 3/4 inch long and uniform light to dark gray. The firebrat is about 1/2 inch long, grayish and mottled with spots and bands of dark scales. Young resemble the adults except they are smaller. Eggs are whitish, oval and about 1/32 inch long.


Life Cycle and Habits

Silverfish and firebrats are active at night and hide during the day. When objects are moved where they are hiding, they dart out and seek new hiding places. The silverfish lives and develops in damp, cool places (prefers 75 to 95 percent relative humidity), often in the basement, bathroom and kitchen. Large numbers may be found in new buildings where the walls are still damp from plaster and green lumber.

The firebrat is quick moving and lives in dark places above 90 degrees F such as around ovens, furnaces, boiler rooms and fireplaces or insulation around hot water and heat pipes. These insects follow pipelines from the basement to rooms on lower floors, living in bookcases, around closet shelves, behind baseboards and behind window or door frames. They are hardy and can live without food for many months. Bristletails prefer to eat vegetable matter. Indoors, they will feed on rolled oats, dried beef, flour, starch, paper and paper sizing (which contains starch), gum and cereals. Outdoors, they can be found under rocks, bark and leaf mold, and in ant, termite, bird and animal nests.

Silverfish females may lay over 100 eggs during a lifetime. Eggs are laid singly or two to three at a time in small groups, hatching in three to six weeks. Young silverfish and firebrats resemble adults except being smaller, white and take on the adult color in four to six weeks. Adults may live two to eight years. Firebrats lay about 50 eggs at one time in several batches. Eggs hatch in about two weeks under ideal conditions.

Silverfish and firebrats, depending on the species, may reach maturity in three to twenty-four months. These insects normally hitchhike into the home in food, furniture, old books, papers and old starched clothing. Unlike other insects, they continue to molt after becoming adults. Forty-one molts have been recorded for one firebrat. Populations do not build up fast. A large infestation in the house usually indicates a longtime infestation.

Control Measures


Sanitation is important but not entirely effective in reducing populations because insects often reside between wall partitions, in insulation materials, in books and papers, among book shelves and in other protected places. However, be sure to remove old stacks of newspapers, magazines, papers, books and fabrics plus foodstuffs spilled and stored for long periods of time. Often reducing available water and lowering the home's relative humidity with dehumidifiers and fans is helpful. Repair leaking plumbing and eliminate moisture around laundry areas. Lighting a dark, sheltered area may force these insects to move to new sites where they can be controlled more easily. Once the infestation has been eliminated, sanitation will help prevent reinfestation.


Treatments need to be applied thoroughly to all potential hiding places such as cracks, crevices, inside floor moldings, around steam and water pipes, in and behind seldom moved furniture, closets and even attics. It may be necessary to drill small holes in the walls to treat large populations in wall voids. Control may not be immediate since bristletails in wall voids must move out and contact the insecticides. It may take 10 to 14 days.

There are many insecticides labelled for control of silverfish and firebrats (bristletails). Residual sprays like Dursban Pro be or Empire 20 may be used. Space sprays like Pro Control Fogger , especially in attics, crawl spaces and other hard-to-reach areas. Likewise, dusts like Delta Dust  are effective in places where sprays are hard to reach such as in wall voids, crawl spaces and attics. Other insecticides labelled for "restricted use" can be applied only by the licensed pest control operator or applicator. Before using any insecticide, always read the label, follow directions and safety precautions. It is advisable to use the services of a reputable, licensed pest control operator or applicator when infestations are persistent and hard to locate.

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Damage and Importance
Earwigs are part of a complex family of insects that are primarily scavengers. Generally, they feed on dead plant and animal material, but will go after greenery such as is found on flowers and garden plants when their populations are high. They are active primarily at night and may be attracted to light. They are commonly found entering the household in the summertime. During the day
they can be found congregating under loose bark flaps, under decks, in mulched flower beds and other similar debris.

The pincher-like appendages at the end of the abdomen makes the earwig very recognizable.

Integrated Earwig Management Indoors. With the recent dog-day weather, earwigs will likely begin appearing in the household. The probability
will increase if you have mulched areas near entrances and have an attached wooden deck. Moist summers tend to favor higher populations.

Earwigs do not cause damage inside. Earwigs are not known to bite or pinch. Dispose of them as you would any other non-damaging household pest.  Seal cracks and crevices to deny entry.

Outdoors.. If they are damaging to flower beds or gardens there are management options.

Habitat management. Remove non-essential debris, mulch and boards from around buildings. Establish a zone of bare soil that will dry out (next to structure).

Ambush flats. Leave anything flat laying out and earwigs will collect underneath these objects during the day. Put out a section of newspaper (several pages thick). Earwigs will congregate in the folds. Put them out in the evening, collect them the next day after work and dispose of them. Place ambush flats in locations that have the highest probability of earwig action.

Chemical control. If you choose to use pesticides,Dursban Granuels are recommended. The insecticide is not registered for use inside the house. Use it outside only. Apply the pesticide as an outside foundation spray. Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label. Heed all warnings.If inside treatment is necessary Empire 20 and Pro Control Foggers are recommended Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your personal health risk.

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