Archive for February, 2010

Centipede: The House Centipede

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Centipedes are a gross thing to find in your house. Many times people find them near a water source, like a drain or a toilet. People usually assume that the centipede got there by crawling up through the drain pipe, but that actually is not true. Although centipedes do live in damp areas, they do not crawl around through pipes.

centipede house centipede

Looks like this centipede is trying to get off this chair. Notice how longs their legs are, yikes!

Centipedes are flat looking, and sometimes seem to be slimy. Their coloring is brown to gray, and have stripes on their body. They can be up to two inches long, and on that long body are even longer legs. The centipede has 15 pairs of long legs, equaling 30 legs on their whole body. Their legs are white banded. The pair of legs at the end of the body is the longest out of all 15 pairs; and, this last pair of legs is also antennae.

Even though the centipede isn’t the prettiest pest to look at it actually can be beneficial to have in or near your house. Centipedes eat other small insects like cockroaches, spiders, insect’s larvae, and flies. By eating these types of insects they are getting rid of the other pests, this can be a good thing for homeowners. Centipedes will usually come out to hunt for food in the evening and night time because they are nocturnal.

While inside a home the centipedes really do not cause damage. Also the centipede is harmless to people. It is very rare that a person would get bit by a centipede. They do have a pincher, but they are used for attacking prey and eating. If a centipede were to bite a person there would be some swelling and a stinging pain, but again being bitten by a centipede rarely happens.

The places to keep your eye out for centipedes are anywhere that is dark and or damp. If there are centipedes in your house they are usually found in places like, basements, bathrooms, closets, cabinets, cracks, crevices, garages, and or under firewood. So keep a look out! Although there are some things to do inside your home to help keep centipedes away like cleaning as much as possible and keeping areas dry, especially the areas where centipedes are most often found. A couple other things that will work to help get rid of centipedes are getting rid of their food supply, i.e. other small pests. So have your local pest control company come out regularly to service your house. Also you can lay sticky traps around your house to help catch them.

Throughout the year centipedes may be in your home, so always keep it clean and dry to help prevent centipedes even wanting to get into your home. The one time of the year centipedes might be more of a challenge is during the winter, when they will be coming inside to hibernate. Fortunately they do not reproduce while hibernating, but you still could have a large number of centipedes entering your home.

Once spring comes they will go outside in order to reproduce. While outside if you do come across any centipedes don’t try to kill them they are actually more beneficial outdoors than they are indoors, and should not be bothered. The only problem that can come from centipedes being outside is that if they make a home near your house they are more likely to go inside. Avoid this from happening by keeping any leave piles, composts, wood, or any organic matter away from the house. These items are better off in your yard or garden anyways, and so are the centipedes.

centipede house centipede

This centipede has found a great spot outside, hopefully he stays out there!

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Flies: The Cluster Fly

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The cluster fly is a nuisance pest for homeowners. It does not bite people, carry diseases, no cause any real damage to a home. Cluster flies are about five-sixteenths of an inch long; they are gray with golden-toned hairs on their thorax. Spotting them is easy because they are usually all clustered together on walls outside, sunning themselves. This is also where their name comes from, because when resting they usually will be clustered near each other. The cluster flies are similar to many other pests as they just want to get inside houses to stay warm. With this in mind, the winter time is when people will most often find cluster flies inside their homes.

flies cluster fly

Here is a close up of a cluster fly.

In order to get inside homes, cluster flies search for any small openings outside that will get them into the house. Also when windows or doors are open, that becomes a great entry opportunity for the cluster flies. Cluster flies will start entering homes in the fall, as the weather begins to cool down. By the winter most cluster flies will now be hibernating within a warm home. While hibernating the cluster fly is not very active, so a homeowner might not even know they are there. Although there are occasions where the cluster flies will come out in the day to sun themselves. Even though the cluster flies are in a warm house, they still enjoy sunning themselves in actual sunlight. If homeowners were to spot them it would be near the windows of the home; otherwise they pretty much stay in their hibernation spots. The areas of a home that the cluster flies like to hibernate in are the attics and wall voids. The cluster fly is also known as an attic fly because that is their most popular spot to be found. Cluster flies also like to be higher up, hence the attic as a popular hibernation spot. Many times people may spot them in their attics because they all clustered together once they are in there. Seeing a big blackish looking spot in your attic might be frightening, but it is probably just cluster flies once you look up close. Once spring starts to turn the cluster flies will leave the house and venture back outside. Once outside again they will mate and eat, neither of which they do during hibernation.

Now that spring is here and the cluster flies are back outside mating will begin. The cluster flies reproduce very frequently. The females do not have to do much; all they do is mate then they lay the eggs. The eggs are laid in soil near earthworms. About three days later the eggs will hatch and the larvae will migrate towards the earthworms, and then burrow inside of the earthworms. The rest of the development is done inside the earthworm using it as a food source. Once fully developed the cluster fly will be on its own. This cycle will continue from the spring to the summer. During this time up to four generations or more can be made. As summer comes to an end and fall approaches the cluster flies will have to look for another home, or the same home, to hibernate in.

flies cluster fly

These cluster flies are sunning themselves outside, and are probably looking for entry points into the house at the same time.

Often times cluster flies find the entry points into homes on the exterior walls while sunning themselves throughout the year. As the weather gets cooler they will use these entry points to get inside a warm home. Then the cycle will just continue and repeat itself from hibernating to mating and so on.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org