Occasional Invaders are those insects that usually live outside but occasionally come inside your home in search of food or water or more comfortable temperatures. Once inside they often can’t find their way back outside.
Some common occasional invaders are crickets, silverfish, weevils, dobsonflies, beetles, earwigs, millipedes, centipedes and stinkbugs. Some are harmless while others are destructive. Ladybugs are highly beneficial to the environment and your garden, while the silverfish can destroy books, clothing, and dry foods.
Mostly these creatures are a nuisance but some will bite you and your pets, some will invade your food, eat fabrics and carpet, and leave waste behind. Also, other bugs and creatures who like to eat these invaders will follow them inside in search of an insect meal.
Entry: Pests enter your home through small openings, open windows and doors, and even on humans and pets.
Do-it-yourself Effectiveness: Sealing cracks and crevices with caulking and installing functional weather stripping to reduce the entry points is important. Outside it is important to move dead leaves, yard clippings and water sources away from the house, and avoid planting shrubbery next to the house. Inside it is important to vacuum and dust regularly and discard of the canister contents away from the house.
The Centipede has a long body with multiple sections. Each section has a pair of legs. Most species found in the U.S are about 2” long. A Texas species can be up to 6” long and is more colorful.
The Elm Leaf Beetle is green with black stripes on the sides and feeds on Elm tree leaves. Females lay rows of eggs on the undersides of leaves. The young hatch and begin feeding right away.
The House Centipede has a long body with three bands of darker color running down its back. It has two antennae, up to 15 pairs of long delicate legs, and two appendages from the back of its abdomen, making it difficult to tell the head from the rear.
The Millipede is dark brown, nearly black, with a long multi-segmented body. It has a broad, rounded head with two short antennae, and numerous pairs of short legs, with two pairs of legs on each body segment.
Psocids are small, with soft bodies, a bulbous nose, and slim antennae. Most Psocids have wings and live on trees, shrubs, or under stones where they feed on fungus, mold, pollen, and decaying organic matter.
Springtails are tiny grey to black insects that live in very wet soil and feed on fungus and molds. It gets its name from its ability to leap when disturbed, using its long tail like appendage to propel it out of the way of potential predators.
The Mayfly is a small insect with two pairs of wings, a pair of antennae, and three very long appendages from the rear of its abdomen. Colors vary by species, but most are almost translucent wings with pale to dark brown bodies.
The Firebrat has a grayish-brown, blotchy body that is wider at the front and tapers toward the rear. It has two antennae on its head that are as long as its body and three extensions from the rear that may also be very long.
Jerusalem Crickets have a round, brown head and a brown and black striped abdomen and is also known as the “Potato Bug”. It has two dark, beady eyes behind two antennae. The Jerusalem Cricket is nocturnal and mostly lives underground.
The Silverfish has a shiny grey body that is wider at the front and tapers toward the rear. It has two antennae on its head that are as long as its body and three extensions from the rear that may also be very long.
Stinkbugs are primarily a garden pest where they gather on fruits and vegetables to feed. Their mouths are designed to pierce the skin of fruits and vegetables to get to the tender parts inside. Stinkbugs have hard shells on their back to provide protection from predators.
The Box Elder Bug is small black bug with a long oval body and small head with a pair of antennae and distinctive orange or red lines on its back. Nymphs are about 1/16” and after hatching they are bright red.
The Ground Beetle has thin legs and thin antenna on a head that is smaller than its body. There are more than 2000 species of Ground Beetles in North America and most are shiny black while some are an iridescent color.
The ladybug is a beetle with a rounded body, short legs and antennae. Most Ladybugs have red, orange, or yellow wings with black spots. When at rest their colorful, spotted wings cover their round body.
The Pillbug is actually not a bug but a crustacean that has adapted to living on land. It has an oval shaped body with a segmented, armor-like shell, two pairs of antennae and seven pairs of legs that are nearly hidden by its shell.
Slugs and Snails are mollusks that move by flexing a muscular foot on the bottom of their soft bodies. Their foot secretes a slime that dries, leaving behind a silvery trail wherever they’ve been. They have two pairs of antennae on their heads.
The Stonefly is a larger water insect with two pair of wings that it folds flat against its body when at rest. It has three pairs of legs with a claw on the ends, a pair of long, thin antennae and two tail-like appendages at the rear of its body.
The Amphipod is a flat bodied crustacean. There are over 7,000 species and those on land live in very wet conditions like well-watered lawns, gardens, ponds and landscape water features, saucers under potted plants, or any place else that water collects.
The Japanese Beetle begins life in your lawn or in nearby grasslands where the white larvae eat the grass roots. The adult has a copper body with a green head and lives 1-2 years if food is available.
Earwigs are brown and grow to about 1” in length with long antennae on their heads and pinchers protruding from the back of their abdomen, possibly confusing predators as to which end is the head.
The Horntail is a small, non-stinging wasp with a long body. The female Horntail has a long appendage from the posterior of its abdomen called an ovipositor. Since we’re used to thinking of wasps as stinging pests it is common to think it is a stinger.
The Leaf-footed Bug can be identified by its leaf shaped back legs. Its body is flat with a white or yellowish band across its back. Female Leaf-footed Bugs lay eggs under places like plant leaves and tree bark, where their young can begin feeding after hatching.
The Sowbug is a crustacean that has adapted to living on land. It has an oval shaped body with a segmented, hard shell, two pairs of antennae and seven pairs of legs that are nearly hidden by its armor-like shell.
The Strawberry Root Weevil has an oval shaped body with legs a lighter shade than its body. Its smaller head has two antennae. Strawberry Root Weevil larvae are white and their bodies curve in a crescent shape.
The Black Vine Weevil is a small, dark weevil with an oval shaped body with a smaller, snout-like head with a pair of antennae. The larvae are about 5/8” long, white and crescent shaped.