Millipedes are usually restricted to moist places where they feed on organic matter. In the fall, they may become a nuisance because they migrate away from feeding areas and invade homes. Because they crawl along the ground, they are usually found in lower floors and basements. Once inside the home, they usually die due to desiccation, although in moist basements, they can survive longer.
Millipedes live in organic matter (leaves, mulch, piles of wood or wood chips) and other material close to the house. Overmulching and/or overwatering in the garden can result in millipede attack on vegetable plants. Removing the organic debris or mulch materials near your home will help reduce the potential for invading millipedes. Treating the exterior foundation and planting beds around the structure when large numbers are seen can reduce the population to managable levels. Call us at Action Pest Control if you need help.
Earwig Prevention and Control
The European earwig, Forficula auricularia, is sometimes a serious pest in various parts of Washington. It is a pest chiefly because of its disagreeable habit of concealing itself in and around houses. It is also destructive to garden vegetables and flowers and is occasionally a pest of bush and tree fruits. The damage to gardens is often serious.
Earwigs often feed on decaying plant material. Earwigs are active at night and hide by day. The name earwig comes from an old superstition that the pest invades the ears of humans. This is unfounded. Earwigs are basically harmless except for the minor nip that they can inflict with their abdominal forceps when disturbed.
Earwig control should be carried out wherever this pest becomes numerous. For serious infestations, contact Action Pest Control. We can eliminate earwig infestations for you.
Stored Product Pests (cupboard beetles)
Cupboard beetles or “bran bugs,” as they are often called, are beetles that attack stored-grain products or household foodstuffs. Once established in food, populations of these insects can explode and move throughout the home, infesting other products and other places. Some of these beetles enter the home from outdoors, since they are normally scavengers in the environment, while others are transported to the home in purchased materials.
Every home is vulnerable to cupboard beetle infestation. However, homes where people do not practice good sanitation or food storage methods have the greatest problems. Spilled or exposed food will attract cupboard beetles and increase chances of infestation. Foods not tightly sealed, especially those maintained for long periods of time, are particularly susceptible to eventual infestation. Beetles commonly found in this environment include: drugstore beetle, sawtoothed grain beetle, merchant grain beetle, cigarette beetle, flour beetle, spider beetle, rice weevil, granary weevil, and carpet beetle. The drugstore beetle is the most frequently encountered cupboard beetle in western Washington. The sawtoothed grain beetle is probably the major bran bug in eastern Washington, but weevils and flour beetles are also significant.
The primary method for avoiding problems with these pests is good sanitation. Some points to remember:
- Spilling and/or leaving food exposed will attract and harbor these pests. Avoid such practices and you will likely never, or rarely, have this type of pest problem.
- Buy “storage” food such as flour grains only in quantities that you will use in a reasonable length of time. Materials stored for long periods (for example, six months or more) often become havens for serious infestations. Pests can start here without being observed and explode into potentially unmanageable numbers.
- Most cupboard pests can chew their way into cardboard boxes or plastic sacks. Place stored materials into tight-fitting containers, preferably of glass or other tough material. If an infestation should occur under these conditions, it probably will be limited to a single jar. The best storage is cool and dry. If at all possible, you may even want to consider refrigerated storage of little used but important dry goods.
- Dried pet foods are the most frequent stored products attacked by these pests, especially the drugstore beetle. When dried pet foods are accessible to mice, an unusual problem may occur. These rodents steal the pet food and over time can store large quantities of it in unobservable places, such as in wall voids and sub-floor spaces. If cupboard beetle pests locate the stolen food, you will have a most difficult time finding and removing the problem source. Therefore, it is wise to pay close attention to the way you store dry pet foods.
- If cupboard beetle infestation becomes apparent, locate the source immediately and dispose of it. If you act early enough, this may be the only material infested. Unopened cardboard boxes should be thoroughly examined. If there is even the slightest suspicion, be ruthless and throw it out! If the material appears uninfested and you prefer to keep it, if at all possible, at least use a containment/inspection technique. Place the material in a jar or sealed plastic bag and inspect it frequently. A jar is best since the insects cannot escape. Sealed plastic bags are often more convenient, but you will have to inspect them more frequently because many of these pests can chew their way out and move to new food sources.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to clean debris from cracks and corners of storage areas. Also, clean all nearby areas especially spills and crumbs behind and alongside stoves and refrigerators. Check the dishwasher area and toaster for crumbs. Scrub storage space and vicinity with very hot water and a strong detergent solution. Allow the areas to dry. Chemicals are not usually recommended.