All Creatures Great and Small

Blow flies, boxelder bugs, carpenter bees, carpet beetles, centipedes, clothes moths, clover mites & cluster flies

BLOW FLIES

(Calliphoridae)

Blow flies are larger than house flies and are normally shiny green, blue, bronze or black in color.  Blow flies feed on decaying animal matter and if you have them in your house it is an indication of a dead animal in the wall or ceiling.  Occasionally the only sign of these flies in an early infestation is when the larvae fall from the ceiling void onto the floor. If you can find and remove the carcass of the dead animal they are feeding on, it will speed up the process of them leaving.  If you can’t, there isn’t much you can do except be patient and wait for the dead animal to dry upc.  They can also lay their eggs in dog feces or any animal matter with a high protein content, including dry cat food.  Common names for the most frequently encountered blow flies are black blow flies, greenbottle flies and bluebottle flies.  Greenbottle and bluebottle flies are metallic green or blue in color.  Black blow flies have a black sheen.  These flies are also used by forensic entomologists to establish the time of death in human fatalities.

 

BOXELDER BUGS

(Rhopalidae – Leptocoris trivittatus)

Boxelder bugs feed on boxelder and a few other trees.  Occasionally they occur in large numbers and will be found on the side of your house and may even try to get in.  Make sure all of your doors and windows close tightly so they can’t get in.  If you find a bunch of them on your house, use a hose and spray them with high pressure.  That should make them want to go somewhere else.  Sometimes it is best when facing colonies of boxelder bugs is to use a shop-vac. Vacuum colonies from the sides of houses and around window sills into a bag-less, wet-dry vac canister with a quarter to half inch of soapy water in the bottom which will suffocate the bugs.

 

CARPENTER BEES

(Anthophoridae)

Carpenter bees are large, shiny black bees.  Some species have yellow markings on their heads. They can construct tunnels in wood dwellings, but the tunnels are near the surface and structural damage is minor or nonexistent.  They are also good pollinators so killing them should not be considered.  You can prevent them from damaging any wood on or near your home by treating it with a sodium borate.  BoraCare would be a good sodium borate to prevent carpenter bees.

 

CARPET BEETLES

(Dermestidae)

Carpet beetle larvae are small, about 1/4” long and carrot-shaped with long hairs.  They will feed on anything organic.  The adult beetles are small, round and usually black in color, sometimes with lighter markings.

 

The best method for controlling carpet beetles is by completely cleaning everything.  Steam clean the carpets if possible as well as any upholstered furniture.  Make sure you vacuum under all furniture as carpet beetles can survive by feeding on dust bunnies.  Keep a bottle of Greenbug for Indoors available to directly spray any adults or larvae you find. Make sure you vacuum up all the dead insects as the spines on the carpet beetle larvae can cause problems if they penetrate your pores as they can cause rashes.

 

 

Also, adult carpet beetles feed on the nectar in flowers so they don’t do any damage beyond breeding indoors.  If you have flowers blooming near your house, you will attract adult carpet beetles.  Make sure there aren’t any ways for them to get into your house.

 

CENTIPEDES

(Chilopoda)

There are several hundred species of centipedes in the  U. S., but most of them are very small and belong to two groups.  They are the stone centipedes (Lithobiomorpha) and the soil centipedes (Geophilomorpha). Stone centipedes are about an inch long and have 15 pair of legs.  Soil centipedes aren’t much longer and have upwards of 40 pair of legs.  Neither group is capable of biting people.  Both are common in yards and feed on small bugs including some pests, so they can be considered beneficial.  House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are about an inch long and have 15 pair of very long legs.  They are common almost everywhere and are often found in homes.  They rarely bite and they do feed on such pests as spiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, ants and silverfish, so they should probably be welcome in the home.

 

The desert centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha) is most common throughout throughout the west with the exception of Washington. It is about three or four inches long.  The green centipede (Scolopendra viridis) is found in the mountainous areas of New Mexico, Arizona, southeastern Colorado, Utah and extreme southern Nevada.  It is only a couple of inches long. The giant desert centipede (Scolopendra heros) is found in the southern and eastern portions of New Mexico, much of Arizona and the extreme southeast portion of Colorado.  This species can reach a length of 6.5 inches and is capable of killing and eating mice.  All of the Scolopendra have painful bites but they are not dangerous.

 

Centipedes are usually found in areas of moisture such as loose bark, in rotting logs, under stones, boards, railroad ties, trash, piles of leaves and grass clippings and similar areas.  They are active at night and hide by day in the earth, wandering forth by night to hunt. They occasionally invade structures and will feed on cockroaches, cricket, spiders, etc. Although they may be found anywhere in a building, including beds, the usual places are damp basements, bathrooms, and any crawl space under the home or building. Pest proofing your home is the best way to keep them out. In the yard you can eliminate many potential harborage sites for centipedes such as rocks, boards, and other objects resting on the soil.

If you find a centipede in your home, spray it with some Greenbug for Indoors.  Don’t use synthetic pesticides as they are more dangerous than the centipede.

 

CLOTHES MOTHS

(Tineidae)

There are two distinct types of clothes moths commonly found in homes. They are both small moths.  The webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is a solid golden brown on the wings, while the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) has three black spots on each wing.  Casemaking clothes moth larvae construct a small bag from material to protect their body from the environment.  They drag the bag or tube wherever they feed.

 

Clothes moths are occasionally found in closets where they lay their eggs on suitable fabric.  The larvae hatch and feed on the fabric doing damage.  There are several things you can do to prevent clothes moths.   First, keep clothes and other fabrics stored in sealed, plastic bags.  Next you can hang some repellents in the closets.  Put dried lemon peels, cedar chips, dried rosemary or mint in cheese cloth bags and hang them in the closets. Make sure any carpets in the closet are clean and free of lint or animal hair or any organic debris.

 

If you already have webbing clothes moths, you should hang one Clothes Moth Pheromone Trap in each closet.  It will attract and catch the male moths and stop the breeding process.  Don’t hang more than one trap or you will confuse the moths and they will just fly around, not sure where to go.  The pheromone traps aren’t effective against casemaking clothes moths.  Dry cleaning all the clothes will kill all the stages of the moths as well as washing all infested clothing in hot, soapy water to kill the larvae and eggs.

 

CLOVER MITES

(Tetranychidae – Bryobia praetiosa)

Clover mites are pests in various grasses and they often enter homes in large numbers as they may be concentrated in the grass next to a building.  They are pests of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass as well as clover.  Although these mites will invade homes, they do not bite, transmit any diseases or do any damage.  They can be wiped up in a house with a soap and water rag.  Treating the grass around the house with a mixture of DE and water will help keep them under control.

 

CLUSTER FLIES

(Calliphoridae – Pollenia rudis)

Cluster flies are about ½ up to ¾ of an inch in size. Slightly larger than the common house flies, they move indoors in the winter in hundreds or even thousands of individuals, hence the name. Unlike house flies, cluster flies are not associated with poor hygiene and poor sanitary conditions. These flies do not carry diseases and other hazards that may affect humans because they do not lay their eggs in human food. They parasitize earthworms in the ground outside.  When they invade homes for the winter, they will infest attics, basements, unused rooms, wall voids, ceiling voids and garages.

The best way to deal with cluster flies is to prevent them from coming in.  Here are some tips:  Check all the obvious entry points. Check your windows and doors for small openings. Cluster flies can squeeze through the sides of doors and windows, so make sure there isn’t enough space for them to pass through. Seal or patch cracks and crevices. If you use a screen, make sure there aren’t any holes that the insect can go through. Check your cellar door for possible openings too. These are possible entry points because your basement is an ideal undisturbed spot that cluster flies choose to hibernate in.  If you have an attic, do the same. Basically, any room or area in your home that is not visited much by any of the people in your home are the ones you should check.

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About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…

Discussion

One thought on “Blow flies, boxelder bugs, carpenter bees, carpet beetles, centipedes, clothes moths, clover mites & cluster flies

  1. Useful information, thank you

    Posted by henacynflin | November 2, 2018, 6:00 pm

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