All Creatures Great and Small

Cockroaches, crickets, daddy-long-legs, dust mites, earwigs & elm leaf beetles.



You can help prevent cockroaches from coming into your home by inspecting all incoming food products, all boxes, and any used furniture or appliances for the presence of cockroaches or their egg capsules.  Do not store paper bags anywhere in the kitchen.  Seal any holes or crevices around plumbing under sinks and behind toilets.  Regularly vacuum and clean floors under the kitchen

appliances.  Keep all of your drains closed at night to prevent them from coming up from the sewer system.

There are a number of good baits available for controlling cockroaches.  You can put equal amounts of baking soda and sugar out in flat containers and they will take it. There is a very good roach bait available commercially. It is Niban Bait and it is made from boric acid.  It would probably be easier to get this product and use it if you are in an area where roaches are very common.  You can’t buy Niban in stores, but it is available online. One good supplier is  When using Niban, put it under and behind appliances, around hot water heaters, inside lower cabinets, in the garage and other places roaches will hide.

One of the best ways to control cockroaches outside is to place several pie pans filled with beer around your home.  Roaches love beer and you will find many dead roaches in the pans in the morning.  And they do not check IDs.  You can also put some duct tape down, sticky side up, in the house or garage where it won’t get stepped on.  Roaches are attracted to the glue and will get stuck on the tape.  It will also catch crickets.


American cockroaches (Blattidae – Periplaneta americana)

This common roach feeds on a wide variety of plant and animal material and it is commonly found in sewer systems.  It will come up the drains at night and enter the living space of a home.  It also likes the homes that have crawl spaces under them. In some parts of the country, particularly the southeast, they frequently live outside.  The is the largest of the home-infesting roaches in the country.  It will reach a little over 1 ½ inches in length. It is a dark brown with yellowish band around its thorax (section behind head).

One beneficial aspect of this cockroach is that it will feed on bed bugs.  Of course most people don’t want roaches in their bed feeding on the bed bugs that are feeding on the humans.  Niban Bait is a very good commercial bait that works well on controlling these insects.  American roaches are called “Palmetto Bugs” in Florida.  They can fly unlike most roaches.

 Oriental cockroaches (Blattidae – Blatta orientalis)

Oriental cockroaches or “waterbugs” are found throughout the United States but they aren’t seen very often in the southeastern states.  They are about an inch long.  The female is all black and the male has two brown wing tips, but it cannot fly.  These roaches are common in sewer systems and will come up the drains into the homes.  They are also common under ground debris outside and love stacks of firewood.  These roaches will readily take Niban Bait as well as the homemade baits discussed above and the love beer.

German cockroaches (Blatellidae – Blatella germanica)

The German cockroach is the most prolific of the roaches.  It is small, dark brown with two distinct black stripes on its thorax.  It will feed on almost anything edible and a lot of things we wouldn’t consider edible.  They go from egg to adult in as little as 45 days and, if left unchecked, can severely infest a home or business. Usually they are most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms.  When you are controlling German roaches, you should use German Roach Pheromone Traps. The traps will attract and catch the roaches.  They are available online.  One good supplier is  They also take Niban Bait.



Crickets are small insects that are closely related to grasshoppers.  They can become a pest when they get into homes and start chirping.  Controlling crickets isn’t hard.  Niban Bait works very well for them. It is also easy to catch a lot of them on duct tape put on the floor, sticky side up.  They are attracted to the tape and will get stuck.



Daddy longlegs are closely related to spiders.  They are also known as harvestmen.  They do not have venom glands like spiders so cannot deliver a painful bite.  They feed on a variety of foods, including small insects, plant material and fungi.

They often congregate in large numbers on the side of a house near the eaves.  They do not bite and do no damage, but are just a nuisance by their presence.  The best thing to do is take a broom and sweep them down or hose them down.  If they come back, do it again.  They will eventually leave.


(Acarina – Pyroglyphidae)

Dust mites are microscopic mites that occasionally get in beds where they feed on dead skin cells.  They can cause allergies in some people.  The best way to prevent dust mites is to enclose mattresses in plastic covers. Make sure to wash all bedding, including pillow cases, sheets, blankets and mattress pads every two weeks or so in hot water.   Don’t use wall to wall carpet if you suffer from dust mite allergies as they can live there to.  If possible, reduce the humidity in your home below 60%.



Earwigs are small insects with a distinct pair of pincer-like appendages at the tip of their abdomen.  They feed on a variety of living and dead plant and animal material.  Normally they stay outside but occasionally wander in a home.  The best way to keep them out is to make sure your doors close tightly.  If not, you may want to install door sweeps.  You can trap a lot of earwigs outside by putting out a damp, rolled up newspaper in the yard.  The earwigs will crawl into the flaps of the paper at night. Just pick up the paper and dispose of it in the morning.



Elm leaf beetles occasionally occur in very high numbers were elm trees are prevalent.  In the winter, they frequently enter homes.  The best way to control them is to make sure they can’t get in.  You will have to go on the roof and make sure there are no voids or other areas that will give them access to your home.  Also follow all of the recommendations in the pest-proofing section.  If you can seal them out, they won’t be a problem.



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…


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