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How to Identify Bugs Inside Your House

Do you have household bugs? Don't worry, you're not alone. Color, size, shape and where they show up in your house are all valuable clues to identifying your unexpected visitors.

Ants are among the many insects that can invade your home.

Any number of insect pests have the ability to invade your home and set up shop, establishing themselves in the walls, attic, basement, closets and other places. To identify different types of bugs that show up at home you will have to pay close attention to such details as their color, size, shape and where you find them within your house. Some of the most frequently found bugs inside the house are the bedbug, silverfish, German cockroach, termite, ant, millipede and European earwig.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can hide in tiny cracks.

Note the flat shape of a bedbug that enables it to hide in the tiniest crack or crevice. Bedbugs are only about a fifth of an inch long and have oval flat bodies. These very small insects are brown to red-brown in terms of color, but a deep red after they have enjoyed a meal of blood. The mouth resembles a beak.

German Cockroaches

German cockroaches have wings but can't fly.

Ascertain a bug is a German cockroach when it has two parallel lines running down the back of the head to its wings. These cockroaches have a set of wings, but they cannot fly. German cockroaches, typically found where the environment is moist and warm, are a light brown color and up to 5/8-inch long.

Identifying Silverfish

Silverfish grow up to 3/4 inch long.

Determine a bug is a silverfish by its color and flattened and elongated shape. Silverfish have three projections that grow from the tail end and two antennae on the head. They are a silvery shade, with some being a light brown color. They lack wings and have a soft body, growing to 3/4-inch long.

Recognizing Millipedes

Millipedes require a moist environment to survive in the home.

Identify the millipede by the four legs that go with each segment of its body. Most are dark brown, and when you discover a dead millipede, it will have curled up into a spiral. Millipedes typically do not survive long inside a home unless they are in a moist part of the house such as a bathroom or basement.

Small Insects: Termites Versus Ants

Termites can be mistaken for ants.

Distinguish a termite from an ant by the difference in some of their anatomy. Termites have a broad “waist” while ants possess a slim one. Termites have straight antennae on their heads while an ants have a shape like the letter “L.” The four wings possessed by a termite are all the same length; an ant’s are of two different lengths.

Recognizing Earwigs

You may find an earwig hiding in an old newspaper.

Recognize the European earwig by the forceps at the end portion of its abdomen. These forceps resemble a pair of pincers, and the earwig defends itself against other insects with them. Earwigs, which often hide in old newspapers, laundry baskets and inside walls, are about 5/8-inch long and are a dark brownish-red color.

About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.