Occasional Pests

Pill Bugs

Pill bugs get their name from their habit of curling into a ball when they are disturbed. Some people call them “roly polies” for the same reason. Pill bugs usually live in areas where there is high moisture. Their bodies do not hold water. Because of that, they stay hidden during the day and are active at night. They commonly live under landscape timbers and flowerbed mulch. It is common to find them under flowerpots and trashcans. They eat decaying plant material. They sometimes damage young plants. Pill bugs often invade homes through sliding glass doors and other ground-level entrances. They also enter garages and storage buildings.


Millipedes are brownish and 1 inch to 1 ½ inches in length. Millipedes are nocturnal. They normally live outdoors under objects located on damp soil; hordes will crawl into homes. Millipedes feed on damp and decaying wood and plant matter.


Adult crickets are about 3/4-inch long with three dark bands on the head and thin antennae. The body is yellowish-brown. Crickets are active at night and attracted to lights. Crickets dwell beneath rocks and logs and are nocturnal in nature. They are omnivorous scavengers and renew soil minerals by breaking down plant materials. When mating, male crickets create sound by rubbing their forewings against each other.


Earwigs frighten many people because of the pinchers on the back of their abdomens. Earwigs use these pinchers for defense and for catching prey. Adult earwigs range in size from ¼” to 1”. Earwigs are active at night. During the day they hide in cracks in damp areas. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch in flowerbeds. Earwigs eat plants and insects. Earwigs move into homes to find food or because of a change in weather. Homeowners often find them in areas where there is water – kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. Earwigs can also find their way into bedrooms and family rooms. They turn up in almost every part of the house.

Sow Bugs

Sow bugs are flat, oval creatures. They are about ⅜” long. Their body has several segments. They have seven pair of legs and two pair of antennae. Sow bugs are not able to retain water in their bodies, so they spend most of their time in damp places. Outdoors they hide under logs, rocks, flowerpots, and trashcans. Sow bugs eat organic debris and decaying plants, so it is common to find them under mulch in flowerbeds. To conserve moisture, they are usually active at night. Sow bugs wander to all parts of the home. They also invade garages and storage buildings. Since many areas in a home are too dry for sow bugs, they usually die after they come indoors.


The firebrat is a small insect, typically 1–1.5 cm in size. The firebrat is similar to a silverfish. Firebrats prefer higher temperatures and require some humidity, and can be found in bakeries or near boilers or furnaces. They feed on a wide variety of carbohydrates and starches that are also protein sources such as dog food, flour and book bindings. They are normally found outdoors under rocks and leaf litter, but are also often found indoors where they are considered pests. They are primarily a nuisance inside the home or buildings, as they do not cause major damage, though they can contaminate food, damage paper goods, and stain clothing.


Scorpions have been around for a long time – over 420 million years. What makes scorpions stand out is that they can inject potent venom through their menacing tail. Scorpions are nocturnal feeders and survive on a diet of insects, spiders, centipedes and other scorpions by using their front claws (pedipalps) and stinger. It also possesses sensory hairs that are used for detecting the vibrations of a possible snack. In attack, these scorpions will grab their prey with their claws, and sting only if the victim shows signs of resistance. In a human victim, a scorpion’s venom may cause symptoms like swelling at the site of the sting. However, some people experience numbness, and convulsions. In extreme cases, some people may experience difficulty in breathing. People who are allergic are most likely to die from a dangerous scorpion’s venom.