Centipedes are elongated insects with one pair of legs per body segment. Some centipedes are known to be highly venomous, and can inject paralyzing venom into their victims. They range in size from 0.4 inches all the way to 12 inches in length.
Despite their numerical name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging anywhere from 30 to 354. Furthermore, it is actually impossible for a centipede to have exactly 100 legs, since they always have an odd number of leg pairings.
Earwigs are fairly abundant, both in Texas and all around the world. They vary in size from ¼ inch to 1 inch in length, have elongated, flat bodies, and range in color from light brown to reddish brown to black. There is no evidence that they can transmit diseases to humans, and though their pincers are believed to be dangerous, they cause little to no harm.
Silverfish are nocturnal insects, and are typically 0.5 inches to 1 inch long. Their name comes from their body shape, a tapered abdomen, which gives them a fish-like appearance. Newly hatched silverfish are white in color, but develop a gray hue and metallic shine as they get older, adding to the reason for their name.
Though they pose no immediate threat to humans, silverfish scales can cause allergic reactions in some cases. During their aging process, silverfish shed their skins in a process called “molting”. The resulting scales create dust as they are shed and discarded, which may cause allergic reactions.
House crickets are gray or brown in color, and grow to 0.63-0.83 inches in length. Though males and females look similar, females have an ovipositor, a tube-like organ used for laying eggs, on their rear end.
House crickets do not pose health risks to humans, but their surface feeding tendencies can damage carpets, rugs, clothing, or any other fabric covered areas in the home.
Millipedes are arthropods that are characterized by having two pairs of jointed legs on most body segments. Most millipedes have very elongated cylindrical or flattened bodies with 20+ segments. Although the name “millipede” derives from the Latin phrase for “thousand feet”, no known species has 1,000; the record is a close 750.
Millipedes pose no immediate threat to humans. They do not sting, bite, transmit diseases, or feed on furniture. In fact, they can even be beneficial in places such as compost piles, as they help break down the contents.
Pill bugs range in size from ¼ – ½ inch in size, and are more often known as rolly pollies or doodle bugs. Their color is usually a slate gray, and they are known for their ability to roll into a ball when disturbed or lacking moisture.
Most homeowners consider pill bugs a nuisance rather than a threat. Like millipedes, they do not sting, bite, or carry diseases. However, they may damage the roots of certain plants, as that is their source of food.
Fleas are tiny, wingless pests, that grow to about 3mm (or 0.12 inches) in length. They are usually brown, and have narrow, flattened bodies which enable them to move through their host’s fur or feathers. Though they lack wings, their strong claws prevent them from being dislodged. Fleas also have mouths adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood, and hind legs extremely well adapted for jumping; some fleas can leap a distance of 50 times their body length!
There are two distinct families of ticks; the hard ticks, and the soft ticks. Adults have eight legs, and pear-shaped bodies that become engorged with blood upon feeding. Hard ticks have beak-like mouthparts at the front of the body, while soft ticks’ feeding structure is on the underside.
Ticks locate potential hosts based on odor changes in the environment, and can spread diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia to the host if bites are left untreated.
Aphids go by many names, including greenflies, blackflies, and whiteflies. They grow to a length of 1/16 – ⅛ inches long. Aphids destroy plants by sucking sap, but can also act as vectors for plant viruses and disfigure crops by depositing honeydew, causing mold growth.
Aphids and aphid bites pose no known threat to humans. However, aphids multiply quickly with asexual reproduction, and are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions.
Though there are numerous different species of snails, land snails in general are commonly regarded as an agricultural and garden pest. They range widely in size and color depending on the species, and are occasionally held as pets or eaten as a delicacy.
The potential dangers of snails range from destruction of plants, to the more rare spread of a disease known as rat lungworm, which in even more rare cases can be passed on to humans.
There are approximately 500 to 700 species of carpet beetles worldwide, and these insects can vary in size from 1 mm to 12 mm. Key characteristics for adult carpet beetles are round, oval-shaped bodies covered in scales.
Carpet beetles are known to damage things inside of the home, mostly animal products such as silk, wool, fur, leather, and animal hair. Coming into direct contact with a carpet beetle can also cause an allergic reaction that presents as tiny, red bumps on the skin.
Granary and Rice Weevils
Granary and rice weevils develop inside of stored grain kernels and seeds as small white larvae. Adult rice weevils have four yellow spots on their backs, while adult granary weevils are uniform in color. They grow to about ⅛ inches long and can be found in things such as popcorn, bean bags, and dried seed decorations.
Both rice and granary weevils are harmless to humans, as well as furniture, pets, and fabrics. They also do not carry any transmittable diseases, nor do they bite or sting. Their harm is in the destruction of stored seeds.
Clothes moths are a species of fungus moth that grows to 1 cm in length and are yellow or gray in color. They are the only kind of moths that have the ability to damage your clothing.
The problem with clothes moths is that getting rid of flying adults does not mean that the problem is solved; it’s the larvae you need to watch out for. Clothes moth larvae eat away at animal hair fibers, such as wool or silk, and prefer humid, dark spaces, such as closets.
indian meal moths
Indian meal moths are light or dark brown in color, and grow to ⅝ of an inch in length with a ¾ inch wingspan. They are a persistent pest, and feed on a large variety of plants, grains, and other human food products.
These moths are difficult to eradicate because they can fly and lay eggs in other places. Though they pose no threat to humans directly, they infest foodstuffs such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, and even pet food.