Other Pests

BoxElder Bug

The boxelder bug (Boisea trivittata) is a North American species of true bug. It is found primarily on boxelder trees, as well as maple and ash trees. The adults are about 12.5 millimetres (0.49 in) long with a dark brown or black coloration, relieved by red wing veins and markings on the abdomen; nymphs are bright red.

These highly specialized insects feed almost exclusively on the seeds of Acer species. The boxelder bug is sometimes known as a garage beetle or may be confused with other Jadera spp., especially Boisea rubrolineata. The name "stink bug," which is more regularly applied to the family Pentatomidae, is sometimes erroneously used to refer to Boisea trivittata. Instead, these insects belong to the family Rhopalidae, the so-called "scentless plant bugs". However, boxelder bugs are redolent and will release a pungent and bad-tasting compound upon being disturbed to discourage predation; this allows them to form conspicuous aggregations without being preyed on.

Although they specialize on Acer seeds, they may pierce plant tissues while feeding. They are not known to cause significant damage and are not considered to be agricultural pests. Removal of boxelder and other Acer species can help in control of bug populations.


Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera and are found throughout the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand. With about 2,000 species in 12 families, they are one of the smaller insect orders. Earwigs have characteristic cerci, a pair of forceps pincers on their abdomen, and membranous wings folded underneath short forewings, hence the scientific order name, "skin wings." Some groups are tiny parasites on mammals and lack the typical pincers. Earwigs rarely use their flying ability.

Earwigs are nocturnal; they often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Damage to foliage, flowers, and various crops is commonly blamed on earwigs, especially the common earwig Forficula auricularia.

Most earwigs are flattened (which allows them to fit inside tight crevices, such as under bark) with an elongated body generally 7–50 millimetres (0.28–2.0 in) long. Earwigs are not known to purposefully climb into external ear canals, but there have been anecdotal reports of earwigs being found in the ear. The largest certainly extant species is the Australian giant earwig (Titanolabis colossea) which is approximately 50 mm (2.0 in) long, while the possibly extinct Saint Helena earwig (Labidura herculeana) reached 78 mm (3.1 in). Earwigs are characterized by the cerci, or the pair of forceps-like pincers on their abdomen; male earwigs have curved pincers, while females have straight ones. These pincers are used to capture prey, defend themselves and fold their wings under the short tegmina. For protection from predators, the species Doru taeniatum of earwigs can squirt foul-smelling yellow liquid in the form of jets from scent glands on the dorsal side of the third and fourth abdominal segment. It aims the discharges by revolving the abdomen, a maneuver that enables it simultaneously to use its pincers in defense. The antennae are thread-like with at least 10 segments or more.

The forewings are short oblong leathery plates used to cover the hindwings like the elytra of a beetle, rather than to fly. Most species have short and leather-like forewings with very thin hindwings, though species in the former suborders Arixeniina and Hemimerina have no wings and are blind with filiform segmented cerci (today these are both included merely as families in the suborder Neodermaptera). The hindwing is a very thin membrane that expands like a fan, radiating from one point folded under the forewing. Even though most earwigs have wings and are capable of flight, they are rarely seen in flight. These wings are unique in venation and in the pattern of folding that requires the use of the cerci. The epizoic species, sometimes considered as ectoparasites, are wingless.


Lepisma saccharina, frequently called a silverfish or fishmoth, is a small, wingless insect in the order Thysanura. Its common name derives from the animal's silvery light grey and blue colour, combined with the fish-like appearance of its movements, while the scientific name (L. saccharina) indicates the silverfish's diet of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

Silverfish are nocturnal insects typically 13–25 mm (0.5–1 in) long. Their abdomens taper at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance. The newly hatched are whitish, but develop a greyish hue and metallic shine as they get older. They have three long cerci at the tips of their abdomens, one off the end of their body, one facing left, and one facing right. They also have two small compound eyes, despite other members of Thysanura being completely eyeless, such as the family Nicoletiidae.

Silverfish are a cosmopolitan species, found in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and other parts of the Pacific. They inhabit moist areas, requiring a relative humidity between 75% and 95%. In urban areas, they can be found in basements, attics, bathtubs, and showers.

Culex Mosquito

Culex is a genus of mosquitoes, and is important in that several species serve as vectors of important diseases, such as West Nile virus, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and avian malaria.

The adult mosquito can measure from 4–10 mm (0.16–0.39 in), and morphologically has the three body parts common to insects: head, thorax, and abdomen. As a fly (Diptera), it has one pair of wings.

Scientists at the University of California, Davis and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have identified nonanal as a compound that attracts Culex mosquitoes. Nonanal acts synergistically with carbon dioxide.

The developmental cycle takes two weeks and is by complete metamorphosis. Eggs are laid singularly or in batches, depending on the species. Eggs will only hatch in the presence of water. During the larval stage, the mosquito lives in water and feeds on organic matter and plants, then develops into a pupa. The pupa is comma-shaped and also lives in water. It does not feed and becomes an adult after one or two days.


Springtails (Collembola) form the largest of the three lineages of modern hexapods that are no longer considered insects (the other two are the Protura and Diplura). Although the three orders are sometimes grouped together in a class called Entognatha because they have internal mouthparts, they do not appear to be any more closely related to one another than they all are to insects, which have external mouthparts.

Springtails are well known as pests of some agricultural crops. Sminthurus viridis, the 'lucerne flea', has been shown to cause severe damage to agricultural crops, and is considered as a pest in Australia. Also Onychiuridae are known to feed on tubers and to damage them to some extent. However, by their capacity to carry spores of mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhiza-helper bacteria on their tegument, soil springtails play a positive role in the establishment of plant-fungal symbioses and thus are beneficial to agriculture. They also contribute to controlling plant fungal diseases through their active consumption of mycelia and spores of damping-off and pathogenic fungi. It has been suggested that they could be reared to be used for the control of pathogenic fungi in greenhouses and other indoor cultures.

Various sources and publications have suggested that some springtails may parasitize humans, but this is entirely inconsistent with their biology, and no such phenomenon has ever been scientifically confirmed, though it has been documented that the scales or hairs from collembolans can cause irritation when rubbed onto the skin.[39] They may sometimes be abundant indoors in damp places such as bathrooms and basements, and incidentally found on one's person.

More often, claims of persistent human skin infection by springtails may indicate a neurological problem, such as Morgellons Syndrome, or delusory parasitosis, a psychological rather than entomological problem. Researchers themselves may be subject to psychological phenomena. For example, a publication in 2004 claiming that springtails had been found in skin samples was later determined to be a case of pareidolia; that is, no springtail specimens were actually recovered, but the researchers had digitally enhanced photos of sample debris to create images resembling small arthropod heads, which then were claimed to be springtail remnants. However, Hopkin reports one instance of an entomologist aspirating an Isotoma species and in the process accidentally inhaling some of their eggs, which hatched in his nasal cavity and made him quite ill until they were flushed out.

Predaceous Ground Beetle

Calosoma is a genus of large ground beetles that occur primarily throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and are referred to as caterpillar hunters or searchers. Many of the 167 species are largely or entirely black, but some have bright metallic coloration. They produce a foul-smelling spray from glands near the tip of the abdomen. They are recognizable due to their large thorax, which is almost the size of their abdomen and much wider than their head.

In 1905, Calosoma sycophanta was imported to New England for control of the Gypsy Moth. The species is a voracious consumer of caterpillars during both its larval stage and as an adult, as are other species in the genus. For this reason, they are generally considered beneficial insects. Several species of this bug, most notably calosoma semilaeve (also known as black calosoma) are especially common in the California area.