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identifying strange pests
You probably don’t think of our Midwestern stomping grounds as particularly outlandish or strange. If we’ve learned anything in our 100-plus years of pest control, though, it’s that weirdness is everywhere. In fact, even here in the Midwest, we have a couple common pests that could give the most exotic jungle bugs a run for their money in the strange-ness department! Here are just a couple more of the most strange-looking or unusual-acting pests that are among us. If you’ve got some kind of bug living it up in your home and you can’t for the life of you figure out what it is, chances are it’s one of these weirdos:

springtail Springtails

Often mistaken for fleas, springtails are 0.06- to 0.1-inch hexapods with long, slender bodies. Springtails are grey, dark, brown, or black. They have six legs and prominent, “L”-shaped antennae. Springtails can’t fly, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re never airborne. Springtails possess a specialized, forked appendage called the “furcula” tucked snugly beneath their abdomen (or “tail”--get the name?!). When the pest jumps, the furcula releases suddenly, springboarding Springtails several inches forward. Springtails like damp conditions. They eat organic debris such leaf litter, seedlings, rotting wood, and other decaying plant matter. While they aren’t a harmful pest, they can congregate in or around buildings in huge numbers if they find a suitable environment. Springtails look for moist places like humid basements, leaking pipes, or over-watered garden plants. They may also become a nuisance during dry seasons, when they get desperate for moisture.

Pillbugs Pillbugs

Pillbugs are around 0.25- to 0.5-inch, black, and round creatures with a hard outer shell and angled antennae. Their name comes from their pill-like appearance. Pillbug shells have seven plate-like segments, each of which protects one pair of legs. If you think these pests don’t look like insects, you’re right! Pillbugs are actually crustaceans, like crabs and lobsters. Some people call pillbugs “roly polies” because a couple pillbug species can roll into a small, armored ball when threatened. Like springtails, they feed on decaying vegetable matter. You may spot them readily chowing down on your yard’s hostas, flowers, and ornamental grasses. Pillbugs often bury themselves under several inches of soil or mulch, especially if it’s damp. Pillbugs aren’t dangerous, but they can become numerous very quickly if they start breeding. Too many pillbugs could damage your garden.  

Clover mites Clover Mites

Clover mites are so small that they probably look like little dark spots. These mites are commonly found around windowsills inside homes, especially during spring and fall. Clover mites are about 0.75 mm or 0.02 inches long (the size of a pinhead!), oval-shaped, and red-brown, greenish, or faintly yellow. They have four pairs of legs. Their front pair of legs are longer than the others, and extend in front of the mite’s head. They’re often mistaken for antennae. Clover mites feed on clovers and other grasses. They’re attracted to well-fertilized, flourishing lawns in large numbers. They tend to congregate in sunlight for the warmth. These mites aren’t dangerous and won’t reproduce indoors, so even large numbers inside will die out quickly. Clover mites are largely considered pests because they can be disruptive and upsetting in large numbers. They may also leave behind a red-brown stain when crushed, which can mark up surfaces.

house crickets House Cricket

Not only are house crickets big, ridiculously fast, and can leap long distances, but they make loud, high-pitched chirps inside your home. House crickets are 16 to 21 mm, or 0.6 to 0.8 inches, long. They’re light yellow-brown, tan, brown, or grey. Long hind wings cover their abdomens, and they have long antennae. You may also see black stripes on their heads and between their eyes. House crickets are most active at night, when they hunt and chirp to attract mates. Their particular chirp is infamous for its long, continuous tones. They’re attracted to moisture, light, plant vegetation, and warmth. House crickets can feed on other pests, so having another infestation may attract them. While house crickets aren’t dangerous, their chirping may disturb your sleep, and their rapid movement and leaping can be pretty freaky.   As you can see, here in the Midwest, we have more than our fair share of strange pests. Luckily, Plunkett’s has the experience and expertise to identify and prevent any pest you can throw at us, no matter how much they might look like aliens sent to colonize the earth. If you’re dealing with a pest infestation, give us a call today. Those weirdos are no match for these weirdos!

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