Bug Category: Occasional Invaders



Slow-crawling, round-bodied pests which have two sets of legs on each body segment. Millipedes develop best in damp and dark locations with abundant organic matter (food). They often curl up into a tight “C” shape, like a watch spring, and remain motionless when touched. The body is long and cylindrical.


Millipedes have caused some problems around Virginia in the summer and fall. Areas around houses that provide conditions for millipede infestations include piles of grass clippings, a wooded lot close to the house, excessive mulch around the house, and similar locations.

Life Cycle

They lay eggs in the spring and populations build up during the summer. Under good conditions (adequate food and habitat), populations can become very large. Then changes in the habitat (excessive moisture, lack of food, too little moisture) cause the population to disperse.


May infest a basement and other parts of the house in the fall.

Pest Control

Controlling such large numbers of millipedes can be very difficult. It seems that most insecticides available to homeowners are not very effective in killing millipedes. Non-chemical control measures, such as looking for the source of the problem, may be useful but not always possible or effective. Populations of millipedes may build to large numbers in one year, the habitat becomes overcrowded, and thousands of them migrate to other areas.



Lepisma saccharina (commonly called the fishmoth, urban silverfish, silverfish or carpet shark) is a small, wingless insect typically measuring from a half to one inch (12–25 mm). Its common name derives from the animal’s silvery light grey and blue color, combined with the fish-like appearance of its movements, while the scientific name indicates the silverfish’s diet of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches. It belongs to the basal insect order Thysanura.


As with many colorless or nearly colorless invertebrates, silverfish inhabit dark or damp areas such as kitchen cupboards of houses, bathroom sinks, and tubs. They can sometimes inhabit dry papery areas such as old books and newspaper stacks or be found high on ceilings in bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.


Silverfish consume matter that contains starch or polysaccharides, such as dextrin in adhesives. These include glue, book bindings, paper, photos, sugar, hair, and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to books, tapestries, and textiles. Silverfish will commonly graze in and around showers, baths, and sinks on the cellulose present in many shampoos, shaving foams and so on. Apart from these cases, the damage caused by silverfish is negligible and they have no direct effect on human health. Other substances that may be eaten include cotton, linen, silk and synthetic fibers, and dead insects or even its own exuvia (moulted exoskeleton). During famine, a silverfish may even attack leatherware and synthetic fabrics. In extreme cases, silverfish may live for one year without eating. Silverfish can be found anywhere in homes including, but not limited to, bathrooms, garages, closets, underneath beds, couches, and in electrical appliances where food can be found, such as computer keyboards. They generally prefer dark areas.

Reproduction & Growth

The reproduction of silverfish is preceded by a ritual involving three phases, which may last over half an hour. In the first phase, the male and female stand face to face, their trembling antennae touching, then repeatedly back off and return to this position. In the second phase the male runs away and the female chases him. In the third phase the male and female stand side by side and head-to-tail, with the male vibrating his tail against the female. Finally the male lays a spermatophore, a sperm capsule covered in gossamer, which the female takes into her body via her ovipositor to fertilize the eggs she will lay later on.

Young silverfish are white in color.

Stink Bug


Stink Bugs enter homes seeking a nice, warm place to shelter and lay eggs over the cold winter months. Since they are attracted to light and warmth, homes can be a very attractive place to hibernate. Additionally, they gather in groups when they hibernate, so if one is seen, that is an indication that there are many more.

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