Certainly we don't want to share our homes with common household pests, whether they be fruitflies, ants, roaches, mice, wasps or whatever. Remember, these organisms are there because something is attracting them (find, dispose of and/or fix it) and they are getting in somehow (caulk, plug, screen, or block it).
IPM Tips for Preventing Pests in the Home (Adapted from NY IPM)
- Prevent their entrance. Keep pests from entering your living areas by sealing openings and cracks with wire mesh, caulking, door sweeps, netting, and screens.
- Be clean & tidy. Keep your home clean by wiping up spills, removing clutter that could provide pests a place to breed, and don't allow pet food to be exposed for long periods.
- Prevent access to food. Store all food, including pet food & birdseed, in tightly covered containers; plastic bags don't always exclude pests. Remove pest attractants, such as sweet and greasy foods (which attract ants).
- Eliminate water sources. Fix leaky pipes and faucets and promote ventilation, as insects often seek wet areas.
For more pest specific information, see our House Pest Problem Solver
Resources: Home-Safe-Home guide A room-by-room assessment of how to protect you and your children's health from chemicals commonly used by consumers.
Help Yourself to a Healthy Home: Protect Your Children's Health
You want to take good care of your family. You try to eat healthy foods. You take
your children to the doctor for regular checkups. You try your best to protect
your family from accidents and illness. You want to live in a safe neighborhood
Household Hazardous Waste Contacts
Cockroaches are among the most common of insects. Fossil evidence indicates that cockroaches have been on earth for over 300 million years. They are considered one of the most successful groups of animals. Because cockroaches are so adaptable, they have successfully adjusted to living with humans.
The boxelder bug frequently becomes a nuisance pest around homes and buildings near plantings of the boxelder, Acer negundo. In heavily infested areas, they sometimes are associated with ash (Fraxinus spp.) and maple (Acer spp.). This insect species is distributed throughout eastern United States west to Nevada.
The black carpenter ant is a common invader of homes in the northeastern United States. In their natural habitat, carpenter ants aid in the decomposition of dead, decaying trees. They normally nest in logs, stumps, and hollow trees. However, the large, dark-colored workers often invade homes in search of food.
Fleas are small insects (under 1/4 inch) and are dark brown in color. They lack wings and are extremely narrow side to side, which enables them to move easily through the body hairs. Their last pair of legs is modified for jumping.
A variety of different insects attack cereals, flour, herbs, spices, chocolate, dried fruits and similar items in our homes. A few of these insects may be present but go unnoticed. The pests are usually not noticed in the home until they become abundant.
Eastern subterranean termites are present throughout Pennsylvania and often damage structural timbers in buildings. When this damage becomes evident (Fig. 1), it is usually the result of years of infestation.
Cockroaches are among the most common of insects. Fossil evidence indicates that cockroaches have been on earth for over 300 million years. They are considered one of the most successful groups of animals.
House flies are not the neatest of insects. They visit such places as dumps, sewers, and garbage heaps. They feed on fecal matter, discharges from wounds and sores, sputum, and all sorts of moist decaying matter such as spoiled fish, eggs and meat.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is considered one of the most troublesome and economically important pests in the United States. House mice live and thrive under a variety of conditions in and around homes and farms.
Pest identification is the first step in following an Integrated Pest Management, or IPM program. The pictures and descriptions in this publication should help the homeowner or apartment dweller identify common insects found in the home. For more complete information about the insects, their potential as pests, and how to prevent or control them, contact your county Extension office. The phone number may be found in the Blue Pages of the phone book. In addition, you may call the Penn State Department of Entomology at (814) 865-1895 or visit the department's web site at http://www.ento.psu.edu/.
A native of eastern Asia, the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, was introduced into the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a biological control agent. This tree dwelling beetle, of the family Coccinellidae, is an important predator of aphids and scale insects.
Spiders, along with daddylonglegs, ticks, mites, and scorpions, belong to the class Arachnida. They are beneficial animals that feed on all sorts of arthropods, including insects.