Many of us cruise through our day-to-day life, oblivious to the goings-on beneath the floors and in the wall cavities of our home. Our houses are not only home to us but provide shelter for a host of tiny creatures. You are not alone! Here are 5 creepy crawlies that share your home with you.
Living in your bed sheets and mattress are tiny beasts known as bed bugs. These insects have flat, oval-shaped bodies, are about half a centimeter in width, and have six legs. They have a serrated mouth that punctures your skin so they can feast on your blood. If a bed bug bites you, you may be left with a red, itchy lump or a rash. Some people can be allergic to the bites of bed bugs and develop a fever.
Cockroaches are known to have existed 400 million years ago, and there are over 3000 species of them on the planet today. They are a very resilient insect and are omnivorous, meaning that will eat anything. Cockroaches and will enter your house through the tiniest of holes in the walls.
They will not bite or attack you when you are awake but may have a nibble on you as you sleep. They are a threat to humans as they are known carriers of salmonella, polio, and dysentery. Cockroaches can also pass tapeworms and roundworms onto humans when they walk across kitchen counters and other food preparation areas.
The skin, saliva, and droppings of cockroaches may cause some people to develop allergies.
Fleas are external parasites that live on the bodies of mammals and birds and feed off their blood. There are over 2500 species of flea, and they can grow up to 3 millimeters in length. They cannot fly but have long hind legs to allow them to jump a distance equivalent to 50 times their own body length. Their powerful legs enable them to jump from host to host.
Fleas will enter your home by hitching a ride on your pet’s back. Different animals will carry different species of fleas, and the type of flea found on rats was responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague.
Some humans will develop red lumps if a flea bites them, and these areas can stay itchy for several weeks. It is essential to treat your pets regularly with an effective flea treatment.
Lice live in the hair on your body and feed off your blood. They live in the hair on your head, the hair on your body, and the hair around your genitals – each area has a different type of louse. Head lice are the most common type of louse and are prevalent in school-age children and can be passed between children when their heads touch, such as when they hug or headwear.
The louse has six legs with claw-like features, which they use to attach themselves to the hair shaft. The female lays up to 6 eggs a day and attaches them to the hair with a sticky substance which she secretes.
Pubic lice are mainly transferred through sexual intercourse and attach to areas of coarse hair such as the genitals, underarms, leg hair, back hair, chest hair and can occasionally be found in facial hair and eyebrows.
Pubic lice, sometimes known as ‘crabs’ due to their large front legs, are most active at night and can bite humans and cause them to develop an allergic reaction to the saliva. Crab bites can become itchy and very uncomfortable.
The pantry moth is grey in color and, as its name suggests, is found in the pantry are of some homes. These creatures will eat their way through all of your dried foods such as cereals, grains, flour, dried fruits, birdseed, pet food, nuts, and dried milk.
Female moths can lay up to 300 eggs on or near pantry food, and when these eggs hatch in 2 weeks, they will actively feast for at least a fortnight on all of your dry food products. Pantry moths are brought into your home on the groceries you buy from supermarkets.
These creatures aren’t harmful to humans, but they are unpleasant to find in your food and are very difficult to eradicate. Store all of your pantry goods in metal or glass containers as soon as you buy them, as the moth larvae can chew through paper and plastic.