October 28, 2011

What is this fast insect with many legs, and his pokey friend?

This insect "scoots" away because he's scutigera coleoptrata, or more simply called a house centipede. That is much easier to pronounce as you scream when he runs by your feet in the bathroom.

These critters come into the house when it's dry, when it's wet, when it's cold, and when it's hot. They are obviously in training as sprinters because they are the fastest insects I've ever seen. And all my friends in Virginia have seen these guys more than once.

Supposedly, they are not dangerous to humans although their bite can be painful. Luckily, I've not experienced that.

They are very scary looking, but the experts advise to leave them alone because they prey on other insects and spiders. No thank you! They must leave the premises--and quickly. To "bug heaven" it is!

And now, the experts warn that Virginia may be the next site for an invasion of stink bugs. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), officially known as Halyomorpha halys, has been a plague to homeowners throughout the mid-Atlantic region for the last few years, so I suppose it's our turn in Tidewater Virginia. Our fellow state residents to the north know them well already. They have recently been spotted in Atlanta.

These critters are the losers in the sprint with a house centipede. Stink bugs, named for the smell when they are crushed, just "hang around" after they come inside your home as cooler weather arrives. But they are a bane to farmers in both their native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan--and serious pests of fruit, vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region. The apple industry alone estimated losses of about $37 million as the result of stink bug infestations in the mid-Atlantic region in 2010.

Penn State will receive nearly $900,000 of a grant to study stink bug biology and behavior, develop monitoring and management tools and practices, and provide extension education programs to disseminate new knowledge to crop producers.
If numerous stink bugs enter your home, try to locate the openings where they gain access. Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead stink bugs can be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner - however, the vacuum may acquire the smell of stink bugs for a period of time.