Crawl Space: The 7 Most Common Household Insects

House Centipedes

(images via: and Get Cynical)

House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) don’t have a hundred legs, just 15 pairs – more than enough to run down and capture their prey which can include just about any other insect found in one’s home including spiders and cockroaches. Don’t get to warm & fuzzy with it, though, as they’re venomous and the fangs of larger (they can grow up to 2 inches long) specimens can pierce human skin. As disturbing as Scutigera seems, they’ve got nothing on their tropical Giant Centipede relatives.

(image via: Chicago Rants)

House Centipedes not only look frightening, they act it to. One of the earliest descriptions of the species’ behavior dates back to 1902 when USDA entomologist C.L. Marlatt stated they were observed “often darting directly at inmates of the house, particularly women, evidently with a desire to conceal itself beneath their dresses, and thus creating much consternation.” If that don’t give one the vapors, what will?


(images via: Bob Haskins and The Bug Clinic)

Silverfish seem to be primitive, prehistoric even, but they’re actually more sophisticated than you might guess. Able to live up to 8 years, Silverfish conduct surprisingly complex, multistage courtship rituals that may last as long as 30 minutes. They also eat carbohydrates such as sugar, starches and/or the dextrin in glue that holds books together. Considering most homes contain significant amounts of those items, Silverfish have emerged as a common household pest with global distribution.

(image via: Masasimone)

Homes infested with Silverfish are typically messy and damp. The best way to reduce their prevalence is to

clean frequently, never leave food out, and deal with dampness – installing a dehumidifier can work wonders. The appearance of Silverfish may be off-putting but look at the bright side: they only grow up to an inch long, they’re not known to spread disease, and they neither bite nor are venomous. As household insects go, that’s not a bad resume. Oh and by the way, Silverfish are NOT edible!


(images via: Black Hole Reviews and Springhalen)

Last but not least, the Common Housefly (Musca domestica). Over 90 percent of all flies found in conjunction with human habitation are Houseflies, so it’s sobering to consider that the species originated on the steppes of central Asia and therefore once was unknown to humanity. Yep, those were the good old days, though it’s likely our earliest urban ancestors had other winged insect pests landing on their food and garbage – or garbage and food, flies care little for order and routine.

(images via: Toxic Movies, Wikia and Cinema Counterpoint)

The Housefly’s reputation as a vector for germs is no surprise to anyone as they’re obviously attracted to things humans consider to be foul. A closer look at the Housefly serves only to amplify its alien nature, leading authors and film-makers to produce more than a few works of sci-fi shock horror featuring them. Dealing with Houseflies is one of the trials and tribulations of modern society – it’s virtually impossible to repel or banish them altogether. “Life finds a way”, in the words of Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, and though the Housefly ranks rather low on the scale of life it always seems to find a way.

(image via: Filimadami)

Though we may not be comfortable sharing our homes with bugs, it’s always been a fact of life – ours and theirs. Even so, the level of fear, disgust, loathing and just plain UGH evoked by house bugs is vastly out of proportion considering the immense size advantage we have over our unassuming yet oft-unwelcome tenants… just imagine if the playing field was level.