Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Your Home

Getting bugged this summer? It goes beyond termites

If you think you and your family are the only ones living in your house, think again. There's a lot of creepy crawlers at work in your house besides termites.

jWhile houses are built for humans, they also provide shelter for a large group of insects and the larger the house the more creepy crawlers.

The Essig Museum of Entomology, at the University of California, Berkeley has a collection of insects that would amaze you. The department started with the California Insect Survey and dates back to 1940.

The Essig Museum has always maintained a strong commitment to education and through its Web site you can access information on the vast collection of entomology samples of California insects. Contact the web site at: https://www.mip.berkeley.edu/essig/endins/endins.htm

Although the bugs we share our homes with often seem like annoying pests, some have an important role in making things work. One such insect is the cockroach. There are more than 4,000 different kinds of cockroaches!

Cockroaches have an important job in life when they are outdoors. They help clean up. They eat leaves, and even animal poop (which is also called dung). Cockroaches have been doing this job for more than 320 million years - ever since the age of the dinosaurs!

Besides finding them in the kitchen, if you have a midnight snack in bed while watching the late movie, or keep a glass of water on the night stand you can attract cockroaches.

Homeowners often bring cockroaches into their homes in containers from infested warehouses, stores or other homes and they don't travel outside of the structure. With its antennae the bug finds food and water and the crumbs you dropped in the kitchen.

If you have a dog, cockroaches love dog food. It is recommended to feed the dog once a day and clean out his dish daily and never leave pet food out overnight.

People are often surprised that another common household bug, the housefly, is actually very harmful. They swarm around food in the kitchen and although they may seem like a harmless pests, it spreads disease. Bacteria gets caught in tiny hairs on the fly's legs, and when the fly lands on our food, the bacteria contaminates the food.

What else bugs you? How about ants? They won't eat you but they want the stuff you eat. They are most active in June, July and August and dormant during the winter. Getting rid of the ant colony involves some sort of insecticide making sure you spray the queen or queens.

Here are some other friends that share your house and how to get rid of them.

Silverfish like eating wallpaper paste and book bindings and thrive where there is high humidity. They can live many years so a drione dust will rob them of moisture.

Bed bugs still live because they are carried into your house. They like your blood, they bite and run away and hide in the sheets. Call a professional exterminator to get rid of them

If your dog or cat has fleas everything has to be treated. Vacuum everything repeatedly and throw away the bag each time. By your pet a flea collar.

Have earwigs around the house? Leave them alone because they eat ants, aphids and other garden pests. They are great in the garden.

Wasps, and yellow jackets bother you on the patio? Pheromone-based traps are a good solution. The female sex pheromone trap lure the males.

Wasps build nests under eaves, yellow jackets use the burrows of gophers to live in and sealing areas of the house so the creatures can't get in is the best solution. If you're allergic to stings, hire a professional to do the spraying.

In the end, like it or not, sharing your house with bugs is a lot like sharing your room with a little brother or sister. They may or may not be pests, but they are there every day in your life.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos