lots of bugs (with pictures)
September 18, 2020 9:56 PM   Subscribe

hidden housemates Did you know silverfish drink humidity through their butts?
posted by aniola (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is a nice collection, thanks! I've never seen a springtail in a house, maybe I I'll go looking for them. I do have lots of guests though.

After accepting bin of worms to babysit on behalf of a friend, I now have at least two species of crickets chirping merrily away in my basement. One of them has shockingly long legs and antennae. I don't normally mind a cricket or two but it's been enough to form a steady chorus. My plan is to wait them out; there isn't much food for them and hopefully the centipede population will surge a bit to help out.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:03 AM on September 19, 2020

I love the framing of these critters as “housemates.” Some of them can be pests, but others aren’t. When we owned a house, we used to have a few house centipedes and a lot of spiders — which ate everything else. So I was willing to accept them, even though house centipedes have far too many legs.
posted by snowmentality at 6:19 AM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

I tolerate the occasional house centipede darting across the floor in the basement of our house; once every few years a small expeditionary force of ants strikes out from the backyard and I suppose they get kept in check by the centipedes. I take a dim view of those few centipedes who have ventured up to the ground floor and when I spotted one ambling along the headboard of our bed on the top floor, I ended him with extreme prejudice.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:04 AM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

My apartment has a silverfish infestation in the bathroom because it had clearly flooded at some point before we moved in and the MDF cabinet soaked up water and expanded and burst at floor level. It apparently is an ideal habitat for them because I manually kill dozens per week and have tried every pesticide I can get my hands on.
posted by srboisvert at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2020

srboisvert they love humidity. We have silverfish at the place we just moved into because there's no fan or window in our bathroom. Have you tried a dehumidifier and keeping the bathroom at 60°F or less?
posted by aniola at 9:58 AM on September 19, 2020

We had silverfish and followed an internet hack to place cinnamon wherever we saw them. In our experience that ended our silverfish problem.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:22 PM on September 19, 2020

This reminds me that one of the books I have in my "to read" stack is Never Home Alone, by Rob Dunn.

I'd say more about it, but it's on the "to read" stack, after all, and not the "have read" or "to re-read" stacks.
posted by cardioid at 8:14 PM on September 19, 2020

"Have you tried a dehumidifier and keeping the bathroom at 60°F or less?"

Wow, mornings would be extra miserable, but I'd be *awake*.

I fight an ongoing war against silverfish at my apartment. they live under the outside vinyl siding and come in when it's dry out. I've tried a lot of things, and sometimes I'll go a month or two without seeing one. I worry that when I move they'll just hitch a ride to the new place.
posted by taterpie at 9:15 PM on September 19, 2020

Hmm, we were told that silverfish were harmless -- and they entertain the cat (he's not very good at catching them).
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:31 PM on September 19, 2020

They eat your books and in my case YOUR ART (I have a lot of pages and commissions by comic book artists). They love starches, paper, and the glue that binds books. Also they are bold and will walk on you, and I hate that.
posted by taterpie at 12:04 AM on September 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've never seen a springtail in a house

Never seen them before until we moved into a new development and pretty much were the only house occupied, all around us were half finished shells that were regularly broken into and vandalized / had fitting stolen from so had a habit of leaving the lights on, it attracted quite a few springtails into the house.

Once we started turning off the lights the springtails stopped. It was quite undeveloped at the time (wild rabbits on your front lawn, kangaroos hanging about your street) and if you turned on the lights it would attract a lot of insects. The springtails were harmless but needed to be vacuumed up when they inevitably died due to lack of food. They themselves became food for wolf spiders who moved in, who then died when the springtails stopped coming...
posted by xdvesper at 4:22 AM on September 20, 2020

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