Occasional Pests

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These pests are occasional or potential nuisances, causing harm by a combination of their populations, feeding or reproductive habits.  These pests need only moderate control. The scientific name of is followed by the common name of each pest as is the format of these pages.

Black carpet beetle

The black carpet beetle, which can be controlled with pheromones, is the most common of the many pest carpet beetles within the U.S.

Pest Biology

The black carpet beetle (Attagenus unicolor) is a fabric-destroying insect, measuring ⅛ inch. This insect feeds on carpet material, as its name implies, as well as clothing and grains.

Pest control

Management of the black carpet beetle is accomplished by applying residual sprays (spot treatment) as well as pheromones around the foundation of structures.

Clover mite

The clover mite is one of the tiniest pests.

Pest Biology

The clover mite (Bryobia praetiosa), with egg, nymph, and adult stages, undergoes incomplete metamorphosis, feeding on plant matter. This pest is harmless, doesn't bite, and is a nuisance because of its large population.

Pest control

Considering that this pest enters from the outdoors, successful management centers around exclusion techniques, including the use of an 18-24 inch wide, plant-free strip along the perimeter of a structure. This discourages from using plants as a bridge to the indoors. The application of directed pesticides is also effective against clover mites.

Ear wigs

The earwig has prominent, forceps-like cerci on its posterior end.

Pest Biology

Earwigs are found in the order Dermaptera under in family Forficulidae. These insets are ½ inch long and are so named because of their wings, which when unfolded, appear as a human ear. These insects are omnivorous.

Pest Control

These pests are innocuous, thus chemical control is not necessary, however, insecticides can be used directly outdoors for problem populations.


From L-R: The prominent wing spots of the casemaking cloth moth are visible here and can be used to distinguish this moth from the webbing moth.

Pest Biology

The webbing moth (Tineola bisselliella) is approximately ¼ inch long. The adult is non-feeding, however, the larvae cause damage to clothing and waste grains during their feeding habits.

The casemaking cloth moth (Tinea pellionella), which is the most common in Georgia, can be differentiated from the webbing moth by prominent spots along with its wings. This moth measures nearly ⅖ inch wide with wings extended. Like the webbing moth, the casemaking cloth moth larvae damage clothes, carpet, and upholstery with its feeding habits.

Pest control

Cultural and mechanical techniques include dry cleaning and vacuuming, which dislodge eggs and larvae.

Mothballs are effective, along with insecticides to control moth populations.

Booklice or barkflies

Booklice are also called barkflies and can be found outside or inside the home.

Pest Biology

Booklice are also called barkflies and can be found outside or inside the home.

Booklice (order Psocoptera) are very minuscule at less than ⅒ inch, called also psocids and grain mites, which feed on mold and need a high protein diet to build large populations. This is the basis of their harm as pests.

Pest control

Infestations of booklice are treated with directed sprays and aerosols, while cultural controls include removing moisture and food sources, which have proven to be effective.

Silverfish and Firebrats

From L-R: Silverfish and firebrats are similar in appearance, however, silverfish are more silvery in color, whereas firebrats appear more grayish. Silverfish thrive in conditions that are humid and warm, whereas firebrats like it very hot.

Pest Biology

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinat), which inhabit cool, humid, and dark places, feed on stored grains and paper. They are easily recognizable by three bristles on the posterior end and by their shiny appearance. These pests measure ½ to ¾ inch long.

Firebrats (Thermobia domestica) are similar in appearance to silverfish but these pests are less iridescent and measure just at ½ inch long.

Pest control

Cultural controls of this pest involve the disposal of paper products and wasted food. Eliminating humidity and moisture are also effective.

Chemical control to cracks and crevices is effective, especially the use of insecticides, dusts, and baits.

Millipedes and Centipedes

From L-R: Millipede means "one thousand feet," whereas centipede literally means "one hundred feet," referring to the number of feet on each organism. (These common names are figurative and do not indicate the actual number of feet.)

Pest Biology

Millipedes, Class Diplopoda, with two pairs of feet or legs per segment, release a noxious odor when feared. The related centipedes, Class Chilopoda, including the house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata), with one pair of legs on each segment, give a painful bite when handled.

Pest control

These organisms do not cause damage, but the millipede feeds on decaying matter, while the centipede feeds on insects and small invertebrates. Thus, aggressive control is not necessary, however, the pheromone Z-9-tricosene and good sanitation practices are highly effective.

Larva, pupa and adult of the webbing clothes moth Tineola bisselliella.