Bug Indentification

When someone finds a new animal, which is not yet known to science, and describes its appearance, it is the describer’s privilege to give it a species name – in Latin. Along with a family name, also in Latin, placed in front, this gives it a unique identification. However, in texts in other languages than Latin the common names of insects are used, for example the common English names. The Sitophilus granarius is called granary weevil when referred to in English texts because it allows one to use the name in a meaningful way in the English grammar (singular, plural, indefinite, genitive, etc.). Common names occur because there often will be a need to write about insects in local languages.

Both the Latin and the national names of the pests contain information about the animals. Some names can be very informative when it comes to animal appearance. The information you may get on biology and incidence via the name may, however, be confusing because the names often reflect what we thought was known about the animal, when it got its name. German and American cockroaches are not specifically related to these countries, while the Australian spider beetle actually is an immigrant from Australia, which is more known among us now than the “ordinary spider beetle”, that is the white-marked spider beetle. There is a certain preference for choosing common names that allude to the way insects seem to people, even if the insect actually mainly occurs in nature. Flour mites, sugar mites and firebrats are examples of insects that live elsewhere but which are named after the places in our environment where they are undesirable. Therefore one cannot always rely on the interpretation of the insect names. The common names are convenient to use, although they are sometimes misleading.

Knowing the name of an insect, makes it easier to learn the experiences others have had with this particular kind of insect. Therefore it is essential to determine which exact insect you are dealing with, when it is found in a product or in a company.

Depending on how experienced you are, you can make more or less qualified guesses as of the insect name. When it comes to food, the most common species are so frequent that a beginner should just concentrate on the species mentioned in this book. When insects appear that do not correspond to the insects shown and described here, you can seek help from more experienced colleagues or from professionals in relevant museums. You can even determine the insects by literature or try to find them on the Internet.

In reference books, the emphasis is usually put on showing insects as oversize drawings. These museum-like presentations are very accurate and cannot be dispensed in a book like this. Usually there may not be need for a perfect key, from where the size and shape of an insect can indicate a likely match.
The images (Fig. 4.1 to 4.37) are made on the basis of photocopies of insects. For technical reasons, they are shown as pitch black, but they show the insects in their natural sizes and are similar to what you see. Use them by placing the insects found on the image that looks the most alike. In the chart on pages 47-54, you can see the insect names, some comments about them as well as references to where in chapter 5 they are mentioned or showed by drawings.

Animals and insects like wasps, earwigs and birds are not included in the key. Nor are the mites shown. They are so small that they cannot be displayed, but the size is equivalent to a full stop in this book and insects this small will probably always be mites.

The masked hunter

Masked hunter

Fig. 23. Masked hunter are mostly common during the summer season.

The masked hunter

The masked hunter

The masked hunter, Reduvius personatus, is primarily found on attics, in outbuildings and similar places. The nymphs secrete a sticky substance which causes dust and dirt to stick to them. The adult masked hunter, on the other hand, is shiny, brownish animals. They are 1.5 cm long. Masked hunters are predatory insects and feed on other insects, which intestines they suck out. There are examples of people being bitten while sleeping or the bugs have bitten in self-defense. The bite is painful and the skin reaction is rather strong.

In housing with bedbugs, there are sometimes a lot of masked hunters, which feed on the bed bugs. However, usually the masked hunters that are occasionally found inside are individuals who have strayed from their natural hunting grounds

Masked hunter

Masked hunter

It is rarely necessary to perform an actual eradication. If large numbers of masked hunters are found, for example, out from the cracks to a roof slope, the bugs can be eradicated with an insect powder.

Masked hunters are present in all seasons, however, they are mostly seen in the period from June to August.

Bugs

A bug’s mouth parts form a complex stinging and sucking device. In broad outline, it consists of a long, thin straw which, when not in use, is located in a sheath formed by the extended lower lip. Some bugs do not have wings; however, most ticks have two pairs. The rear wings are clear flying wings, while the front pair is leathery elytrons. Bugs lay eggs and young bugs, called nymphs resemble adults except for size and that their wings are not yet functional.

Forest flies

Forest fly

Forest fly

(Latin: Hippoboscidae)

The insects in this family have an unattractive, flat body and a crab-like gait and they cling to their victims with powerful claws. At first sight they do not look very much like flies. They are specialised for living on mammals or birds, where they crawl around in the fur or among the feathers and suck blood.

The proboscis is somewhat like that of a stable fly.. The larvae develop within the female’s body and pupate immediately they are released by the female.

Two of the species which live on birds may wander into houses from the nests. These are Crataerina pallida and Stenepteryx hirundinis, which occur on swifts, martins and swallows.

Stable or Biting housefly

Stable or Biting housefly

Stable or Biting housefly

( Latin: Stomoxys calcitrans )

In late summer one often hears people saying that the flies have started to bite. This is not because the ordinary houseflies have suddenly changed their habits. It refers to the activities of the stable fly, which is very similar in appearance to the housefly. It can, however, be distinguished by its prominent proboscis, which is hard and pointed and well adapted for piercing skin, unlike the soft suctorial proboscis with broad tips of a housefly.

Stable flies appear in cowsheds and similar places, where the larvae live in and on manure. The adults prefer the blood of cattle and pigs and very rarely attack humans, although they are sometimes found in houses.

Common gnat

Common gnat
Common gnat

(Latin: Culex pipiens)

This small mosquito does not usually bite humans, but evidently prefers the blood of birds. Its habits are more or less the same as those of the preceding species, and specimens may also be found spending the winter in damp cellars, often in quite large numbers.

Theobaldia annulata

(Lat: Culiseta annulata)

This is one of two species of mosquito that often occur indoors. It breeds in small bodies of water, and the larva can tolerate water that is somewhat polluted. In fact the larval stages are frequently found in garden ponds, water storage tanks and even in rain butts and blocked gutters.

There are several generations in the course of the summer and in autumn the mated females may enter cellars and outhouses to spend the winter.

Malaria mosquito

Malaria mosquito

Malaria mosquito

(Latin: Anopheles maculipennis)

This is the malaria mosquito of parts of Europe, including Britain. The larvae live in ponds and lakes with fairly dense vegetation. The indigenous malaria of
Britain, commonly known as ague, was transmitted by this insect, and it still occurred in certain coastal districts until about the end of the nineteenth century.

Mosquitoes

mosquito

mosquito

( Latin: genus Aedes )

These insects breed mainly in pools and ditches of the kind that fill up with water in the spring months, but dry up later in the year. They have only one generation in the year, which flies in May, normally at the same time as the beech comes into leaf. Some species live in or near to woodland. Others frequent areas of coastal salt- marsh, breeding in brackish pools, and these may have several generations in the course of the summer.

Gnats and mosquitoes

( Latin: Family Culicidae )

These insects usually spend their whole lives outdoors, but some enter houses in autumn to spend the winter.

They may also come in through open windows during summer and if this causes a serious problem, as it does in the tropics, it may be necessary to fit mosquito netting or at least to treat the curtains with an insect deterrent. As a rule the female must have a blood meal before she can lay eggs, and after mating she will go in search of a mammal, human or otherwise, or a bird. Gnats and mosquitoes are most active around sunset or in the early morning, when the air is usually still and humid. They spend the greater part of the day resting in dense undergrowth.

When the female has had an opportunity to engorge with blood, her eggs start to ripen and she then searches for a suitable place in which to lay them.. Mosquitoes in the genus Aedes lay their eggs in damp hollows which become filled with water in spring, whereas the malaria mosquito and the gnats lay their eggs directly on the surface of the water.

In all these insects the larval and pupal stages are spent in the water.