Occasional Invaders

Occasional Invaders In D.C., Maryland, & Virginia

Pests come in all shapes and sizes. Across Virginia, Maryland, and the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, there are several pests that can harm you, your family, or your pets. Others, like termites, can do catastrophic damage to your home over time. 

However, many troublesome pests are less outright dangerous but are still a considerable nuisance to people and their belongings. We call these pests “Occasional Invaders”, but make no mistake, while they may not pose a direct threat to your home or your health, they can still leave you with a lot of headaches.

What Are Occasional Invaders?

Within the pest world, the term “occasional invaders” refers to insects and arthropods that enter homes sporadically at different times throughout the year. They most commonly live and reproduce in the wild around your home, but they will come inside your home if the opportunity presents itself.  In our region, the five primary occasional invader species home and business owners deal with include boxelder bugs, crickets, earwigs, silverfish, and stink bugs.

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are small, cylindrical-shaped bugs with distinctive red and black coloration. As their name suggests, in the wild, they are most often found on boxelder trees, though they can also often be seen on maple and ash trees. Unfortunately, the prevalence of these trees across the Eastern United States makes boxelder bugs a common sight for homeowners in the area.

The nuisance boxelder bugs bring comes from the sheer numbers they bring when they infest. They can become a huge presence in the warmer months of the year, making them hard to avoid while spending time outdoors. They are also known to congregate in huge clusters on outdoor air conditioning units, which can limit their effectiveness.

While boxelder bugs are not considered an agricultural pest and are not known to damage any ornamental plants, they will still feed on fruits they find, leading to scars, dimples, deformation, and premature dropping. This is most prevalent in strawberries but also found in numerous tree fruits such as apples and peaches. 


Crickets are small, black or brown in coloration, measuring about 1/2 inch in length from head to hind legs. They are commonly found across America but are most active in the summer and fall months.

While they serve numerous purposes within the ecosystem and are even revered in certain cultures, that does little to make them less annoying once the chirping starts. As they are most active at night, their incessant chirping can drive anyone crazy, especially when in large enough numbers. As temperatures increase during the warmer months, so does their chirping; if the warm weather wasn’t enough to keep you up at night, their chirping just might be. 

Crickets feed on just about anything they can find, but in homes, this can mean plants, paper, leather, wool, and silk products. In this situation, they can create severe damage in a short period of time.


Earwigs are small, worm-like insects measuring about 1/5 to 1 inch in length, with 6 legs and a pair of distinct pincer-like appendages on the back of their abdomens. Their bodies are black or dark brown in coloration while their legs and appendages are yellowish-brown.

While they are most famous for the urban myth that they climb into peoples’ ears while they’re asleep, this is untrue. However, they can still be a major nuisance, especially on hot summer nights when they are most active. They are most commonly found inside paper products (books, magazines, and newspapers), in baseboards, on furniture, and inside sinks and bathrooms. They are not considered dangerous, but their appearance can be unnerving to many people.


Silverfish are small, silvery-grey colored insects that are named due to their fish-like movement patterns. They usually measure about 3/4 inch in length, with 6 legs, 2 long antennae on their heads, and 3 tails on their abdomens which they use to maneuver. Unlike other occasional invaders, silverfish actually can be damaging to your property even if they are not a threat to your health. They commonly feed on paper products as well as flour, dried meats, nuts, and oats.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are brown, about 3/4 inch long, with shield-shaped bodies. They have 6 legs and 2 long antennae jutting from their heads that they use to navigate. Stink bugs are named for the unpleasant odor that arises anytime they are squished or feel threatened. They tend to infest in large numbers making it easy to accidentally crush one in your home. 

What Problems Do Occasional Invaders Cause?

The major problem occasional invaders pose comes from the sheer nuisance that their presence creates. During warmer months, they tend to swarm and can appear around your property by the dozens or even hundreds. While they are not considered dangerous to humans or pets, they can still be damaging to fabrics, plants, and paper products throughout your home. In certain circumstances, as with stink bugs, the problem arises from the foul odors they create when they die. Silverfish, on the other hand, are notorious for chewing through fabrics, paper products, and carpeting in your home. And then there are invaders like crickets, which don’t leave an odor or create any lasting property damage but can still be a huge annoyance due to their incessant chirping. 

How Can I Keep Occasional Invaders Away From My Property?

Here are some helpful tips you can use to minimize occasional invaders around your home:

  • Keep your home’s exterior and interior clear of any clutter or debris.

  • Fix any moisture problems that exist around your home.

  • Store mulch and compost piles several feet away from the exterior of your home.

  • Seal any holes or gaps in your home’s exterior that could invite pests inside.

Finally, the best measure to prevent occasional invaders from entering your property is by having a professional pest management program in place to stop them from ever getting inside in the first place. Contact the professional pest control providers here at Miche Pest Control for more information!


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