Several cockroach species are common indoor pests in central Texas, but none are as pestiferous as the German cockroach. The German cockroach has evolved to live solely indoors, and they are no longer capable of surviving in the natural environment they once called home. Brown-banded cockroaches have also evolved to become a domestic pest, and while this species is one of the most widely distributed cockroach pests in the world, their population in the US has been decreasing steadily for decades. In addition to these two cockroach pests, common bed bugs could also be categorized as pests that live solely indoors where they rely primarily on human blood meals in order to survive. Other examples of domestic arthropod pests include multiple species of house spiders, but all other arthropod pests are either peridomestic species or incidental invaders of structures.
Peridomestic pests are those that alternate between outdoor and indoor habitats depending on a variety of circumstances like weather conditions, predator avoidance, or just to gain easier access to food and/or moist conditions. Peridomestic pests are generally able to establish reproductive populations indoors, but they ultimately prefer to remain in the natural environment. Incidental pests, on the other hand, cannot reproduce indoors, and most species in this group of pests are unable to survive within homes for extended periods of time. Peridomestic pests include most cockroach pests like American, Oriental, smokybrown, Australian, Asian, and Turkestan cockroaches, as well as mosquito species that rely primarily on stagnant water in residential yards in order to breed.
Unlike native mosquitoes that reproduce in rural areas, peridomestic mosquitoes are often referred to as “container-breeding mosquitoes,” or as simply “container mosquitoes” due to their reliance on stagnant water that collects in manmade containers commonly found on residential properties. In Texas, the invasive yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito are peridomestic pests that lay eggs in birdbaths, flower pot saucers, outdoor furniture, downspout extensions, cups, bowls, soda cans, children’s toys, miniature pools, landscaping tools, and even water droplets on slightly concave surfaces. Most domestic and many peridomestic insect pests are non-native species that succeeded in establishing an invasive habitat in urban areas.
Incidental pests are those arthropods that occasionally wind up in homes inadvertently, but this label is sometimes applied to seasonal pests as well. The most common incidental pests in central Texas include millipedes, springtails, most spider species that occasionally wander into homes, ground beetles, and hackberry gall psyllids. Most seasonal pests invade homes during the fall in order to overwinter in warm conditions, and they include Asian lady beetles, elm leaf beetles, cluster flies, boxelder bugs, red-shouldered bugs, all of which can be found in central Texas.
Have you ever encountered insect pests hiding within your home during the winter season?