What kind of bug is this?
September 23, 2009 4:51 PM   Subscribe

What kind of bug is this, and how do I rid my apartment of it?

The pictures make it look browner than it actually is - it's grayish brown and somewhat translucent. It's about the diameter of a nickel in length. Is it some kind of larva? I just moved into a gut-renovated apartment building in Brooklyn (the building had been abandoned for years), and I've been dismayed to find a few of these wandering around. Should I have my management company call an exterminator, or is there an easier way to rid the apartment of this bug?
posted by zembla3 to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Looks like a silverfish. After a judicious cleaning of all closets and cabinets, you can leave poison pellets like these. There are also less effective methods using herbal sprays.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:57 PM on September 23, 2009


Oh, and as long as you don't mind commercial sprays your management company should cover it. I personally wouldn't bother with a professional exterminator unless the bugs are pervasive.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:59 PM on September 23, 2009


That picture looks a lot like one of the many woodlice shown in this picture. I've never heard of them infesting apartments though.
posted by Maximian at 5:23 PM on September 23, 2009


Yeah, I take back my silverfish assessment, although you should still contact your building management. If the building was left abandoned then it could very well harbor all kinds of outdoor bugs.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:32 PM on September 23, 2009


Looks like a silverfish.

nah, silverfish are more long and skinny. I'd go with woodlouse/rolly-poly/pillbug/etc.

it's a good thing you don't live at the bottom of the ocean. (not safe for bug-o-phobes)
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:33 PM on September 23, 2009


It's just a woodlouse. They live in moist places with lots of decaying plant and woody matter.

Is your basement sealed? Are there cracks in the wall leading to the crawlspace?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:31 PM on September 23, 2009


This is almost definitely an isopod, as AgentCorvid guesses. Not a silverfish.
My guess is based on your guess of it being a larva, as slow and slimy[ish].
Isopods that you might find in your home are mainly cleaners-up of detritus, and in no way harmful to you. Unless you manage to slip on some of them, or something. They won't bite, sting, chew holes in things. They may play their music too loud.

They require a bit of moisture to live [isopods are closer to lobsters than insects], and could be killed with nothing more than a sprinkling of salt, baking soda. They could be driven away by a general decrease in household humidity. I often find them on basement walls and if asked to get rid of them I just transport them outside near a big rock they could crawl under.

[if you see more than about four of these, or if you get rid of that many and see more, I'm probably wrong about what they are.]
posted by Acari at 8:47 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


IANAPA (i am not a pesticide applier/person) but wouldn't Diatomaceous earth or boric acid work on these insects, and on roaches? Both are safe(r) around humanoids and their feline & canine friends, aren't they?
posted by Smalltown Girl at 9:14 PM on September 23, 2009


acari is correct, in australia these are called slaters. some of them have a cool trick where they can roll up into a little ball.

They are very easy to get rid of, all you need to do is dry the area, they need a moist environment to breathe. If you turn them upside down you can see their gills underneath.
posted by compound eye at 3:22 AM on September 24, 2009


That's just a sowbug. Calling an exterminator would be overkill. They're just the little janitors of the insect (or rather isopod) world. Totally inoffensive, beneficial little creatures. They will wander into homes from time to time. I just pick them up gently and put them back outside. I use a piece of paper or business card to slip beneath them to avoid harming them as they're hard to pick up from a flat surface.
posted by metagnathous at 4:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


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