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Occasional and Seasonal Pests
A source for information on seasonal pests 


Crickets, family Gryllidae (also known as "true crickets"), are insects somewhat related to grasshoppers, and more closely related to katydids or bush crickets (family Tettigoniidae). They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. There are about 900 species of crickets. They tend to be nocturnal and are often confused with grasshoppers because they have a similar body structure including jumping hind legs. Crickets are harmless to humans. Ladybugs are attracted to the light colored houses. Especially, homes that have a clear southwestern sun exposure. Older homes tend to experience more problem with aggregations due to lack of adequate insulation. The ladybugs come in through small cracks around windows, door ways and under clap boards. They want to hibernate in a warm, comfortable spot over the cold months of winter. Ladybugs gather in groups when they hibernate, so if you see one, you can be sure more will follow. The best way to keep them out is to repair damaged clap boards, window and door trim and to caulk small cracks. silverfish, fishmoths, carpet sharks or paramites, are small, wingless insects in the order Thysanura. Its common name derives from the animal's silvery light grey and blue colour, combined with the fish-like appearance of its movements, while the scientific name indicates the silverfish's diet of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.






Box Bug


Up to 1/2-inch long.


Ranges from gray to black with red criss-crossing stripes on the wings. Nymphs have bright red abdomens.



A number of insects have discovered that heated buildings are ideal for surviving the cold of winter. Such pests include box elder bugs, cluster flies, and lady beetles. As the weather cools in late summer and early fall, the sun warms the southern and western walls of buildings. The warmth attracts these insects to buildings where they crawl inside cracks and stay there for the winter. This would be fine, but during warm winter days, some insects "wake up" and end up on the inside of the building.

Box elder bugs feed on maple and box elder trees and usually infest buildings where these types of trees are nearby.




Most centipedes found around buildings rarely measure longer than 2 inches. In Texas and the desert southwest, however, a couple of species can measure 6 inches or longer and may wander into homes and other buildings.


Varies depending on the species. Most are brownish or orange-brown. The large Texas species has a bluish-black body, orange-red head and yellow legs.


Centipedes are predators that live in moist areas. These nocturnal creatures hunt down insects and spiders at night. Centipedes are distinguished from millipedes in that they have only one pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment. They are seldom seen inside homes, except for the house centipede which may breed in crawl spaces and basements. The house centipede is recognized by its extremely long legs.

Outdoors, centipedes keep to moist, protected areas such as landscape mulch and beneath items in contact with the soil. Indoors, they will usually be seen near baseboards and around doorways and windows. The house centipede may be observed wandering on walls in crawl spaces, basements, garages, and sometimes in other rooms of a house.




Varies, though usually no larger than 1-1/2 inches in length.


Generally black or brown.


Crickets generally live and breed outdoors and invade buildings searching for food, moisture, or shelter. The adults are attracted to bright lights on buildings and may fly to homes and other buildings by the dozens or even hundreds (in mid- to late summer). Once near the building, crickets will crawl through any crack or hole that allows them access inside. These insects have been known to feed on and damage clothing, usually items that are soiled and awaiting laundering. Camel crickets do live and breed indoors, usually in a crawl space, cellar or basement. They occasionally wander up into the living areas of the home where their quick jumping ability can startle the unwary person. Camel crickets may also invade homes from wood piles and similar areas outside.

The natural habitat of crickets is a field or wooded area. Near buildings, they will be found living among tall weeds and heavy vegetation (e.g., ivy), under boards, stones and other items, and in piles of lumber, firewood, or debris




About 1 inch long.


Dark brown.


Earwigs are omnivores that will catch and eat other insects. Long-term relief from these insects is achieved by finding and treating the harborages outside from which the home will be invaded. The experience of a professional company is helpful in situations where large numbers of earwigs are present.

The European earwig is common in the eastern United States west to Illinois and is found in Oregon and Washington. These insects live together often in large numbers in tree holes, in landscape mulch, under landscape timbers, and under objects lying on the ground. They will also harbor in the exterior cracks of buildings from which they may wander inside.

Lady Bug



Usually about 1/4-inch in length and round in shape.


Many colors, but wings are usually red or orange.


A number of insects have discovered that heated buildings are ideal for surviving the cold of winter. Such pests include ladybugs, box elder bugs and cluster flies. As the weather cools in late summer and early fall, the sun warms the southern and western walls of buildings. The warmth attracts these insects to buildings where they crawl inside cracks and stay there for the winter. This would be fine, but during warm winter days, some insects "wake up" and end up on the inside of the building.

Ladybugs are predators of aphids and other plant pests so they may be found on a wide variety of plants outside

Mole Cricket



Up to 1-½ inches


Brown, tan, reddish brown


Mole crickets are strange looking insects that are recognized by their large, shovel-like front legs that resemble those of moles. They live in lawns where they dig quickly and actively. Damage to lawns can occur rapidly when large populations are present. Adult mole crickets can fly and are attracted to exterior lights, which brings them into the presence of people. This unusual looking insect often causes concern to some homeowners until they have it identified by a professional. These crickets are nocturnal and most of their lives are spent underground where their burrows can extend as deep as 30 inches. There are a number of common species including the northern or common mole cricket (Neocurtilla hecadactyla), the southern mole cricket (Scapteriscus vicinus), the short-winged mole cricket (S. abbreviatus), and the tawny mole cricket (Scapteriscus acletus). The latter three are introduced species and are originally native to South America.

Mole crickets are common throughout the eastern U.S. but are most prevalent in the Southeast, especially in Florida. Mole crickets are serious pests of lawns, particularly on golf courses. The damage is their burrowing activities, and they feed on the turfgrass root system.




Up to ½ inch




Commonly known as roly-polies, pillbugs are usually nocturnal and feed on decaying vegetable matter. Where large numbers occur outside a foundation, numerous pillbugs may find their way inside where they quickly die from dehydration. They can, however, survive nicely in damp basements, cellars and crawl spaces. They have been found living within homes where a constant moisture source is available due to a water leak.

Pillbugs prefer moist environments and are found under objects lying on the damp ground and within leaf litter, mulch, and other types of vegetative debris.




Small, elongated, triangular insects, usually between 1/2-inch and one inch in length.


Typically a shiny gray or silver.


Silverfish feed on fungal molds and organic matter. They can damage natural fabrics, paper and book bindings. Treatment of cracks and voids as well as attic and crawl spaces is necessary to minimize silverfish. This pest, however, is one of the most difficult insects to totally eliminate even for a professional company.

Silverfish live in cracks and voids and are commonly found in larger numbers in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. They are also common outdoors in southern states. Homes with cedar shake roofs seem to experience more serious infestations of silverfish. This may be due to the additional molds that form on this type of shingle. More available food results in more silverfish. Inside, silverfish will be seen occasionally or on a regular basis in kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms.

Spring Tail



Tiny insects, most being about 1/16-inch in length


Gray to black


These tiny insects derive their name from their tremendous leaps when disturbed. The jumping ability comes from an appendage – called a furcula – extending from the tip of the abdomen and folds back underneath the body. When threatened, the furcula is released hitting the ground, thus propelling the insect backwards up to several inches. These insects do no damage but their presence in large numbers – and the fact that they jump – can be upsetting to many homeowners who often mistake them for fleas. In fact, a few species of springtails are cold tolerant and may appear on top of the snow on warm sunny days, thus giving them the nickname "snowfleas." Springtails, however, do not bite and are harmless. They can develop huge populations and can invade buildings by the thousands. Often such infestations are noticed in basements and garages and in bathrooms or the kitchen. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to complain about the huge numbers of springtails spilling over onto the patio from the lawn or mulched flowerbeds.

Springtails appear just about everywhere in nature except the most extreme temperatures like the coldest regions of the world and desert climates. They live in moist conditions outside (e.g., lawns, landscape beds) where they feed on molds and organic debris. Rustle through a handful of moist leaf litter, and you most likely will see a few. These insects occasionally invade homes and are particularly prominent in basements, bathrooms and kitchens.

Stink Bug



Up to ¾-inch


Green to brownish-black


The stink bug is so-named due to its habit of ejecting an obnoxious fluid from its scent glands. Some species are capable of shooting this fluid up to several inches for protection from predators. A number of species of stink bugs are known to wander into homes located in rural areas during the summer and fall months. The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is a fairly new species imported from the Far East (e.g., Taiwan, Japan, Korea) which was first discovered in Allentown, Pa., in 2001. It has subsequently been found in New Jersey. It is an ornamental and agricultural pest, which like some stink bug species, find homes and buildings an attractive place to overwinter. Seeing stink bugs inside on warm winter days is not uncommon. As this species begins to spread, its prominence as an overwintering structural pest will increase.

Outside, stink bugs feed on many types of plants. They are usually attracted to buildings during the fall seeking a protected, warm site to overwinter. During warm winter days and in the spring, one or more stink bugs may “awaken” and find their way into the living spaces of the home.

Images and information derived in part or in whole from Trueman's Scientific Guide to PMO 6th ED

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-- Duggan Cooley, former CEO- RCS

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