When the human race first started out, we huddled together to keep ourselves warm and to protect ourselves from any predators that might have been lurking in the darkness. And it is this fear of the elements that caused us to live within some form of shelter. Over the millennia, human beings have found shelter in a number of places, starting first with caves, and then constructing shelters of tree branches and leaves, and then making tents from animal skins. As time went on, and more tools were developed, we began forming shelters out of sturdy wood and stone, and it was at around this point in time, that we began calling these shelters homes.
Today, we live in homes made primarily of brick, wood and concrete, and even though these homes are designed to shield us from the outside world, traces of nature still find their way inside from time to time. Our world is filled with millions of different species of animals, whether they be mammals, insects, reptiles, birds or fish, and although it is true that many of us voluntarily bring pets into our homes, other creatures come in uninvited. Many of these uninvited guests are incredibly small and quiet, to the extent that you will likely never realize you are sharing your home with them until they physically cross your line of sight. This list will showcase 15 of these gross little creatures that you may be sharing your home with right now.
Spiders are likely one of the more common creatures that we share our homes with, and several of these arachnids will be appearing on this list, as there are well over 45,000 different species in the world. Overall, modern spiders have been roaming the world for roughly 200 million years, which is a big reason why they have branched out into so many distinct species, and one of those species is known as the cobweb spider. These spiders in particular are some of the more common ones that can be found around the house, and they are fairly easy to spot considering that wherever they go, they produce somewhat irregular looking webs with special trip wires connected to the ground. These trip wires will break once an insect is unlucky enough to crawl into them, and once they are triggered, it will cause that insect to get pulled up into the main web, which is where they will become the spider’s dinner.
Much like our eight-legged friend the spider, the beetle has existed on our planet in one form or another for well over 200 million years, and over the course of all that time, the beetle has evolved to the point that there are about 400,000 different species. There are in fact over 40,000 species of ground beetle in the world, which is why it is so common to find them from time to time around the house. Many ground beetles are in fact predatory in nature and can be seen in the outdoors hunting for other insects, which happens to be the reason why they usually wander into and out of homes. The body shape and color of these beetles will often times vary, depending on what species they are, but one similarity which remains fairly constant among the predatory breed of ground beetles is the set of powerful mandibles they possess which they use to rip apart their prey.
We have all seen moments on television or in movies, of someone going crazy trying to find a cricket in their home, a scene which is duplicated in real life at times due to the fact that we often get annoyed by the sound generated by crickets. In total, there are about 900 different cricket species in the world, and each one tends to possess a round head to go along with a cylindrical body, equipped with a pair of long legs that they use to jump fairly long distances with, as well as a pair of antennae which they use to guide themselves when their surroundings are shrouded in darkness. Crickets may make an obnoxious sound when they rub their legs together, but aside from that, they are completely harmless creatures who eat organic material like plants and vegetation; and whenever one is in your house and you cannot find it, it is because they usually find their way into basements or crawlspaces.
If you hear the word louse or lice, your mind will likely automatically visualize the little parasites that jump from head to head and feed on your blood while making your scalp unbearably itchy. As much as we hate the very idea of lice and what they bring to the table, there are several different species of lice, some of which are far more common than their parasitic cousins, but which are also far less troublesome, and one of those species is the book louse. These tiny creatures can usually be found in animal nests, and since a house or apartment is basically a nest for humans, it is not all that surprising that you can find them around your home from time to time if you actually go looking for them. Unlike the lice we are accustomed to, these insects are harmless, as they feed solely on organic matter such as mold, packaged food, and the decaying bodies of other dead insects.
As was already covered in a previous entry, there are over 400,000 different beetle species in the world, and although that previous entry focused on ground beetles specifically, this one focuses on a beetle which is far more common around the house. The carpet beetle can actually spend the majority of its life within a person’s home, as adults will often lay their eggs in a home when they enter one, which makes a lot of sense considering that a standard home has everything the larvae need to grow. The Larvae actually looks like small pipe cleaners as they are covered with many hairs, and they can be found crawling around inside of carpets and bundles of clothing where they feed primarily on wool, dead insects, feathers and hairs. When the larvae mature into their beetle form, they have a round body with colorful scales, and will in fact try to leave the house so they can get outside to eat pollen and nectar; but most of the time, they end up dying on windowsills.
By now, everyone reading this has had to deal with the nuisance that is flying insects, which is why most of you know that they are nuisances due to the fact that they like to buzz around our heads or our food. There are literally hundreds of thousands of flying insect species in the world, with the most irritating of course being bees and flies, but they do not make it a habit of turning our homes into their own like some gnats do. The dark-winged fungus gnat in particular loves to take up residence in and around people’s homes, as they are most commonly found in moist environments, environments which include the watered soil in people’s yards and their houseplants, as well as anything related to composting. It is true that some of these gnats can be incredibly annoying, especially because more will likely show up once you think you have gotten rid of them, but luckily, they will not bite you like other gnats.
As mentioned earlier, this list will feature more than one species of spider, and this entry will focus on another one of these species which happens to be a bit exotic as it is mainly found in European countries. The spider in question is known as the spitting spider, which tends to find its way into people’s luggage, meaning that one or more may accompany you on the plane ride home from Europe-which explains why they have appeared in homes all over the world. The spitting spider is unique in the fact that it possesses two different glands from which it generates silk, with the first gland producing the ordinary webbing associated with spiders, while the other is located in their head and attached to their venom gland. This extra gland allows them to spit venom-laced webbing at their prey in order to paralyze them, and upon doing so, the unlucky insect is secured upon the main web to be feasted on.
When a fly gets into your house, you hectically try to swat it to try and get rid of it as fast as possible, because you do not want to deal with them flying around everywhere, especially when you have food out, but in reality, most of the one million different fly species are harmless. One of these species is the moth fly, which gets its name because of the fact that its body and wings are hairy just like a moth's, and there is a good reason why they are mostly found in people’s bathrooms. These flies tend to live most of their lives in man-made drains and sewage systems, which can become annoying at times, but aside from that they cause no real harm to human beings. It is within these drains and sewage systems, that these flies lay their eggs, and upon hatching, the larvae will eat any of the organic matter that accumulates in the pipes, and when these larvae mature, they sometimes make their way out of drains, which is why they are most often seen in bathrooms.
Earlier on this list, the book louse was introduced, and it was made clear that they are indeed related to the lice we all know and loathe, but the woodlouse has no connection to this family whatsoever, as it is actually a type of crustacean. Woodlice are a part of the isopod family, which has been around for roughly 300 million years, and the number of different species associated with these creatures is over 10,000 which includes some that live in water and some that are predatory. The woodlouse has a segmented and rigid exoskeleton with a total of fourteen jointed limbs along with two antennae, and in terms of activity, they are mostly nocturnal creatures that are completely docile in nature. These little guys tend to find their way into homes through gardens, and they are absolutely harmless, as they mainly eat decaying plants and wood, and if they do come into contact with another living organism, like a human being, they will usually just curl up into a little ball.
A parasite is an organism which lives in or on another living thing and benefits by obtaining nutrients through its host’s expense, and the world is filled with these types of creatures, and has been for millions of years. The worst kind of parasite is the kind that literally kills its host from the inside, and the parasitoid wasp is not only one of these types of parasites, but it can also be found in your home as a result of other creatures being infected by them. The parasitoid wasp can either be one of the smallest insects you will ever see, or it can measure up to an inch long, and many people who have both flower and vegetable gardens benefit from them as they help to control the pest population that can overrun a garden. These wasps inject their larvae into a living host, which eventually dies as result of being eaten alive from the inside, and they tend to inject these larvae into creatures like spiders, carpet beetles, and cockroaches, all of which can wander into your home while carrying these parasites with them. Fortunately, humans are not regarded as suitable incubators for these baby wasps.
This is a rather obvious one, as many of us have had to deal with some sort of ant problem at some point in our life, whether it involved them swarming your food while out on a picnic or camping trip, or because they would litter your house in their search of food. Ants have been around for millions of years, and aside from there being more than 20,000 different species, they are considered to be a super-organism due to the fact that they seemingly operate as a single entity working together for the survival of their colony. Of all the creatures on this list, worker ants are the most common organisms that we can share our homes with, as these workers can often be seen in a house foraging for any kind of food and water that they can bring back to their colony. It is true, that sometimes a home can become overrun by ants, but aside from their numbers, most ants that venture into a home are harmless and will not even bite you.
Have you ever taken a walk to the bathroom or kitchen in the middle of the night, and upon turning on the light, witness a quick moving, thin, silvery looking thing dart across the floor? If you have, then you are currently sharing that room with a silverfish. They may not look like it, but silverfish are actually wingless insects, that have earned their name because of their silvery light-grey and blue color, along with their movements which always appear fish-like in nature. Like most of the other creatures on this list, silverfish pose no real harm to us, as the majority of their diet consists of substances like sugar and starch, but they can also survive by eating things like crumbs, as well as things with very little-to no nutritional value such as leather, paper and even some glues, which makes them very suited to live in a human home.
Like ants, this list entry was pretty obvious, as cockroaches have been plaguing people’s homes for a very long time, and unless you know how to successfully get rid of every single one of them, you will soon find your home infested with these pests. Cockroaches have roamed the Earth for over 300 million years, and amongst the 4,600 different species, there are 30 which are heavily associated with human occupied territory. Many of us have likely come across at least one cockroach in our lifetime, and have seen them scurrying on the floor with their six legs, and pair of antennae to guide them as they search for food, which can literally be anything lying around the house as they are omnivores. These insects are incredibly resilient, as they can survive instances of extreme cold and heat if need be, meaning that it will take a lot to get rid of these unwanted house guests.
With this entry, we have our third and final spider, one which can be found on all of the world’s continents, and although it is known as Pholcus phalangioides in the scientific community, we all know them as cellar spiders, or daddy-longlegs. These spiders are known for having a very small body which they move around using very thin and long legs that can sometimes be up to six times longer than their actual body, which makes their nickname incredibly spot-on. In the wild, these spiders can be found living at the top of caves, but when they make it into a house, they will usually set up their webs on the ceilings of bedrooms, garages, or as their name suggests-cellars. Like most spiders, these guys feed on insects that get caught in their webs, but they also offer their human landlords some benefits as well, as they will search out the nests of other spiders that may be in your home, invade them, and then devour whatever other spider might be there.
Centipedes have been around for over 400 million years, and no matter their size or the time period, they have always had a rounded head with a pair of mandibles to go along with the multitude of legs which is what gives them their name. It is believed that there are about 8,000 different centipede species on Earth, most of which are carnivorous in nature, and one of these species, known as Scutigera coleoptrata, has managed to spread throughout the world after originally calling the Mediterranean region its home. We call this species, the house centipede, as it loves to live in basements and crawlspaces, and not only does it move fast with its fifteen pairs of legs, but they are also hunters who prey on other insects like cockroaches and flies; and they are virtually harmless to humans, primarily because they try their hardest to avoid humans whenever one is nearby.