useful and harmful insects at home

Useful vs Harmful Household Insects

When most of us see an insect or arthropod of any kind in our home, our first instinct is usually to get rid of the bug. Whether we trap the bug and let it go outside, or if we just squash it and throw it away, the reaction is usually the same. Most homeowners prefer to have a bug free home, or at least if there are bugs in our homes, we prefer not being aware of their presence. Despite our wishes however, our homes play host to a number of different crawling creatures. The good news is that most of these insects, arthropods, crustaceans and other creatures are harmless. To help you determine which of these potential pests is just a minor annoyance, which ones can be helpful, and which ones are actually harmful to you or your property, take a look at the following descriptions of common household bugs listed below.

House Spider

There are a few different species of arachnids found in homes all over North America, most of which are completely harmless if they come into contact with a human. For the most part, spiders are a useful presence in the home, as they spend their days trapping and eating other insects that may pose a problem in the home. Think of a house spider as a miniature bug hunter that keeps the pest level in your home to a minimum.


There are a few different species of cockroaches that are commonly found in homes and apartments, though not all of them are harmful. Most people would agree that a cockroach isn’t a welcome presence at any time, but there is a big difference between a German cockroach and an American cockroach. The smaller, less invasive German cockroach has a smoky brown colour, and will typically stay out of sight and away from human food and belongings. The American cockroach on the other hand is known as a “true pest” and can quickly infest areas where food is kept. These cockroaches are indeed a harmful presence and should be eradicated as soon as possible.

House Centipedes

Although they may appear as creepy, crawling pests, house centipedes actually lean more towards the useful side of the household insect spectrum. Like spiders, they hunt and eat other pests, and for the most part they keep out of sight, in dark, damp areas of the home such as the basement. They do not carry any diseases, and they usually don’t reproduce with any sort of frequency, meaning you will almost never encounter an infestation. Furthermore, although they have a venomous bite, their jaws can’t break a human’s skin, so they are virtually harmless, if not a little bit creepy.


This ancient insect has been around for more than 400 million years, and have taken up residence alongside humans since the Stone Age! With this in mind, it should be pretty clear that these bugs pose no direct threat to us. They can be harmful to our belongings however, as they enjoy eating just about anything they come across, including clothing, books, human food and even wallpaper. You will typically find a silverfish hanging around damp areas of the house like a bathroom sink or in the basement. They can be hard to kill due to their elusive movements, but with a lifespan of three to six years, it is best to rid yourself of any you come across before they wreak havoc on your favourite item of clothing.


A Pillbug is actually not an insect. It is a crustacean, like a crab or a lobster. These tiny creatures enjoy spending time around moist areas where they can thrive and avoid predators like spiders. They pose absolutely no threat to humans, and thanks to their proclivity for eating organic waste, they can actually be useful in the composting process.

When it comes to the actual presence of harmful pests in your home, you’ll be glad to know there aren’t as many potential problem bugs as you may have thought. Some can actually be quite useful when it comes to keeping the household insect population down. For more information on household pests, and how you can keep your home free of any nuisances or harmful bugs, be sure to contact the pest control experts at Atlas Pest Control.

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