Don’t Harm This Bug!

House pseudoscorpion (Chelifer cancroides) in our kitchen | Insect species,  Wood trim, Insects

In real life, the bug in the picture above is very, very small. It’s the house pseudo-scorpion (Chelifer cancroides)–not an insect, but an arachnid–and is highly beneficial to us humans.

Jambo! Mr. Nature here, with a critter that’s mostly too small to be noticed, although it can be found in very many homes. And if you’ve got them in your home, you’ve got a good thing.

Pseudo-scorpions don’t harm us or our stuff, and here’s what they eat: carpet beetle larvae, clothes moth larvae, book lice… and bedbugs! (The USS Connecticut, desperately trying to fight off a bedbug infestation, could use twenty or thirty thousand of these little guys.) There’s a good chance you have them in your home but have never noticed them.

If you think you have a pseudo-scorpion, you probably need to look at it under a magnifying glass to be sure. If you can then see it’s not a pseudo-scorpion, it’s almost certainly something bad that you ought to get rid of. But if it does turn out to be a pseudo-scorpion, release it and let it go about its business.

I wonder how many bedbug or clothes moth infestations never got off the ground because of pseudo-scorpions.

6 comments on “Don’t Harm This Bug!

  1. Nature is a never-ending sources of surprises — some of them not so pleasant, but others surprisingly and often amusingly beneficent. When I was living in Baton Rouge, I was terrified to see giant mosquitoes about the size of small birds. But then someone told me not to kill them because they weren’t mosquitoes but mosquito hawks, which ate mosquitoes but left humans alone. Their appearance was a camouflage that enabled them to catch the real mosquitoes. What a relief.

    Of course, if I’d been in New Jersey or North Dakota, the bird-sized creatures probably would have been actual mosquitoes. NJ and ND mosquitoes are legendary. Right, Lee? 🙂

  2. We have “Sun Spiders” in these parts, which are quite similar. They are much larger, however, and frightening if you don’t understand just what you are seeing. But they are good neighbors and welcomed in the homes of the informed, because they keep the nasty stuff out of the house.

    A few years ago, I found a rose hair tarantula in my bedroom. I captured it and put if outside.

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