Halloween is right around the corner, and what better way to get into the spirit than reading about the scariest monsters around you? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re willing to bet nobody has as many creepy-crawly stories as pest experts do. We’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Here are some of the scariest of those things. Now, these Michigan bugs aren’t the most common, the most destructive, or even the most dangerous. They’re just the bugs we’d least like to find underneath a couch cushion or… in our beds. “We ain’t afraid of no pests,” but even the hardest professional would think twice about approaching these little monsters.
Golden Tortoise Beetle
This small, native leaf beetle isn’t dangerous, but good luck remembering that if you find one on your arm. The reason this… thing doesn’t look like it’s from this planet is the fact that its elytra (wing covers) and prothorax are unusually expanded. They’re so large that they nearly cover and conceal the rest of the beetle’s body. You can see the beetle’s body beneath its elytral margins because they lack pigment and are nearly transparent. This transparency gives the beetle its distinctive golden, metallic appearance.
One of the worst parts of this crazy thing is, the more you learn about it, the weirder it is. For instance, the golden tortoise beetle can change color when it’s disturbed, and no one knows why. Golden tortoise larvae defend themselves with a specialized body part called–we’re not making this up–an anal fork. They use this anal fork to create–again, not a joke–a fecal shield. Basically, they pile waste onto their anal fork and use it to hide from predators. This thing uses its poop to hide from its enemies. We don’t like it.
You may know this spider by a couple other names, like “the sowbug killer spider,” “woodlouse hunter,” “pillbug hunter,” or “slater spider”. You may also know it by its most common nickname, “the scariest thing I’ve ever seen”. This thing is just plain bad news in every way. Females are about ½ to ¾ inches long, while males are generally less than ½ an inch long. Their many names reference the fact that woodlouse spiders are predatory. They hunt at night and primarily feed on sowbugs and pillbugs.
Woodlouse spiders are easy to spot for a couple reasons. Their coloration is distinctive: adults have a purple-brown body, large grey-brown abdomen, and bright orange legs. These bright orange legs are arranged largely in front of the spider’s body, enabling it to run quickly. Most notable are the woodlouse spider’s enlarged, forward-pointing fangs. The spider uses these fangs like a pair of scissors to grab its prey, before using a third fang to kill and eat it. It’s unpleasant. Woodlouse spiders rarely bite humans, and even if they do the reaction is rarely significant. The same can’t be said for the next spider on our list…
Brown Recluse Spider
Yes, unfortunately the brown recluse spider appears to have taken up residence in Michigan. Brown recluses are also known as “violin” or “fiddleback” spiders because of the dark, violin-shaped mark on their backs. They measure about 1.3 centimeters long (about the size of a quarter), and appear brown, grey-brown, or tan in color. Unlike most spiders, brown recluses only have six eyes. The other pests are on this list mostly because they look really creepy. The brown recluse is on this list because it’s one of the most dangerous pests in Michigan.
Brown recluse hemotoxic venom is some of the scariest of any spider in North America. Bites may not hurt or show symptoms for several hours, but they’re known to cause fever, chills, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, and even necrosis, or cell death. According to a 2004 study, skin necrosis occurs as a consequence of brown recluse bites 37% of the time. Fortunately, brown recluse spiders are, well, reclusive. They’re not aggressive and prefer to run or hide from humans, and so bites are extremely rare.
From the scary dangerous to the just plain scary, Michigan has its fair share of monster pests to contend with. Luckily, you’ve also got your own personal monster slaying force: Griffin Pest Control.
If you’re losing sleep about the creepy-crawlies in your basement or attic, give us a call today. We’ll bust those pests before you can say “Happy Halloween!”