Large blundering insects also known as May-bugs which are attracted to artificial light and fly into houses or collide with windows on warm evenings in May and June.
The adult is 20 to 25mm long with a heavily built brown body and wing cases with the tip of the abdomen bent downwards.
Despite a rather formidable appearance, the May bug is harmless and is only a minor agricultural pest.
Sometimes confused with black beetles from the garden, cockroaches are distinguished by their very long whip-like antennae, flat oval bodies and rapid, jerky gait.
The adult German cockroach is 10 to 15mm long. The Common or Oriental cockroach is 20 to 24mm long. They are rarely able to survive out of doors in the British climate, but thrive around the heating ducts and boiler rooms of large centrally heated buildings e.g. hospitals, bakeries, hotel and restaurant kitchens, laundries and blocks of flats. They cluster around pipes, stoves, and sinks, especially in humid areas.
The German cockroach carries its egg case, a small brown purse-like capsule, until the 30 or more nymphs are ready to hatch from it. The Oriental cockroach deposits its 13mm long egg capsule on packaging, sacking or in suitable dark crevices before the 16 or 18 nymphs hatch out.
Cockroaches grow in stages – from nymphs to maturity in six to 12 months for the Oriental cockroach, but only in as many weeks in the case of the German cockroach.
Both species eat any sort of food and are most active after dark, from their inaccessible harbourages, to forage, contaminating food and food utensils, or food preparation surfaces as they go. They taint food with an obnoxious smell and may be carriers of various diseases, including serious food poisoning.
A human parasite. This nasty little (3mm) parasitic louse feeds on blood and sets up home among the pubic hairs. Mercifully rare in Britain it is usually, but not always, acquired through sexual contact. With a characteristic brown crab-like appearance they produce severe irritation where they bite.
The familiar Daddy-Longlegs. A large mosquito-like fly with a long narrow body, which enters buildings in late summer. Harmless, although unpleasant in appearance. Its larva is the “leather- jacket” which damages grass roots.
Closely related to the cockroaches, most species of cricket live outdoors, only rarely entering premises. One species, however; the House Cricket, may live within buildings throughout the year. 16mm long and yellow brown with darker markings on head and thorax it favours warm, humid locations such as the heating duct systems of hospitals.
They are less common in domestic households than they once were largely because of the loss of the traditional fireplace. They are nocturnal and are considered a pest mainly because of the chirping of the males, produced by their front wings being rubbed together. They may damage foodstuffs and fabrics.