Latrine fly

The representatives of the Sphaeroceridae family to which the latrine fly belongs, are called small dung flies in America. It has rightfully earned this name, because these flies are often found in large numbers on and near animal droppings.

Appearance and lifestyle
These small, dark coloured flies develop on very humid places, where the soil is contaminated with rotting organic material. Such breeding places are formed in houses where the drain of the sink is leaking or when something is wrong with the drain of the toilets. The flies can also develop in the vicinity of houses, such as in manure heaps and in stables.

Prevention / control
The only effective control measures are to find the breeding place(s) and to sanitize them. In case of sing or toilet leakage, one can try to remove the contaminated material from the crawling space or to cover it with a layer of clean sand. The the flies develop outside of the house, the focus should be on prevention, for instance by applying fly screens in open windows. Manure store in the immediate vicinity of houses should be avoided or the manure must be properly covered. In stables, proper hygiene should be observed. The fly larvae (maggots) in the manure can be eliminated with the help of authorized insecticides.

If the control measure, carried out based on this advise, does not lead to the desired result, you can always contact EWS.


The firebrat Thermobia domestica Packard is fairly common in heated buildings. It is easy to confuse the firebrat with the silver fish.

A wingless insect, up to 12 mm long; the body is covered with fine scales; the insect has 2 long antennas on its head and 3 long appendages to its abdomen crawls with fast, snake-like movements, grey in colour and clearly speckled on its back.

Incomplete metamorphosis. Egg stadium: the eggs are dropped in heaps; dimensions about 1 x 0.8 mm in temperatures below 22°Celsius the eggs can’t get beyond the larvae state: the number of stages is variable (up to 13 stages); under optimal circumstances (37° and 80% rel. humidity) the younger stages take about 2-5 days and the older stages up to 8 days. Lifespan: depending on temperature and humidity 2.5 to 3 years; during the adult stage, moult still takes place (up to 60 times).

Light shunning; hide during the day food: mainly carbohydrates, such as starch, sugars etc. In addition, there is a (limited) need for protein and fats. Temperature: preferably 32 – 38°Celsius; 42°Celsius is bearable as well relative humidity: eggs can still hatch at 11% rel. humidity; however, 33% and higher is preferred. Total development takes place at 50% rel humidity.

When firebrats exist in great numbers (dry, warm area) they can cause significant damage to paper, wallpaper, books, posters, products of synthetic material, such as clothing, wall covering etc.

Firebrats are very common and can easily hitch-hike on all kinds of products and materials.

Prevention & Control
Keep temperature as low as possible, general hygiene. A treatment of all seams and cracks in the house with a residual-acting pesticide (in linked houses, all linked houses should be treated)


Springtails are very small insects, hardly ever larger than 5mm. They owe their name to the fact that almost all species have a forked attachment to their abdomen, allowing them to make great leaps. A springtail of, for instance 5 mm long, can jump about 8 cm far. A number of common species that show great similarities in their stylise belong to the Entomobryidae, Isotomidae, Onychiuridae and Sminthuridae families (globular springtails).

Spring tails mainly live in places with a high relative humidity. They feed on rotting vegetable material, but also moss, algae and fungi. They are mainly found in the top soil layer, between litter, grass, gravel etc. In greenhouses in particular, when the soil is silted, the springtails are comfortable, because it means there is a lot of food for them. Spring tails are wingless insects. In small numbers, they are hardly noticed, because of their small size. However, they can also exist in great numbers. The latter mainly occurs in hot weather. However, certain species can also be active at temperatures around the freezing point. Springtails are harmless to people and animals. They don’t sting or bite. Nor are there any cases known of skin irritation caused by these insects.

Prevention & Control
In case of springtail nuisance in buildings, the development place will have to be tracked down. Three possible development places can be:

In the litter layer of the garden, possibly along the facade of the building, moss growth on the facade or (mainly) on closely packed heavy trees; on flat roofs and in gutters. Especially when water occasionally remains and there is algae or moss growth, this development place is perfect for these insect; in the house, when the atmosphere is very humid due to the presence of a lot of plants, they can be found in decorative pots.

The best way to get rid of them is to prevent their presence. Get rid of algae, fungi, or moss. Keep flat roofs and gutters clean. In the house, springtails cannot survive due to too dry conditions. Any springtails that are found can be vacuum. All this makes the use of chemical substances unnecessary.

Dust lice

The name dust lice is confusing, because these insect are not related to lice and have nothing to do with dust. They belong to a separate order within the insect realm. Al lot of species are very common. The presence of a couple of dust lice in an area or stored products is harmless in itself. They do not pose a health risk. However, their presence is a clear sign that the area in which they are found or the product in which they live, is too humid.

Dust lice are small insects. Their are max. 4 mm long. Their colour is white, grey or brown. Some species are winged; other species have wing stumps or are wingless. They can move quickly, but do this jerkily so. The young stages of dust lice look a lot like the adult versions.

The duration of the development from egg to adult insect depends on temperature and humidity and can differ greatly per species. In optimal circumstances this development can however be completed within a month. When kept in mind that every female can lay up to a 100 eggs, it is not surprising that they can multiply at an amazing pace.

Dust lice live on fungi that develops on material stored in moist conditions or in humid areas. They sometimes exist in large numbers in humid houses, warehouses and farms. In addition, they can exist in herbariums, insect collections, between humid papers, in old books and in old moist stuffing of mattresses and pillows, in rush matting and other vegetable flooring. When dust lice exist in great numbers, they can cause some material damage. In thatched roofing of houses and farms, dust lice can sometimes exist in great numbers. In case of proper ventilation a natural balance will be created between the dust lice and the predator insects and mites that feed on dust lice.

Prevention & Control
The only effective control method consists of cleaning or drying of the material in which the fungi exist and drying the area in which they live and keeping it dry. The latter can be achieved by ventilating in hot weather or through dry firing.

Recently built houses often have a concrete floor that is not yet entirely dry. Sometimes a stagnating ventilation of crawling space and / or hollow wall is the cause. Rising damp in an exterior wall or condensation of water vapour on a wall can be a cause as well. In such cases, architectural advice may be necessary.

A source for fungus growth can be unfinished particle board in kitchen islands or cabinets, mainly the sides of counter tops and the bottom of cabinets. This materials absorbs moisture by cleaning it with water, causing fungus Proper drying, for instance with a hot air heater, blow-dryer etc and then sealing it with appropriate material, will resolve the problem.

Applying insecticide is useless, because dust lice will simply come back after a while. This means that the area would have to be sprayed multiple times, which is not preferable. A permanent solution can only be achieved by reducing the relative humidity in the areas with dust lice. Moist pallets can be dried by heating them for at least half an hour up to 50 C. which will kill any dust lice present.

Garden ants

Ants belong to the Hymenoptera family. They are socially living, state forming insects. An ant state usually consists of a number strongly specialized individuals, due to their work.

The workers
These are infertile female versions. Their duty is to provide the state with food. These workers cause us nuisance in their quest for food. Once a worker has found a rich food source, she alerts the other workers to it, who will then find the source via a track specified by the worker, to offer help in collecting the food found. This is how the ant rows exist. They give away the direction in which the ant nest is to be found, which is useful in ant control. In addition to providing food, the workers have to take care of the queen and the offspring.

One or multiple queens
These are fertile female individuals whose primary task it so preserver their species. They lay the eggs. In general, the queen doesn’t leave the nest once the state is formed. The queens are considerably larger than the workers.

Males and young queens.
All versions are winged. They ensure the preservation of the species and the founding of new colonies. In garden ants (Lasius-species) they are present in the nest from July until September. In favourable weather conditions, they fly out; the so-called bridal flight. During the flight, they are inseminated. Then, the males die. The fertilized females seek a suitable place and try to found a new colony in the spring.

Certain ant species also have soldiers. These are infertile female ants that distinguish themselves from the workers through their extra big jaws; their task is the defend the nest against intruders. Solders do not exist in garden ants.

Ant control should only be initiated when these insects actually cause a nuisance in the buildings. In general, this nuisance is exaggerated; a couple of ants wandering around won’t hurt anyone and won’t cause any damage. However, once these insects have made a nest from which they keep entering a house or building, ant control may be necessary from a hygienic perspective. In gardens, parks and forests, ants are useful, because they eliminate all kinds of harmful insects. Getting rid of ant nests at such places with the help of insecticides usually involves a lot of damage. It doesn’t just kill the ants, it can also poison a lot of other insects, mammals and birds. It threatens to unnecessarily disrupt the entire natural living environment.

Garden ant species (genus Lasius)
The garden ants that can settle under or near buildings usually belong to the following species:
The black garden ant (Lasius niger L.)
Black-brown to black ants.
The queen is dark brown The male versions are dark to black-brown with crystal clear wings.
The carpenter ant (Lasius fuliginosus Latr.)

These are shiny black ants The male versions have partially brown smoky wings. This ant has a strongly aromatic smell, especially when crushed between the fingers.

Rare are:
The large yellow meadow ant (Lasius umbratus Nijl.) These are yellow ants. The queen is red-brown, the male are brown to dark-brown. The wings are smokey-brown at the base.   The brown ant (Lasius brunneus Latr.)

Yellow-brown to red-brown ants, with a significantly darker coloured head and abdomen. The queen is light or dark black-brown The males are black-brown with smoky wings. In our country this species if fairly rare, except in Limburg.

To prevent attracting the ants from outside, food that is appealing to them, such as preserves, sugar etc, should be stored in properly sealed pots or canisters. Don’t leave the dirty dishes out during the night. Waste bins should be kept properly closed. The couple of ants that manage to get in can be removed using the vacuum cleaner.

Outdoor ant control: (only in the immediate vicinity of buildings)
Garden ant control can be carried out in various ways where necessary, based on the circumstances. One can use insecticides in this. We will point out a number of substances that are suitable for this goal. We stress that the insecticides mentioned hereinafter are poisonous, including for people and pets. The directions on the label of the substance to be used, must therefore be closely followed.

When detecting garden ants in buildings, one must first track down the nest. Because the nests are often outside of the buildings, outdoor ant control is preferred, rendering the use of substances indoor unnecessary.

One must treat the nest entrances with an insecticide in powder form, for instance based on propoxur, pyrethrinen, or foxim. The powdered nest entrances can best be covered to prevent children, pets or birds coming into contact with it. When this treatment had been carried out this way, the ants will take the powder into the nest with their legs and hairs, effectively eliminating the queens and the offspring. When you are unable to find the nest entrances or are unable to access them, you can apply a little powder on the ant rows. However, this leads to significantly less results and this method is ill-advised in the house.

Carpenter ant control
One should always first track down the nest. Often, these are abandoned tree trunks that are sometimes found under new construction. The nest must be removed where possible, where applicable after extermination measures carried out. In addition, the same control measures can be applied as with the other Lasius species.

Silver fish

This wingless insect, also referred to as the sugar guest, is very common, but often in small numbers. The silver fish strongly resembles the firebrat Thermobia domestica Packard. It is essential to identify the right species, since both species have completely different requirements in terms of the relative humidity of the area in which they live, due to which the control measures of both these species differs greatly.

The presence of the silver fish, often in the wet unit, is an indication that the relative humidity is too high. It often concerns leakage or an architectural problem, such as a resounding wall. Too high humidity in (poorly ventilated) crawling spaces can cause serious nuisance by silver fish above the ground floor flooring.

The silver fish can get 7 – 11.5 cm in size and has clearly plate-shaped extensions at all breast segments. Characteristic are the two ringed antennas and the three fine ringed tail wires at the abdomen. The silver fish has a pearl shine, because the body is covered with fine scales.

The eggs are often dropped in the period from April to August on a suitable substrate, but also in seams and cracks. The female always lays the eggs in small numbers together, with a total of about 150. At 25°C and 75% relative humidity, the eggs hatch after about 28 days. The silver fish that emerge from the eggs can moult up to 20 times in their 2 to 3-year lifespan.

Silver fish shun the light, during daytime they hide in all kinds of dark places. Silver fish that live in nature in certain parts of Asia and South Europe in holes, caves, under rocks etc are very common in the Netherlands, but only in buildings. In almost every building there are small numbers of silver fish, however they live in great numbers in humid areas that don’t cool down during the winter, such as the kitchen, the shower cell or the bathroom, however also in other places with high humidity. Their food consists of product rich in starch, such as starch paste used to stick wallpaper against the wall, and moist, semi deteriorated wallpaper. This diet is supplemented with protein from the consumption of small dead insects. In addition certain types of glue can be consumed used to bind books. In the humid atmosphere in which silver fish exist, there will also be fungal growth, and these fungi are also eaten by said insects. Silver fish can only cause some significant damage when they exist in great numbers.

Prevention & Control
Because silver fish hardly cause any significant damage and because they usually live in small numbers, silverfish control is hardly ever necessary. When they frequently are found in great numbers, this means that the relevant area has a high humidity. The control measures must first be to create a dry atmosphere. This can be achieved by ventilating the area during dry weather and through dry firing. In a dry atmosphere, silver fish cannot sustain themselves. Use of insecticides is not necessary in general and even ill-advised if measures to reduce the relative humidity have not been taken yet. For the first residents of a new house, it is important to know that concrete is moist for a very long time, due to which, in certain areas, an atmosphere with a high relative humidity can be created. This means that proper ventilation and dry firing (for instance with a dry air furnace) is required. It is recommended to refrain from applying permanent flooring for a while. This will inhibit the evaporation of the moisture in the concrete. In addition, the silver fish will have to be offered as little shelter as possible; meaning: clean up as much as possible. Sometimes, the cabinets under the sink can be moist, especially if they are made of wood. Often the cause lies in a somewhat leaking or improperly attached sink drain. This will have to be resolved.

Carpet beetles

The larvae of a number of beetle species can cause significant damage in wool fabrics, fur, mounted animals, hides and other products of animal origin. These involve the larvae of the common carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci Linnaeus), the Australian carpet beetle (Anthrenocerus australis Hope), the fur beetle (Attagenus pellio Linnaeus)

Naturally the larvae of these beetles are scavengers. They are often found in old, abandoned bird nests. In exceptional cases, vegetable substances serve as food as well. The adult insects (beetles) are often found on flowers in the summer, where they feed on pollen and honey. These insects are common in the Netherlands. Sometimes, a wandering beetle can be found by accident, which doesn’t mean that there is damage. The beetle may have looked for a place to stay during the winter for instance or accidentally have flown into the house during the spring or summer. In these cases it is not necessary to use insecticides.

The larvae of the carpet beetle have golden brown hairs in general. At the abdomen, there are several bushes of longer hairs. The shape of the larvae is somewhat stocky and the first two species reach a length of 4-5 mm. The larvae of the fur beetle are often somewhat larger and can reach a length of 12 mm. The beetles of these three species have an oval shape and are 2-3 mm long. They are dull coloured and mainly in black and brown with some lighter frayed spots or bands here or there. The fur beetle is 4-5 mm long, dark brown to black with a white spot on the pronotum and middle of the elytra.

Carpet beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis. This means that they subsequently go through the egg-larvae-pupate -imago (adult) stages. Depending on temperature and humidity, the egg stage lasts 6-35 days, the larvae stage may take 2-12 months. The pupate stage takes 5-19 days, whereas the beetle can stay alive 7-41 days after that.

Is only caused by the larvae. Considerable damage may be caused to woollen flooring, clothing and mounted animals.

Prevent bird nests under roof tiles. Seal seams and cracks.

For carpet beetle control, all hiding places where larvae are found must be treated with a residual-acting insecticide. At the sprayed locations, a residue toxic for insects is applied, which will retain its deadly effect on the insects for several months. For effective control, it is important for the resident to make all these places accessible to the exterminator of EWS. This includes plinths, seams and cracks under the edges of the flooring. In addition, it is recommended to vacuum thoroughly before the treatment, in particular in hard to reach places.

When the insects are found in a clothing cabinet or crate, one must remove the clothes so that the seams and cracks can be treated. Toys must be stowed away prior to the control measures. When treating cabinets, toys can be packed in plastic bags. After the treatment, you cant enter the house for two hours, and after that the house should be properly ventilated.

It is ill-advised to treat clothing with insecticides. Clothing and other fabric that has been affected should be cleaned (at least 30 minutes at 60°C will be fatal) and can then be repaired. In addition, insects in materials can be eliminated by storing them in a freezer for about 2 weeks (temperature lower than -10°C). A carpet beetle plague can be very resistant and it may be necessary to repeat the treatment after 8 weeks if insufficient result is obtained.

Brown house moth

The brown house moth is very common The larvae feed on vegetable and animal materials. They are sometimes found in corn lofts and in food, but cause most damage to moist wool flooring and wool fabrics.

Appearance and lifestyle
The brown house moth has a wingspan of 17 – 26 mm. The front wings are brown-black and have three black stains. The rear wings are somewhat lighter. The larvae (caterpillars) are yellow-white and can get 2 cm long. In unheated areas, there is one generation per year. The moths fly from June to August. The brown house moth is frequently found in buildings. The larvae develop in all kinds of vegetable and animal materials, such as seeds, grain, cork, linen, wool and fur. They can only develop in moist material at a high relative humidity. They are found in particular in quiet and most places, such as under rugs, under floors and in bird nests. Larvae can enter buildings via bird nests.

The damage caused can sometimes be significant. Rugs, mattress and chair stuffing, dried plants, grain products and even linen book bindings can be affected. Mainly somewhat moist wool flooring can be damaged significantly; and from there, adjacent wooden objects (plinths, furniture etc) can also be damaged.

Prevention & Control
First, the area in which the caterpillars (moth larvae) exist must be kept as dry as possible by ventilating during sunny weather or through dry-firing. In case of leakage or permanent moist circumstances, architectural measures must be taken first.

Then, control actions can be initiated, with the help of an agent based on cyfluthrin, deltamethrin of permethrin. These agents should be sprayed on the places where the larvae are found, such as under the edges of the flooring, behind plinths and in the seams and cracks of the bottom of wall furniture. Mainly when the bottom of a furniture piece is shielded by a plinth, this is where the larvae will pupate. At the sprayed locations, a toxic residue is applied, which will retain its deadly effect on the insects for several months. The aforementioned agents are permitted for the extermination of crawling insects. One should spray these agents under low pressure and with course drops. During the treatment and the 2 hours thereafter, the area should be ventilated thoroughly. Afterwards, people and pets can return to the treated area.

House borer

The beetles are brown-black and have a couple of light dots on their elytra (at the top). The females are 1-2,5 cm and the males are 8-16 mm long. The antennas (feelers) are thin and fairly long. The larvae can get about 2 cm long and are whitish.

House borers have a complete transformation, meaning that they go through 4 stages: egg, larvae, pupate and imago (beetle). Duration from egg to imago: 3-10 years, usually 4-5 years.

The house borer only affects soft wood, such as spruce, pine and fir trees in. In the months June through September, the beetles crawl from the wood via oval exits of about 4 – 7 mm. The males and the females then mate, after which the females lay eggs on the wood. The eggs produce larvae that bore into the wood 3-10 years, often 4-5 years , causing great damage. The pupation occurs and the adult beetles quickly come crawling from the wood.

Chop bore tunnels open where possible, and inject them where necessary. Replace weak would with sustainable wood Remove wood dye, paint or wax layers where possible, remove bore meal with steel brush and make the woodwork dust-free. The wood must be treated with a permitted agent twice.

Instruction for control of common furniture beetle / house borer.
For the control action:
Free woodwork from paint, wood-dye etc.
Make woodwork dust-free
Replace weak would with sustainable wood
All objects that can come into contact with the agent must be properly covered
Any loose objects that can hinder the exterminator during the control action, such as construction debris, must be removed.
In case of flooding in the crawling space / basement, resolve this before the control action.
During the control action:
The resident must leave the building with fellow-residents and pets.

After the control action:
After the control action, the treated area(s) must be properly ventilated and the resident, his fellow residents and pets cannot enter the treated area(s) for long periods of time.

Large furniture beetle

Just like the common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum Degeer) this beetle species belongs to the Anobiidae family. The larvae preferably develop in oakwood. However, the development can also take place in other hardwood species, ans sometimes they are found in soft wood, when soft wood is processed in the immediate vicinity of affected hardwood.

The eggs are white, and have a diameter of about 0.6 mm. Because they are so small, they are hardly ever noticed. The larvae is yellowish white and can get 11 mm long. The beetle is dark brown to grey yellow and somewhat mottled. It is about 6 – 8 mm long. The beetle leaves the wood via an exit it gnaws itself. Often there are a lot of exits close together, making it look like a buckshot in the wood. The openings are round and about 2.5 – 4 mm in diameter. They are the first sign of the pest attack that can be observed.

Lifestyle and development
In April and May the beetles emerge from the wood. In heated buildings, this period can begin as early as January and proceed until June. It is assumed that some of the beetles mate in the wood after the females drop the eggs in the wood. The beetles make a loud tapping noise in and outside of the tunnels. This is what they owe their name ‘death watch beetle’ to. It was believed by some that, in a building in which this insect could be heard, someone would die soon. The development from egg to beetle lasts at least three years. The growth of the larvae depends on the presence of fungi that have settled in the wood. Mainly moist wood, which cause rot, is attacked by these insects. This can proceed to deep into the wood.

Control measures begin with reducing the moisture causes. For instance: resolving leakage, resounding walls, rising damp etc. In addition, it must be made sure that the ventilation is optimal. Under these circumstances, fungi will be unable to develop or sustain and the beetle will die after a while. However, since this can take several years, it is recommended to fight the beetle with an insecticide. Larger larvae can still survive in fairly dry wood (moisture level about 12*), although that will slow down their development.

Control of the large furniture beetle and its larvae can be done by spraying an insecticide permitted for the extermination of wood boring insects based on cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin or permethrin. Painted wood cannot be treated with these agents. If the wood has fungus, moisture reduction is essential. The fungi can be eliminated with fungicide based on azaconazole. Often, it is recommended to use a combined agent, that is both effective against the fungi and against the insects.

In order to use enough agent in the wood, the agents can also be injected into the wood in addition to being sprayed on the surface. Wood that still has to be processed to replace affected wood, must, preferably, haven been given a pretreatment in accordance with a professional wood preservation process with a permitted agent thereto.

For large objects and monumental buildings a hot air treatment can be considered. However, the costs thereof are significant.