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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Help identify this bug please

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QUESTION: Hi Ed,

I have recently moved into a new house in Bellevue, WA. I am aware of the bug problems, especially bed bugs. so as a precaution i sprayed a bug spray in the apartment yesterday. This morning i saw sevaral dead bodies of strange black bugs. They have black shell like body with countless legs. i am attaching the image. They don't look like bed bugs, but i am really not sure. i saw them today only. Please help me identify these. Are these harmful to human body or any other stuff in the house? what will be the best way to control them?
Appreciate your help.

Thanks,
Ron

ANSWER: Dear Ron - These all are harmless nuisance pests, all but one (the critter at the lower center in the first image appears to  be a small spider) being terrestrial crustaceans in the order Isopoda known as sowbugs, pillbugs, or woodlice. Like all other crustaceans, they breathe through gills, which must be kept moist in order to function. Thus, they can persist only in relatively damp/humid environments - see http://tinyurl.com/ar7gvvd for additional information, including some control recommendations.
  The vast majority of insects and other arthropods found indoors will prove to be harmless accidental intruders, and it is unwise to apply control measures unless you are absolutely certain of their identity. Excepting cosmopolitan pests such as ticks, fleas, bed bugs, and mosquitoes, the only arthropod in Washington that poses any real risk to human health is the easily recognized western black widow spider - http://tinyurl.com/akmtzl3
  I suggest that you pay a visit to the King County office of Washington State University's Cooperative Extension Service (see http://tinyurl.com/bdoo3sx for contact information), and peruse the information they have insect pests and their control - extension offices usually are a great resource when dealing with most home/yard/garden pest problems.
Hope this helps,
Saugy

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QUESTION: Hi Ed,

Thanks for the quick response. Confirming that these aren't bed bugs is a big relief. However, spiders do seem to be something to be cautious about. I am attaching more pictures of the spiders that I found. Please let me know if these pose any danger. I tried to match them with Black Widow, but couldn't be sure. I am afraid that if right now the condition is like this, come summer it may worsen.

Thanks,
Ron

Answer
Dear Ron - These spiders pose no risk. Except for males wandering in search of mates, black widow spiders do not leave their webs, and the males themselves are not dangerous. As the weather warms, I would suspect that you will see an increase in uninvited 'guests,' but as I mentioned before, these nearly always will be harmless. I feel that the best thing you can do is to acquaint yourself with the relatively few species that can be real pests so that you can recognize them. Again, the best place for this is your county extension service office. In addition to having the requisite literature at hand, these offices can provide valuable identification services.
Hope this helps,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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