small bug infestation
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
January 18, 2011 8:55 pm
Over the last 2 months, we’v e been finding these little critters dead on our floors. Looks like they’re getting in via cracks under door, or through flyscreens, etc.
We’ve never seen a living one – they’re always dead (we get the house sprayed every year) – but we can find up to a hundred dead on the floor every few days. (more close to a door, thinning out futher into a room). They are up to a centimetre in length. What are they ??
Hope you can shed some light.
These are known Lawn Shrimp or Househoppers, Arcitalitrus sylvaticus, a terrestrial Amphipod that is native to Australia. They are not usually noticed until they enter homes in large numbers and promptly die. According to BugGuide, the natural habitat is: “Moist soil and organic matter within 13 mm of the surface, often among ivy or other ground covers, mostly eucalyptus. Their exoskelton has no waxy coating to keep moisture in, so they can’t survive dryness. They drown in water, though, so they need continuously moist, but not waterlogged conditions.” The torrential rains and flooding in Australia we are reading about is causing the Lawn Shrimp to flee the landscaping around your home. They are just coming in out of the rain. BugGuide explains: “These are rarely seen except when flooding or lack of moisture forces them to abandon their home in the soil in search for suitable conditions. At such times they often end up dieing on pavement or in homes and become a nuisance. Once they start appearing, there’s not much that can be done except to sweep them up- pesticides are pointless, bcause by then they’re already dieing or dead. The best solution is to keep the numbers down the rest of the year by keeping the soil from staying too moist- in California, especially, they’re a sign of overwatering. Physical barriers like weather-stripping can also help to keep them out of homes, but their bodies are flat and narrow, allowing them to slip through surprisingly narrow cracks.” Interestingly, we found more written about Lawn Shrimp on North American websites than on Australian websites. You can read more about them on the Museum Victoria website where they are called Land Hoppers.
wow – thats fantastic. Thanks very much for tracking that down.
Now that I know what they are, it all makes sense and I know what we’ll need to do to help reduce their numbers.
Much appreciated, and many thanks Daniel.