Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/351

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
337
INSECT PESTS OF THE HOUSE.

pet is found infested, a wet cloth, can be spread down along the edges, and a hot iron passed over it, the steam thus generated not only killing the beetles and larvæ, but destroying any eggs that may have been laid. Clothing is sometimes attacked as well as objects of natural history—such as stuffed birds and mammals.

It was believed that the beetle must feed on some plant, for in a number of cases it was captured out of doors, and it was finally discovered feeding on the pollen of the flowers of spiræas, the beetle living on the plant for a while and then returning to the house to lay its eggs. When this was proved, it was suggested that spiræas should be planted around houses infested by the beetle; by doing this the plants could be often examined and the beetles destroyed.

Cockroaches (Blattidæ).—Among the Orthoptera, to which order this family belongs, we find a different mode of transformation. Were it not for its small size and the absence of wings, the PSM V37 D351 Cockrach.jpgFig. 3.—Cockroach. a, male; b, female. young would closely resemble the parent, and, after molting or changing its skin several times, it reaches maturity without having passed through a stage in which it keeps perfectly quiet, as in the case of the moth and beetle.

The eggs of the cockroach are carried about in a little case by the female, and when these eggs are ready to hatch, this case is dropped; and it is said by some writers that the little ones are helped out by the mother. Just after the young come from the egg, and after each molt, they are white, but the usual color is brown or black. They molt five or six times before reaching maturity.

Cockroaches are very troublesome, eating anything that comes in their way; are unpleasant to look upon, and are specially disgusting to us on account of their disagreeable odor.

The large cockroach (Periplaneta orienialis), or "black beetle," as it is sometimes called, might in some cases be not unwelcome, as it acts as a scavenger, keeping the corners of the rooms it frequents clean, and furthermore it feeds on that most disgusting of pests, the bed-bug. Though this is said in its favor, we think there is no doubt that the remedy might be thought as bad as the disease, and it would be considered more agreeable to find some other way of exterminating the bed-bug; and most people would