Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/355

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INSECT PESTS OF THE HOUSE.

were not immediately checked. In addition to the danger of the supports giving way, there was reason for alarm in the fact that they also destroy books and paper; but in this case, fortunately, the papers stored in the part of the State-House in which they appeared were of little value. Measures were taken at the time to prevent their devastating work, and it is hoped that they have been exterminated; but Dr. Hagen, in an article on the subject a few years later, thought it not improbable that they had spread farther, as nothing was done to prevent their entering other parts of the building.

These ants feed on rotten wood, living in old stumps of trees, and sometimes in old fences, and Dr. Hagen suggested the removing of every old stump around buildings and in the vicinity of cities, thus diminishing the number by depriving them of their necessary food. Places kept moist by hot steam are particularly favorable for the work of these little creatures; and more or less trouble was occasioned in Cambridgeport, at the telescope works of Alvan Clark and Son, where a timber constantly moist from the steam was honey-combed by them; and some years ago a bridge near Porter's Station in Cambridge was destroyed, probably from the same cause. As many trains stopped under this bridge, it was constantly moist from the steam of the locomotives.

So far the insects mentioned are those that do direct injury to our clothes, carpets,* food, books, etc., but there are still others which frequent our houses and prove very annoying in various ways; and besides these there are numerous insects which cause much trouble in collections of natural history, and in museums the utmost care must be exercised to prevent their attacks. It is not often that these museum pests prove of much annoyance in the house. I have found the larva of a beetle (Attagenus pellio) in the sawdust of a doll's arm; and the larva of another species (Attagenus megatama) is sometimes found to have eaten the feathers in pillows, and the short particles of the feathers become so firmly fastened in the ticking by the repeated shakings of the pillow that a fine, soft felting is made, resembling the fur of a mole.

Bed-Bug (Cimex lectularius).—The eggs of the bed-bug are white in color and oval in shape. The young differ but slightly from the parent. The full-grown bug is wingless or possesses rudimentary wings, is less than a quarter of an inch in length and of a brown color. It is about eleven weeks in attaining its

A brief mention may be made of a fly (Scenopinus pallipes) whose habits are but little known. The larva is a long, white worm living under carpets, upon which it is supposed to feed, and it is also found in rotten wood, but as yet it has not appeared in numbers sufficiently large to prove an annoyance in the house. The fuil-grown fly measures about a quarter of an inch in length.