Your home is your refuge, protected from the elements. Free from rain, wind, animals and bugs, you can sleep easy at night, right? Well the truth is that insects live everywhere. They are inside your home and your car, and they vastly outnumber humans.

In fact, entomologists estimate that there are approximately 5 million different species of insects, and that there are about 10 quintillion insects currently hopping, crawling or flying on the planet at any given time. This means that you are undoubtedly going to find insects in your home. However, not all insects are harmful. Let’s take a look at how to identify the insects you find.

Where Did You Find It?

Bugs hang out in different locations in your home. For example, you are likely to find damp-seeking insects in your basement, bathroom, and occasionally in your kitchen. While carpenter ants seek damp wood, you can also find them near your vents, windows and doors. Centipedes, millipedes, and silverfish are often found in the basement.

How Many Legs Does it Have? What About Wings?

Spiders have eight legs, insects have six legs, and millipedes have anywhere from 60 to 180 legs. Take a look at the insect and do a quick leg count. It will help you with identification because it is important to know what you are dealing with. Also, does it have wings? Some ants have wings, as do beetles and stinging insects such as bees and wasps.

Take a Photo

If you have a smartphone you can snap a quick photo of the bug before you dispose of it. Taking a closer look at the photo will make it easier to count the legs and take initial steps to identify the insect. Once you have the basic species, you can do an Internet search to look for photos.

Online Search Tips

When searching online, start with the basic species and any unique identifying markings. For example, if you were looking up a ladybug you might search for images of red beetles with spots. You can also narrow your search depending on where you found the insect. For example, if you found a small spider on your plant you might search for “tiny black spider on plants.” Compare your photo with the photos available online and you will likely find a match.

Once you have identified the insect, do a little more research. Is it an insect that bites? Can it multiply and cause damage to your home? If you find many insects in your home, a pest control expert can help you quickly solve the problem.