Beneficial insects

The Friendliest of “Scorpions” Is in Your House!

Nobody likes finding bugs in their home. That’s good, because what I’m presenting you today isn’t one!

Pseudoscorpion
The pseudoscorpion is an arachnid, but not a spider.Photo: JN~commonswiki.

I’ve already talked about it, I hate spiders, but I have no problem with scorpions… 8 legs is a no, but 8 legs and two pincers: that’s okay. I know, I don’t understand either…!

A few years ago, when I moved into my house, I met these cute critters for the first time and discovered that they didn’t strike any fear in me. I was very intrigued and did my research…

It’s Not a Scorpion

Despite the resemblance, it isn’t a miniature scorpion. Phew! It can’t bite or sting us, but it does have venom in its claws. Dangerous for us? No, not at all.

First of all, it must be said that pseudoscorpions are between 2 and 8 millimeters long, so it would need a jackhammer to pierce our skin. Then, the venom is used to immobilize tiny preys… The kind not even visible to the naked eye! We’re just a little too big to be bothered by it (assuming the venom gets under our skin!) Once its prey is immobile, it injects digestive enzymes through its mouth to liquefy the inside of the bug, then drinks its delicious predigested meal right out of the carcass. Yummy!

Nobody looks through a magnifying glass

Pseudoscorpions Live… Everywhere!

In the desert, in the tundra, on birds, flies and beetles (pseudoscorpion taxis par excellence!), in the ground, on trees… Everywhere!

In houses, it still has a preference for damp places.

Since it feeds mostly on mite larvae, lice and flies, it’s easy to find food for itself: there are sometimes mite larvae under the wings of beetles, so imagine in the forest floor, or in your bathroom! Its food is so small that you can’t see it, but it’s everywhere.

It’s the Only Bug I Like to See in My House Because…

  • It is tiny.
  • It doesn’t come into my bed, into my kitchen or onto my table.
  • It doesn’t live in a colony, so there is no risk of being invaded.
  • It lives mostly in the walls, away from view, finding access under the moldings.
  • It does no damage (unlike carpenter ants).
  • It doesn’t move fast (no surprise jumps).
  • It’s a predator!

A lot of good reasons to love ’em, right? After that, how good a predator it is for houseplant pests, I honestly don’t know. But it definitely isn’t a pest.

I believe that our homes are complex ecosystems and that accepting a bug or two from time to time can only help prevent infestation problems. It’s easy to say, I myself don’t tolerate a spider or a centipede! But you have to start somewhere!

Ladybug running on a branch
Predators are valuable allies.

In addition to pseudoscorpions, I have ladybugs in my house… but that’s more out of resignation than tolerance! At least it’s another predator… And you, do you tolerate bugs in your home? 

Audrey Martel is a biologist who graduated from the University of Montreal. After more than ten years in the field of scientific animation, notably for Parks Canada and the Granby Zoo, she joined Nature Conservancy of Canada to take up new challenges in scientific writing. She then moved into marketing and joined Leo Studio. Full of life and always up for a giggle, or the discovery of a new edible plant, she never abandoned her love for nature and writes articles for both Nature sauvage and the Laidback Gardener.

6 comments on “The Friendliest of “Scorpions” Is in Your House!

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  3. Christine lemieux

    I don’t mind the ladybugs that come in, even though they are the asian ones that outcompete our native ones, but I don’t tolerate the western conifer seed bugs that also come in. They are a relative of stink bugs.

    • Mary L Discuillo

      Which are the ones that u can buy at Lowes? Or on line? By native do u mean North America? I didn’t realize there were different kinds. Do they look the same?

  4. Thank you for this! I did not know about these, but I’m glad to be aware and hope to spot one. I’m fascinated by bugs in general and have learned to appreciate house centipedes and spiders, especially jumping spiders, as indoor inhabitants. (House centipedes are like little sweepers, keeping all the nooks and crannies clear of unwanted pests. Jumping spiders are just cute.) Curiosity provoked learning has helped to change my previously negative view of “bugs” in general. Here’s a delightful essay about the house centipede: https://www.metrofieldguide.com/on-being-misunderstood-house-centipede/

    • Mary L Discuillo

      I can’t imagine finding one of these creepy bugs in the house. They are even creepier than spiders in my book.

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