There is a BUG in my house!

Cat Playing With Bug

Good morning little rolly-polly-bug! I just love batting you around like a ball, then pouncing on top of you so you cannot escape! My hunter instincts have kicked in, and I will hide around the corner, waiting for you to start creeping forward again. With tail whipping, nose twitching, I count under my breath: “One, two, three, ATTACK!” My spring-loaded back legs launch me five feet over to your unsuspecting buggy body. I love Pill bugs (armadillidium vulgare) that curl up, making it easy to roll them around the floor! Whap whap, the little rolling bug shoots down the hallway and right up next to a fierce looking Earwig! Those pincers out front look scary, but earwigs do not sting nor are they dangerous – the pincers can only grab-on to things.

Here comes the dog! I quickly duck into the bathroom and discover a couple centipedes. They have 15 pairs of legs that detach when attacked by a predator (like me). Oh rats, he disappeared under the bath mat (they love moist spaces). Crawling behind the toilet, I find another centipede munching on another bug. Although the centipede’s prey is killed through an injection of venom, their bite rarely induces serious effects in animals. They can quickly become an infestation, so I will have to notify my owner about these lots-o-legs bugs!

Finishing up my bug patrol in the house, I head over to the fireplace in the den. Yep, just saw my big buddy Roachie skitter into the fireplace. My owner delicately calls them “palmetto bugs” but I know the truth: long antennae, 6-jointed legs, dark brown to reddish coloring, WINGS equals American Cockroach! Their hard shell makes it easy to pick them up in my mouth. I accidentally bit the head clean off of one roach, and the body skittered away under the sofa. Needless to say, my owner freaked out and demanded right then that I re-home the roach by carrying it over to our neighbors wood pile.

Returning to my yard, I check to make sure no flies follow me in through the flap of my kitty door. “Meow” I politely say to her, meaning “Bug’s are all disposed of – it’s time for my treat”.

By the way, if you are looking for a great pest control company in the Raleigh area, Call United Pest Management.  919-971-9143 Tell them Slider of Four Paws sent you!

BEWARE the Caterpillar


I discovered the oddest creature, it fell right out of the Oak tree onto me! Arching my back, I flung it off onto the wooden planks, where it inched around the big fern. It had long tufts of snow-white hair, lots of little stubby feet, and evil black horns. Unlucky for me, the catepillar stung through my fur. Perhaps it was the odd howl that came next, or the collapse onto my side, eyes rolling and tongue panting. One look at me and my owner shrieked at the kids to call Doctor so-and-so. “Where is that insect identification book when you need it? Go look on the computer, Google “stinging caterpillars and key in the description.”pussmoth

No, it was not a common White-Marked Tussock Moth, they don’t sting. They have a distinctive red head. Also on the porch, flung onto the fern, was a super-hairy Asp. This is a toxic caterpillar
with the sting feeling “often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling… with headache, abdominal pain, skin rashes and blisters, and even chest pain or difficulty breathing.” (Eagleman 2008).

There was now a noticeable swelling on my back, and I was having trouble breathing. Thank goodness we keep Benadryl around. I didn’t even mind when the sticky stuff was squirted down my throat. I was wrapped in a towel and carried to the waiting car. We zoomed off in a haze and I fell asleep. The next thing I remember was a bright light…

No, it wasn’t kitty heaven, I have used up only 3 of my 9 lives. I was recovering in the animal hospital. The Dr. had removed the barb still stuck in my back with tweezers. Using commercial tape, the doctor had repeatedly placed fresh pieces over the wound and slowly pulled them off, removing any remaining hairs. Next, hot soapy water was used to clean the area. A topical antihistamine was applied and then an ice-pack to reduce the swelling. The quick reaction of my owner probably saved my life!

Upon returning home, I went to my favorite book and looked up “Poisonous Caterpillars in North Carolina.” It listed the Asp as the most toxic! A few others to beware of:

1. The bright colored Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar. The vibrant orange and red stripe across it’s light-green back warn of poisonous spines.

2. The Saddleback Caterpillar, looking very slug-like and found in the garden. This guy has a brown body, green horse-saddle (really, it looks just one) with a distinctive brown spot in the center of it’s back.

3. The Stinging Rose Caterpillar (often found on rose bushes), has beautiful colors of vivid yellows, reds, purples, and oranges. It almost looks like blown glass, smooth with the yellow tendrils sticking out full of poisonous barb.

Poisonous Bugs in North Carolina

Brown Recluse Spider Building Its Web
“Seeing a spider is nothing. It becomes a problem when it disappears.”

BEWARE: some creepy crawlies that come into your home and yard are poisonous to your pet. Three of the most common and dangerous insect pests found in the Triangle area are:
black widows, brown recluse and fire ants. The two spiders will not bite unless provoked. The fire ants, however, will travel up your leg if you stand near their ant mound and are aggressive.

1. The Black Widow spider is one of the more infamous spiders, recognized by the shiny black body with a red hourglass shape on the abdomen. She is also known for eating the male after mating. The bite of an adult female black widow spider can be fatal, and they are most aggressive when they are protecting an egg sac. The male black widow spider is much smaller and not dangerous.

“The first sign is sharp pain at the site of the bite. Later the dog develops intense excitability, fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. Seizures, shock, and death can occur, especially with the bite of the black widow spider. An antivenin is available to treat these bites.” Pet Web MD.

2. The Recluse spider – Brown recluses are small, with evenly colored legs void of stripes or spines. A few species have a marking shaped like a violin on them. They are nocturnal and prefer to hide in crawl spaces, wood piles, or under house porches/decks. Bites occur when an animal rolls over in its sleep on top of a prowling recluse, or unintentionally disturbs the spiders resting place.

“Reaction typically occurs at the site of the bite, with an ulcerated necrotic wound that results in the death of the surrounding soft tissue. The wound is slow to heal, leaving an open wound that is at risk of further infection.” – Pet MD

3. Fire Ants – Are aggressive and have an intensely painful and burning sting. If you accidently walk on their mound, they will swarm. “The stings cause a painful wound that turns into a pustule, which can become infected and tends to itch while it heals.” -Virginia State.

To treat their bite, you can pick up an antihistamine from the vet or pet store to help. Calamine lotion applied right to the bites can also soothe your pet.

Another bug you don’t want to handle is the Millipede with bright yellow color patterns. It secretes a compound containing cyanide. It is found in parks and on trails in wooded areas. The sting causes a local reaction at site, and depending on the size of your dog, can be a minor irritation or more serious. A paste made of baking soda and water can be applied right to the site.

Some websites list insects alphabetically, with a close-up photo to aide with identification. There are brief summaries attached, or you can click on the insect name for an in-depth report that includes their habitat, life cycle, and if they are poisonous. Click this link to try it out:

Another good guide that has both thumbnail and larger photos to reference identification:

Springtime Bugs

Tabby Kitten And Ladybird On On Nose Isolated

Creeping across the floor today are several of my favorite bugs- millipedes!

My owner doesn’t appreciate them the way I do, preferring to jump away whereas I pounce on top of them. Eyeball to antennae, I examine my prey carefully, batting it around. A wonderful movement ripples across all those legs, and the bug seems to be waving at me. Quickly, I slap my paw down and watch it skitter across the hall.

A natural hunter, I pride myself in being able to out run any insect. My patience is infinite when they try to hide under the rug. My stealth is world-famous.  I never miss a bug when pouncing.

I love Spring, when the temperatures warm up and millions of creepy crawlies rise from their hiding places. Some were under the deck, others in the woodpile, under the mulch around the garden, or in the crawlspace. According to the BUG MAN that comes to kill all my favorite playmates, these  are all areas people should be checking and spraying with insecticide. I don’t want to get insecticide, so I researched some natural options to keep bugs away:

Lemon seed oil, Orange Guard, Herb Mint Oil from a health food store, or Diatomaceous Earth (DE) FOOD GRADE from a feed store. Safer Brand  Poison Free Ant & Roach Killer is another option.

Why kill them? Is it because one of them can lay thousands of eggs? Hatch hundreds of baby buggies? Or, like the ant, (my least favorite bug because they don’t squirm, jump, or play well with others) leave scent trails to attract other bugs to your cupboards. Nothing like eating my cat food after 500 ants have invaded the bag and crawled all over it. I refuse to share!

Dear owner, much as I love chasing and chomping on little critters, there are two issues I must inform you of:

1. I could CHOKE on a hard exoskeleton! Yep, eating those tough beatles cam be tricky to swallow and they “are rough on… the digestive tract; the shell may wind up causing  vomiting up of the pieces rather than passing them out the other end.” -The Nest.

2. If I ingest a bug that has been hit with fogger insect spray or insecticide from the garden, this could be potentially fatal. Several websites advise researching bug sprays  BEFORE you use them in your home or outside on the lawn. Veterinarian’s may also be able to help find  cat-friendly products.    ALWAYS let your bugman know that you have pets and need non-toxic/ pet-friendly products used in your home.

Oh- I gotta go! A beautiful blue beetle just crawled in from under the door. Stealth time!