Finding bugs around a home is disconcerting to most people, especially when the bugs are insects like cockroaches or dreaded bed bugs. While most arachnids do not often infest homes in large numbers, the mere sight of one single large and hairy spider can send homeowners running to the nearest pest control company. It would be a mistake to assume that the climate in Maine is too cold to allow for the survival of some of the largest spider species in the US. For example, a typical female Carolina wolf spider can grow to be nearly an inch and a half in length, while a female black and yellow garden spider can grow to be more than an inch in length, and these figures do not include the species’ leg spans. Both of these species can be found in Maine and even in regions farther north of the state. The hairy Carolina wolf spider is often found in homes, and the black and yellow garden spider is found in residential yards more often than in any other location. Both the American and German cockroach species are spotted in Maine households regularly, and obviously, bed bugs have become well established in the state. Spotting creepy crawlies like these in a home is never fun, but it is always satisfying to use a vacuum to suck these creepy crawlies into a vacuum bag where they will surely die, right?

Obviously, some arthropods are more resilient than others, and while being sucked into a vacuum cleaner is a tough ride for any bug, not all will die in this manner. The violent air-flow into a vacuum cleaner hose will quickly dismember an arthropod that possesses a delicate exoskeleton, and most other arthropods that survive the journey will suffocate within the dust and lint particles within the vacuum cleaner bag. It should be noted that vacuum cleaners that suck small objects directly into a bag are more likely to kill tougher arthropods than a vacuum that sucks particles into a filtered canister. Vacuuming talcum powder before and after an arthropod is sucked into the bag will increase the arthropod’s likelihood of suffocating. However, cockroaches often survive being sucked into a vacuum, so a vacuum cleaner bag should be thrown away into an outside dumpster after a roach is vacuumed from the ground. Bed bugs cling tightly to fabrics, making it hard to suck them into a vacuum, but vacuums can be useful as for sucking up clusters of bed bugs. That being said, a vacuum cleaner alone is insufficient for eradicating bed bugs from a home, and the resilient bloodsuckers can even attach themselves to the internal components of a vacuum, allowing them to spread to new areas of a home. For this reason, bed bug infestations must be treated by a licensed pest control professional.

Have you ever sucked an arthropod into a vacuum cleaner?