When you are traveling or living abroad, some of the local flora and fauna can be quite new and interesting. This is especially true in Japan and today we’re going to take a look at some of the scary bugs found in Japanese homes. While many of these insects are harmless, others on this list should be avoided or removed with care… at the very least.
Let’s take a look at some of the scary bugs that you might encounter living in Japan.
Appearing in the summer months and typically staying around until September, Gokiburi is large Japanese cockroaches that are up to half an inch in size. Your best defense against these pests is to keep your living space as clean as possible, however, it is likely that you will still see one or two of them.
If you do, this is not necessarily a sign of infestation, but it is something that you will want to deal with. Common ways of getting rid of Gokiburi are similar to what you would do with any type of roaches. Bug bombs, insecticides, and poisoned bait are the extermination methods most employed by the Japanese.
You will want to resist the urge to step on one, as the mother might be carrying an egg sac and this could make things worse. Insecticides and extra efforts at keeping your home tidy are going to yield the best results.
Also called ‘the household centipede’, the GejiGeji has a frightening appearance, but the teeth of this centipede are not even strong enough to pierce human skin. GejiGeji are even considered beneficial, as their diets mostly consist of spiders and cockroaches found in the house, which these centipedes will hunt quite efficiently.
Believed to have originally come from Australia, the Redback Spider may be found in 22 of the 47 prefectures throughout Japan, with more than 100 sightings reported in August of 2020 in Kita Kyushu. Though this spider is generally non-aggressive, it comes from the same family as the Black Widow spider, and it does have a venomous bite.
These spiders are fairly timid but you should employ insecticides rather than chase them out of the house, as their bites may require a physician’s assistance for the pain and swelling.
The Mukade, also known as the ‘Japanese Giant Centipede’, has been known to reach lengths up to 15 inches. While feeding primarily on spiders and insects, these aggressive centipedes have also been known to attack mice and should be left alone if spotted as the Mukade has a poisonous bite which has been described as being 10 times worse than a bee sting.
While not lethal, pain and swelling may occur for up to 2 days following this bite.
Encounters with Mukade typically occur when it is raining outside or the temperature is very high. During this time, these centipedes will come inside the house to find a dry, cool, and quiet spot. Insecticide dust around the corners and other entry areas of the house can help to keep them at bay and insecticide sprays may be used for crevices.
Drains in the house should also be covered when not in use, as Mukade may use them to come inside.
Ka is a Japanese mosquito and they are quite persistent during the summer months. While Ka very rarely carries malaria in Japan, bites from these mosquitos still come with the risk of Japanese Encephalitis or Dengue. This is quite uncommon, however, and the best defense for these insects in the home is of the standard variety.
Netting can be used to minimize the presence of these aggressive insects and over-the-counter personal repellents such as mosquito candles and sprays may be used to keep them at bay.
Also known as the ‘murder hornet’, the Suzumebachi may be found all over Japan and are most commonly encountered in rural areas. These hornets are instantly recognizable, being quite colorful, and the queens can measure as much as 2 inches in length. They also have stingers that are much larger than the average hornet.
While they are most active from Spring until Autumn, their ‘breeding season is the most dangerous and this is during the months of September through October.
Stings from the Suzumebachi are sometimes fatal, with the number of fatalities believed to be around a dozen a year and if you will be spending time in the country, one preventative measure is to avoid black clothing – these hornets are attracted to this color, so wearing bright colors instead may help to keep them at bay.
In the event that you are stung, the best course of action is the quick removal of the stinger, followed by the application of antihistamine cream, and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
Also known as the ‘Huntsman Spider’, these large arachnids measure approximately 10 to 12 inches in diameter and may be found in forests, woodpiles, and in the occasional house. Ashidaka-gumo do not utilize webs in their hunting, but actually emerge from their hiding places and chase after their prey. The spider then injects a paralytic venom and it goes about its meal.
Despite this aggressive hunting style and their frightening size, these spiders seldom bite humans unless defensively provoked, and their venom is considered very mild (though the bite is painful) when they do.
As these spiders eat cockroaches and other household pests, they are even sometimes welcome around the exterior of rural Japanese homes.
Some final words on insects found in Japanese homes
Today we’ve taken a look at some of the frightening bugs found in Japanese homes. As you can see, there are many diverse forms of insect life that you might encounter in Japan and some are quite striking. From the friendly GeliGeli to the not-so-friendly Mukade, even up to the frightening Suzumebachi – now that you’ve been informed then you will know which ones to keep an eye out for.
Just be sure to keep your insect repellant on hand, just in case you need it.