Pest Library

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Biting / Stinging

Bald Face Hornet

Bald faced hornets are 5/8" to ¾" long. They are Black in color with accents of an ivory white color on the tip of the abdomen and on the face. They are best known for their large football-shaped paper nest. The nests can reach up to three feet tall. Bald faced hornets are extremely protective of their nests and will sting repeatedly if disturbed. They are social wasps with a caste system made up of queens, workers, drones, and new queens. Queens are the fertile female which starts the colony and lays the eggs. The workers are the infertile females which do all the work except laying eggs. The drones are the males, which have no stingers, and are born from unfertilized eggs. New queens are fertile females, each of which may start their own nest in the spring.

Bed Bug

The adult bed bug is 3/16" long. They are oval, flat, and rusty-red or mahogany in color. The bedbug is flat and thin when unfed. It becomes more elongate, plump, and red when it is full of blood. The bed bug cannot fly as its wings are reduced to short wing pads. Under ideal conditions eggs hatch in about seven days and the nymphs molt five times, taking a blood meal between each molt. Development time from egg to adult is 21 days. The adult can live for almost one year. Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day, preferring to rest on wood and paper surfaces. It leaves these areas at night to feed on the host which include humans, birds, hogs, and family pets. The blood meal requires three to ten minutes and usually goes unnoticed by the victim. After feeding the bite can become inflamed and itch severely to sensitive people. Over time the harborage areas become filled with feces, molted skin, and old egg shells of the bed bugs. These areas have a "stink bug" smell caused by a secreting emitted by the bed bug.

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber

Adult black and yellow mud daubers are 7/8" long. The head and thorax are dull black with long, sparse, grayish hair. Basal segments of the antennae are yellow. The prontotum, half of the femora of the first and second legs, the tibiae of the third pair, and all of the tarsi are also yellow. There are two yellow spots on the thorax between the wing bases and a large 1 at the back of the thorax. The narrow portion of the abdomen is black, but there is a yellow band on the front of the bulbous part of the abdomen. They are solitary insects that build nests out of mud in sheltered locations, frequently on man-made structures such as bridges, barns, porches, or under the eaves of houses. These nests are not aggressively defended and stings are rare.

Bumble Bee

Bumble bees range from 5/16" to 1 1/8" long. There are over 250 known species of bumble bees. Bumble bees are social insects that have black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Bumble bees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young. There are three castes Queens, males, and workers (underdeveloped females). The queens and the workers both sting. Bumble bees are extremely important cross-pollinators of flowers. Bumble bees nest in old nests of field mice, in holes in the ground, stumps, and similar places.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are more than 1 "long. The abdomen is black with three pairs of yellow spots above. They are one of the largest wasps. Cicada killers nest in soil. Females of this wasp paralyze cicadas. They then drag or carry the cicada up a tree or post to fly to their nests. They lay and egg on each cicada and when the larvae hatches, it as an ample supply of food.

Fire Ant

Fire ant workers vary in size ranging from 1/16"- ¼" long and are yellow to dark red-brown. They have a stinger at the tip of the abdomen. They are called fire ants because of the fiery pain their sting inflicts upon the victim. These ants usually nest in the ground but can develop colonies in structures, especially in areas near soil. They are attracted to electrical boxes such as air conditioners and traffic signals. When nesting in the soil, they build large mounds.


Fleas are 1/8" long. They are wingless, laterally flattened, and have piercing-sucking mouthparts. They have well developed legs allowing them to jump at least six inches straight up. They are black to reddish brown. Fleas undergo complete metamorphosis. After each blood meal females lay four to eight eggs at a time on the host animal wherever the animal happens to be at the time. Fleas prefer cats and dogs but readily feed on other animals such as raccoons, opossums, rats and humans.

Honey Bee

Honey bees have three castes in their colonies: workers, queens, and drones. Workers are 1/2" to 5/8" long. They are fuzzy yellow-brown to black, with the appearance of a striped abdomen. The workers have a barbed stinger at the end of their abdomen. The queens are the largest member of the colony at 5/8" to ¾" long. They are the same color as the workers, just larger. The drones are 5/8" long and much stouter and darker than the workers or queens. Honey bees are social insects that live in the colony or hive. They are not naturally aggressive, but if the colony is threatened they will sting. Honey bees swarm when the colony is too large or the queen begins to fail. Swarms are often seen on a tree branch. They swarm 24-48 hours then move to a sheltered environment.

House Centipede

House centipedes are 1/8" to 6" long. They are yellowish to dark brown, usually with dark markings. The house centipede is grey-yellow with three stripes down the back and has very long legs banded with white. The largest centipedes are found in the Southwest. Centipedes live in moist environments. The can live indoors in damp basements, bathrooms, closets, decaying firewood, objects on the ground, etc. Most centipedes are active at night. The first pair of legs has poison glands which are used to kill prey. Centipedes can bite humans, but the bite is usually no worse than a bee sting.


Adult scorpions are 2" to 4" inches long. Depending on the species scorpions range in color from mustard yellow to black. Scorpions are usually found in the South, especially dessert areas, but occur anywhere. Scorpions have a poisonous glands in the bulbous (last segment of the tail). Most species are not dangerous but inflict a sting comparable to a wasp. The deadly scorpion common in Arizona has been responsible for many deaths. Scorpions are active at night feeding on spiders and insects. During the day they hide under stones, tree bark, rock, wood piles, and masonry cracks. They enter structures seeking water. Indoors they can be found in crawlspaces, attics, dry stone walls, bathrooms, foundations, and shoes and clothes left on the floor.

Paper Nest Wasp

Paper nest wasps are ¾" to 1" long. They are black with strong yellow markings on the body. Paper nest wasps feed on nectar and insects such as flies, caterpillars and beetle larvae. They are often considered beneficial by gardeners. Paper nest wasps are not generally aggressive and only sting if they feel they are being threatened. Their stings are very painful and can cause an anaphylactic reaction in some individuals. Paper nest wasps gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems and mix it with their saliva to construct water-resistant nests made of a gray or brown papery material.

Steel Blue Cricket

Steel blue crickets are 1" long. They are a metallic blue-green mud dauber wasp. They nest in the ground.


Ticks are 1/16" to 1/8" long. They are orange-brown except for the head, shield behind the head, and legs which are dark reddish-brown. The body is flattened and shaped like a tear drop. During the winter adults feed on deer. In the spring engorged females drop off the host animal and lay 3,000 eggs in a protected area. The larvae and adults commonly infest white-footed deer mice and deer. The nymphs have a wider range of hosts including humans. It is the nymph stage of the tick that is responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease, the most significant tick-borne disease in the United States.

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets are ½" to ¾" long. They have have alternating bands on their abdomen that are usally black and yellow in color. Some are black and white, or others may have a red abdomen. Yellow jacket is the common name for a predatory wasp. They appear only in colonies which contain workers, queens, and males. Yellow jackets have a rapid, side to side, flying pattern prior to landing. All females can sting, but are only dangerous to people who are allergic or get stung multiple times. Nests are built in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside human-made structures (attics, hollow walls or flooring, in sheds, under porches, and eaves of houses), or in soil cavities, mouse burrows, etc.

American Dog Tick

The adult American dog tick is 1/8" to 3/16" long. It is red-brown with white markings on the back. The body is flattened and shaped like a tear drop. It turns slate gray and doubles in size when engorged. In June or July the engorged female tick drops off the host animal to lay from 4,000 to 6,500 yellow-brown eggs in a sheltered location. It is a very common pest of dogs east of the Rocky Mountains and readily feeds on a variety of other animals including humans. The American dog tick transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and can cause tick-induced paralysis if it attaches to the base of the neck.



Adult bats are 2 ¼" to 7 ½" long with a wingspread of six to fifteen inches. They are tan to black in color. Bats consume thousands of insects per night. Rabies and histoplasmosis are two health related concerns when bats have infested structures. In most colonies only a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies, and since bats avoid contact with humans they incidence of human exposure to rabies is low. The risk of histoplasmosis increases when bat droppings accumulate in the roost. The bats leave their roosts at dusk to feed until dawn.

Field Mouse

Field mice are 3″ to 4″ long, not including their tales. They are white, brown or black in color, with hairless tails. Field mice live in fields, meadows, gardens and swamps. Field mice mate often and are usually pregnant once a month. Field mice will feed on any food available to them.

Ground Squirrel

Ground squirrels are variable in size. Most are able to rise up on their hind legs and stand fully erect for prolonged periods of time. It does this whenever it senses nearby danger, or when it must see over tall grasses. The squirrel then curls their paw flat against its chest and sends a screeching call to warn other family members about the presence of predators. Many ground squirrels live in colonies with a complex social structure

House Mouse

The house mouse is 3 to 4 inches long and the tail is 3 to 4 inches long. It is gray in color. The house mouse is the most common rodent. Adult house mouse droppings are 1/8" to ¼" long and rod-shaped with pointed ends. They are good climbers, jump 12 inches high, and can jump down from 8 feet. House mice can squeeze through holes and gaps wider than ¼". They are very social and very inquisitive about things in their environment and explore anything new. House mice nest in dark secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance. They use paper, cardboard, attic insulation, cotton, etc. for their nests. They feed at dusk and just before dawn. The major health risks related associated with house mice are salmonella and histoplasmosis.


Moles are 6" to 8" long including the tail. They have gray fur with small or covered eyes. Their ears are generally not visible. Moles live in burrow in the ground. They primarily eat earthworms and other small invertebrates found in the ground. The mole may also occasionally catch small mice at the entrance to its burrow. Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still living prey for later consumption.

Norway Rat

The body of Norway rats is 7" to 10" long. The tail is an additional 6" to 8" long. The fur is coarse and shaggy brown with some black hair. Norway rat droppings are up to ¾" long with blunt ends. They are nocturnal. They are very cautious when things change in their environment and along their established runs. Outdoors they nest in burrows in the soil such as under sidewalks, concrete pads, stream/river banks, next to buildings, and in low ground cover. Norway rats can enter buildings though ½" or larger gaps. Indoors they nest in lower levels of the building such as crawl spaces, basements, and sewers. They prefer meats, fish, and cereals to eat. Norway rats are associated with various diseases and can bite. They can cause significant structural damage and product destruction.

Pack Rat

Pack rats are 8" to 20" long including the tail. They are reddish brown or pale gray in color. Pack rats are prevalent in the deserts and highlands of western United States and northern Mexico. They are smaller than a typical rat and have long tails. Pack rats build nests of twigs, often incorporating cactus. Nests are often built in small caves, attics, and walls of houses. In houses pack rats are active at night when they search for food and nest material. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. They are also are very vocal making loud noises.

Prairie Dog

Prairie dogs are 12" to 16" long. They are burrowing rodents, not dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel. Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call which sounds similar to a dogs bark. Prairie dogs are social and live in large colonies or "towns". Collections of prairie dog families can span hundreds of acres. Families usually consist of 1 male and 2 to 4 females living in a strict social hierarchy. Prairie dogs dig tunnel systems that can descend vertically up to 16 feet and laterally as much as 98 feet. The earth they excavate for their tunnels is piled up in mounds around the burrow's entrance. Prairie dogs are primarily herbivores, though they eat some insects. They feed primarily on grasses. Prairie dogs have one to six babies a year.

Pocket Gopher

Pocket gophers are 4" to 7" in length. Most gophers have brown fur that matches the soil where they live. Pocket gophers are burrowers. Their most characteristic feature is their large cheek pouches, hence the name "pocket" gopher. These pouches are fur lined and can be turned inside out. They use their cheek pouches to carry back food to their burrows. One usually knows that they have a pocket gopher by the mounds they leave in the soil from their burrows. These mounds are usually found in vegetable gardens, farms, and lawns. Gophers like moist soil. Generally gophers will flee when threatened but they sometimes attack other animals including cats and humans, and can inflict serious bites with their long, sharp teeth.

Roof Rat

The body of a roof rat is 6" to 8" long with the tail an additional 7" to 10". The fur is soft, smooth, and brown in color with some black hair. Roof rat droppings are up to ½" long and spindle shaped with pointed ends. They are nocturnal. Outdoors roof rats prefer to nest in trees. Indoors they can enter buildings through ½" or larger gaps. In structures they prefer to nest in upper levels, and occasionally basements and sewers. They prefer foods such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals. They are associated with various diseases and can bite. Roof rats can cause significant structural damage and product destruction.



Voles are 3" to 7" long including the tail. They are small rodents resembling a rat. Depending on the species the vole's diet consists of seeds, conifer needles, bark, insects, and various green vegetation such as grass and clover.


Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders bodies are 1" long, not including the legs. They are (((( in color. Wolf spiders do not capture their prey by trapping them in their web; instead they run rapidly and capture them by hunting. Some species live in vertical tunnels that occur in lawns. These large spiders often enter structures in the fall.

Western Harvester Ant

Western harvester workers are 5/16" long. They are a dull dark reddish-brown color. They have unusually large, square heads. They are field ants who build large, low, coarse sand mounds in the western half of Kansas. The ants destroy the vegetation around the mounds and feed on seeds and small insects.

Walking Stick

Adult walking sticks are 3 to 3 ¼ inches. They are green or grayish-brown in color. The can be found on bushes and low herbage in sandy areas. They are seen from May until September.

Velvet Ant

Velvet ants are wasps measuring ¼ to 1 ¼" long and are not ants. They run about on the surface of soil in dry, sunny, and sandy places. Females sting severely. Velvet ants are generally covered with white, yellow, golden, orange, or red hair that varies from short to long. The female is wingless and hairy, while the males are generally winged and resemble other wasps.

Thief Ant

Thief ants are one of the smallest species at 1/16" long. They can be yellowish or brown in color. The thief ant is a common species in Kansas. They nest in soil or rotten wood and attacks fatty food in kitchens. They get their names because they often raid other ants' nest and for food and to steal eggs. Thief ants can live almost anywhere. In structures they are in the cracks or under the floorboards. Outdoors they can build nests anywhere, such as under rocks, in any exposed soil, and rotting logs.


Tarantulas can be up to 2 ¼". They are the largest spider. They are active at night when they hunt for food. The males are often seen crossing roads in the fall when they are searching for mates. They can be found in southern and western Kansas. Their bites are no more harmful than a wasp sting.

Stink Bug

Stink bugs are ½" long. They are green to brown in color depending on the species. If disturbed stink bugs emit a pungent liquid containing cyanide compounds with a rancid almond scent. Their bodies are usually shield-shaped. Stink bugs are considered agricultural pest insects because they create large population and suck plant juices which damages crop production. They are resistant to many pesticides.


Sprintails are 1/32" to 1/8" long. They are whitish-gray in color. Springtails are always found in very moist conditions. Outdoors they are usually in mulch, firewood, leaf litter, landscape timbers, railroad ties, potted plants, etc. They invade structures when their living area becomes too dry. Some are small enough to enter through window screens. They are found in sinks, floor drains, around sweating pipes, in damp basements, crawlspaces, or moldy furniture.

Smokybrown Cockroach

Smokybrown cockroaches are 1" to 1 ¼" long when mature. They are dark brown to mahogany in color and characterized by fully developed wings that completely cover their abdomen. The pronotum or shield like segment behind the head is black. They are typically outdoor pests commonly found in southern states as far west as central Texas. Outdoors they are often found in wood piles, palm trees, flower planters, water oaks, and vacant buildings. Indoors they seek warm, humid areas without air circulation, such as garages, crawl spaces, and attics. Smokybrown cockroaches have also been found in northern states typically in greenhouses.


Silverfish are ½" long when fully grown. They are covered with silvery scales and are flattened. Silverfish are tropical insects that easily adapt to the structural environment. They live in warm locations in the structures, hide during the day, and red in tight cracks and crevices. They roam great distances looking for food. Once food is located they remain close until the supply is gone. They can be found throughout the structures from the basement to the individual floors to the attics to the shingles on the roof. Outdoors, they can be found in mulch, and under siding, roof shingles, particularly cedar shakes. They feed on books, cloth, glues, pastes found on wallpaper, labels, dried meats, or dead insects.

Red Back Jumping Spider

Adult Red Jumping spiders can be up to ¾" long. They are hairy with a red back, black body, and black legs. Red jumping spiders are one of the most common jumping spiders encountered in North America. Red jumping spider bites are not fatal, but will cause swelling and pain around the area for several days. They are not considered dangerous to humans because their venom is not as toxic as other spiders. They are sight hunters who come out during the day and stay in their nests at night. Red jumping spiders build tubular, silky nests beneath debris, woods, or anywhere undisturbed on the ground. They eat invertebrates such as moths, flies, and caterpillars. They also eat spiders, mostly larger females eating male spiders.

Pill Bug

Pillbugs are ¼" to 5/8" long. They are dark gray in color. Pillbugs are usually found in moist places where they can feed on organic matter. They are usually found outdoors under stones, piles of plant material, and boards. They invade crawl spaces and basements and other parts of structures that have higher than normal moisture. They cause not damage, but are a nuisance. They only active at night, unless disturbed.

Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh ants are very small workers are about 1/16" long. They range from yellow to light brown in color. These ants do not swarm. They are major problems in homes and institutions, such as hospitals, hotels, and apartment complexes. Pharaoh ants nest in warm, hard to reach locations in walls, subfloor areas, wall sockets, attics, cracks, crevices, behind baseboards, and furniture.

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Male Pennsylvania wood cockroaches are 7/8" to 1 ¼" long and females are ½" to ¾" long when mature. They are chestnut brown in color. The pronotum or shield like segment behind the head is edged in creamy white. Adult males are strong fliers. They are attracted to lights, gaining entry to structures through cracks and gaps near the light source. Females cannot fly and do not congregate around light but can crawl into structures through exterior openings. Wood cockroaches are more of a problem in structures located in woods. These cockroaches do not survive within structures. The occasional wood cockroach found within a structure can be removed with a

Pavement Ant

Pavement ants are 1/16"-1/8" long with a dark body and lighter colored legs. They are easily identified by the narrow, parallel grooves on their heads and thoraxes. Indoor swarmers emerge anytime, while outdoor swarmers emerge in June and July. Pavements ants are commonly found in metropolitan areas. They nest outdoors under flat stones, under sidewalks, along curbing, and under concrete slabs. They invade structures in search of food and nest in walls, insulation, floors, and near heat sources during winter. Although they are not particularly aggressive, workers can bite and sting.

Oriental Cockroach

Male oriental cockroaches are 1" long and females are 1 ¼" long when mature. They are red-brown to black in color. Oriental cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant in sewers and commercial facilities. Indoors they can be abundant in damp secluded places such as crawl spaces, water meter boxes, basements, and drains. Outdoors, even in cold weather, they are found in planters, stones, ground cover, and other debris. Oriental cockroaches produce a very characteristic pungent odor.

Orb Spider

Orb spiders are 5mm long, up to 50mm including legs. They are gray to brown with banded legs. They are very common around homes, in gardens, fields, and outbuildings. They are hidden by day and found in their webs at night. Their webs are spiral wheel shaped, hence their name.

Odorous House Ant

Odorous house ant workers are brown to black and 1/16"-1/8" long. The best identifying characteristic of these ants is the "rancid butter" smell these ants produce when crushed. These ants swarm to mate from early May through mid-July. Odorous house ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, and in nests of larger ants. Indoors they nest in wall or floor voids and around heat sources such as hot water pipes, heaters, and crevices around sinks and cabinets. They travel in trails and prefer sweets, but will eat almost any household foods. They usually invade structures during rainy periods and after honeydew on plants have washed off.


Millipedes are 5/8" to 4" in length. Most are black or brown, but some species are red or orange. They are found outdoors where there is moisture and decaying organic matter such as grass clippings, trash, mulch, leaf litter, etc. They can build up very large populations in compost heaps. Millipedes invade homes and other structures when standing water in their natural habitat forces them out. They usually die within a few days of entering structures unless there is a source of food or high moisture supply. Millipedes are active at night. Most species have a foul smelling fluid that comes out the side of their bodies as is toxic to some insects and small animals. This fluid substance can cause blisters on the human skin.

Lyticd Powderpost Beetle

Lyticd powderpost beetles are 1/32" -1/4" long. They are red-brown to brown or black in color. Lyticd powderpost beetles infest sapwood of seasoned hardwoods including oak, hickory, ash, bamboo, and mahogany. They never deposit eggs on waxed, polished, varnished, painted surfaces. If any of these types of finishes are infested they were infested before they were finished. They can re-infest the same piece of wood until it is the consistency of fac

Little Black Ant

Little Black Ant workers are 1/16" long. They are jet black in color. The winged reproductives typically swarm in the late spring or early fall. Little Black Ants nest beneath stones, in lawns, and in areas that lack vegetation. Their nests are easily located because they form small craters of fine soil at their entrances. These ants also nest in rotting wood and behind the woodwork or masonry of structures. Indoors they can be found under the edge of carpeting, in old termite galleries, and in wall voids.

Lady Bug

Lady bugs are 1/16" to ¼" long. Most are red, brown, or tan with black spots. A few are black with red spots. They are brightly colored. Lady bugs are beneficial because the larvae and adults eat a variety of outdoor ornamental pests. In the fall the adults seek protected areas, preferring areas beneath rocks, bark, leaves, and landscape timbers. Adults are attracted to light and often seen in light fixtures and window sills. Lady bugs enter structures from wall voids, voids between the floors, and soffit and ridge vents.

House Spider

The female house spider is 3/16" to 5/16" long. The males are smaller and only 1/8" to 3/16" long. They are yellow-brown with a dirty-white abdomen. House spiders randomly select web sites. They survive better in high humidity such as garages, barns, sheds, warehouses, etc. Indoors webs are constructed under furniture, in upper corners, around window and door frames, basements, garages, can crawl spaces. Outdoors, webs are built around near lights, under eaves, and around window and door frames. House spiders feed on a variety of insects but especially flies.

House Cricket

House crickets are ¾" to 7/8" long. They are yellow-brown in color with three dark bands across the top of the head. House crickets are rarely a major problem in structures. They prefer to live outdoors during warm weather. They move indoor to find moisture and when it gets colder. They can eat large holes in clothing and fabrics. The males make an annoying chirping noise when they rub their wings together. House crickets are active at night, hiding in dark warm places during the day.

Ground Beetle

Ground beetles vary from 1/16" to 1 ½" long. They constitute a very large family of common black, brown, yellow, green or bronze, long-legged beetles. They are found under stones, boards, and similar places. They feed on other insects are regarded as being mostly 

Grass Spider

Grass spiders can be up to 19mm long. They are brown to black in color with two dark bands running down either side of the cephalothorax. Grass spiders make flat, dense webs with an off center funnel leading to one edge. The webs can be located in heavy brush or on the ground, in grass, crevices of buildings, fences, or low-lying foliage. Grass spiders do not have sticky webs, but can run very rapidly to catch their prey.

Golden Garden Spider

Golden garden spiders are quite large with the body measuring approximately ½" long, not including the legs. They are black, yellow and silvery white in color. They are most often seen in gardens, bushes, and flowerbeds. Golden garden spiders make a unique zigzag pattern with their webs. Golden garden spiders are beneficial creatures, mild tempered, and are not poisonous.

German Cockroach

German cockroaches are ½" to 5/8" long when they are mature. They are light brown to tan and have fully developed wings. The pronotum or shield like segment behind the head has two dark parallel bars on it. German cockroaches are most common household insect within the United States. This pest typically infests kitchens and bathrooms but will live anywhere inside heated structures in which there is food, water, and harborage. They are rarely found outdoors. They get inside structures via cardboard boxes, grocery bags, drink cartons, and infested equipment. German cockroaches feed on all types of human food as well as pet food, toothpaste, soap, glue, etc. They are active at night, leaving their harborage to find food and water. They hide in secluded harborage areas such as under cupboards, behind cabinets, in wall void, and around motor housings in appliances.

Field Cricket

Field crickets range from ½" to 1 1/8" long. They are usually black but can also be brown or straw-colored. Field crickets can be important agricultural pest. They can become household problems in the late summer when they move out of the fields and into structures. They can damage rugs, clothing, and furniture. They are unable to survive indoors for very long and usually die off by winter. The males make an annoying chirping noise when they rub their wings together. Field crickets are active at night, hiding in dark warm places during the day. They are also attracted to lights.


Earwigs are ¼" to 1" long. They are dark brown to black, with a red head and pale yellow-brown legs. The body is long and flattened. Earwigs usually live outdoors and feed on plant material. They are active at night, hiding during the day under stones and other objects. They invade structures usually in the fall or at night. Indoors they are usually found in cracks and crevices under furniture and carpeting. They have a foul odor when crushed.

Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Longlegs bodies are approximately 5/16" but their legs can reach up to 6" long. They are brown in color. They have a globular body and thread-like legs, making them easy to identify. They are especially common in the fall. They feed on dead insects and moist dog food. They pose no threat to humans or animals.

Crazy Ant

Crazy ant workers are light brown to black with a gray sheen. They are 1/16" -1/8" long. The distinguishing characteristics of this species are their extremely long legs and the first segment of the antenna which is twice as long as the head. The tip of the abdomen has a circle of tiny hairs. Crazy ants often nest outdoors in soil under objects such as trash, refuse, mulch and stones, and in potted plants and cavities in trees and plants. In structures they nest in wall and floor voids, especially near hot water pipes and heaters. They frequently enter structures in the fall or after the rain.

Clover Mite

Clover mites are 1/64" long. They are brown to olive-green in color. Their body shape is similar to ticks. They are easily distinguished from other mites by their very long front legs. Clover mites are plant feeders. They increase to a very large population around structures surrounded with well-fertilized lawns and shrubbery. They move into buildings in very large numbers in the fall when vegetation begins to die. Large populations of clover mites occur on flat roofs of commercial buildings and are associated with moss growth. They are harmless but a great annoyance to occupants. When crushed they leave a red stain.


Centipedes are 1/8" to 6" long. They are yellowish to dark brown, usually with dark markings. The house centipede is grey-yellow with three stripes down the back and has very long legs banded with white. The largest centipedes are found in the Southwest. Centipedes live in moist environments. The can live indoors and damp basements, bathrooms, closets, decaying firewood, objects on the ground, etc. Most centipedes are active at night. The first pair of legs has poison glands which are used to kill prey. Centipedes can bite humans, but the bite is usually no worse than a bee sting.

Cave Cricket

Adult cave crickets are 3/16" long. They are light brown, blotched with black in color. It is not a true cricket. It is a long-horned, humpbacked, cricket-like grasshopper. They are found near tops of wells, entrances of man-made or natural caves, and cisterns. They are carnivorous and nocturnal.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States, ranging from 1/8" - ½" long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers are commonly black, however some species are red and black, solid red, or brown in color. Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in wood. They commonly excavate galleries or tunnels in rotting or sound trees. In structures they readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities. The workers push wood shavings and pieces of foam insulation out of the nest through slit-like openings in the surface of the wood or other nesting site material. This material, which may contain fragments of other insects, and structural moisture problems are things to look for when trying to locate a colony in an infested structure. Rustling sounds in wall voids are another indication that there is a colony in the area.

Camel Cricket

Camel crickets are 1" long. They are blackish-brown in color. They belong to a group of cricket-like grasshoppers. They hide under hale bales where they eat other insects. They remain hidden during the day and are active at night.

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown recluse spiders are between ¼" to ½" long. They are brown in color with a black "violin" shaped marking on the dorsum of the cephalothorax. It is one of two Kansas spiders that can inflict a serious bite. The bite is not deadly, but can ulcerate the tissue around the affected area which will require one to see a physician. Brown recluse spiders build their webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, beds, garages, plenum, cellars and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed. In structures they can be found in cardboard shoes, inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds, in stacks of clothes, behind baseboards, behind pictures and near furnaces. Unlike most web weavers, they leave these webs at night to hunt. Males will move around more when hunting, while the female spiders tend to remain nearer to their webs. They can also be seen climbing up the sides of walls.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

Brown-banded cockroaches are about ½" longs when mature. They are light- brown to brown and have two light yellow-brown bands running across their bodies, hence their name. The pronotum, or shield like segment by the head, has a dark brown area which is shaped like a liberty bell. Females are darken in color and broader than males. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer a warmer and drier environment. They are found throughout structures, preferring hiding places up off the floor such as crown molding, pictures, closets, furniture, appliances, computers, and telephones.

Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bugs are ½" long. They are brown-black with three red stripes on the thorax and red veins on the wings. They are found throughout the United States east of Nevada. Boxelder bugs feed on leaves, twigs, and seeds of the female boxelder trees. They also feed on maple, ash, and young fruit apples, plums, and grapes. They begin to migrate into fall where they congregate on the south side of structures, trees, rocks, and areas warmed by the sun. When inside your home their droppings stain drapes, curtains, and furniture. If handled they can bite, and when crushed they emit a strong odor.

Black Widow

The female black widow spider is ½" long. The males are much smaller at ¼" long. They are glossy black in color with two triangular red spots on the underside of the abdomen that look like an hourglass. Black widows are shy and prefer to build their webs in dry protected locations. Outdoors they can be found among rocks, woodpiles, under decks, beneath benches, and in hollow stumps. In structures they prefer basements, crawlspaces, and garages. Their webs are irregular in shape and approximately one foot in diameter. The web is used to trap the insect prey then they paralyze their prey with their venom. Females often eat males after they mate, thus giving them their name. Females product a neurotoxin and bite if disturbed or handled roughly. Several deaths a year are attributed to black widow spider bites as a result of anaphylactic reactions. In most cases, the bite is not worse than a wasp sting.

Big Headed Ant

Big headed worker ants are 1/16"- 1/8" long. They are reddish brown in color. They can be identified by the major workers which are larger than the workers and have exceptionally large heads in proportion to their bodies. They primarily lives outdoors and only occasionally invade structures. They commonly nest in the soil around structures. In the home they feed on meats, grease, liver, fruit juices and peanut butter. They may prefer high pr

Argentine Ant

Argentine ant workers are 1/16" long and light to dark brown. The queens are 1/8" to ¼" long, are brown, and covered with fine hair. Males are slightly smaller and are shiny brown-black. They are located in moist areas near a food source and typically live outdoors. Swarmers are rarely seen because mating occurs inside the nest. They attack, destroy, and eat other household pests such as cockroaches.

Asian Lady Bug

Asian lady bugs are ¼" long. They are multi-colored, varying from red to yellow. When spots are present there are usually 9 on each wing cover. Asian lady bugs are tree dwellers. They were introduced to the United States from 1977 to 1981 by the United States Department of Agriculture to control scale and aphid pests.

Anobiid Powderpost Beetle

Anobiid Powderpost beetles are 1/32"- 3/8" long. They are dirty white in color. Anobiid Powderpost Beetles attack seasoned wood in the United States. They are called powderpost beetles because of the fact that the larvae feed on wood and if given enough time can reduce the wood to a mass of fine powder. The Anobiidae family is the only one that can digest the cellulose in the wood.

American Cockroach

American cockroaches are 1 3/8" to 2 1/8" long when mature. They are red-brown in color and are characterized by fully-developed wings that completely cover the abdomen. The pronotum, or shield like segment behind the head, has a dirty yellow band around its edge. American Cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant in sewers and commercial facilities such as grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, office buildings, and apartment buildings. They prefer to inhabit warm, damp locations. They are strong fliers and easily migrate from building to building. In the summer large numbers accumulate in outdoor locations such as dumps, alleys, and yards. In the fall they migrate into surrounding structures. Cockroaches are often brought into and moved between facilities via equipment and storage boxes.

Acrobat Ant

They are light brown to black in color and 1/16" - 1/8" long. The top of the thorax has one pair of spines, and the petiole has two segments. When viewed from above the abdomen appears to be heart shaped. Acrobat ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, firewood, in trees, and conditions similar to carpenter ants. In structures they nest in wall and floor voids foam insulation, and other conditions similar to carpenter ants. Acrobat ants travel in trails. Swarmers have been observed in nests or swarming mid June through late September.


Stable Fly

The Stable fly is ¼" to 3/8" long. It is light gray and similar in appearance to the house fly. The stable fly has four dark stripes on the back of the thorax with a light colored spot between the two center stripes. The female Stable fly lays her eggs on rotting, fermenting, organic matter including wet hay and straw, accumulated grass clippings, seaweed, manure/straw mixtures, and cannery wastes. It is seldom a pest in houses, but is becoming more of a problem because new homes are being built in former agricultural areas. The adults use its piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on the blood of livestock, pets and humans. It usually feeds on the lower part of the human body around the ankles. Its bite is very painful.

Praying Mantis

Praying mantises are 2/5" up to 6" long. They are typically pea green or brown in color, but can range from light green to pink. Praying mantises name comes from their typical "prayer like" stance. Praying mantises are predatory insects. They are masters of camouflage and use their protective coloration to blend in with foliage or substrate. Praying mantids are the only insect that can turn from side to side in a full 180-degree angle. Their eyes are sensitive to the slightest movement up to 60 feet away. Praying mantises are carnivorous and eat things such as butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, small tree frongs, lizards, mice, and hummingbirds. Praying mantids can resemble flowers and can catch small, unknowing hummingbirds. Praying mantids also eat other nesting birds.

Moth Fly

Moth flies are 1/10" long. They have a dark gray body and lighter colored wings. They wings and body are covered with long hairs which give it a fuzzy or hairy appearance. Moth flies are often found on windows, sinks, and walls. The source of fly infestations are generally sinks, floor drains, or nearby sewage plants or waste disposal areas. They feed on flower nectar and polluted water. They are weak fliers and make irregular, hesitating flights covering only a few feet in short, jerky lines

House Fly

House flies are 1/8" -1/4" long. They are dull gray with four dark stripes on the back of the thorax. The adult flies may migrate to unifested areas up to 20 miles away, but most stay within one or two miles of the breeding site. Adult house flies feed on foods ranging from excrement to human food. They feed on liquids but can eat some solid foods by liquefying it with regurgitated digestive tract fluids. During the day house flies rest less than five feet above ground and at night they rest above five feet. House flies have been associated with many filth related diseases and are a significant health concern.

Horse Fly

Horse flies are one of the largest of the fly species. They are ¾" to over 1" long. Smaller species of horse flies are brown, black or gray, and often have brilliant green eyes; larger species are brown to black and may be slightly striped. Adult horse flies feed on nectar and pollen. They feed on the blood of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, dogs, deer, other warm-blooded animals, and even humans. Their bite is extremely painful. Horse flies have mandibles which they use to rip or slice flesh apart; they may even carve a chunk completely out of the victim. The bites are extremely itchy, sometimes causing large swelling if not treated quickly. Horse flies are able to be through thin footwear or light sweaters.

Green Bottle Fly

Green bottle flies are 10-14 millimeters long. They are metallic blue/green, or golden with black markings. The maggots of this fly consume dead tissue while leaving live tissue intact, and have been used in maggot therapy, primarily during the years before the widespread use of antibiotics and medicines. They have been used in modern times for maggot therapy as well due to medical literature documenting their effectiveness.

Fungus Gnat

Fungus gnats are very small flies that are 1/32" to 7/16" long. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish. The dark winged fungus gnat has smoke colored wings, and the other fungus gnats have spots on their wings. The gnats breed in various settings such as rotting wood, animal waste, under bark, in over-watered plants, and atriums. Accumulations of old mulch around buildings provide and ideal habitat. These gnats are small enough to pass through structural screening. Adults are more active at dusk and are usually found near the breeding site. During the day they seek out dark moist places to rest. They are attracted to light and are often seen at windows.

Fruit Fly

Adult fruit flies are 1/8" long. They are dull yellow -brown to dark brown. Some species have distinct red eyes, and the wings have two "breaks" in the leading edge nearest the body. Fruit flies are common structural pests frequently associated with fermenting fruit and vegetables. They easily develop in over-ripe fruits or other foods, fermenting liquids in garbage cans, a dirty mop, or rotting potato or onions. Recycling bins and fruit and salad bars are ideal habitats and have resulted in increased problems with this pest fly.


Fireflies are commonly called lightening bugs because of their flashes of light. They flash their light in the early evening during the summer.

Eye Gnat

Adult eye gnats are 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters in length. They are attracted to blood, mucus, and other secretions of people and animals. They can transmit disease such as pink eye. They breed in animal droppings and decaying vegetation.

Eastern Firefly

Eastern fireflies are 7/16" to 9/16" long. The head is reddish yellow with a black spot in the center. Their wing covers are brownish-black and have a narrow yellowish border entire around them except in the front. The luminous part of the abdomen is light yellow. The eastern firefly is the most common of the firefly species.

Drain Fly

Drain flies are very small flies about 1/16" to ¼" long. They are yellowish, brownish-gray, or blackish. In structures drain flies breed in the liquids found in drains, dirty garbage containers, and septic tanks. Adult flies are poor fliers and are found in great numbers on walls or flying weakly in the area where they developed. Adults are more active at night are seen hovering near the breeding site. During the day they rest on vertical surfaces indoors and protected areas outside.

Cluster fly

Cluster flies are close relative to blow flies and are similar in size to house flies at 3/8". They are nonmetallic gray, and have yellow or golden hairs on the back, behind the head, and around the base of the wings. Cluster flies enter structures in early fall to seek shelter from cooling temperatures, then a cluster of adult flies accumulate in wall voids, under shelving, beneath curtains, and other protected areas. On warm days in winter and spring they become active and crawl over walls or windows. When the weather is warm the cluster flies emerge from their hiding places and either exit the building or enter interior areas. They are stimulated by warmth and are often found on the south and west sides of buildings.


Cicadas are 1" to 1 ½" long, including wings. They are green marked with black and brown patches on each side of the pronotum. Male cicadas sing with a shrill, loud buzzing noise to attract females. Females are silent. Male cicadas sing by vibrating membranes on the underside of the first abdominal segment. Male cicadas are also capable of making a loud squawk when disturbed. It is believed that such squawking may be effective in deterring predators.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bees are ½" to 1" long. They are shiny black in color. Males have a bright yellow spot in the middle of the head and lack stingers, while females can sting. Carpenter bees bore holes into wood to create a tunnel. They are not social therefore they do not live in nests or colonies. The entry hole they make is wood is 3/8" - ½" in diameter and about 6" long. Over time it can extend to more than ten feet. Entry holes are usually located in well-lit sheltered areas such as roof eves, porch ceilings, fascia boards, doors, window sills, and decks. They prefer soft woods for nest building.


Blow flies range in size from ¼" for the black blow fly to more than ½" for the blue blow fly. They have a metallic blue, green, or yellow-brown sheen on their stout bodies. They are very active and usually are seen buzzing at windows. They are not usually a significant problem in structures but can be quite annoying because of their persistent buzzing. These flies are typically found developing in the decaying bodies of rodents, and other animals that have been killed or have dies inside attics, wall voids, or chimney structures. There are major health concerns associated with these flies because of their ability to transmit diseases and cause human and animal myiasis, infestation of living or dead tissue by fly larvae.

Stored Pests

Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

Saw-Toothed grain beetles are 1/8" long. They are dark brown in color. Saw-Toothed grain beetles feed on wide variety of stored products such as flour, bread, cereals, macaroni, nuts, dried meats, dog food, biscuits, etc. These beetles are very flat and easily hide in cracks and crevices. They can develop very large populations in seldom used stored materials. The homeowner usually becomes aware of an infestation when the beetles are seen crawling about the pantry area.

Rice Weevil

Rice weevils are 1/8" long. They are dull red-brown and have four faint red or yellow spots on their wing covers. Rice weevils are a more common problem in southern states, but are found worldwide. They are primarily stored grain pests, infesting only whole grains. Adult rice weevils are strong fliers, and often fly from stored grain to fields of corn, rice, and wheat where they infest the grain before harvest and later in storage.

Red Confused Beetle

Red and confused flour beetles are 1/8" long. They are red-brown in color. Red and confused flour beetles feed on flour. They are found abundant in grain dust, flour, dried fruit, nut, chocolate, snuff, spices, rodent baits, and drugs. Flour that is infested with flour beetles has a bad odor and flavor caused by secretions from the insect's scent gland. Only the red flour beetle is known to fly. Both the red and confused flour beetle are attracted to light.

Indian Meal Moth

Indian meal moths are ½” long. They are dirty white, pink, brown, or light green. Indian meal moths are the most common stored product pests found in homes, food processing plants, grain storage, and processing facilities. They prefer to feed on coarsely ground flour and meal but also feed on whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, beans, crackers, biscuits, dry dog food, bird seed, and red peppers. The larvae produce silk webbing over the surface of the materials upon which they are feeding. The webbing contains large amounts of their feces. The larvae move into the cracks or crevices in the food material then the mature larvae moves away from the infested material to pupate in cracks and crevices. This is usually when they are discovered by homeowners.

Granary Weevil

Granary weevils are 1/8" to ¼" long. They are polished red-brown to black in color. They are considered to be one of the primary stored product pests because they infest only whole kernels of grain. They cannot fly, and are found mostly in grain storage facilities.

Flat Grain Beetle

Flat grain beetles are 1/16" long. They are reddish-brown in color. They are one of the smallest beetles commonly found in grain and they also infest stored products such as rice, dried fruits, and seeds.

Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore beetles are 1/16" to 1/8" long. They are light brown to red-brown in color. Drugstore beetles feed on all types of spices and foods. They also feed on leather, hair, wool, books, and drugs. They easily penetrate packaging materials. Adults can fly and are attracted to light.

Cigarette Beetle

Cigarette beetles are 1/16" to 1/8" long. They are light brown in color. Cigarette beetles feed on stored tobacco. They can also feed on all types of spices, books, upholstered furniture, dried fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and insecticides such as pyrethrum powder. The most common items that cigarette beetles feed on in homes are dog food and paprika. They can easily penetrate packaging materials. They enter homes through open windows and doors and are found along window sills.

Black Carpet Beetle

Black carpet beetles are 1/8" - 3/16" long. They are shiny black with brownish legs. They feed on animal and plant substances, stored food products, dead insects, fabrics, etc. The larvae cause damage crawling from room to room and living behind baseboards and molding, heating system air ducts, dresser drawers, carpets, clothing and furniture. Adult beetles fly readily in May and June. They are attracted to night-lights and may enter a building through open windows or doors. Some may be brought in accidentally on cut flowers or in furniture that has been in storage or sent out for repair. Feeding damage often occurs under heavy furniture or pianos and at carpet edges.

Wood Destroying

Red Headed Carpenter Ant

The red carpenter ant lives in hallow trees and tree limbs. It is ¼" to ½" long. It is smaller than the black carpenter ant and it more likely to be found in woodland rather than

Subterranean Termite

Subterranean termites are 1/4 to 3/8 inch long Termites are social insects who live in large colonies. There are three castes: reproductives, workers, and soldiers. Reproductives are black to pale yellow-brown, workers are white to creamy white, and soldiers are white to creamy white with brownish heads. Subterranean termite colonies are usually located in the soils wherever the workers build mud tubes to structural wood where they feed. They are always connected to the soil and/or close to a moisture source. The workers prefer to feed on fungus infected wood but will also feed on undamaged wood. Termite swarmers usually appear in the spring. Swarms usually occur in the morning after a warm rain. The presence of swarmers is a sign that a well-established colony is in the house and the immediate vicinity. Other evidence is wood damage and the presence of mud tubes. Subterranean termites are the most destructive insect pests of wood in the United States causing over two billion dollars in damage each year.

Old House Borer