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Pest Library

American Dog Tick:

(Length: 1/8" to 3/16")

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.

Bald Face Hornet:

(Length: 5/8" to ")

Bald faced hornets are 5/8" to " 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.

Black/Yellow Mud Dauber:

(Length: 7/8")

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.

Bed Bug:

(Length: 3/16" )

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.

Bumble Bee:

(Length: 5/16" to 1 1/8")

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 Killer:

(Length: 1")

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

(1/16"- ")

Fire ant workers vary in size ranging from 1/16"- " 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.


(Length: 1/8")

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:

(Length: 1/2" to 5/8")

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 " 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:

(Length: 1/8" to 6")

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.

Paper Nest Wasp:

(Length: " to 1")

Paper nest wasps are " 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.


(Length: 2" to 4")

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.

Steel Blue Cricket:

(Length: 1")

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


(Length: 1/16" to 1/8")

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:

(Length: " to ")

Yellow jackets are " to " 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.