Smoky Brown Cockroach
The smoky brown cockroach gets its name from its uniformly shining brownish black to dark mahogany color. They are 1 to 1 ½ inches long. These roaches require moisture so they are typically found near water sources, most commonly outside around flower beds or other areas of excess moisture.
The oriental cockroach is a very dark brown to black color and up to 1 ¼ inches long. These are commonly referred to as "waterbugs". These roaches prefer dark and moist areas for harborage.
The American cockroach is also called a "waterbug" or "Palmettobug". These roaches are a reddish-brown color and are 1 ½ inches or longer. They do have wings, but rarely fly. Their preferred diet is decaying organic matter or sweet foods. They tend to move inside when temperatures drop, entering through pipes, cracks, and crevices. They are generally found in the house near bathtubs or plumbing.
Brown Banded Cockroach
Brown Banded cockroaches are light brown and about ½ inch long. Their preferred diet is starchy items such as book bindings, but they will feed on other materials. Inside of a home or structure, they are most commonly found in furniture or on the walls and ceilings.
The German cockroach is the most common and the most difficult to control. They are light brown in color and 1/2 to 1-inch long. German roaches carry diseases which can cause health issues for humans. In an infested structure, these pests are typically found in the kitchen or other areas where moisture or food can be found. Sanitation along with regular pest management services are vital to control this pest.
Lyctid or Powderpost Beetle
Powderpost Beetles are a wood destroying organism that feed on the sugar, starch, and protein found in wood. These beetles will be attracted to wood with high moisture content, so a low moisture environment in areas such as crawl spaces is ideal to avoid a powderpost beetle infestation. While you will likely never see the beetle itself, the damage can be identified by the small round holes they create in infested wood along with the frass they leave behind.
Old House Borer
The old house borer has a long, thin antenna, is 5/8 to 1 inch long with a flat body and is brownish black in color. They are a wood destroying organism which create an oval shaped exit hole in wood when feeding. These beetles are only found in softwoods such as pine, fir, spruce, and hemlock.
Ladybugs are known for their oval shape and yellow-orange to red-orange color with dark spots. They can be beneficial insects to have in your garden, but they can certainly be a nuisance when seeking shelter. They typically search for harborage areas inside during fall months. Other than being a nuisance, ladybugs do not pose any threat as they do not feed on or damage anything in the home, sting, or breed indoors.
Springtails are about 1/16-inch long and are white or gray in color. A forked appendage that moves suddenly causes them to jump. They are attracted to moisture and will most commonly be found in areas such as bathtubs, hot tubs, and around drains. They feed on decaying organic matter, but do not cause damage to a structure.
Earwigs are most easily identified by their forceps. They are dark red-brown in color with light brown legs and are around 5/8-inch long. They are nocturnal and will seek harborage areas under organic matter during the day.
House mice are not only a nuisance; they can damage or destroy materials by gnawing, contaminate stored food, and carry diseases which are harmful to humans. The house mouse is only 1-2 inches long and is a brown-gray color. The tail is as long as the rest of their body. Mice seek shelter inside homes and structures when temperatures drop. They may nest near food sources, in closets, cabinets, walls, large appliances, etc.
The Norway rat is large, reddish-brown in color, and typically weighs 12 to 16 ounces. They live in groups, most often seeking shelter underground. Nests inside would most commonly be found in lower floors or basement areas. As with most rat species, they carry diseases which can be transmitted through physical contact, bites, or fleas.
The roof rat typically weighs between 5 and 9 ounces, is black in color with a pointed snout and long ears. They are good climbers and prefer to live in high places, such as roofs, attics, or trees. Their preferred diet is fruit and nuts although they will consume a variety of organic matter. As with most rat species, they carry diseases which can be transmitted through physical contact, bites, or fleas.
House centipedes are gray-yellow with three stripes. They have elongated bodies and an average of 35 pairs of legs. The house centipede is 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They prefer moist areas such as basements, closets, or bathrooms.
Scorpions can be identified by their pinchers and segmented tail. The venomous stinger is used to paralyze and kill insects and spiders. If they were to sting a human, however, most species only cause pain compared to that of a wasp sting. If the person is allergic to scorpion venom the results could be more painful or life-threatening.
Formosan termites are white to brown in color and 1/2 inch in length. A sign of a Formosan termite infestation is damaged wood that sounds hollow. This species is the most aggressive of the termites, causing damage to wood, flooring, and even wallpaper.
Eastern Subterranean Termite
Eastern Subterranean Termites are the most common in our region and cause more damage per capita than any other species. They are white to brown in color and are 1/8 inch long with a broad waist and straight antenna. The best prevention methods are reducing moisture content in the crawl space area, storing firewood at least 20 feet from the home, keeping mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation, and having proper ventilation.
Drywood termites are white to light brown in color and are 3/8 to 1 inch long. This type of termite lives in wood which has a very low moisture content (12% or less). Although it is not the most common type of termite found infesting homes in our region, it can be transported into homes via infested furniture, picture frames, etc. The best method of prevention is to store all firewood or scrap wood at least 20 feet from the home.
Fire ants are reddish brown in color and 1/8 to 3/8 inches in length with oval body segments. They build mound nests in soil near homes or structures and will sting humans. The sting is painful for anyone, but can be more severe for those who are allergic.
Carpenter ants are usually red or black and 5/8 inch long. They carve smooth tunnels into wood in order to build their nests. They prefer wet or damaged wood.
Argentine Ants are shiny dark brown to black in color and are 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length. They feed on sweets but will eat almost anything. They are attracted to areas of moisture. They will build nests under plants, boards, or stones outside or may seek shelter when conditions are less ideal outside.
Acrobat ants are light brown to black in color and are 1/8 inch in length. These ants will trail on wires and will forage up to 100 feet away from their nest for food or other resources. As with most ant species, they prefer to nest in areas of moisture.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous House Ants are brown to black in floor and are 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. They get their name from the rotten coconut-like odor they give off when crushed. These ants nest near areas of moisture and are known to move their nests in response to rain. They may also nest inside near hot water heaters, pipes, or in termite-damaged wood.
Boxelder bugs often are found on and around boxelder trees, hence their name. They feed on leaves, flowers, and seeds. While boxelder bugs do not bite, they do have piercing sucking mouthparts that can puncture skin and cause irritation similar to that of a mosquito bite.
Mosquitoes are 1/8 to 3/8 inches long and gray to black in color. Female mosquitoes bite humans and feed on blood in order to lay fertile eggs. Male and female mosquitoes also feed on nectar from flowers. Mosquitoes pose a threat to public health due to the diseases they can carry such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, eastern equine encephalitis, and dengue fever.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders are tan to dark brown in color and are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. They have a violin shaped marking on the dorsum. Although they are most commonly found outside, they may nest inside in undisturbed areas such as closets, attics, crawl spaces, or basements. A brown recluse bite is typically not felt at the time of the bite, but will cause stinging followed by pain and a blister. More severe symptoms such as fever and difficulty sleeping can also occur.
The cellar spider is most commonly known as "granddaddy-long-legs" due to their small body and very long thing legs. They are typically found in dark, damp places like basement areas. They do not pose a threat because their mouthparts are too weak to inject venom.
Black Widow Spider
Black widow spiders are around 1 1/2 inches long and black in color with a red hourglass shape on their back. They prefer warmer temperatures are most often found in cluttered spaces like barns, basements, or garages. Female black widows can be aggressive and will bite, especially if they are guarding eggs. Symptoms of a bite include fever, sweating, and nausea.
The house spider is the most common spider found indoors. It is yellow-brown with dark stripes and is less than an inch in length. They feed on insects and thrive in areas such as garages, sheds, or barns. These nuisance pests pose no threat to humans.
The wolf spider is dark brown in color and 3/8 to 3/4 inches in size. Unlike most other spiders, the wolf spider does not capture prey in a web, but are able to chase prey by running. Although they look intimidating, wolf spider bites are extremely rare.
American Dog Tick
The American dog tick is brown in color and are oval shaped. They are typically 3/16 to 5/8 inches long. They prefer to feed on dogs but can be transferred to humans. They are carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The best prevention method is to wear long sleeved clothing and use tick repellent when outside in grassy areas.
Fleas are dark red-brown in color and are 1/12 to 1/16-inch long. They will feed on any warm-blooded body, typically dogs, cats, or humans. They may also infest wildlife animals such as raccoons, skunks, or opossums. They can carry diseases and cause allergies in pets. Frequent vacuuming and lawn maintenance can help deter this pest.
Indian Meal Moth
Indian meal moths are known for feeding on corn meal, but will also feed on dried fruits, seeds, nuts, sweets, bird seed, dog food, etc. They have red-brown coloring on the outer part of their wings and are up to 5/8-inch long. Their main threat is contaminating infested food products.
Paper wasps are brown with yellow or red markings and are 5/8 to 3/4 inches long. They typically hang their nests from trees, shrubbery, porches, or other railings. They are not aggressive, but will sting if disturbed.
Carpenter bees can be yellow or black and often do not have stripes typically associated with bees. They are 1/4 to 1 inch long. Female carpenter bees bore holes into soft wood where they lay eggs. The larvae stay in these galleries until they have developed. Male carpenter bees have no stinger and although female bees do have a stinger, they rarely sting humans. They can however, pose a threat to property as they can cause serious damage to wood if left untreated.
The bald-faced hornet is black with a white pattern and is 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. These flying insects build nests three feet or more off the ground. They are aggressive and will sting if they perceive any threat. They can also sting multiple times.
Yellow jackets are black and yellow patterned and are 3/8 to 5/8 inch long. As with bald-faced hornets, they can sting multiple times and will sting if they perceive a threat to their territory. Their nests are typically in the ground or in higher areas such as eaves or attics.
Brown marmorated stink bugs are gray-brown in color and 3/4 inch long. They release an unpleasant odor when crushed or disturbed. They do pose a threat to crops, but otherwise are just a nuisance pest because of their tendency to invade homes in large numbers.
Bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown and adults are 1/4 inches long. While they can be very small, the common myth that bedbugs are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye is untrue. These pests are hitchhikers and can be transported from an infested source to feed on any warm-blooded animal, although the prefer humans. They typically hide in mattress seams, behind headboards, in upholstery, behind picture frames or electrical outlets, or in other cracks and crevices.