Pest Library

Common Pest Types

Nobody wants pests in their home. A lot of times it’s out of your control when these pests do arrive and make themselves comfortable. If you’re wondering what the common pest types are and what they do, we’ve created a list for you. Browse below to see if you find the pest that’s living in your home.

Termites crawling around in a group.


Bed Bug Removal

Bed Bugs

Bug Zero Pest Control Services


Brown spider crawling across floor.


Stinging Insects





Outdoor Pests

Rats, Mice, & Wildlife


Group of termites crawling in wood.


  • The most common termite is the Eastern Subterranean found across North America
  • Feeds on cellulose materials i.e. wood structures, paper, books, and cotton
  • Eastern Subterranean termite colonies can range from 20,000 to a whopping 5 million workers
  • Multiple colonies can be found within one home
  • The notable sign of termite damage is the presence of tube-like hollows within a home’s wooden structure
  • The peak season of termite infestation is in the spring, however, termites are active year-round
Life cycle of the bed bug from egg to adult.

Bed Bugs

  • Six legged insects around 1/4″ in size
  • Mahogany to rusty brown, red after a blood meal
  • Nocturnal, hiding in a wide range of places including baseboards, suitcases, and even shoes
  • Primary sustenance is warm-blooded animals, very much including humans
  • Although they do not transmit disease, their bites become itchy, red welts
  • Prevent bed bugs by vacuuming suitcases after a vacation
  • A telltale sign of bed bugs is blood spots on bed sheets
  • Bed bugs get their name because they like to live and feed in beds.

Bed bugs like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards, electrical switchplates, picture frames, even wall paper. They come out at night for a blood meal.

Bed bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices.

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation. Check your bedsheets for tell-tale blood spots. Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation.


Ant Types

Pavement Ant

Measure 2.5 to 4 millimeters long

Dark brown to blackish in color

Can contaminate food

Nest in or under cracks in pavement, or in structures


Pharaoh Ant

Measure 1/16″ in length

Body is pale, varying from yellowish to reddish, with a darker abdomen

Strongly implicated in the spread of various disease pathogens

Nest in warm, humid areas near sources of food and/or water

Nests are typically located in inaccessible areas like wall voids, behind baseboards, furniture, under floors, and between linens

Ants are winged and have stingers


Odorous House Ant

Tiny in size, ranging from 1/16″ to 1/8″ long

Identifiable by strong, rotten coconut smell given off when the ant is crushed

Can contaminate food

Nest in exposed soil and wall cracks


Carpenter ant closeup from the side.

Carpenter Ant

Ranging in size from 1/4″ for a worker up to 3/4″ for a queen

Black, sometimes red and black, in color

Rarely cause structural damage to buildings, but can cause significant damage over a period of years, and can also extensively damage foam insulation

Nest in live and dead trees, rotting logs, stumps, houses, telephone poles, and other wooden structures

Nests are commonly found in porch pillars and roofs, window sills, and wood that is in contact with the soil


Field Ant

Workers measure 1/8 inch” to 3/8″ in size

Brown, black, reddish, or a combination of these colors in appearance

Also commonly known as thatching ants

Can cause damage to masonry walls, concrete sidewalks, etc

Nest around small trees, shrubs, or rocks, or in cracks of sidewalks and along foundation walls



Common Types of Spiders

Black widow crawling across ground.

Black Widow Spider

Around 3/4″ in length with a signature red hourglass shape on its black

A misconception is that female Black Widow spiders after mating devour their male

Spin their webs near ground level, near protected areas like piles of wood

Their venom is a neurotoxin used for self-defense

Only bite a human out of self-defense

Young children and the elderly are susceptible to a severe reaction to their bite

Wear gloves when moving objects that this spider might have used as a home, and check shoes for the spiders


Brown Recluse Spider

Light to dark brown with characteristic dark brown violin marking on its back

5/8″ in length

Active at night; eat other bugs like cockroaches and crickets

Often live outdoors in debris and wood piles, but can also be found in indoor storage areas and dark recesses

Only bite humans in self-defense

Bites can cause open, ulcerating sores

Avoid keeping clothing on the floor, store clothing and shoes in plastic containers, and shake out all clothing from hampers before washing or wearing


Hobo Spider

Colloquially known as funnel web spiders

One of the few North America spiders whose bites are considered medically significant

Lives within a funnel-shaped structure of webbing for prey to blunder into their web

Although known for its aggressiveness, the spider avoids contact with humans

Bites cause considerable pain and can cause tissue death (necrosis) near the bite


Wolf Spider

Around 1 & 1/2″ in length and have a leg span of 3”

One visual identifier are the spider’s 4 small eyes of equal size with two larger eyes above

Commonly feared due to its appearance and large size

They do not build webs, and do not enter structures unless venturing after food

These spiders are active hunters throughout both day and night


Woodlouse Spider

Colored dark cinnamon with an elongated abdomen with long fangs

The spider’s name comes from its primary prey, the woodlouse, also known as sow bugs or rolly-polley

Six small eyes scrunched serve a rudimentary function that likely detects only light from dark

The bite is highly benign to humans and only causes minor pain from penetration

This species is rarely found in abundance


Cellar Spider

One of the most common spiders found throughout North America

Commonly mistaken as granddaddy-long-legs

A darkened pattern around the eyes resembling a violin causes misidentification with the brown recluse

Commonly found in basements or other darkened recesses of the home

One sign of these spiders is their disorganized webbing that they create


Common Types of Stinging Insects


Known for their black and yellow patterned abdomen

Length varies from 3/8″ to 5/8″, with queens being 25% larger

Found worldwide with about 16 species occuring in the United States

Social insects with colonies ranging in the thousands

Highly defensive of their colonies, often found on structures and vegetation

Their sting can be life-threatening to those sensitive to their toxin

Feeds on sweet materials, during fall can be aggressive while seeking food


Paper Wasp

Brown and black with a pair of orange to pale brown oval patches on their abdomen

Name is derived from the paper-like material of which they construct their nests

Usually unaggressive wasps that are a nuisance pests

Semi-social living within small colonies

Disturbance of their nest will likely lead to the individual being stung

Colonies often hang from the home exterior, i.e. porch ceilings, eaves, and deck floor joints

Honey Bee

Social insects that are important to the pollination of flowers and over 100 crops in the U.S

Produce honey which feeds their young in colder months

The only social insect whose colony can survive many years

Often build nests within trees, but occasionally build in attics or chimneys

Removal should be handled by professionals due to colony and nest size

Baldface Hornet

Baldfaced with largely black body and white face

Found throughout the United States

Fast, active predators of other insects

Build strong, round, gray nests that range from the size of a softball to a basketball

Nests are built in the open and can be found as high as 66 ft or even higher

The diameter of their nests can reach 24″ in length

Bumble Bee

Body is black with yellow stripes

A beneficial insect, as they pollinate crops and plants

Have stingers, and can sting more than once

Nests are typically in the ground, but can also be found around patios and decks or in attic soffits

Carpenter Bee

Look like typical Bumble Bees, but often lack yellow stripes

Can damage wood through their nest building

Prefer to bore through bare wood

Occasionally attacks stained or painted wood

Mud Dauber

Resembles the Wasp and has a dark abdomen

Their name derives from the fact that they construct nests from mud

Found throughout the United States and considered a nuisance

Solitary insects that do not live in colonies

Create nests both with mud nests or burrow into soft wood


Roach Species

German Roach

Around 1/2″ to 1/8″ in length with two dark stripes behind the head

Prefers to live in kitchens and bathrooms of residential properties including homes, restaurants, supermarkets, and hospitals

Prefers cracks and crevices and harbors deep inside voids

Usually warm moist humid environments will allow populations to soar in great numbers quickly

Pennsylvania Roach

Adult males are approximately 1″ long; females grow to about 3/4″ long

Males are dark brown; the sides of the thorax and the front half of the wings are margined with yellow

Usually found outdoors beneath loose bark in woodpiles, stumps, and hollow trees

Attracted to lights at night and may gain entry indoors

Feeds primarily on decaying organic matter

Populations are expected to grow as sources of wood such as firewood, cedar shake shingles, and homes built in wooded areas grow


American Roach

Around 1 1/2″ in length, reddish brown with a pale yellow margin on the region behind the head

When disturbed, may run rapidly and adults may fly

Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless

Prefer to live in moist areas and prefer warm temperatures of 84 degrees

Commonly found in basements, crawl spaces, cracks, and sewers

Oriental Roach

Nearly black shelled with males being 1″ in length and females 1 1/4″ in length

Survives on filth and enjoys temperatures from 64 to 84 degrees

Live in basements, crawl spaces, drains, leaf piles, and firewood outdoors

Sometimes called “water bugs” because they come out of drains

Group of termites crawling in wood.


  • Most common is the cat flea
  • Approximately 1/8″ long
  • Laterally flattened bodies
  • Color is brownish black to black, but reddish black when full of blood
  • The flea life cycle is Egg, Larvae, Pupae, Adult
  • Females lay 4-8 eggs after each blood meal, laying some 400-500 during their lifetime
  • Eggs are deposited on or between hairs, or in the nest or bedding material
  • Eggs deposited on the animal either fall or are shaken off and are found in cracks and crevices where pets sleep or frequent
  • Eggs are oval, whitish, and about 1/64″ long
  • Eggs usually hatch in 1-12 days
  • Once hatched larvae require relatively high humidity and 1-2 weeks up to several months to reach the pupal stage
  • Pupal stage typically lasts 4-14 days but can be up to a year under harsh conditions
  • Once in the Pupal stage pre-emerged adult fleas remain in a cocoon where they are protected from adverse conditions including pesticides
  • Pupating fleas do not emerge in an unoccupied home. Emergence is triggered by a potential host entering the room. This is why many people discover fleas upon their return from vacation or other extended absences.
  • CO2, body heat, footstep vibration, and footstep pressure are among the triggers


Common Types of Flies

Phorid / Humpbacked / Scuttle Fly

Around 1/8” in size and tan to a dark brown in color

Similar to the fruit fly but is known for its humped back

Breeding sites found within moist, decaying organic matter i.e. sewers, trash, food beneath counters

Cluster Fly

Around 1/4″ in size, and dark gray in color with golden yellow hairs across the body

This species forms close-knit colonies that typically live in wall voids or attics

During cooler temperatures, the Cluster fly will go indoors to warmer temperatures

They do not multiply within indoor structures

They are sluggish in comparison to house flies

Around June or July is the best time to begin prevention

Fruit Fly

Oval-shaped with a tan colored body

Feeds on decaying fruits and vegetables

Commonly found in homes, restaurants and other facilities where food is processed

Found in unsanitary locations, they present a potential health concern

Remove kitchen trash daily, and keep counters clean


House Fly

House flies get their name from being the most common fly found in homes

They can only feed on liquids but have the ability to turn many solids into liquids for consumption

Known to carry over 100 different kinds of disease-causing germs

Proper sanitation is the best method to prevent the presence of house flies

Moth / Drain / Filter / Sewage Fly

  • Around 1/8” in size and covered in black scale-like hairs
  • Most common breeding site is within decaying organic matter such as drains or sewers

Blow / Bottle Fly

Medium-sized with a robust shape, and it is metallic-looking in appearance

It most often breeds in animal carcasses, garbage, animal manure, decaying vegetables, and decaying grass clippings and leaves

Darkwinged Fungus Gnat

Around 1/16” long with black long wings

Common breeding sites include fungus growing in moist soil and root hairs of plants

It takes 12 to 27 days to progress from egg to larvae to pupa to adult


Common Types of Beetles

Powderpost Beetle

The name describes several species of small 1/8″ to 3/4″ long, wood-boring insects that reduce wood to a flour-like powder

Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed

Infestations are discovered after noticing round “shot holes” in the wood surface where they have chewed out of the wood after completing den work

Most are introduced into homes in lumber or finished wood products, however, they will only lay their eggs on bare, unfinished wood

Early detection is the best prevention, replacing damaged wood and applying finish to the replacement can stop the infestation

When replacing damaged wood is not practical, the professionals at Bug Zero can treat infested areas to eliminate this pest


Ground Beetle

Around 1/16″ to 1 & 3/8″ long, often black but come in a brilliant array of other colors

About 2,500 known species of Ground Beetles in North America

Many exude or expel foul-smelling secretions that are used to repel enemies

Some are attracted to lights and enter the home by crawling through small openings and cracks in windows, doors, foundations, etc

Normally live outdoors and do not establish themselves indoors

They are not dangerous to humans, domestic animals (pets), structures, or household items

Remove objects where they can hide such as leaf piles, old boards, stone piles, firewood piles, etc. around house entrances

When found indoors, collect by broom and dustpan to relocate outside of the house since these predators are helpful in agriculture



The most commonly known of the beneficial insects

Red oval, dome shelled with black spots, often with signature black spots – though the presence of the color varies

In the autumn, adults hibernate, sometimes in large numbers, in plant refuse and crevices

Sometimes they become a nuisance by their presence when congregating in and around homes

Caulk and seal spaces and gaps to prevent them from coming inside

Physically remove Lady Beetles found indoors


Japanese Beetle

Introduced into New Jersey on nursery stock from Japan in 1913

Larvae feed on roots of grass, herbaceous plants and nursery stock, while adults feed on foliage and fruit

Adult feeding results in skeletonization on foliage and flowers

Grubs feed on roots of grasses causing damage to pasture, lawn, and golf courses

A targeted application of an appropriate pesticide, by a licensed applicator, is the best means of controlling this pest

Flour Beetle

Common household pest that originates from infested grain, particularly cereal products such as flour, cornmeal, crackers, dry pet food, etc.

Both adults and small, off-white larvae will be found in an infested food item

The adult beetles often wander away from the infested material and will be found inside cupboards or anywhere in the house

Control of any stored food pest requires locating and eliminating the infested item(s)

Infested items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing for 1 week or heating in a 140-degree oven for 15 minutes

Store susceptible foods in sealable glass, heavy plastic containers, or in the refrigerator until you are sure the infestation is gone

Common Types of Outdoor Pests

Boxelder Bug

Around 1/2” in length, is dark brown, and has three longitudinal red stripes on the thorax

Found throughout North America and Canada

Feeds on the Boxelder tree and other maples such as the Silver Maple

During winter these bugs will invade buildings and other structures

Camel / Cave / Stone Cricket

Size ranges from 1/2″ to 1 & 1/2″ and a humpbacked with brown in color

They do not make  chirping sounds, and they are wingless

Prefer moist areas i.e. basements, crawl spaces, and garages

They possess a powerful jumping ability

Field Cricket

Around 1/2” to 1 & 1/4” in length and are typically black, but can also be mustard yellow

Produces a signature chirping sound

Found worldwide, commonly living in pastures and meadows

Occasionally they will damage field crops


Oval and round when rolled up, colored a dark brown to black

Also known as “Pillbugs”

Live in damp locations, i.e. damp objects or under vegetable debris

They do not spread disease or invade food products but are considered pests once inside the home

Once inside, they will commonly dry out and die


Clover Mite

Smaller than a pinhead, oval-shaped arachnids, reddish-brown to olive in color

Sometimes invade homes in enormous numbers in early spring and late autumn

A crushed Clover Mite leaves a reddish stain quite noticeable on linens, curtains, walls, and woodwork

They do not bite humans, nor transmit disease, nor feed on household furnishings or pantry supplies

Eggs remain dormant during the summer, hatching when temperatures fall below 85 F

Use a vacuum cleaner to effectively collect live mites without crushing them. Then burn vacuum bag or take to a garbage disposal far from the house



Long, narrow insects that are dark brown in color

Name is derived from the myth that they crawl into sleeping people’s ears and tunnel into their brains

The long cerci, or clippers, on their backsides easily identify an earwig

Hide during the day and feeds on vegetation, fruits, mold, and other insects

Commonly found beneath lawn debris, mulch, or in tree knots

They do not spread diseases


About 700 species of Springtails occur in North America, and more than 6,000 worldwide

Move rapidly because of a “springing” device on their abdomen called a furcula

Their food includes decaying vegetation, fungi, bacteria, pollen, algae, lichens, and insect feces

Invade structures in search of moisture when their usual habitat becomes dry

They are attracted to light and can enter houses through cracks and crevices of homes

Two bagworms side by side.


Adult bagworms differ in appearance depending on their gender.  Males are black with clear wings while females are whitish in color and do not have wings, antennae, legs, or mouthparts

They form cone-shaped bags which are carefully interwoven using silk and bits of leaves and twigs from the host plant

They inhabit regions of the United States that are east of the Mississippi River

They live in trees and shrubs and prefer coniferous trees, arborvitae, juniper and cedar

Shrubs and trees can become stripped of their foliage and needles in a very short period of time, especially if there is a large infestation


Lone Star Tick

Recognizable by deep brown exterior, adult females have a prominent white dot on their backs

Known to spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease

Commonly found in south-central and southeastern regions of the US

Can be found indoors after attaching themselves to humans or their pets

Adults can be found on large animals i.e. cattle, deer, and horses



These aquatic insects are not “flies” at all, and are also called Shadflies or Lakeflies

Eggs are deposited in water and the nymphs live at the bottom of streams, pools, and lakes

Adults are attracted to light at night and often occur in tremendous numbers during the summer

A major source of inhalant allergy

Dead mayflies break into pieces and are carried by the wind, and can then be inhaled


Rats, Mice and Wildlife Pests


Member of the weasel family and is represented by four species in North America

Characterized by prominent, lateral white stripes that run down its back, otherwise the fur is jet-black

About the size of a house cat and weighing about 8 pounds

Has the ability to repeatedly discharge a nauseating musk from its anal glands

Inhabit clearings, pastures, and open lands bordering forests, and establish dens in hollow logs or trees

Burrow under porches or buildings, open garbage seeking food, destroy gardens eating both pants and digging soil for grubs

Primary carrier of rabies in the Midwest



Stocky mammals about 2 to 3 feet long, weighing 10 to 30 pounds

Known for its distinctive black “mask” over its eyes and heavily furred, ringed tail

Found in hardwood forests near water, living in hollow trees, ground burrows, desolate buildings, and rock crevices

Nuisance due to their habit of raiding garbage in search of food and destruction gaining entrance into homes for warmth

Reported rabies in both them and other wildlife has increased dramatically over the past 30 years


Measure 18” to 27” with a wide-variety of fur colors

In areas of 10% forest cover, fox and gray squirrel populations may be equal

In residential areas, they travel power lines and short out transformers

Remove food at feeders intended for birds

Occasionally enter birdhouses to devour the nestling songbirds

In gardens may eat planted seeds, mature fruits, or grains such as corn

Bat flying through the air at night.


The only mammal that can fly

Found worldwide and includes 900 species, second only to rodents among mammals

When congregating in groups are called colonial bats, and alone are known as solitary bats

Can be found above swimming pools from which they drink or catch insects

Enter buildings via cracks in roof edges, eaves, chimneys, vents, and walls

Norway Rat / Sewer Rat

Around 11” in length with thick fur of gray, brown, or black

Excellent climbers and often enter the home during the fall when food is scarce

Norway rats live in fields, farmlands, and in structures

Ability to chew through wiring, causing fires, and also spread numerous diseases

Closeup shot of an armadillo burrowing.


Has a protective armor that is divided into nine shields

It prefers sandy or loam soils that are loose and porous for its burrows

Most damage occurs as a result of their rooting in lawns, golf courses, vegetable gardens, and flower beds

Characteristic signs of activity are shallow holes, 1 to 3 inches deep and 3 to 5 inches wide, which are dug in search of food

Known to keep homeowners awake at night by rubbing their shells against houses or other structures



White to gray mammal about the size of a house cat that can weigh as much as 14 pounds

Skull is usually 3″ to 4″ long and contains 50 teeth – more than any other North American mammal

Habitats are diverse, ranging from arid to moist, wooded to open fields

Occasionally den in attics and garages where they make a messy nest

Can be a nuisance when near the home where they disturb garbage, bird feeders, or pet food


House Mouse

Around 2” with light brown to black fur

The most common rodent pest in most of the world

Breeds year-round, and often living in structures but can live outside

Micro droplets of their urine can cause allergies in children

Carrier of fleas, mites, ticks, and lice

Prevention of mice begins with the sealing of all holes that are over the size of a nickel



Only a handful of snakes are poisonous in the United States, this group is known as pit vipers

Pit vipers have a pit on each side of their head, midway between the eye and the nostril – nonpoisonous snakes do not have these pits

The underside of the tail of the pit vipers have scales go across in one row, nonpoisonous have two rows of scales beneath

The pupil of a pit viper is elliptical that in bright light displays an almost vertical line, nonpoisonous snake eyes are perfectly round

In general, they enjoy cool, damp, dark areas where they can find food


Woodchucks / Ground Hogs

Woodchucks burrows give shelter to amphibians, reptiles, smaller rodents, and even larger animals such as foxes

Female woodchucks have dependent young in the burrows from late winter until spring or early summer

Woodchucks like to navigate through fairly high vegetation

Keeping undergrowth and grass cover low will help deny woodchucks the security they seek before burrowing around buildings and homes

Woodchucks hibernate in early November through late February



  • Pale brown flying insects with milky stripes across abdomen
  • Breed in stagnant water or soft soil, develops from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days
  • Spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria and dengue fever
  • Reduce mosquito populations by emptying standing water at least once a week
  • Place mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia and minnows to standing water
  • Protect against with screen windows, doors, and other opening with mesh
  • Avoid going outdoors when they are the most active: during dusk and dawn
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET on skin to help prevent mosquito bite

Mosquito Treatment

If mosquitoes are ruining your outdoor summer activities, Bug Zero offers many options to suppress these outdoor pests.  Whether for gated communities, campgrounds, golf courses, ball parks, stadiums, outdoor parties, weddings, homes, businesses, or any other outdoor area where mosquitoes are a problem, Bug Zero’s certified technicians have the necessary equipment and knowledge to address your mosquito control needs.

Bug Zero’s mosquito control services include site evaluation and recommendation, larval control in all types of water, long-lasting surface and foliar applications, and Thermal Fog applications with the “Skeeter Deleter.” Our technicians are Public Health Pest Control and Aquatic Pest Control certified and will help make your summer outdoor activities enjoyable once again.