Common Insect ID & Biology

Box Elder Bug

box elder bug

Box elders feed and lay their eggs on seed-bearing boxelder trees. They often become a nuisance in the fall as they search for overwintering sites on our homes. 

Earwigs

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Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist crevices during the day and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. They can often be found indoors under damp towels and in kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms.

Pillbugs

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Pillbugs are common inhabitants of landscapes and garden sites around homes. They feed on decaying vegetation in the soil. In years with high rainfalls, they often invade homes and can be found in basements and homes with slab foundations.

Mice

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Mice often invade homes in search of food and shelter. Primarily nocturnal, they have poor eyesight, but compensate with a keen sense of hearing. Mice can spread diseases through their feces (Hantavirus) which may lead to Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Additionally, they often carry parasites.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket Wasp

Yellow jackets are predatory social wasps. They have lance-like stingers with small barbs, and typically sting repeatedly. Their stinger occasionally becomes lodged and pulls free of their body. Yellow jackets build nests in trees, shrubs, under protected structures, and in the ground. Their diets consist of sugars and carbohydrates, such as fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap.

Bald Faced Hornets

bald face hornets

Their colonies consist of between 400-700 workers. Workers will aggressively defend their nest by repeatedly stinging invaders. Bald faced hornets are a species of yellow jacket. 

Pavement Ants

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Pavement ants nest beneath sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Their telltale mounds of sand are the result of excavating nesting sites below grade. They invade homes in search of food and water.

Carpenter Ants

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Carpenter ants build their nest in wood, preferably in soft, water damaged wood. They don’t eat wood (like termites), rather, they chew through the wood and expel the wood shaving (called frass) to form their nesting galleries. Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal and can forage up to 300 feet from their nests in search of food and water.  

Paper Wasps

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Paper wasps gather fibers of dead wood and plant stems which they mix with their saliva to form their nests. Their signature “umbrella” nests can be found in protected areas under soffits of homes. They also build nests in fence posts, or any other isolated area.

Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs spend the majority of their time hiding together in cracks and crevices where they will not be seen or disturbed. Bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide produced by host exhalations as well as body heat.

Carpenter Bee

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Carpenter Bees resemble bumble bees but typically have a shiny, hairless abdomen. Carpenter bees tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. Their entrance holes are symmetrically round holed approximately 1/4 inch in diameter.

Mole

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Moles are known pests to homeowners, destroying lawns and garden beds. They do not eat plant roots but cause indirect damage by eating earthworms and other invertebrates. They have cylindrical bodies with short powerful hind limbs with large paws used for digging.