Bug Pest Identification Banner

Bug Identification

If you are not sure quite what insect has infested your Virginia home, we invite you to use these images and descriptions of the common pests found in our local area to identify the bug you’ve just encountered! And whatever insect it is, we invite you to call Bug Man Exterminating to exterminate it!

Bed BugsBed Bugs

Cimex lecturlarius

Commonly Found
Bed bugs are nocturnal and most often found in or around beds. This includes mattresses, box springs and bed frames but they also hide in many other places such as behind baseboards, picture frames, wallpaper and any other nearby cracks and crevices. Bed bugs can also survive in temporary habitats like clothes, luggage or on the seats of cars and in movie theatres etc . Click here to learn more about bed bug inspections and control.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Only about 1/4″ in length. They are flat, brown and a broad oval in shape when unfed. After filling up on your blood, their swollen bodies are a rusty, reddish in color and more elongated.

Subterranean TermiteSubterranean Termites

Family Rhinotermitidae

Commonly Found
They work 24/7 and never take a break from eating the wood in and around your home. Most of this time is spent underground but if you are wondering whether you have termites, you can look for the distinctive small tunnels that mud termites create on the outside of your buildings. A termite inspection from Bug Man Exterminating can confirm the presence of termites and if they are detected, we can remove them before they do any more damage.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Subterranean worker termites do not have wings, are cream in color and only 1/8″ to 3/8″ in length. Alates or swarmers have two pairs of wings, are black to dark brown in color, about 1/4” to 1/2” in length. Soldiers do not have wings but they do have large jaws and creamy white in color.

SpiderSpiders

Class Aranaea

Commonly Found
Most spiders prefer dark, secluded and shaded areas. These could include cabinets, basements, ceiling corners and attics.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Spiders have clearly segmented bodies with eight jointed legs. They do not have any antennae or wings. Spiders come in a wide range of sizes from 1/8” to 3 /12” in body length depending on the species.

MosquitoesMosquitoes

Culex species and others

Commonly Found
Most active from dusk to dawn. They breed in in stagnant water; not just large ponds, marshes and swamps but any container in your backyard that holds standing water such as bird feeders, plant pots and old tires etc.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Mosquitoes are only 1/4″ to 3/8″ in length. They are commonly pale brown in color with light-colored stripes across the abdomen.

Lady BugLady Bugs

Family Coccinellidae

Commonly Found
Most often found on plants where they feed on aphids and scale insects. Lady bugs may swarm homes in the fall looking for shelter from the cold temperatures outside.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Lady bugs are about 1/4″ in length. Ladybugs are typically yellow, orange or red with small black spots and short black legs. They appear as half-spheres and have a round or oval shaped body and black head.

Carpenter BeeCarpenter Bees

Xylocopa virginica

Commonly Found
The carpenter bee gets its name from the female carpenter bees chewing tunnels into dead wood, bamboo or structural timbers to build their nests. Male carpenter bees spends most of their time guarding these nests.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Carpenter bees are large and shiny. They look like typical bumblebees but are nearly all black – most often without the yellow stripes.

Carpenter AntCarpenter Ants

Camponotus spp

Commonly Found
Found throughout the United States, carpenter ants prefer moist wood and are extremely destructive, fond of tunneling through dead or decaying wood to build colonies, leading to infestations in homes and other buildings.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Carpenter ants are among the largest ant species and with their huge jaws designed for shaving timber, they are aggressive and vicious biters. The workers can vary greatly in size from 1/4″ to 3/4″ in length, and are usually black or brown in color. They have long legs that they use to move very quickly.

House AntHouse Ants

Formicidae

Commonly Found
A wide variety of species of house ants are found throughout North America. Most species feed on organic matter and are especially attracted by sweet foods; commonly stored in kitchens and pantries. They often travel in and out of buildings in search of food or water.

Distinguishing Characteristics
There are many different species of common house ants but most are reddish, black or brown in color. They range from 1/6″ to 1/4″ in length and have a swollen abdomen. They may be either winged or wingless.

Powder Post BeetlePowder Post Beetles

Family Lyctidae

Where to Look
Powder post beetles are most often found in any type of wood: hardwoods including flooring and trim, and also softwoods such as wall framing and support joists. They are also found in cabinets, furniture and picture frames.

Distinguishing Characteristics

They are second only to termites in the destroying of wood. They leave small, round holes in wooden objects along with a residue of fine, powder like dust called frass. The various species of these beetles range from 1/12″ to 1/3″ in length, and from reddish-brown to black in color. The body is flattened and the basal segment of the abdomen is as long as the second and third combined.

American CockroachAmerican Cockroach

Periplaneta americana

Commonly Found
In dark and moist areas such as around bathtubs, clothes hampers, sewers and basement corners. As they eat the same food as humans and pets, they are also found wherever food is prepared, served or stored. They are very good flyers although are most often seen running along floors, walls and ceilings.

Distinguishing Characteristics
The largest of the common species grows to a length of 1 1/2″ or more. They appear glossy and are reddish-brown in color with a yellow border on the back of the pronotum. The female has a shorter pair of wings while the male’s wings extend beyond the tip of his abdomen, making him appear larger.

Brown-banded CockroachBrown-banded Cockroach

Supella longipalpa

Commonly Found
As they don’t need as much moisture, they tend to inhabit areas that are less humid and much warmer. They can be found anywhere in the house; especially high on walls, ceilings and in attics. As they prefer food with higher starch contents such as book bindings and stamps, they are also often found in furniture and closets. They are active mostly at night but may be seen searching for food during the day.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Most prominent in the southern states. One of the smaller invasive roaches, adults rarely grow over 1/2″ long. They get their name from their light brown coloring with two light bands running across the base of the wings and abdomen. The female is much broader in the body than the male. The adult male is quick to fly when disturbed.

German CockroachGerman Cockroach

Blatella germanica

Commonly Found
The most common roach found in U.S. homes. They breed throughout the whole year. They prefer humid atmospheres and an average temperature of 70 degrees. Most often found in dark, moist areas in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms such as around bathtubs, clothes hampers, sewers and basement corners. May also be found wherever food is prepared, stored and served.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Adults are about 1/2″ long, brown in color with two black horizontal stripes on the thorax. The female is darker in color with a broader, more rounded posterior. Both sexes have wings as long as their bodies but they prefer to run and rarely fly.

Oriental Cockroach with eggsacOriental Cockroach

Blatta orientalis

Commonly Found
Look for them in high moisture areas, especially around decaying organic matter like mulch and leaf litter. They are also found in openings beneath porches and in crawlspaces and wall voids. Most common in late spring or early summer.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Found in all regions of the United States. Very shiny black to dark reddish brown in color. The male is about 1 1/4″ long while the female reaches only 1″ in length. The female has functionless wing stubs. The male’s wings cover 3/4 of the abdomen. Neither sex flies. Females are broader and heavier.

Smokybrown CockroachSmokybrown Cockroach

Periplaneta fuliginosa

Commonly Found
Most common in central Texas and the extreme south. Equally at home indoors or outdoors, walking or flying in and out of buildings to feed. As they are prone to dehydration, they are opportunistic feeders and will eat pretty much any food they find. You may even see them taking a drink when water is available!

Distinguishing Characteristics
Closely related to the American cockroach, but only about 1″ long and uniform mahogany in color, hence its name. Both males and females have wings longer than their bodies and are excellent fliers.

EarwigEarwigs

Order Dermaptera

Commonly Found
Earwigs are active at night and hide in cracks or underneath objects in damp areas during the day. They live under rocks and logs and in mulch. Most species scavenge on dead animal and plant material. They are often unintentionally introduced indoors via potted plants. They are very attracted to lights and can become a nuisance on porches and patios on summer evenings.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Earwigs are most readily recognized by the pincers at the end of the abdomen. Species range from 1/2″ to 1″ in length, and from light reddish brown to jet black in color. Some species are marked with stripe or bands on the body and legs.

Cat FleaFlea

Ctenocephalides felis

Places to watch
Most common during the summer, especially when homes are reoccupied after vacations. Cat fleas are often found in carpets and on upholstered furniture. Most commonly hosted by domestic animals like cats and dogs, humans and a wide variety of other hairy animals.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Cat fleas are extremely small, averaging 1/8” to 1/4” in length and shiny reddish brown in color. The body is flattened vertically and is covered with microscopic spikes which project backward. They are wingless but have long, powerful legs for jumping vast distances.

Brown Dog TickBrown Dog Tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Places to watch
Can live its entire life indoors and are active from spring to fall. They prefer feeding on dogs but can also be found on other mammals and in cracks and crevices in houses and garages.

Distinguishing Characteristics
The brown dog tick has a hard exoskeleton, eight legs and is brown in color. They are significantly larger after feeding.

House FlyHouse Fly

Musca domestica

Commonly Found
Throughout the home or office. Eggs are laid in almost any moist and warm material such as manure, decaying vegetable material and garbage. They prefer edges, corners or thin objects to rest on. During the day they can often be seen on floors, walls, ceilings and electrical cords, etc. Night resting places are usually near food and almost always above ground.

Distinguishing Characteristics
The common species are about 1/6″ to 1/4″ in length and usually gray in color. The adult has sharply angled fourth wing vein and four lengthwise dark stripes on the thorax. The space between the eyes of the female is almost twice as broad as that of the male.

CentipedeCentipedes

Class Chilopoda

Commonly Found
Found throughout the whole country. House centipedes live in damp areas such as cellars, basements, closets and bathrooms. Outdoors they can be found in damp locations, in moistened soil and mulch beds and under leaves and stones etc.

Distinguishing Characteristics
The name centipede means 100 legs but centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs! They have a flat, wormlike body, 1″ or more in length with one pair of long legs for almost each body segment. The house centipede is most commonly brown and reddish orange or grayish yellow with three dark stripes running the length of the body.

MillipedeMillipedes

Class Diplopoda

Places to watch
Normally found outdoors in damp places such as under leaves and in garden and flower bed mulch. When they come across a house, they tend to gather on porches and patios. At times they enter into building basements and first floor rooms via doors, windows and vents.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Unlike centipedes that have a flattened shape; millipedes have round bodies and love to coil up when resting. They also have two pairs of legs for almost each body segment; that is twice that of the centipede. They are brownish in color and are usually between 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ long.

sowbug or pillbugSowbugs & Pillbugs

Class Crustacea

Commonly Found
Sowbugs and pillbugs both prefer moist locations as they are not able to retain water in their bodies. They can be found under vegetable debris or any object on the damp ground such as logs, rocks and flowerpots. They may infest potted plants or mulch beds. They frequently invade damp basements and crawl spaces via ground level doors, windows and vents.

Distinguishing Characteristics
They have oval shaped bodies; convex above and flat or hollow underneath. They are never more than 3/4″ long. Both have seven pairs of legs and two pair of antennae. The sowbug has two tail-like appendages that prevent it from rolling up into a ball. The pillbug, however, lacks these appendages and often rolls itself into a tight ball when they are disturbed.

SilverfishSilverfish

Lespisma sacchrina (Linnaeus)

Commonly Found
As they require high humidity, they are often found in dark, damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements or garages. They are especially attracted to paper, glue and damp clothing so watch bookshelves, magazine racks and stored boxes.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Silvery, metallic body and white to brown gray or bluish silver in color. They have teardrop shape and fish-like movements, hence their name. They are about 3/4″ in length and have three long bristles on rear.

stink bugStink Bugs

Halyomorpha halys

Commonly Found
Stink Bugs are a pest of fruits and vegetables. They are often attracted to lights at night. Stink Bugs stay active from spring through late fall. In late summer, the adult stink bugs often gather on homes in large groups. They may enter your house looking for a place to overwinter during the cold winter season. Learn more about stink bug control.

Distinguishing Characteristics
Stink Bugs secrete a bad-smelling fluid when handled, disturbed or crushed. They are about 3/4″ in length and almost as wide! Most stink bugs have a characteristic shield shape.