Common Insect Identification

Identifying some of the most common pests we deal with.

Curious what just ran across your counter? Want to know what those winged pests are? Bug identification can be difficult. Here are a few pests you're likely to find in and around your home, and the easiest way to identify them.


You're not likely to see termites unless a mature nest has produced swarmers near, or inside, your home. These reproductive termites--that will one day become the queen and king of a new colony--are around a centimeter in length with straight antennae and six legs. If you want to see worker termites, you going to have to peel up some mulch or cut off a chunk of wood they are eating because termites live inside wood.

Carpenter Ants

Winged reproductive carpenter ants are often confused for termites, but they are much larger. If you only have a single swarmer for identification, look to see if it has a curved antenna and three distinct body parts. Wingless carpenter ants are black to dark reddish black in color and have a tiny node at their waist that almost looks like a fourth body part.

Marmorated Stink Bugs

These insects are recognizable by their brown-flecked coloring and shield-like shape. As insects, they have the customary six legs, two antennae, and three body segments. You wouldn't know it, though, to look at one. The thorax and abdomen appear as one shield shape on the stink bug.

Yellow Jackets

These insects, from the wasp family, tend to build their nests in the ground. Though they have the yellow and black coloring of a honey bee, their skin is shiny and mostly devoid of hair. When examined from a distance, yellow jackets appear to have two body parts with a pinch directly in the middle, but if you look closely you'll see the separation between the head and the thorax.

Carpenter Bees

Most know what a bumble bee looks like. For this reason, many mistake carpenter bees for bumble bees. They are both big, both round, and both covered in fur. The distinct visual difference between them is that carpenter bees are black from the waist back. If there is no yellow on the abdomen, you can be sure that you are looking at a carpenter bee.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are oval in shape and rust in color. Their larvae can be as small as the tip of a pencil and adults grow to be a third the size of a dime. When engorged with blood an adult bed bug can have a tick-like appearance. But, it is important to note that bed bugs are an insect. That means they only have six legs, not eight--like a tick.

Have you found something else? Don't know what it is? If you need help with insect identification give us a call. We've been solving pest problems since 1913. There is a pretty good chance we know what bug is bugging you and how to control it!