Other Pests


Asian Beetle

Pests - Asian Lady BugThe multicolored Asian lady beetle has become common throughout the United States. It is well known for the annoying habit of accumulating on the sides of buildings and wandering indoors during the fall. These pests are a beneficial biological control in trees during the summer, and in fields and gardens during the fall, but can be a severe household nuisance during late fall and winter. Wooded residential and industrial areas are especially prone to problems.

Box Elder Bug

Pests - Box Elder BugThe box Elder bug is a North American species of true bug. It is found primarily on box Elder trees, as well as maple and ash trees. The adults are about 12.5 millimeters (0.49 in) long with a dark brown or black coloration, relieved by red wing veins and markings on the abdomen; nymphs are bright red.


Carpet Beetle

Pests - Carpet BeetleAdult carpet beetles are oval and approximately 1/8 inch long. The black carpet beetle is uniformly dark brown-black and shiny. Other common carpet beetles (varied carpet beetle, furniture carpet beetle, common carpet beetle) are covered with colored scales of various patterns. Carpet beetle larvae feed and develop on a wide variety of materials including most stored food products and anything of animal origin. Low-level infestations develop in collections of household lint.



Pests - Cricket Crickets belong to the order Orthoptera, as do grasshoppers. Generally, insects in this group have enlarged hind legs (except mole crickets) adapted for jumping. They also have opaque leather-like forewings that cover a pair of clear, membranous hind wings. Most crickets are nocturnal while their grasshopper relatives are active only during the day. Crickets have adapted to a wide range of habitats and thus are diverse in forms and colors. They are omnivorous, feeding on plants, fruits, decaying organic matter, and even live and dead insects. Crickets usually have very long antennae and a “boxlike” appearance, because their wings are folded sharply over the side of the body. Female crickets have long, spear-shaped ovipositors, used for egg-laying.



Pests - FleaIn Nebraska, flea infestations usually get started in the summertime, after pets come in contact with infested pets or after they walk in areas where infested animals have spent time. In the U.S., the most common flea species carried by both cats and dogs is the cat flea. Compared with other flea species, the cat flea has a very wide host range. Wild animals carrying cat fleas include raccoons, opossum, skunks and foxes. Sometimes families without pets have to deal with fleas after a visit to the pet store or after the kids have played with a neighborhood dog or cat.

A flea infestation may result when a raccoon takes up residence in a chimney or crawlspace. Fleas are small, dark brown insects whose bodies are hardened and compressed from side to side. Fleas do not fly, but have strong hind legs which they use to jump from host to host. Large infestations or extreme sensitivity may result in intense itching and weight loss. Fleas have been known to transmit diseases. Fleas on cats and dogs are the intermediate host for a double-pore tapeworm, which infests dogs, cats and sometimes, humans.


Indian Meal Moth

Pests - Indian Meal MothThe Indian meal moth is one of the most commonly reported pests of stored grains in the United States. Larvae of the Indian meal moth feed upon grains, grain products, dried fruits, nuts, cereals, and a variety of processed food products. The Indian meal moth is also a common pantry pest.

The Indian meal moth is a handsome moth with a wing expanse of nearly three-quarters of an inch. It is easy to distinguish from other grain pests by the peculiar markings of the forewings; they are reddish brown with a copper luster on the outer two-thirds, but whitish gray on the inner or body ends. The hind wings lack distinctive markings and are more or less uniformly gray. Adults can be seen resting on the grain surface or grain bin walls.



Other Pests - Silverfish The common silverfish, is shiny, silver or pearl gray, and about 1/2 inch long, although it can grow as long as 3/4 inch. The common firebrat, is shiny, a mottled gray or brown, and about 1/2 inch long. Adults of both species are slender, wingless, soft-bodied insects with 2 long, slender antennae. Their bodies taper gradually from front to rear to 3 long, thin, tail like appendages. Large numbers of these insects can invade new homes from surrounding wild areas, especially as these areas dry out during the summer. They also can come in on lumber, wallboard, and similar products. Freshly laid concrete and green lumber supply humidity, while wallpaper paste provides food.



Pests - Springtails Springtails are minute, wingless insects. Their main locomotor organ is a forked, tail-like structure (called a furcula) which is folded forward under the abdomen when the insect is at rest. The furcula is held in place by a clasp-like structure called a tenaculum and, when released, it allows them to jump considerable distances.

They are 5-6 mm in length can jump 75-100 mm and they can even jump on water! They are beautifully colored (white, gray, yellow, orange, metallic green, lavender, red) but, because these insects are so small, this detail goes unnoticed. The usual habitat of these small insects is in soil of woodlands, in decaying vegetation, or on the surface of stagnant water. Most soil-inhabiting springtails feed on decaying plant material, fungi and bacteria, and thrive in an environment that is moist or high in humidity. Because these pests infest decaying organic matter, they can infest soil of potted plants and become a nuisance in greenhouses or mushroom cellars.

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs on metal framebed bugs on mattressbed bug on mattress

Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal. One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area.

Bat Bugs

VoleTypically, bat bug infestations originate from bat populations established in attics, wall voids, unused chimneys, or uninhabited portions of the house. Bat bugs typically do not wander far from occupied bat roosting sites where they have easy access to food. However, if their normal hosts are eliminated or vacate the area, they will seek other sources of food and may crawl about and invade living areas within the house.





Carpenter Ants

Carpenter AntCarpenter ants are so named for their skill at constructing their homes from wood. These large ants are excavators, not wood feeders. Still, an established colony can do structural damage to your home if left unchecked, so it’s a good idea to learn to recognize carpenter ants when you see them. Carpenter ants belong to the genus Camponotus. Click here to see Carpenter Ant Damage

Odorous House Ants

Odorous House AntaOdorous house ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control. The keys to control are finding the colonies and sub colonies and treating them directly. This species is common in California north to Washington and is the most common pest ant in the mid-west states. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape, mulch, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items. Nest may readily be stabilized inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.


Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants When the pavement ants’ colony is located outdoors, it can be easily found by the mound of soil over top the nest. This ant builds its colony beneath pavement, rocks, driveways, sidewalks, and logs. As it tunnels into the soil to excavate its colony, it pushes the soil debris up through the top of its nest, forming visible mounds of sandy-looking soil. These mounds are often seen between cracks of pavement, beneath which the ants have built their nest, thus the common name of “pavement” ant. A typical colony will have 3,000 to 5,000 ants, but colonies have been known to grow as large as 30,000 ants at a single site. This is due, in part, to this ant’s ability to have multiple queens in a single colony, whereas most ant species have only one queen per colony.


Pharaoh Ants

Pharoah Ant Very small; light yellow to red, with black markings on abdomen; about one-sixteenth inch long. Depends on artificial heating in human dwellings to survive; infestations commonly occur in food service areas; will nest in any well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure; can nest outdoors in lawns or gardens.




German Cockroaches

German Cockroaches The German cockroach is a widely distributed urban pest. It is also the most common cockroach species in houses, apartments, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth. The insects are mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease, and meat products. In many locations, garbage is a principal food source. As with other species, German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental CockroachesThe Oriental cockroach prefers dark, damp places. Often called a water bug, it is commonly found in damp basements, cellars, crawl spaces, and sewers. It may also be found near drains, leaky water pipes and under refrigerators, sinks, washing machines, and floors. It prefers temperatures under 84° F. The Oriental cockroach can tolerate cool environments and people have even found it surviving freezing outdoor weather. An Oriental cockroach forages mostly on the first floors of buildings. Occasionally, this pest will thrive in the landscape immediately adjacent to structures and may enter if a disturbance occurs, such as a change in the seasons, excess rainfall, or lawn mowing. It can be found occasionally outdoors under sewer covers. It feeds on all types of garbage and other organic material. An Oriental cockroach produces a strong smell and is considered one of the dirtiest of all the cockroaches.


Wood Cockroach

Wood Cockroaches The wood roach lives in wooded areas in rotting logs and under loose bark. It can accidentally invade homes, cabins, cottages, and other buildings in or near wooded areas. This cockroach is not a persistent household pests and it doesn’t reproduce indoors. Because of its association with wood, a wood cockroach can be brought indoors on firewood. It may enter buildings if suitable harborage (trees and logs) is close to open doors and windows. The males are strong fliers.



Subterranean Termites

Termites - SubterraneanSubterranean termites are destructive wood-eating insects and cause home-owners frustration and expense when active nests are found in their houses. This can be especially troublesome when selling a home because lending institutions (banks, savings and loans, FHA, VA, etc…) require houses certified to be termite free before lending money to home buyers. Presence of an old infestation or damage that has been treated should not require the home be retreated. A Lincoln real estate agent estimated that about 10% of her house sales have required treatment after the discovery of an active nest in the house.



Black Widow

Spiders - Black WidowThe black widow spider has a shiny black body with a reddish brown hourglass-shape on its stomach area. They often exhibit various red or white markings on the abdomen area. They are usually found in sheds, barns, fences, woodpiles, and other outdoor structures. Their bites are extremely poisonous and should be taken seriously. Seek emergency medical treatment right away if bitten by a black widow.

Brown Recluse

Spiders - Brown Recluse There are 13 species of “brown” spiders in the U.S. The brown recluse spider is the most widespread spider in the U.S. Nebraska is on the northern-most edge of the range of this spider, but we have had more clients bringing brown recluse to the Lancaster County extension office in the last few years. Because of the locations where brown recluse have been found in the Lincoln/Lancaster County area, we believe that most of the brown recluse spider infestations get started when people move infested items, like boxes, into new places. The majority of these spiders come from structures where goods are shipped to, like commercial businesses, warehouses, or from storage facilities. Several apartment buildings in Lincoln have been seriously infested with brown recluse. In these cases, it is likely that tenants may have inadvertently caused an infestation by moving infested boxes with them–especially if they moved from an infested apartment or from southern states where brown recluse spiders are more common. We have rarely had homeowners find a brown recluse spider in their home.




House Mice

Rodents - Mice The house mouse is a small, slender rodent that has a slightly pointed nose, small, black, somewhat protruding eyes, large, sparsely haired ears, and a nearly hairless tail with obvious scale rings. House mice are considered among the most troublesome and economically important rodents in the group.


Rodents - VoleVoles are small, mouse-like rodents that exist throughout Nebraska. Though commonly called meadow or field mice, their short tails (about 1 inch long), stocky build, and small eyes distinguish them from true mice. Voles can cause problems by damaging lawns, gardens, tree plantings, and other plants.


Ground Squirrels

Rodents - Ground Squirrel Ground squirrels, since they forage above the ground. Their body measures 8 to 11 inches, while their busy tail adds another 4 to 8 inches in length. Their fur is a brownish gray while their tail usually has speckles of white.


Pocket Gophers

Rodents - Pocket Gopher Pocket gophers are burrowing rodents with stocky bodies, small ears and eyes, and a sparsely-haired tail. Pocket gophers derive their name from the large, external fur-lined cheek pouches that allow them to carry food or bedding material to underground caches or nests. They are well-adapted to living below ground. Pocket gophers can gnaw on roots without ingesting soil because their lips can close behind their large incisors.



Yellow Jackets

Stingers - Yellow JacketsYellow jacket wasps live in nests. Problems usually occur when the wasp or its nest is disturbed. They have the ability to sting as a means of ensuring survival. A hollow stinger is located at the rear of the yellow jacket’s body. Upon penetrating the skin, a venom is injected through the stinger. These stings can be quite painful. They can also be very dangerous to people who have developed an allergy to the stings. Unlike the bee, a yellow jacket can sting more than once. Wasps can also damage fruit when they create holes by eating the flesh.


Stingers - Bees The Bumblebee is a widely distributed social insect known for its ability to collect nectar from flowers and pollinate plants. These stingers are large yellow and black flying insects with a distinct buzz. There is variation in coloration among bumblebees and some species have bands of red, yellow and black. They have stocky bodies that are covered with many hairs to which pollen adheres.

Cicada Killer

Stingers - Cicada Killers This large wasp has a rusty red head and thorax, russet colored wings, and a black and yellow striped abdomen. A length of 11/2 inches is not uncommon. The larvae are legless, white grubs and are found in burrows in the soil.