Insect Identification

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants build nests by boring tunnels in wood. Outside, they can be found in the dead trunks of standing trees, stumps and logs, or even under fallen logs and stones. They occasionally mine sound wood, but they usually opt for a softer wood type, such as pine. 


Since they prefer moist, decaying wood, their presence in your home may reveal a problem that’s related to moisture or decay. Their tunnels are much longer than those created by termites. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood; instead, the wood is ejected away from the nest, creating a sawdust effect.

German Cockroaches

Originally from Asia, these pests are found in a number of countries, especially near human living areas.

Larder Beetles

These insects, also known as flesh-eating beetles, tend to live where people live. Although they can be found in nature, larder beetles are usually seen in homes. Outside, this insect spends the winter hiding in tree bark cracks. 


In the past, this pest was considered a butcher shop insect because it could be found near stored meats. When refrigeration was invented, its habitat became more diversified, and it now lives close to its food source, i.e. in attics, in walls and crawl spaces, in kitchen pantries, stoves, and range hoods.

American Cockroaches

The mature American cockroach is from 23 to 32 mm long. This roach is of a ferruginous brown colour, and it bears a light patch on the pronotum. Its elytra and wings are of a reddish-brown hue, with those of males being slightly longer than those of females. The insect can fly across short distances, but mostly crawls around on the ground. It attacks all edible products, in addition to the glue found in book bindings. It also attacks butterflies and other soft-bodied species.

Pharaoh Ants

Despite what its name suggests, this pest did not originate in Egypt but more likely hails from West Africa. 


In more temperate climates, it can only survive within heated buildings. It especially favours tropical greenhouses, but also likes hospitals and other medical and social establishments, company restaurants, etc.

The pharaoh ant multiplies its colonies via budding, like most other small invasive ant species such as the Argentine ant (linepithema humile) and the little fire ant (wasmannia auropunctata). Each “satellite” nest contains many egg-laying queens, which makes this species very hard to get rid of once it appears in full force. However, it is possible to manage a colony’s growth with repeat poisoned bait campaigns.

Deathwatch Beetles

Deathwatch beetle is the popular name given to certain small wood boring beetles, which are part of the Anobiidae family.


Their larvae dig or bore through wood, which is why they are called “wood-boring insects.” They can cause substantial harm to furniture and woodwork.

Bedbugs

This small reddish-brown insect is around 5 mm long and just 3 mm wide. It is rather flat shaped, meaning that it is not very thick through the middle. This insect bears a small tube beneath its head that it uses to suck up liquids. 


Bedbugs aren’t always easy to detect, because they’re mostly active at night. During the day, they hide near mattress seams (even in waterbeds). As the infestation progresses, or as humans and animals become more readily available, the insect starts to scatter more. At this point, bedbugs can get inside the cracks in wood and walls (i.e., bedframes, box springs, furniture, the floor, window and door frames, etc.), where they lay their eggs. Bedbugs can also hide behind baseboards and under wallpaper or picture frames. Although they don’t spread between apartments as quickly as cockroaches, they can go down drains and travel between houses through the pipes.

Mealworms

Mealworms are able to live on dry stocked goods such as flour, also known as meal, which is where this insect got its name.


The Mealworm is omnivorous and saprotrophic. It feeds on semi-decomposing waste and contributes to recycling organic waste such as grains and grain products like bread and crackers, but also fruits, feathers, meat, and dead bugs.

Khapra Beetles

Also known at the grain beetle, this larva attacks wheat, corn, sorghum, rice, barley, dried fruit, and stored flours. Mature forms do not feed. They can be found hiding in cracks and crevices. Grain Beetles can survive for long periods without eating and survive drier temperatures than other stored product pests. The larvae can also enter into diapause and survive harsh conditions in this state.

Wasps

Wasps are bright yellow with black stripes, while bees are browner (except for the carpenter bee, which is all black). 


Shape: the wasp’s body and abdomen are very distinct, thin, and not very hairy. Bees, on the other hand, are more compact and hairy.

Bees also carry a pollen basket near their back legs, which wasps don’t have.

Wasps keep their stingers and stay alive when they sting, whereas bees lose their stingers and die.

Bees

Bees live in trees or nests, also known as beehives. Fifty thousand bees can live in a single hive. Bees use the wax they produce to build honeycombs, which serve to store their eggs and honey. 


These insects feed on honey and pollen. They move from flower to flower to gather nectar with their proboscis, and use their front legs to collect pollen, which they store in the pollen basket located near their back legs. They place their harvest in one of the hive’s alveoli so that it can be eaten or converted into honey.

Wharf Borers

7–14 mm long.


Yellowish-brown; the extremities of the elytra (where the wings are located) are black.

The larvae require wood that’s consistently moist to ensure that the mushrooms will be able to break away from the wood fibres.

Two main causes of building infestations are: rainwater which has leaked into the structural timbers, and pieces of wood that have been buried under concrete foundations and walkways.

Earwigs

The earwig’s lifespan is only one year. Earwigs hibernate in couples, just above ground level, often near the foundations of residential buildings. When temperatures get milder, they awake. In spring, females can lay up to 60 round pearly white eggs in a nest in the top 5 cm of the soil. The male is chased away and the female watches the eggs until they hatch, at which point she takes care of her young (larvae) for the first two weeks of their life. 


When they reach around 6 mm in length, the larvae leave the nest on a quest for food. Generally, they look like smaller versions of adult earwigs. Around 20% of females lay a second batch of eggs in June. The larvae produced as a result of this spawn hatch in July or August.

Wood Lice

Wood lice are nocturnal isopod crustaceans that live on land and shy away from light. Certain classes of wood lice, like pill bugs, are able to roll their body for protection, which may help fight evaporation. Several other behaviours showcase their extreme need for moisture. As a result, they tend to be less active on windy nights, when water losses are more significant. Uropods (tube-like appendages) located at their extremities make it possible for them to absorb and discharge water. Wood lice are also able to detect the slightest change in humidity, and they tend to band together in packs. Finally, unlike insects, they have no waxy cuticle and moult in two stages, a few days apart. Despite all of these adjustments, at this stage of their development, they are less well adapted than other invertebrates that live outside of an aquatic environment. 


Wood lice exhibit positive thigmotaxis, that is to say, they prefer to be in contact with a surface. This means that outdoors, they can be found under a rock, pieces of bark, pieces of wood or recently watered flower pots. This explains why they are usually seen in groups, although they may also be attracted by their own scent. Indoors, wood lice may be active throughout the year, but outdoors, adults hibernate during the winter months.

Pavement Ants

These ants live in colonies. They usually nest outdoors, in sidewalk and parking lot cracks, in between paving stones, or near patio edges. Small mounds of earth are visible where the ants have dug their tunnels. Nests can also be found under a rock, a piece of wood, or mulch. Sometimes, they attack strawberries or other plants by eating young plant roots. They are more active at night and feed off of fats, seeds, insects, or their own debris. The queen lays eggs that grow into fully formed adults. 


Harvester ants maintain and defend the nest, and care for the young ones. Winged breeders can usually be spotted away from the nest during the spring and at other times, in heated areas. Sometimes, their dispersal can last several weeks.

Booklice

Booklice are found all over the world. The liposcelis bostrychophilus is one of the most common types of Psocoptera. It can live in warm temperate and tropical climates. It feeds off of animal matter, vegetable matter, and mould, and can be found in grain silos, homes, warehouses, processing facilities, and museums. It infests stored grains and packaged foods. In homes and museums, it tends to feed on animal and vegetable products such as glue, paper, and cloth. It often infests very damp grain and feeds in groups at the surface of bulk grain bins. It prefers moist environments. 


In museums and homes, booklice can attack books, paper products, and wet cloth. These insects feed on plant and animal-based glue. In the event of a severe infestation, they may contaminate the materials they feed off of with their exuviae and feces. In silos, the walkways near infested areas can become covered with booklice, which makes them very slippery. Booklice can also trigger allergies and breathing problems.

Booklice require elevated temperatures and high moisture levels (generally more than 60%) to reproduce. Eggs appear randomly and stick to the food source where they were originally laid.

Western Conifer Seedbugs

The leptoglossus occidentalis, also known as the western conifer seedbug, is a phytophagous species that feeds on growing pine cones and their seeds. The western conifer seedbug uses its mandibles to pierce through the cones and suckle the seed’s endosperm, which greatly reduces its performance and vitality. The insect attacks white pines, red pines, white spruces, and other conifers. But don’t panic: despite its large size, especially compared to its European counterparts, and even with its long proboscis, which is tucked under its body, this insect is utterly harmless to humans and animals. 


From September to November, these seedbugs look for a safe place to spend the winter, and sometimes enter people’s homes.

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