Ask the Entomologist

From the Archives

  • What Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like

    Found these in my son’s bedroom. What kind of spiders are these? These are brown recluse spiders, one of the spiders considered to be medically important. While most bites from these spiders heal without issue, a small percentage of people have a very negative reaction to their venom. Their venom is a cytotoxin which kills… Read more »

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  • What Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs Look Like

    I found this in my bed, should I be concerned? It looks like you might have bed bugs or bat bugs. Magnification under a hand lens or microscope would be necessary to determine the difference. Both of these bugs are blood-suckers that will bite your exposed skin while you sleep at night, so itchy welts… Read more »

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  • Why Millipedes and Roly Polies Are Coming into Your Home

    I’m getting tons of these things in my garage. What are they? You appear to have a variety of pests here, including a crayfish. The majority of your pests are millipedes and pillbugs (also known as roly polies) which indicates that you have a yard with damp conditions that can support them. This could be… Read more »

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  • Webs on Outside of Home Caused by Female Crevice Weaver Spiders

    These webs are all over the outside of my house. What is making them? These sprawling webs radiating from a hole, crack, or crevice are created by female crevice weaver spiders. They are also called southern house spiders. The webs are not sticky but meant to entangle the legs of insects on which they prey… Read more »

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  • What a Yellowjacket Nest Looks Like

    What is making this nest above my back door? This is a yellowjacket nest. They usually nest in the ground but are known to nest aerially around houses. The workers can be very defensive of their nest, so it would be prudent to avoid using this door until the nest can be treated.

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  • Small Flies Attracted to Light Are Called Phorid Flies

    I am getting lots of these small flies in my restaurant light trap. What are they? These are phorid flies, also called humpbacked flies or scuttle flies. They are filth-breeding flies that breed in moist organic matter like trash leakage or gunky drains. They are highly attracted to light, unlike fruit flies.

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  • What German Cockroaches Look Like

    I found these dead bugs under my fridge while sweeping. What are they? These are dead German cockroaches. These could be from an old infestation or a current one. They are small cockroaches, only around ½ inch long, with two dark parallel lines behind the head area. They have wings but cannot fly. They prefer… Read more »

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  • Crayfish, Millipedes, Pillbugs and Other Pests

    I’m getting tons of these things in my garage. What are they? You appear to have a variety of pests here, including a crayfish. The majority of your pests are millipedes and pillbugs (also known as roly polies) which indicates that you have a yard with damp conditions that can support them. This could be… Read more »

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  • What a Termite Swarmer Infestation Looks Like

    My windowsill is covered with these bugs, please help me determine what they are. These are termite swarmers, probably eastern subterranean termites. You may have a termite infestation in your home.

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  • Indianmeal Moths Infest Dry Goods and Food in Home

    What kind of moth is this? I’m seeing them all over my house. You have Indianmeal moths. They infest dry goods like bird seed, dog food, oatmeal, nuts, and more. Infested foods are covered in silk, created by the caterpillars. The adult moth does not cause damage and will die in about two weeks. Locate… Read more »

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