Pest Index

1) Asian Lady Beetles
2) Bed Bugs
3) Wasps and Hornets
4) Ticks
5) Centipedes and Millipedes
6) Stink Bugs
7) Moth (Drain) Flys
8) Vinegar (Fruit) Flies
9) House Flies


Asian Lady Beetles


Asian lady beetles, Harmonia axyridis, are a nuisance to homeowners. These invaders enter homes and buildings during the fall.

The Asian lady beetle is about 1/4″ long and 3/16″ wide. They come in a variety of colors including bright orange or pale-yellow orange and usually have spots on their wings.

This pest was introduced to the US by the USDA in 1916 and again in 1964-1965. The ideas was to control control aphids. They are most prevalent in the northeast, but may be found throughout the US.

The Asian lady beetles is a beneficial insect. They feed on aphids and scales. Adults will consume 90 – 270 aphids daily. The larva eat may eat 600 – 1,200 aphids daily.

Asian lady beetles seek a warm place to over winter. Usually they seek light rock cliff areas and homes located near open fields. It’s fairly easy for them to enter cracks and gaps in windows and doors.

Do not crush them as they will cause stains. The best thing to do for control is to seal cracks and crevices where they may be entering. Targeting this pest with chemicals is prohibited, by law, they do not appear of chemical labels.

Lady beetles rarely bite, but this is a little significance.

Bed Bugs


This is a pest you rarely hear about anymore, but they are still out there and have seen a resurgence since the early 1990’s. This nuisance pest attacks humans and animals. Bed bugs suck blood but do not transmit disease or damage property. Bed bugs have become more prevalent in homeless shelters and among the migrant worker community. Bed bugs can thrive where overcrowded living conditions and sanitation are less the ideal.

Bed bugs are approximately 3/16 inch long and adults are oval and flat with dark red or mahogany coloring. After filling themselves with blood they will grow in size and take on more of a red coloring.

The bed bugs body appears shiny. Their sucking mouthparts pierce the skin and suck the blood of the host. If you are sensitive to the bite you may experience itching and/or swelling in the area of the bite.

The female usually lays between 200 and too eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are deposited in cracks and crevices near their nest or the hosts sleeping area. The eggs hatch in about a week and will mature in four to nine weeks. Bed bugs can survive up to a year without food.

This pest has been known to hide in cracks, crevices and folds of mattresses and upholstered furniture as well as carpeting, cracks in floors and even behind electrical switch plates. Several other possible nesting areas are the folds of drapes and the motor compartment of refrigerators.

Your PMP can apply a residual product in the cracks and crevices of suspected nesting areas, including behind baseboards. It is recommended you vacuum suspected areas of infestation prior to treatment. If you have a current infestation, check areas carefully for any additional harborage.

Wasps and Hornets


Typically wasps are a beneficial insect because they feed on other insects. Unfortunately for wasps they have a habit of building nests in areas where we do not want them. Ask anyone who has been stung by a wasp. Hornets, however, usually build their nests high in trees, but occasionally invade our space.

Some species are solitary and do not form colony groups. Other wasps are called social wasps and live in colonies with a queen, sterile female workers and drones (males). Social wasps include, yellow jackets, hornets and paper wasps. If you are going to be stung, these are the ones to look out for. Stinging is a defensive action and occurs when a colony or individual feels threatened.

A queen who survives the winter (over winter) and emerges in the spring will begin a new colony. She will lay about 10-20 eggs, each being placed in a cell in her nest. Theses cells are similar to what you would find in a bee hive. She will search for food and water until the first sterile females of her new nest emerge. These sterile females will then take over the task of building the nest and taking care of the brood. The queen’s primary responsibility is egg laying.

By summers end the typical nest may have several combs along with thousands of cells and workers. During the late summer and early fall fertile females and males are produced. The new queens will over winter, while the males die off after mating.

The brown of giant hornet (European hornet) is the only true hornet found in North America. Approximately 1½ inches in length, it has a brown body marked with orange. Hornets typically build their nests in the hollows of trees and logs, but will enter eaves, vents and openings in the sides of structures.

The paper wasp (umbrella wasp), suspends its nests from the eaves of houses, the underside of decks, porch roofs and other well protected surfaces.

The yellow jacket, this writers least favorite of the wasp family, usually builds its nest underground in old mouse and rodent burrows or openings in buildings that are well protected. The yellow jacket nest may contain upwards of 3,000 in population. Yellow jackets are ½ inch in length and have yellow markings on their heads and yellow bands around the abdomen and thorax. Yellow jackets are considered to be the most aggressive members of the wasp family.

Wasps feed their young on animal protein which includes other insects and spiders. They scavenge for food and love family cookouts and picnic settings. They love hamburger and other meats we humans enjoy. The adults will also feed on sodas, beer and fruit juices. Yes, wasps have a sweet tooth, more or less.

You are more likely to be stung by yellow jackets in August and September, which is toward the end of their life cycle. Just remember that social wasps are very protective of their nests and will defend it against any potential invader.

Stay away! Seriously, wasps inject a venom and protein material when they sting. Unlike bees they are capable of multiple stings. Most people will have pain and swelling at the sight of the sting, but some people my have severe allergic reactions requiring emergency medical treatment. Wasps stings account for approximately 40 deaths in the US annually.

If you plan to take wasps on by yourself the best time to attack the nest is a night. Most of the colony will be in the nest and they are typically less aggressive. Locate the nest during day light hours and avoid using light to located the nest at night. Guards at the entrance may be attracted to the light and attack. Where protective clothing, including a long sleeve shirt and leather work type gloves warn in side the sleeve, trousers that are bloused inside your socks and a bee bonnet isn’t a bad idea either. And don’t forget to wear protective eye wear. Make sure others are kept away from the area and move slowly. If you panic, you may cause the nest to panic as well. If you have to flee, run in a straight line as fast as you can. DO NOT ZIG ZAG! Zig zagging only makes it easier for you pursuer to catch up to you.

There are a variety of “Wasp Freeze” products available that you may purchase. Follow the label directions for use and personal safety. Be sure to read the label. Some products may damage painted surfaces and siding.



Few people go through life without running into a tick. There are over 850 species throughout the world. Most people encounter ticks in the woods and in high grassy areas. Ticks may also be found in warm dry places such as livestock shelters or storage buildings.

Ticks, of all blood-sucking arthropods, have the widest variety of pathogens, including rickets, bacteria, protozoa and viruses. The most talked about of these, in recent memory, is Lyme disease, which was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the other disease most frequently associated with ticks.

An adult brown dog tick ranges from 1/8″ long to 1/2″ when engorged with blood. This tick is reddish brown in color, but when fully engorged takes on a grey-blue or olive hue. Dog ticks prefer dogs, where it derives its name, from the outdoors. The dog tick will attach itself behind a dogs ears and/or between a dogs toes. The deer tick which carries Lyme disease if found in the Midwestern and northeastern U.S. Deer ticks are about the same size as the brown dog tick, but are orange-brown in color with dark reddish-brown legs.

Your PCO can perform what is commonly referred to as “power spray” of your yard, concentrating on areas that may back up to wooded areas or open fields and high grasses. Most products available to your PCO will typically control, in addition to ticks, approximately 60 other pests.


  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and blouse trousers/pants in your socks or boots.
  • Wear light colored clothing. Light colors make it easier to see ticks.
  • Use a repellent such as Teet. Apply to pants, socks and shoes.
  • Try to stay in the middle of established trails when hiking or walking.
  • Wash all clothing after being in areas suspected of being tick infested.


  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Headache
  • Rash: Rash start from a small red spot and expands over a several days to weeks, forming a circular, triangular or oval shape. Some rashes may look like a bull’s-eye.
  • Stiff neck for no apparent reason
  • Fever
  • Facial paralysis
  • Brief periods of joint swelling and pain

Centipedes & Millipedes


Centipedes are usually referred to as “thousand leggers”. Truth be known it is the Millipede that is actually the “thousand legger”. In either case, these are outdoor pests that find there way into our homes and businesses. They take refuge in areas where it is damp and moist.

Centipedes typically live outside in damp areas, under rocks, leaves, mulch and landsacpe timbers. The centipede is brownish with a flat and elongated body. They have a pair of legs attached to almost every body segment. The number of legs will depend upon the length and therefore body segments. Usually 1 to 6 inches, in the Southeast and Southwest may grow to 8 inches.

The house centipede is usually 1 to 1½ inches long. They have 15 pairs of legs which makes them appear larger than they actually are. House centipedes are grayish-yellow in color with three dark brown stripes running down the back of their bodies.

Millipedes also like to live outdoors in damp areas. Millipedes are very slow moving and if you watch them carefully enough you can easily see them moving. This pest has a round brown body with 2 pairs of legs to each body segment and range from ½ to 1½ inches long. Oh yes, they do crunch when stepped on.

Chances are you will find centipedes in bath rooms, damp closets and basements. They eat other insects and are quite beneficial. They enjoy spiders in their diet. Centipedes can sting and their sting is comparable to that of a wasp.

Originally from Mexico, centipedes are found throughout the U.S. The house centipede has weak jaws and have difficulty biting through human skin, unlike their brethren discussed above.

Millipedes, on the other hand, product a foul smelling odor through glands in their body. Their food of choice is decaying vegetation and you will find them in damp areas including roots and green leaves. This pest becomes most prevalent during the Fall. You may find them crawling exterior walls and basement/cellar walls by the hundreds. Because of their size they find easy access to structures through cracks and crevices and around window and door frames. It is thought that millipedes attack buildings in an effort to find a suitable living area to overwinter.

Sometimes, exterior lighting on light colored buildings may attract millipedes. We have seen cases locally where thousands have crossed roads or streets during the night only to be found scaling the walls of the building where the lights are attached.

There are non chemical measures you can take to control centipedes and millipedes. If you stack wood near the foundation move it to a location away from the building. Keep your lawn dethatched, mowed and trimmed. Remove clippings if necessary. If you water your lawn, do it in the morning, this will help the grass dry through the day.

Look for cracks and crevices in foundation walls. Seal them to eliminate entry.

Your PMP can apply a residual product in the cracks and crevices of suspected nesting areas, including damp floors in garages and basements, plus ceiling joists and accessible crawl spaces. Bathrooms and laundry areas are ideal for application to control these pests.

If you have a current infestation, check areas carefully for any additional harborage.

Stink Bugs


Don’t squeeze that bug! If you do you will certainly understand where this insect gets its’ name. And they do stink.

This pest most commonly known as a Stink Bug is actually a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys). This insect was not previously seen in the U.S. until they were collected in September 1998 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Most likely this pest was introduced accidentally before the first collection in 1998. As early as 2002 they began showing up in Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Pike Counties, but I have come across large infestations in Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery and York Counties beginning late in the summer of 2005.

This pest is a native of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan as is known as an agricultural pest. At this time there is no definite indication as to what crops it may target here in Pennsylvania, but we don know that in its native countries it feeds on apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits and persimmons. It appears it may attack ornamental plants, weeds, and soybeans.

The Stink Bug looks very much like a shield and is about an inch in length. There are other varieties of Stink Bug, but you should look for the light bands on the antenna and darker bands that appear at the rear of the front pair of wings. They also have patches of copper appearing or blue-metallic depressions on their head and pronotum. Where the stink comes in is from the dorsal surface of the abdomen and underside thorax.

So far it appears that this species has only one generation a year. They begin appearing in mid August and start looking for a place to overwinter around mid September through mid October. One thing we know is that they do not reproduce indoors. One of the issues is the sheer number of them indoors hanging about windows and drapes along. We don’t recommend you use a vacuum to clean then up unless your are prepared to deal with the smell.

Favorite entry points into the home are windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, chimneys, and behind and around wood fascia. You can attempt to use silicone caulk to fill cracks and crevices. Another area where I have discovered them is in attics around vents and fans in the attic.

One spot you will want to keep an eye on is the fireplace, if you have one. Since chimneys seem to be a favorite entry point I have encountered them in fireplaces and vents from the firebox.

As far as treating for this pest, it’s best to treat the exterior. Treating wall voids with insecticidal dusts may sound like a plan there is a down side to this treatment. You may kill many inside the wall but then you may have to deal with carpet beetles that feed on the dead insects and may begin to attack dry goods and other natural products in your home along with woolens.

Contrary to some articles on the web, Stink Bugs do not sting or bite humans. We suspect that these claims are from bites from assassin bugs whose beaks are capable of penetrating human skin.

Moth (Drain) Flies


An annoying and troublesome pest that concerns numerous homeowners is the moth fly, also commonly known as the drain fly, filter fly, or sewage fly. Moth flies are frequently found indoors on windows, sinks and walls. The source of the fly infestation is generally from sinks and floor drains, or from nearby sewage plants or waste disposal areas. Polluted waters and wet organic materials are preferred breeding areas of the fly.

The adult fly is about one-tenth inch long (about one-third the size of a housefly). It has a dark gray body and lighter colored wings. The body and wings are densely covered with long hairs which give the body a fuzzy or hairy appearance, hence the name “moth fly”.

Eggs are deposited throughout the spring and summer in moist, decomposing organic materials. The gelatinous organic deposits, which accumulate in drains, provide an ideal breeding site. Eggs hatch into the maggots, which feed in this organic matter. Under favorable conditions, maggots mature in about two weeks and form a hard shell (puparium) within which the pupa forms and from which the adult fly emerges.

Control varies with the origin of the moth fly infestation. The most economical and sanitary way is to remove the organic material in which they breed. This requires cleaning sinks, drain pipes, and traps with a stiff wire brush or by steam. Several new products are now available that contain either bacteria or enzymes which breakdown the gelatinous scum in drains. They are applied as either a pour around the drain lip or injected as foam. Most pest management companies provide this as a service. To determine which drain is infested, place a jar over the outlet or tape a plastic bag over the opening of the overflow outlet. Check the container at intervals for adult flies.

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate
Penn State University Entomology Department
Revised January 2008

Products available on our site:

TypeExample ProductsUses
Microbial-based drainDrain Gel Bacteria
Vector Bio-5 Drain Cleaner
Enviropro DF-5000 for Drain Flies
InVade Bio Foam
InVade Hot Spot Foam
Used to break down organic matter in drains and other potential breeding sites.

Vinegar (Fruit) Flies


Drosophila species Family: Drosophilidae

Vinegar flies, sometimes inaccurately called fruit flies, are small, slow-flying insects usually found in association with over-ripened fruit and vegetables. These insects are most abundant in the late summer months in Pennsylvania when tomatoes, apples, and other fruit ripen and begin to ferment. Vinegar flies are common nuisance pests in restaurants, grocery stores, fruit markets, canneries, homes, and other locations that may attract these insects with fermenting or rotting vegetative matter.

Worldwide, the family Drosophilidae has over 3,000 described species in about 60 genera. The genus Drosophila contains more than half of the known species-most of these are found in the tropics. In North America, there are approximately 175 species of flies in this family and over 60 species the genus Drosophila . Of these, Drosophila melanogaster, D. busckii D. funebris , and D. repleta are the vinegar flies most often found within structures.

Vinegar fly adults vary (depending on species and food source) from 3 to 4 mm in length (25 mm = 1 inch), are light yellowish brown to dark brown in color, and may have darker markings on the dorsum of the thorax in the form of spots, blotches, or lines (Fig 1). Most have reddish eyes. The antennae have three segments with the third segment being oval and bearing a branched arista (hair-like structure), the branches of which are relatively long. The abdomen is typically darker than the thorax due to the presence of dark bands on the segments.

The 2.5-4.5-mm long, maggot-like larvae are cream-colored, lack a sclerotized head capsule, and are tapered from the posterior to the head. They have spiracles (breathing structures) located on extended, fleshy tubes found on the last body segment.

The larvae feed primarily on the yeast found in fermenting, liquefying items. Over-ripe tomatoes and bananas are commonly infested, as are rotting potatoes and onions. The liquid that remains in the bottom of beer cans held for recycling can also support vinegar fly larvae. Flies will breed in any soured, decaying substance such as wet mops and accumulations of food particles behind or under kitchen equipment. Drains, which have a gelatinous growth of scum, can also support an infestation of vinegar flies. Larvae typically pupate outside of the food source after feeding for about one week or less. The adult flies emerge in several days and become sexually active within two days. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as eight days at 85°F.

Elimination of fly breeding sites is paramount. Although insecticidal fogs and sprays will kill adult vinegar flies, the larvae will continue to develop and new adults will emerge unless potential food sources (described in the previous section) are discovered and removed.

During the summer months, adult flies may be attracted to light shining through windows. Because of the adult’s small size, they could gain access through standard window screening. Installation of 16 mesh or finer screening will reduce the number of flies that enter a structure.

Outside, gather and remove fruit such as apples, pears and tomatoes that have fallen to the ground. In the home store fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator. Thoroughly rinse cans, jars, and bottles prior to recycling to remove potential food sources.

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

Authored by: Steven B. Jacobs Sr. Extension Associate
Penn State University Entomology Department
April 2003 Revised January 2010

Products available on our site:

TypeExample ProductsUses
Baited trapsNatural Catch Plus® Fruit Fly Trap
960 Vector® Fruit Fly Trap
Catchmaster 100FF Fruit Fly TrapSmart Way Commercial Fruit Fly Trap
Place in areas where fruit flies are a problem.

House Flies


Musca domestica

House flies are not the neatest of insects. They visit such places as dumps, sewers, and garbage heaps. They feed on fecal matter, discharges from wounds and sores, sputum, and all sorts of moist decaying matter such as spoiled fish, eggs and meat.

House flies are strongly suspected of transmitting at least 65 diseases to humans, including typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, anthrax, tularemia, leprosy and tuberculosis. Flies regurgitate and excrete wherever they come to rest and thereby mechanically transmit disease organisms.

House flies can be easily identified by the four dark, longitudinal stripes on top of the thorax, or middle body region. They vary in length from l/8-l/4 of an inch. Their mouth parts are adapted for sponging up liquids; they cannot bite. These flies can only ingest liquid food. They feed on attractive solid food by regurgitating saliva on it. The saliva liquifies the solid material which is then sponged up with the proboscis. They require water since they are continually salivating and voiding liquids. Fly specks seen on many surfaces visited by house flies are the excreted wastes. The eggs are deposited in decaying matter such as grass clippings, garbage, human and animal excrement. Horse manure is the preferred

breeding medium. About l00-l50 eggs are deposited by each female on appropriate food. Eggs may hatch in 7 l/2 hours when temperatures are high (about 99× F), or it may take two days if the temperature is only 59×F. Eggs hatch into worm-like creatures called maggots (Fig. 1b). Maggots lack definite heads, eyes, antennae or legs. Their bodies are pointed at their front end and gradually widen at the rear.

They feed on the material in which they find themselves. There are three larval molts. Mature larvae stop feeding and burrow for protection in drier surrounding areas, where they pupate. The pupa is a chestnut brown, oval object within which the larva changes into an adult house fly. Adults mate within one to two days after emerging from their pupal cases. The life cycle, from egg to adult, may take as little as one week, but normally requires three weeks for completion. House flies normally live about 2 l/2 weeks during the summer, but they can, at lower temperatures, survive up to three months. Some overwinter outdoors in protected locations, or in crevices in buildings. Flies normally stay within l/2-2 miles of their point of origin, but have been known to travel as far as 20 miles to find food and ovipositional sites.

There are four basic principles of pest management important in controlling house flies: sanitation, exclusion, non-chemical measures, and chemical methods. These are listed in order of lasting effectiveness.

Sanitation – Flies cannot breed in large numbers if their food sources are limited. Do not allow such materials as manure, garbage, grass clippings, weed piles or other decaying organic matter to accumulate.

Keep trash cans clean and tightly covered. Be careful not to wash garbage cans where the rinse water might drain into the soil; flies can breed in soil full of organic matter. Dry out maggoty garbage or dispose of it in fly proof containers or landfills.

Exclusion – Flies can be kept outside of homes by the use of window and door screens. Make sure screens are tight-fitting without holes. Keep doors closed with no openings at the top or bottom. There should be no openings around water or gas pipes or electrical conduits that feed into the building. Caulk or plug any openings. Ventilation holes can be a way for flies to enter a building. Ventilation is important to maintaining adequate air circulation within the building, but screening must be used to exclude flies.

Non-chemical Measures – The use of such devices as ultraviolet light traps, sticky fly traps, fly swatters, baited fly traps, etc. can eliminate many flies from inside a home. A fly swatter is an economical control method for the occasional fly.

Chemical Control – Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. Applications should consist of a synthetic pyrethroid (i.e. deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin or tralomethrin) and should be applied by a licensed pest control operator when flies begin to appear. Unfortunately, because insecticides are broken down by sunlight, the residual effect of the material will be greatly decreased and may not kill flies much beyond several days or a week. If flies are numerous inside your home, you can use a space spray (aerosol) labeled for flying insects. Most space sprays contain pyrethrins for quick knockdown. Aerosols give temporary relief, however. If you have many flies inside, you would be wise to find out why they are there and take steps to relieve the problem through sanitation and exclusion.

Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.


Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate

Penn State University Entomology Department

Revised August 2007

We carry a large selection of electronic traps and baits and other fly traps at The Pest Store – Fly Control.

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