There are thousands of different types of insects found in the Pacific Northwest. Below is a list of some of the invasive insects that we can help you to prevent. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, reach out to us – there’s a good chance we can help you or know who can!
Carpenter Ants: (see Wood-destroying [WDO]) pests) These larger ants are attracted to wet and rotting wood and can be structurally damaging. Building nests in damp, decaying or hollow wood or forests, unlike the termite, carpenter ants do not consume wood.
Argentine Ants: Though native to South America, this species is invasive and now found on several other continents and the United States. They are a major pest in Southern California. Unlike most ants which have only one queen per colony, the Argentine ant can have up to eight queens per 1000 workers. They can be found in cracks, or tiny holes and find their way indoors in search of sweet, syrupy foods or proteins. Sealing cracks and cleaning all food areas and spillage is recommended in prevention.
Pharoah Ants: Small yellow ant about 1/16″ long and a huge indoor pest especially in hospitals, apartments and other group facilities. They can transmit diseases such as salmonella. This ant is difficult to eliminate as sprays can cause workers to split into multiple colonies and is sometimes best treated with extensive indoor baiting.
Odorous House Ants: This ant produces an unpleasant smell when crushed. Their colonies can be difficult to eliminate once established and can have many queens and many homes. Cleaning up spills and food sources indoors is always recommended and routine service is highly recommended to control. They are not known to bite or sting
Pavement Ants: Colonies often make nests under stones, concrete or pavement. Spring and summer activity is often seen in the form of sand mounds between cracks in driveway or patio areas. Workers do have a small stinger, which can cause mild discomfort in humans but is essentially harmless.
While they aren’t known to transmit any infectious disease, bed bugs can be an itchy nuisance.
They prefer to hide in small, dark spaces like mattress seams and cracks in the wall, and they feed on human blood. Preferring uncovered skin, bed bugs often leave behind three bites in a row, as though they’ve had breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
With adults about the size of apple seeds, bed bugs have a flattened oval-shaped body. The presence of bed bugs doesn’t necessarily indicate poor hygiene; they spread easily by crawling to nearby locations or stowing away in personal items, and are more prevalent in densely populated areas.
Carpet Beetle: These beetles, which feed on animal furs and plant products, can be even more of a nuisance and harder to control than clothes moths. Adults are shaped like ladybugs but they’re somewhat smaller and are dull gray in color. However, it’s their larvae that will do real damage to your home or business, often leaving single holes in clothes and sometimes taking refuge in grain products.
Red Flour Beetle and Confused Flour Beetle: These beetles are incredibly similar, but the red flour beetle can fly while the confused flour beetle cannot. Neither insect bites or stings, but both attack stored grain and plant products such as flour, cereals, and even spices and dry pet food. Attracted to light, these beetles are commonly found in crevices where food products have spilled as well as in the product itself.
Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle: Easily identifiable by the saw-tooth appearance of their thorax (middle body part), this beetle feeds on grain, nut, and seed products in both its adult and larval stages. It’s most commonly found in packages left unsealed for extended periods, and it thrives in warm temperatures.
Cigarette Beetle: As its name suggests, this beetle favors tobacco products, but it can also be found in stored food products including oilseeds, grains, and dried fruit. The beetles, who can fly but do not bite, are very similar in appearance to drugstore beetles.
Drugstore Beetle: Also known as the bread beetle, this beetle is extremely common in many types of dried plant products. Slightly larger than the cigarette beetle, it’s still only about 3.5 mm long on average. A single female adult can lay up to 75 eggs on a food source, and the larval stage (which does most of the damage) can last months.
Food-storage Moths: Quite a few species of moths in the Pacific Northwest favor common pantry foods. The Angoumois grain moth, for instance, deposits its eggs on grain kernels. Its larvae eat through the kernel and develop inside, rendering the grain unfit for consumption and giving it an unpleasant smell.
Indianmeal moth larvae similarly develop in many kinds of stored foods, including coarsely ground grains and cereal products. Mediterranean flour moths also favor grains and other foodstuffs, particularly flour dust. Often mistaken for clothes moths when they’re seen fluttering around the kitchen, these species of moths can often be identified by the webbing their larvae leave behind in infested packages.
Clothes Moths: Several moth species fall into the category we refer to as clothes moths, most commonly the webbing, casemaking, and tapestry moths. Unlike most moths, clothes moths aren’t particularly attracted to light sources. Instead, they prefer dark, secluded areas like closets, attics, and corners. Adults are unable to feed, but their larvae feast on fabrics, stored clothes, rugs, and even pet hair and lint.
American Cockroach: The largest cockroach species in the Pacific Northwest, we mostly find them in older downtown buildings and sub-basements. American cockroaches tend to be reddish-brown and around one and a half inches in length. Although they present less of a health threat than some other species, they can pose a concern when they move from sewers into commercial establishments, bringing contaminants along with them.
German Cockroach: Considerably smaller and more common than the American cockroach, German cockroaches are hardy and adaptable. Since they’re mostly active at night and like to hide in small spaces, it might be difficult to notice them before you have lots of them. Unfortunately, studies link them to allergies and asthma, and they can carry disease-producing organisms.
Brown-banded Cockroach: These roaches need less moisture than their counterparts, so they’re commonly found in drier areas, including bedrooms and living spaces. Thriving in warmer temperatures, they can carry contaminants, including at least 33 different kinds of bacteria.
Oriental Cockroach: Identifiable by their dark coloration and shiny shells, these roaches use strongly musty-smelling chemicals to communicate with one another. Oriental cockroaches commonly gain access to buildings through pipes, sewer systems, and gaps beneath siding. Like all cockroaches, they present a risk to human health.
Hobo Spider: Once believed to be venomous, hobo spiders are now known as neither toxic nor aggressive, although they will bite in self-defense. These brownish spiders can be difficult to identify, since they vary in appearance. They construct funnel-shaped webs with an escape route, such as a crack or corner, at one end.
Orb-weaver Spider: Common in the Pacific Northwest, these non-venomous spiders are the source of the spiral circular webs you might imagine a cartoon spider building. Orb-weavers, who rarely bite, are pesky but not dangerous.
Common House Spider: Indigenous to the Americas, this species primarily lives indoors. Their bite, which they’ll only use if grabbed or squeezed, is harmless but can be painful. With their small (¼ inch on average) bodies and dull brown coloration, they blend easily into many backgrounds.
Yellow Sac Spider: Yellow sac spiders are expert climbers who tend to make their way indoors in the fall. With yellow, white, or greenish bodies and legs darker than their abdomens, they hide in small sacs during the day. Although they’ll only bite if provoked, their bite is known to be venomous to humans.
Wasps & Bees
Yellowjackets: Yellowjackets commonly build nests underground in rockeries or old rodent burrows. Like other wasps, they hibernate and die off during the winter, are at their largest numbers during the summer, and can sting repeatedly with their lance-like stingers. They become aggressive scavengers around garbage and meat smells, as well as other human food and drink, in the late summer.
Paper Wasps: Paper wasps build nests out of paper under any horizontal surface, such as a roof overhang. Sometimes also called umbrella wasps due to the shape of their nests, they’re much less aggressive than yellowjackets. As a rule, they’ll only attack if they feel they or their nest/territory are threatened.
Bald-faced Hornets: Bald-faced hornets, which are not true hornets but rather wasps, usually nest in trees and shrubs or under overhangs. Their nests resemble large paper footballs. With large black and white rather than black and yellow bodies, they’re easy to distinguish from yellowjackets. These wasps are highly territorial and can spray venom into intruders’ eyes in addition to stinging, causing temporary blindness.
Honey Bees: Bees are different from wasps; they’re plumper, more mild-mannered, and generally more interested in flowers than your lunch or garbage. Unlike wasps, they can only sting once before they die, which makes them hesitant to sting unless they feel their hive is genuinely threatened. Because honey bees are a vital part of our ecosystem, call Paratex for referrals to services that will remove and relocate bees without harming them.
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