Occasional Pests & Invaders

Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees. This species is native to the western states, but can be found from eastern Canada throughout the eastern United States, and west to eastern Nevada wherever boxelder trees are found.

 

Camel crickets

Camel crickets get their common name from their humpbacked appearance, which is similar to that of a camel. They are widespread in the United States and in the world. Camel crickets do not possess sound producing organs, and therefore do not chirp. Additionally, the adults do not have wings, unlike other cricket species. Camel crickets leap when they are frightened since it’s the only defense mechanism they have to scare off predators.

 

Centipedes

Centipedes are sometimes called "hundred-leggers" because of their many pairs of legs, but they can actually have anywhere from 15-177 pairs of legs, depending on the species. Interestingly, centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs.

 

Earwigs

Earwigs got their name from the myth that they crawl into sleeping people's ears and tunnel into their brains. The long cerci, or clippers, on their backsides easily identify an earwig.

 

House Crickets

House crickets get their common name from the fact that they often enter houses where they can survive indefinitely. Interestingly, they are known for their loud chirping which is caused by rubbing their front wings together to attract females.

 

Ladybug

Ladybugs are also known as lady beetles or ladybird beetles. Most species of this beetle family are highly beneficial insects, but some have a habit of overwintering in structures, leading them to become nuisance pests. Ladybugs are found worldwide with about 475 species located in the Unites States and Canada.

 

Millipedes

Millipedes are sometimes called "thousand-leggers" because of their many pairs of legs, but they can actually have anywhere from 30-90+ pairs of legs, depending on the species. The leggiest is Illacme plenipes, which can have more than 333 pairs of legs.

 

Periodical Cicadas

Periodical cicadas are large insects often incorrectly referred to as locusts even though they are unrelated. They are known for the loud buzzing noise that males make to attract female mates.

There are at least 15 broods of periodical cicadas that emerge from underground in 13- or 17-year cycles in different parts of the country. In May 2013, a group of Brood II cicadas invaded the Northeastern United States from the Carolinas to Connecticut. Another brood of 17-year cicadas, Brood III, is expected to emerge in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri in 2014.

 

Pillbugs (Rollie Pollies)

This pest is the only crustacean that has become completely adapted to spending its life on land. Pillbugs have oval bodies and seven pairs of legs. They are easily recognized by their back, which is made up of seven hard individual plates. Pillbugs are sometimes referred to as rollie-pollies.

 

Scorpion

Scorpions are nuisance pests that are closely related to spiders, mites and ticks. There are about 1,200 scorpion species in the world and 70 species in the United States. Of these, the most dangerous species is the Arizona Bark Scorpion, which is found in the American southwest and in Northern Mexico.

 

Silverfish

This insect gets its name from its silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like shape and movements. Silverfish have no wings, but are able to run very fast. They tend to hide their presence from humans which means any damage they have caused could go unnoticed as well.

 

Springtails (Snow Fleas)

Certain species of springtails are referred to as "snow fleas" when found in winter, but they are not fleas at all. Springtails are found year round, but because of a special protein that acts like anti-freeze, this type of springtail is able to survive in cold winter temperatures. Springtails don't have wings, instead they get around by jumping, using a unique catapult system. Their jumping is especially noticeable in winter when they are contrasted against white snow.

 

Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species from Asia that arrived in Pennsylvania in 1996. The stink bug earned its name from its tendency to release an odor when disturbed or when crushed. Many other insects have these same characteristics, including some species of ants, beetles and other bugs.