Identify a Pest

Identifying a pest can be difficult. Use this page to help you identify a pest.

This page can help you identify many of the common pests, their physical attributes and issues. Of course, if you can’t identify a pest – give us a call!

Identify a Pest - Bedbugs

Bed bugs are nocturnal blood-feeding pests of humans are oval shaped reddish brown insects, 1 – 5 mm (1/16 inches to 3/16 inches) long.

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Identify a Pest - Ants

Pavement Ants

An introduced pest from Europe, Pavement ants are 2-4 millimeters long and range from dark brown to black in colour.

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Carpenter Ants

Nesting inside our structures, Carpenter ants are large black ants with polymorphic (varying sized) workers. One species in southern Ontario is black with a red thorax.   Workers range from 6 – 12 mm and winged swarmers up to 18mm. Queens are rarely seen and can be as large as 20mm long.

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Pharaoh Ants

Tiny and almost translucent, Pharaoh ants are yellow or reddish-brown in colour and are very small (2 mm in length).

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Identify a Pest - Cockroaches

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is brown with two black horizontal stripes on their pronotum (the shield-like structure partially covering the insects head and thorax) from behind their head to the base of their wings. They are 11 mm to 16 mm in size (adults are ½ inches to 5/8 inches long). Adults are winged. Immature cockroaches do not have wings and are light brown with varying dark brown markings.

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Identify a Pest - Fleas


Mainly pests of pets, Fleas will also take a bite out of humans. Adults are 1 to 4 mm long and are black to reddish-brown in colour. They are flattened laterally to pass easily through the fur of animals.

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Identify a Pest - Bees and Wasps

Yellow Jackets

There are 3 species in Southern Ontario with black and yellow bands on a smooth abdomen. Quite often confused with honeybees which are thicker insects with hairy bodies. Yellow jackets are typically 12mm in length.

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Bald Faced Hornet

With a very painful sting, Bald Faced Hornets are 13 to 20mm and black with white or bluish markings.

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Carpenter Bee

Carpenter bees are thick and robust with a shiny abdomen.   They are black or mainly black with yellow or white markings. Commonly confused with Bumble bees which are hairy with larger yellow markings.

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Identify a Pest - Pantry Pests

Sawtoothed Grain Beetles

A slender dark brown to black beetle 2.5 – 3mm with jagged edges on the thorax.

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Merchant Grain Beetles

A slender dark brown to black beetle 2.5 – 3mm with jagged edges on the thorax.

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Drugstore Beetles

Approximately 1/10 inch in length, reddish-brown in colour and oval shaped. Hair appears in lines on the insects hard shell (elytra).

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Confused and Red Flour Beetles

Flour beetles are small 3-6mm long and reddish-brown in colour.

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Indian Meal Moths

Adults are 8 – 10mm long, outer half of their wings are dark gray or copper coloured with tan or yellowish-grey upper half of their wings. Larvae are off-white with brown heads.

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Mediterranean Flour Moths

The adults of this species are 12 mm long with dark zigzag markings across the wings. The larvae are off-white with a darker head and small black spots on the body.

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Identify a Pest - Spiders

Black Widow Spider

Adult females spiders are black with a bright red hourglass marking on the abdomen. Immature females may have two red dots that have not yet developed into the telltale hourglass marking.

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Brown Recluse Spider

Light to medium brown 6 to 20mm with markings on their cephalothorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider.

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