Asked Questions About Insects
I am wondering if you can help identify an insect I found on my
bedroom floor. I'd like to be sure it is not a harbinger of others
and what I can do about it. I know very little about insects, so
I'll describe it as best I can:
1" long, 1/4" wide; 2 wings, covered by hard shell;
Color: Black top, rust colored underside; Head maybe about 1/8"
diameter; Long [1/4"] stinger that retracts into the abdomen.
your description of the insect contains many important details,
we are typically unable to identify an insect based solely on a
spoken or written description. Our entomologist, Dr. Art Antonelli,
recommends that people get their insects identified first before
we can make any specific recommendations. The only way we can identify
a pest is to have an actual sample of the insect (sometimes we can
identify certain insects based on high quality pictures). Please
refer to for insect sampling instructions.
How do you control post beetles?
use the name "post beetles" but we are unfamiliar with
this term. The problem with common names of insects is that there
are so many of them and the names vary widely- so it is hard to
pinpoint which insect a person is talking about. We would need to
identify the insect before we can provide management information.
Please refer to for insect sampling
Insects have infested my pantry. They are in the flour, cereal,
and dog food. I find them everywhere. HELP!
are several insects that can infest stored food products including
carpet beetles, drugstore beetles, larder beetles etc. We would
need to examine a specimen in order to determine the exact insect
with which you are dealing (refer to insect
sampling instructions). These insects, however, can be grouped
into a category we commonly call the "cupboard beetles"
as they have similar life habits and can all be managed the same
your home carefully for evidence of infestations. Sanitation, with
removal of any dubious material, is a key management strategy. Consider
storing food materials in tightly sealed containers. Insecticides
do not work well against this group of insects and should not be
used near food anyway.
I have carpenter ants around my home. What should I do?
make sure that you have had the ants "positively" identified
as carpenter ants (Camponotus species). We have many different
ants in Washington and they could require different management strategies.
For example, "moisture" ants, such as Lasius species,
are associated with an underlying moisture problem that must be
addressed to manage the ant problem. If you have had the ants positively
identified as carpenter ants, then management recommendations depend
on the situation.
ants in an old stump in the back yard may not require any additional
treatment while finding a colony in the basement definitely does
require management. We recommend hiring the help of a professional
pest control operator if a carpenter ant colony has been found within
In fall whenever I bring firewood into my house, I end up with these
brown bugs flying around. What are they? Will they hurt my house?
a sample of the insect, we can only guess at their identity but
we receive numerous "seed" bug samples each year at the
Puyallup Plant and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory that match this
problem scenario. Many of the seed bugs overwinter as adults and
tend to move in on warm objects in the fall (e.g. houses, wood piles).
They do not harm anything in the house though some may have an objectionable
odor. During spring, they try to move outside (so they can feed
on seeds- hence the name "seed bug"). Household pesticides
normally do not control them - which leaves vacuuming or hand removal
the only real option. Bug proofing the home is necessary for long-term
prevention. Shaking off the firewood before entering your home to
remove any insects overwintering on the wood may help in your situation.
You were unable to identify the insects on the sticky tape that
I submitted to the Puyallup Diagnostic Laboratory. Why?
diagnostic structures can become crushed or gummed when the insect
is collected on sticky tape. Often we are unable to remove the insect
from the tape without further damaging the sample; hence we are
unable to view the features necessary for identification. So please
do not collect insects for identification on sticky tape.
Attached is an image of an insect that was found at our daughter's
school. Could you please identify it for us?
picture you submitted lacked the clarity and detail necessary for
identification. We prefer examining actual insect samples to that
of images. In order to identify insects, we often need to examine
the features using a microscope.
achieve the best possible identification from an image, pictures
should be in crisp focus and taken so the insect image is as large
as possible. Take pictures from several views (including the underside
of an insect). You should include an object (ruler, penny, pencil)
for scale in at least one image. Remember we haven't seen the actual
insect you caught! To confirm a tentative identification from an
image, we encourage submission of the actual sample. Refer to the
insect sampling instructions.
I found a moth that I would like identified. Should I store it in
insects such as bees, butterflies, and moths should not be placed
in alcohol as this process can damage features such as scales on
the wings that are of use in identification. Instead you should
freeze the insect and then gently pack it into a vial. Protect the
insect from damage by placing cotton or other soft packing material
around the specimen. See insect sampling
instructions for further sample submission information.
found this pupa in my garden and would like to know if it is a pest
insects are fairly impossible to identify as pupae. You may want
to try to rear the insect to an adult (insect pupa will require
air and slight humidity- be careful not to jar the pupa as this
often stops the development process) and if successful then submit
the adult insect for identification.
identify these insect eggs for me. Thanks.
We are unable to identify insect eggs since they all look
fairly similar and have little morphological differences for comparison
at this stage.
The news is full of information about West Nile Virus. What can
I do to protect myself? My children? My horses?
best management efforts should be focused on reducing mosquito habitat
around your home by emptying containers holding water and fixing
leaks in faucets and on minimizing your exposure to mosquitoes by
avoiding peak hours, and wearing protective clothes and repellent.
PLS #121 "Pest Management
for Prevention and Control of Mosquitoes" (pdf)
provides additional information.
veterinarian will be able to assist you questions regarding horse
protection. Currently, the Washington
State Department of Health is coordinating West
Nile Virus efforts for Washington. Refer to the West
Nile Virus for additional information.
I have been having insect problems with my apple fruit. What can
I do to manage such problems?
pests, the codling moth and the apple maggot, can damage apple fruit
in Western Washington. The codling moth larvae tend to chew a large
tunnel parallel to the core of the apple, while apple maggots tunnel
throughout the apple flesh.
that is damaged by apple maggot often undergoes further fungal decay
rendering it inedible (see picture). Recommendations for
the management of these two pests can be found on the Hortsense