Fact Sheets - Nuisance, Stored Food, and Structural Insects
Although some species resemble lice, booklice and their relatives are not true lice. They feed on mold and other fungi, which are sometimes present in books. Eliminating sources of mold will help control booklice. Mold growth can be discouraged by decreasing humidity and increasing airflow.
Boxelder bugs are considered a nuisance pest, and rarely cause economic, aesthetic or structural damage. Adults are commonly found on and in buildings during August and September, especially the southern exposure. Boxelder bugs can stain carpet and other fabrics.
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive insect pest from eastern Asia. In Utah, it was first detected in 2012 in Salt Lake City. Its broad host range includes fruit, vegetable, ornamental, and field crop plants; in Utah, it has primarily infested ornamental deciduous trees and shrubs in urban and residential landscapes.
Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but chew through it to construct pathways and nests leaving behind a sawdust-like substance called frass. Carpenter ants can have two or more different sizes of workers, and one to many queens within a colony.
Carpenter ants include species that are among the largest ants found in the United States. They are social insects with a complex and well-defined caste system. The worker ants are sterile females and may occur in different sizes (majors and minors).
Carpenter bees cause damage to structural timbers and other wood products such as fence posts, utility poles, firewood, arbors, and lawn furniture. They avoid wood that is painted or covered with bark. Carpenter bees are often confused for bumble bees because of their similar size and appearance.
Adult clothes moths or “millers” are harmless and do not cause any damage to fabrics. Larvae can feed on wool, feathers, fur, hair, cotton and synthetic fibers. Clothes moths prefer darkness and are weak flyers.
Clover mites are not insects but are more closely related to chiggers, ticks, and spiders. They belong to the spider mite family Tetranychidae. These mites are found throughout the world on trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, and agricultural crops.
There are 4 species of cockroaches that commonly infest structures in Utah. The cockroach species infesting your home or apartment will determine your control strategy.
Crickets will eat almost anything, including fabrics, other insects (dead or alive), food products, and furs. Occasionally crickets may enter the home or chirp near the home, and become a nuisance. Regular sanitation around the exterior of the home will discourage cricket infestations.
Dermestid beetle larvae are considered scavengers that feed on dead tissue; however, they will feed on wool and dry food supplies such as flour and pasta. Regular cleaning and inspection of food and fabrics will reduce potential dermestid damage.
First detected in 2014, elm seed bug is Utah’s newest nuisance pest. Elm seed bug activity peaks in mid-summer when they enter buildings through windows, doors and other entry points. Thoroughly seal windows, doors and cracks and crevices around buildings. Pyrethroid insecticides applied as a barrier treatment may reduce migration into structures.
Fungus gnats require high moisture conditions and decaying material. Adults are attracted to light and can be first seen flying near windows and doors. Plants damaged by fungus gnats will lack vigor, have poor color, and premature leaf drop.
This key is intended for use with, at a minimum, a microscope with 8-35x zoom capability. In addition to couplet choices based on anatomy, this key is accompanied by pictures taken with a Leica EZ4D stereoscope (the same scopes given to selected Utah Extension offices) to aid in identification.
This fact sheet covers information on red and black imported fire ants, which can cause agricultural, ecological, economical, nuisance, and publich health problems.Imported fire ants are native to South America, but have invaded other countries, including the U.S. However, they are not known to occur in Utah, but parts of southern Utah may be suitable for colony establishment, particularly in areas that have accessible water from irrigation or natural sources.
Millipedes are related to trilobites, spiders and ticks, sowbugs, and crayfish, centipedes, and insects. Each group represents a different class of arthropods. Millipedes or "thousandlegged worms" include over 800 species of the class Diplopoda in North America.
Odorous house ants are an emerging ant pest in Utah. Their biology and habits make them more difficult to manage than our dominant pavement ant. Understanding pavement ant biology and management strategies is critical to successful, long-term control of this pest.
Pantry pests are usually brought into the home in prepackaged food products. Beetles and moths are the most common pantry pests. Insects can feed on processed food or broken kernels and can chew through paper, cardboard and foil.
Pavement ants are northern Utah’s most common pest ant in and around homes and structures.The pavement ant derives its name from the habit of nesting in soil along edges or in cracks around pavement, but they can be found nesting almost anywhere soil is present.
Pseudoscorpions are harmless to people and pets. They “hitchhike” on flies and beetles, and sometimes can accidentally enter the home. Pseudoscorpions are considered beneficial to humans because they feed on clothes moth larvae, carpet beetle larvae, booklice, ants, and mites.
Red fire bugs were first discovered in North America in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2008. These insects are seed feeders on a wide range of plants, including linden and mallow.
Springtails are small, abundant, wingless insects that live in a variety of moist habitats. Because of their small size and micro- habitat, they are seldom observed. Most of them live in the soil or in other concealed situations.
Termites eat and digest cellulose, and are attracted to moist or decayed wood. Subterranean termites need wood-to-soil contact and construct mud tubes to stay protected. Mature termite colonies can have over 1 million members and consume one pound of wood per day.
This key is intended as an identification aid for spider specimens commonly collected from indoor situations in Utah. It is not all-inclusive and will not correctly identify all spiders. However, the key does include groups that comprise about 90% of the specimens that are submitted from household situations in Utah, and about 80% of spiders submitted from all situations.