Pest Identification

Provided by Diam Pest Control in Des Moines, IA


Bald Faced Hornet

Bald faced hornets are about 25 mm long and have a black and white body with white on their face. This social insect makes large, gray nests that eventually contain hundreds of insects. A new nest is started each spring by a single fertilized queen. Nests may be located above the ground in a protected location or in underground holes. Hornets are very aggressive if their nest is threatened or disturbed and multiple stinging can occur.

Bed Bugs

The adult bed bug is 3/16” long, oval, flat and rusty red or mahogany in color. The bed bug is flat and thin when unfed but becomes more elongated, plump, and red when it is full of blood. Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices during the day, preferring to rest on wood and paper surfaces instead of stone and plaster. It leaves these harborage areas at night to feed on its host which include humans, birds, dogs, and family pets. The blood meal requires three to ten minutes and usually goes unnoticed by the victim. After feeding, the bite site may become inflamed and itch severely.

How to Find Bed Bugs

In the case of a bed bug infestation, it is best to find them early, before the infestation spreads. Treating a small infestation is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it has grown and becomes more widespread.

However, small infestations are also much tougher to find and identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, are sometimes mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house.

Here’s some ways of identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

A better way to identify a bed bug infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs.

When you are changing the bed, or when you are traveling, here’s some signs to look for:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • Live bed bugs.

Boxelder Bug

Adult boxelder bugs are black with red markings. Nymphs have bright red abdomens. They feed on the seeds of the female boxelder tree and leave them during late slimmer and early fall to seek overwintering sites near building windows or the foundation. Boxelder bugs commonly congregate on the sides of buildings where the sun warms them during the day and early evening. These insects do not sting or bite but become annoying when they invade buildings or homes during warm days in the fall, winter or spring. They are excellent flyers.

During the summer months, Boxelder Bugs are perfectly happy outdoors busily eating sap from the seeds of boxelder, maple and ash trees. They are not much of a problem at this point as they have no desire to be indoors. However, once fall arrives they begin to prepare for winter. You will notice them collecting on the sunny side of structures. This is usually the South and West sides. They are drawn to these surfaces because of the heat. Once cooler weather arrives, they penetrate any exterior cracks they can find to hibernate inside the walls. Quite often they go undetected all winter. However, on warm winter days, and especially when spring arrives, they start to come out of hibernation. They begin to exit the structure as they are not able to survive indoors. Unfortunately, some of them go the wrong direction and end up inside of the structure.

This is when they become a problem. Timing is critical in getting rid of boxelder bugs. In the winter and early spring, when they are hibernating inside your walls, they are not always accessible to us. If we can’t get to them, we can’t eliminate them. Therefore, treating for boxelder bugs in the winter or spring does not always yield the best results. However, if we cannot gain access to them in the spring, there is a solution. In the following fall season, when they gather on the outside walls, we can power spray the exterior of the structure. This will eliminate most of them before they get in. This is very effective if it is done at the right time. Around September or October, pay close attention to the outside for the structure. When they show up, please give us a call and make an appointment. This seems to happen at a different time each year so, you will have to watch for them to show up. If you have an existing service agreement with us, in most cases, there will be no additional charge for your service. You have a two to three week window of opportunity to have this done. As they move into the walls, the results will decrease.


Carpenter Ant

These are among the larger (6-12 mm) ants in the United States. Most are black but some are various shades of brown or red and black. They usually have an evenly rounded thorax when viewed from the side with a circle of tiny hairs on the tip of their abdomen. There is only a single node in the thin-waisted petiole region. Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in the center of rotting trees or water damaged areas within wooden structures. These ants feed on many foods. They do not feed on wood. The colonies are sometimes located by sawdust-like debris dropped near their excavation. At 900 F, their life cycle is completed in about 2 months Eggs hatch in 24 days with the larval and pupal stages lasting 21 days.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bees are becoming more common in central Iowa. They are a large fuzzy bee with yellow and black markings (some are all black). They look similar to a bumblebee. Despite their similar appearance, their nesting habits are quite different. Carpenter Bees tunnel into wood to lay their eggs. Bare, unpainted or weathered softwoods are preferred especially redwood, cedar, cypress, and pine. Painted or pressure-treated wood is much less susceptible to attack. Common nesting sites include barn rafters, eaves, window trim, fascia boards, siding, wooden shingles, decks and outdoor furniture. Male Carpenter Bees seem quite aggressive, often hovering in front of people who are around the nests. However, the males are quite harmless since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can sting but seldom will unless they are mishandled.


Adult fleas are flattened from side to side, dark colored, wingless and have strongly developed legs. Their hind pair of legs are especially adapted for jumping. They have sucking mouthparts used to siphon out the blood of animals. Larvae are worm-like, legless and tan. They feed on organic debris, dried blood and excrement from adult fleas. Fleas usually bite humans where clothing fits tightly against the body. Adult fleas can live for several weeks without a blood meal. When found indoors, they are usually associated with pet dogs or cats. Fleas can transmit several diseases including bubonic plague and tularemia. They are also the carriers of a tapeworm which, in the adult stage, is found in dogs and men.

Indianmeal Moth

The basal half of the front wings of the Indianmeal moth are light colored with the distal portion reddish-brown to copper. The hind wings lack distinctive markings and are more or less uniformly gray. The wingspan ranges from 1/2″ to 3/4″.


Millipedes are hard, dark-brown or black, worm-like creatures with two pairs of short legs attached to each body segment. They characteristically curl up when disturbed. Millipedes seek the same habitat as do sowbugs and exhibit similar behavior.


Sowbugs resemble miniature armadillos. Their oval small bodies are segmented; many-legged, and bear two antennae. Because they feed on decaying organic material, they need a very moist habitat to survive. They avoid light when possible. During the day they hide under rocks, boards, mulches, or other similar materials that lie flat on the ground. When sowbugs crawl indoors, they usually die quickly because of lack of food and moisture.

Subterranean Termite

Being in nearly every state, they are the most common pests injuring structural timber. The winged forms are about 13 mm long and the wingless workers and soldiers are 6 mm long. Termites develop from eggs laid by primary or secondary reproductive. The nymphs proceed through several molts during which the 4 different castes formed are called workers, soldiers primary (winged) reproductive and secondary (wingless) reproductive. Subterranean termite colonies are usually located in the soil from which workers build mud tubes to the wood upon which they must eat for food.

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jackets have yellow bodies surrounded by black stripes and are 12-18 mm long. This social insect makes large, gray nests that eventually contain hundreds of insects. A new nest is started each spring by a single fertilized queen. Nests may be located above the ground in a protected location or in underground holes. Yellow jackets are very aggressive if their nest is threatened or disturbed and multiple stinging can occur.