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Pest has 6 legs, and …

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Quick ID Guide
Insect Basics

Choose the best option:

option 1Pest has wings that are:

  • visible and functional, or
  • covered by a hard shell and divided by a vertical line, or
  • very short and stubby, or
  • appear in an X pattern

option 2Pest does not have wings

  • horizontal lines are visible across the back section of insect's body

Examples:

Visible and Functional Wings:

American cockroach
American cockroach
(1 3/8-2 1/8", 34-53 mm)

 

bumblebee
bumblebee
(1/4-1", 6-25 mm)

 

moth
moth
(1 1/2-1 7/8", 38-46 mm)

 

housefly
house fly
(1/8-1/4", 4-7.5 mm)

 

termite, alate
termite, winged reproductive
(3/8", 10 mm)

Examples:

basic insect showing abdominal segments These horizontal lines (the abdominal segments) will show if the pest has no wings.

bed bug adult
bed bug
(3/16", 4-5 mm), photo by Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

 

carpenter ant
carpenter ant
(1/8-1/2", 3.5-13mm)

 

silverfish
silverfish
(1/2-3/4", 12-19 mm), photo by Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

 

cat flea
cat flea,
(1/8", 2.5 mm),(1/8", 2.5 mm), photo by Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org

 

springtail
springtail
(1/32-1/8", 1-3 mm)

 

termite worker
termite worker
(1/8-1/4", 5-7 mm)

 

book louse
book louse
(1/32-1/4", 1-6 mm)

Wings covered by a hard shell and divided by a vertical line:

 

general beetle image Arrow marks division between the elyatra: hard, shell-like modified wings found in beetles.

 

carpet beetle, adult
carpet beetle
(1/16-1/8", 1.8-3.2 mm), adult, photo by Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

 

convergent lady beetle
ladybug
(1/32-3/8", 0.8-10 mm), photo by Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

 

beetle in flight
beetle in flight,
photo by Erich G. Vallery, USDA Forest Service - SRS-4552, Bugwood.org

Very short and stubby wings:

earwig
earwig
(1/4-1", 5-25 mm), photo by Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Wings appear in an X pattern:

boxelder bug boxelder bug showing X pattern of wings
boxelder bug
(1/2", 11-14 mm), photo by Link Elmore, Bugwood.org. Overlaid X in photo on right shows how the wings make an X pattern.

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Unless otherwise noted, all photos and illustrations by NYS IPM Staff