Identifying Household Pests 101

A guide to common pests found in NYC and the Tri-State Area and how to identify them.

Common Household Pests

  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Flies
  • Rodents

Biting Insects

  • Bed Bugs
  • Biting Midges
  • Fleas
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

Stinging Insects

  • Bees
  • Wasps

Fabric Pests

  • Carpet Beetles
  • Carpet Beetle Larvae
  • Clothes Moths

Pantry Pests

  • Beetles
  • Booklice
  • Fruit Flies
  • Pantry Moths

Wood Destroying Pests

  • Carpenter Ants
  • Carpenter Bees
  • Powderpost Beetles
  • Termites

Houseplant Pests

  • Aphids
  • Fungus Gnats

Occasional Invaders

  • Centipedes and Millipedes
  • Crickets
  • Silverfish
  • Spiders
  • Spotted Lanternflies
  • Other Bugs

Common Household Pests:

Ants, Cockroaches, Flies, and Rodents


Slender, segmented body with a pinched waist, bent antennae, and 6 legs

Odorous House Ant
Pavement Ant
Black Carpenter Ant


Long, oval-shaped insects with thread-like antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

German Cockroach
American Cockroach
Oriental Cockroach
Brown-banded Cockroach


Small, oval-shaped flying insects with large compound eyes, short antennae, 6 legs, and 1 pair of wings

House Fly
Fruit Fly
Drain Fly
Phorid Fly
Biting Midge


Gray or brown fur, protruding incisors (front teeth), and a long scaly tail

House Mouse
Norway Rat

Biting Insects

Bed Bugs, Biting Midges, Fleas, Mosquitoes, and Ticks

Bed Bugs

Flat, oval-shaped insects that are reddish-brown with a large abdomen, short antennae, and 6 legs

Adult Bed Bug
Bed Bug Nymph

Biting Midges

Tiny, oval-shaped flying insects with short antennae, 6 legs, and 1 pair of grayish-colored wings

Biting Midge


Wingless insects with a reddish-brown or black, laterally flattened body with 6 legs (hind legs are especially long)

Cat Flea


Long, slender flying insects with needle-like mouthparts, thin or feathered antennae, 6 legs, and 1 pair of wings

Northern House Mosquito
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Yellow Fever Mosquito
Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito
Common Malaria Mosquito


Flat, oval-shaped arachnids with a large abdomen, a shield-like plate on its back called the “scutum,” and 8 legs (each with 7 segments)

American Dog Tick
Brown Dog Tick
Deer Tick
Lone Star Tick

Stinging Insects

Bees and Wasps


Fuzzy, oval-shaped body with thin antennae, 6 legs, 2 pairs of wings, and a stinger

Carpenter Bee


Smooth, segmented body with thin antennae, 6 legs, 2 pairs of wings, and a stinger

Bald-faced Hornet
European Paper Wasp
Yellow Jacket
Flat Wasp

Fabric Pests

Carpet Beetles and Clothes Moths

Carpet Beetles

Oval-shaped body with a hard shell, clubbed antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings (the hardened forewings are called the “elytra”)

Black Carpet Beetle
Varied Carpet Beetle
Furniture Carpet Beetle

Carpet Beetle Larvae

Soft, cigar-shaped body covered in hairs and bristles with alternating light and dark stripes

Black Carpet Beetle Larva
Varied Carpet Beetle Larva
Furniture Carpet Beetle Larva

Clothes Moths

Flying insects with a furry head, long and thin antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of slender wings fringed with short hairs

Webbing Clothes Moth
Case-bearing Clothes Moth

Pantry Pests

Beetles, Booklice, Fruit Flies, and Pantry Moths


A hard, protective shell, antennae in various sizes, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings (in some species the hardened forewings, or “elytra,” are fused together)

Shiny Spider Beetle
Smooth Spider Beetle
Cigarette Beetle
Drugstore Beetle
Sawtoothed Grain Beetle
Black Vine Weevil


Pale, wingless insects with a wide head, a narrow thorax, a large abdomen, thin antennae, and 6 legs


Fruit Flies

Tan or brownish-yellow flying insects with red compound eyes, barely visible antennae, 6 legs, and 1 pair of transparent wings

Fruit Fly

Pantry Moths

Reddish-bronze and gray flying insects with long, thin antennae and 2 pairs of bicolored wings (upper 1/3 gray, lower 2/3 bronze)

Pantry Moth
Pantry Moth Larva

Wood Destroying Pests

Carpenter Ants, Carpenter Bees, and Termites

Carpenter Ants

Black, segmented body with a pinched waist, large mandibles, bent antennae, and 6 legs

Black Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Bees

Fuzzy, oval-shaped body with thin antennae, 6 legs, 2 pairs of wings, and a stinger

Powderpost Beetles

Reddish-brown, cylindrical-shaped beetles with a hard shell, short antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Powderpost Beetle


Narrow, soft-bodied insects with a broad waist, straight antennae, and 6 legs

Houseplant Pests

Aphids and Fungus Gnats


Tiny, pear-shaped insects with long antennae, 6 legs, and 2 small tubes sticking out from the rear

Fungus Gnats

Resembles tiny mosquitoes with a slender abdomen, thread-like antennae, 6 long legs, and 1 pair of wings

Occasional Invaders

Centipedes, Millipedes, Crickets, Silverfish, Spiders, Spotted Lanternflies, and Other Bugs

Centipedes and Millipedes

Many-legged arthropods with elongated bodies







Spotted Lanternflies


Other Bugs

  • PillBugs
  • Sowbugs
  • Western Conifer Seed Bug
  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • Boxelder Bug
  • Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles