Other Critters

Insects such as stink bugs, boxelder bugs, and ladybugs normally live outdoors but can become a nuisance to homeowners during the fall and winter months when they seek shelter indoors to escape the cold weather outside.

Pest Species in New York:


Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

Harmonia axyridis

Multicolored Asian lady beetles look like large ladybugs, and they come in a wide range of colors and patterns.

These beetles form large aggregations with up to tens of thousands of individuals. They’re usually seen in the fall, swarming in sunlit areas and on light-colored buildings.

They may bite when they land on people, which sometimes causes an allergic reaction. When threatened, they also release a foul-smelling liquid that leaves behind yellowish stains.

Asian Lady Beetle

Size: 1/4″ – 1/3″ long (6 – 8 mm); about the length of long-grain rice

Color: Several color patterns (morphs) ranging from yellowish-orange to red, with or without black spots

Shape: Round, dome-shaped body with short antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs; thin and reddish-brown

Antennae: Short antennae that are mostly yellow with black tips

Head: Head and pronotum are white with black markings that form a “M” or “W” shape

Body: Depending on the morph, it may have a yellowish-orange or red shell with anywhere from 0–22 black spots, or a black shell with 2–4 red spots

Wings: Hardened forewings (elytra) and membranous hindwings; capable of flight

Soldier Beetles / Leatherwings

Cantharidae spp.

Soldier beetles are a common outdoor pest in the summer. They closely resemble fireflies or “lightning bugs,” which belong in the same family.

These insects are mostly beneficial and they do not bite or sting. However, they can become a nuisance when they enter homes in buildings in the fall seeking places to spend the winter.

Soldier beetles are also known as “leatherwings” because of their soft, leathery wing covers.

Soldier Beetle

Size: 1/5″ – 5/8″ long (5 – 15 mm); about the length of a sunflower seed

Color: Red, orange, yellow, brown, or black; varies by species

Shape: Narrow, straight-sided body with long segmented antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs that are long and slender; color is usually black but varies by species

Antennae: Long, thin antennae with 11 segments; about 1/2 the length of its body

Body: Narrow, straight-sided body with soft wing covers (elytra); its head is clearly visible (not covered by the pronotum) and usually bent downward; color and markings vary by species

Wings: Long, flattened elytra that are soft and flexible unlike most beetles; color and markings vary by species

Boxelder Bug

Boisea trivittata

Boxelder bugs are usually found in areas around boxelder, maple, and ash trees.

During the fall, large numbers of these bugs can be seen sunbathing on the south face of trees, rocks, and buildings. As temperatures drop, they wander into homes in search of a warm place to survive the winter.

Boxelder bugs are harmless to humans, but their droppings may stain fabrics, upholstery, and other belongings. They also release an unpleasant odor when disturbed or crushed.

Boxelder Bug

Size: 3/8″ – 1/2″ long (10 – 14 mm); about the length of a blueberry

Color: Brownish-black with red markings

Shape: Flat, sunflower seed-shaped body with long antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs

Antennae: Thin antennae with 4 segments; about 1/2 the length of its body

Head: Small head with round, red eyes

Body: Flat, sunflower seed-shaped body that’s mostly dark colored with 3 reddish stripes behind its head and around the margins of its wings; abdomen underneath its wings is reddish-orange

Wings: 2 pairs of wings that fold flat over its body; the outer tips of its forewings are black and translucent; capable of flight

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Halyomorpha halys

Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species of stink bugs that damages a wide variety of plants and agricultural crops.

The “marmorated” part of the name comes from their unique, marbled appearance. When disturbed or crushed, they release a pungent odor that some describe as similar to cilantro.

These stinky but otherwise harmless bugs start infesting homes and buildings during the fall in search of shelter for the winter.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Size: 1/2″ – 2/3″ long (12 – 17 mm); about the length of a dime

Color: Mottled brown

Shape: Flat, shield-shaped body with long antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs; mostly brown with faint white bands

Antennae: Long, 5-segmented antennae with white bands on the last 2 segments

Body: Flat, shield-shaped body with wide “shoulders” and a pointed tip; mostly mottled brown or gray with alternating light and dark bands on the outer edge of its abdomen; underside is beige or white-brown

Wings: Leathery forewings and membranous hindwings that fold flat over its body; capable of flight

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Leptoglossus occidentalis

Western conifer seed bugs are overwintering insects that occasionally enter homes and buildings during the fall in search of shelter from the cold.

They sometimes make loud buzzing noises when they fly, which resembles the sound of a bumble bee.

Although they can be a nuisance, these bugs are harmless. They do not bite, sting, or cause damage to property. However, they release a pungent odor when disturbed or crushed.

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Size: 2/3″ – 4/5″ (16 – 20 mm); about the length of a penny

Color: Mottled brown

Shape: Flat, spade-shaped body with long antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 slow-moving legs; its hind legs are extra long and have a flattened, leaf-like enlargement on the tibiae

Antennae: Thin antennae that are almost as long as its body

Body: Flat, spade-shaped body with a small, tapered head and alternating light and dark bands on the outer edge of its abdomen; its wings form an “X” shape across the back and have a white zigzag line running horizontally across the middle

Wings: Leathery forewings and membranous hindwings that fold flat over its body; makes a buzzing noise when it flies

Pill Bug / Roly-Poly

Armadillidium vulgare

Pill bugs are not actually insects—they’re isopods, an order of crustaceans. In fact, they’re one of the only two kinds of crustaceans that are completely adapted to living on land (the other being sow bugs).

These nocturnal, soil-dwelling creatures are also known as “roly-polies” because of their ability to roll their bodies into a tight ball when feeling threatened.

Pill bugs are harmless to humans, and are mostly found in damp, shady areas outdoors with lots of plants around. They require high levels of moisture and typically do not survive long indoors.

Pill Bug

Size: 1/3″ – 2/3″ long (9 – 18 mm); about the length of a watermelon seed

Color: Light to dark gray

Shape: Oval, dome-shaped body with a plated exoskeleton, jointed antennae, and 14 legs

Identifying Features

Legs: 7 pairs of legs (14 total); mostly hidden under its shell

Antennae: 2 pairs of antennae: the 1st pair is tiny and difficult to see, and the 2nd pair is long and thick with prominent segments

Body: Oval, dome-shaped body with a hard, shell-like exoskeleton comprised of 7 overlapping plates; convex on top and flat underneath; rolls into a tight ball when disturbed

Sow Bugs

Oniscus spp., Porcellio spp.

Sow bugs, like pill bugs, are nocturnal, soil-dwelling isopods that normally live outdoors in damp, shady areas.

The main difference between sow bugs and pill bugs is that sow bugs cannot roll into a ball.

Sow bugs are harmless to humans and mainly feed on decaying plant matter and are considered beneficial for gardens and landscapes. They require high levels of moisture and typically do not survive long indoors.

Sow Bug

Size: 1/4″ – 2/3″ long (6 – 18 mm); about the length of a watermelon seed

Color: Light to dark gray

Shape: Flattened, dome-shaped body with a jagged edges on its plated exoskeleton, jointed antennae, 14 legs, and 2 tail-like appendages

Identifying Features

Legs: 7 pairs of legs (14 total); mostly hidden under its shell

Antennae: 2 pairs of antennae: the 1st pair is tiny and difficult to see, and the 2nd pair is long and thick with prominent segments

Body: Flattened, dome-shaped body with a hard, shell-like exoskeleton comprised of 7 overlapping plates with somewhat jagged edges; look for 2 short, tail-like appendages protruding from the rear