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Finding pests in and around your home may be a big deal, or it may not, depending on what type of creature you’ve found. In some cases, you may have no reason to worry, because you’ve found a lookalike rather than an actually harmful pest. Here’s how to tell common lookalikes apart from three potentially problematic pests.

Ladybugs Versus Asian Lady BeetlesAmerican ladybugs are a native beetle. These ladybugs are considered beneficial, and they have a crucial role in American ecosystems. But a similar-looking, more aggressive beetle that’s not native can also show up and may actually invade your home.

If the beetle has a white M shape on its black head section (as you look down at it from the top), it’s an Asian ladybug or Asian lady beetle. These beetles were released in great numbers in America back in 1916 because people hoped they would eat aphids in the wild. Unfortunately, they now take the habitat and food that American ladybugs need.

In addition to edging the native beetles out of their habitat, Asian lady beetles have several other downsides. They bite, they invade houses in the winter, and they stink and make yellow stains on your walls, ceiling, and furniture.

If the beetle doesn’t clue you in with its behavior, some other ways you can distinguish an Asian lady beetle is that they may be orange or even tan rather than red, and their spots may be lighter than those of American ladybugs. In some cases, they may not even have spots.

Brown Recluse Spiders Versus Other Brown SpidersSpiders can be an unpleasant surprise, and several species of them are poisonous and pose a danger to humans. Although the well-known black widow spiders are relatively easy to identify, many people are confused about how to tell if a surprise spider is a brown recluse because several other types of spiders look similar. Here are a few indications that the spider you’re looking at is NOT a brown recluse:

  • It’s a large spider. Brown recluses are typically small, with their bodies less than a half-inch long.
  • It’s on a web. Brown recluses don’t use webs to catch their food.
  • It’s colorful. Brown recluses are fairly drab and brown.

Other indicators that you’re looking at a more harmless spider variety include stripy legs or a highly patterned abdomen, eight eyes (lots of spiders have eight eyes, but brown recluses have six, in three sets of two), or large spines on the legs.

If you still think your spider is a brown recluse after running down all these distinguishing characteristics, don’t disturb the spider. As long as it hasn’t bitten you, you could simply take a picture and show the picture to a pest control expert. If the spider did bite you, though, take the spider in a jar when you go to the emergency room with you to facilitate correct treatment.

Winged Termites Versus Winged AntsWhile termites and ants can both be pests, termites are much more likely to cause significant damage to your home. Termites and ants look similar in their winged state, but there are a few easy ways to tell them apart: the wings, the antennae, and the waist.

Ants will typically have a slender or pinched waist, while termites likely will have a stout and less curvy body. Ants will likely have antennae that bend in the middle, whereas termites’ antennae typically stick straight out.
And finally, termites’ wings are all the same length, unlike ants’. Although both types of insects can have two sets of wings, a flying ant is typically going to have a set of rear wings that are significantly smaller than the front set.
As you can see, several types of potentially harmful pests can have much less harmful lookalikes. Identifying which type of insect or arachnid has found its way into your home can help you determine whether or not you need to treat the creature as a pest and take action in case there are more. If you’re still not sure of the ID, take a picture and send it to your local pest control expert.

Diam Pest Control can help you identify, assess, and treat any pest infestation you may find in your home. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help.