Pest ID

Provided by Diam Pest Control in Des Moines, IA

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We want to share some of the most common pest infestations so you can identify them to get the proper solution. 

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 underground holes. Hornets are very aggressive if their nest is threatened or disturbed, and multiple stinging can occur.

Signs of an Infestation

Bald-faced hornets and their nests are visible. They build paper nests at least three or more feet off the ground, typically found in trees, shrubs, on the overhangs of your house, sheds, and other structures. There will also be worker bald-faced hornets flying around the nest and nearby area if there is an infestation.

Getting Rid of Bald-Faced Hornets

You should avoid contact with these insects to prevent getting stung. You should seal up any tiny openings in and around your house to prevent bald-faced hornets from entering and seeking shelter. Do not attempt to remove the nest on your own, as bald-faced hornets are aggressive, and this can aggravate the colony and cause the hornets to sting. Contact a licensed pest control professional about proper nest removal.


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 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, including 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 more manageable 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 house areas.

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. In addition, 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 are some signs to look for:

  • Crushed bed bugs cause Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •) are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric as a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells are tiny (about 1 mm) 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 summer 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.

Where to Find Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs are perfectly happy outdoors during the summer months, busily eating sap from the seeds of boxelder, maple, and ash trees. They are not much of a problem 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 in the wrong direction and end up inside the structure. This is when they become a problem.

Eliminating Boxelder Bugs

Timing is critical in getting rid of boxelder bugs. When hibernating inside your walls, they are not always accessible to us in the winter and early spring. 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 access 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 structure’s exterior. 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 of the structure. 

When they show up, please call us and make an appointment. This seems to happen at a different time each year, so you will have to watch them show up. If you have an existing service agreement with us, there will be no additional charge for your service in most cases. 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 more prominent (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.

Where to Find Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in the center of rotting trees or water-damaged areas within wooden structures. They are commonly found both indoors and outdoors–homes with moisture issues caused by leaks are the prime targets for carpenter ants. 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. Homeowners typically see worker ants and swarmers (winged ants) when an infestation occurs.




Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bees are becoming more common in central Iowa. They are giant fuzzy bees with yellow and black markings (some are all black). They look similar to a bumblebee. However, their nesting habits are pretty 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 around the nests. However, the males are pretty harmless since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can sting but seldom will unless they are mishandled.

Where to Find Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are attracted to unfinished or weathered wood, and they excavate tunnels to use as nests. Common locations that carpenter bees are attracted to are decks, siding, fascia boards, and porches. They use their nests in the winter and reemerge in the spring.


House Centipede

House centipedes are common nuisance pests in Iowa. They can often be found scurrying across the floor in search of their prey, which includes other insects, spiders and mites. These centipedes belong to the family Scutigeridae and typically have 15 pairs of legs as adults.

House centipedes typically measure less than an inch long with a yellowish-gray body that makes them somewhat difficult to spot. Although they can startle you with their quick movements, it’s important to note that house centipedes are harmless to humans and do not bite or sting. They are actually beneficial since they help control other insect populations by preying on them.



Cockroaches are common pests found in homes throughout Iowa. They belong to the family Blattidae and typically measure between 1/2 – 2 inches in length. Cockroaches vary greatly in color, from black, brown or gray to even bright shades of red or even green!

Cockroaches aren’t just a nuisance, they can also be harmful to your health. These pests carry disease-causing bacteria and can contaminate food sources with their droppings and saliva. Fortunately, there are many professional methods of controlling cockroach populations in homes. Give Diam Pest Control a call today for cockroach pest control in your Des Moines area home!



Adult fleas are tiny, flattened from side to side, reddish-brown in color, wingless, and have strongly developed legs. Their hind pair of legs are specially 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 and transmit several diseases, including bubonic plague and tularemia. They are also the carriers of a tapeworm, which is found in dogs and men in the adult stage.

Where Fleas Come From

When found indoors, fleas are usually associated with pet dogs or cats. They attach to the animal when it’s outside and then infest its fur and indoor spaces from there. Adult fleas depend on a blood meal from a host to survive–they can survive for several weeks without a blood meal, though.

Sign of Fleas

  • Pets scratching
  • Swollen, itchy bites on pets or people
  • Flea dirt (the adult flea feces)
  • You will be able to see adult fleas jumping around when you look closely

Treatment of Fleas

Always contact a professional for assistance. Most of the time, using over-the-counter products for flea treatment will not resolve the root cause of the infestation. Instead, a pest control professional will exterminate the fleas. At the same time, you should contact your veterinarian for advice, vacuum your entire home, frequently wash bedding (for yourself and pets), and schedule a follow-up inspection.



Indianmeal Moth

The basal half of the front wings of the Indian Meal 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″.

Where Do Indian Meal Moths Come From?

Indian Meal Moth infestations begin with foods that contain the pest’s eggs. The pest may infect pantry foods during production, consumer stores, or at home. Indian Meal Moths can be found in various climates and live in stored food products, such as grains, flour, seeds, pet food, nuts, and more. Seeing adult Indian Meal Moths and larvae are common signs of an infestation.

Severity of Indian Meal Moths

While Indian Meal Moths do not carry diseases or parasites, they encourage mold growth, leave behind webbing and feces in pantry goods, and can be challenging to remove. Therefore calling in a professional is necessary. You must get rid of any infested food, thoroughly sanitize shelves, cabinets, and pantry, and seal any holes or cracks in walls, cabinets, or the ceiling.



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Lady Bug

Ladybugs are the cute tiny beetles that have become a famous springtime symbol represented in children’s books and nursery rhymes. Some people even consider them to be a sign of good luck! 

Ways of Identifying Ladybugs

Ladybugs are pretty easy to spot. Their bodies are small and round. The ladybug color can vary from yellow, orange, or red and is often spotted with its iconic small black dots. Their heads, legs, and antennas are usually black, and on some occasions, you may even see an all-black species. 

Ladybug Infestation

Although these beetles are harmless to humans, they can often become a nuisance when an infestation occurs. Luckily they can’t cause much damage to your home, but when their number increases, it’s not the type of tenants you’re looking to keep around. 

Due to the pheromone that these beetles release, they can attract more to come on a yearly occurrence. When you see a lady, it is best to vacuum them up and dispose of them right away. It’s important to note that you can not leave them in your vacuum. These little critters can easily crawl right back out and defeat the purpose, to begin with. 

Ladybug Prevention 

To prevent a yearly ladybug infestation, be sure to: 

  • Keep your grass trimmed
  • Vacuum Often
  • Seal up any cracks or openings 
  • Check your screens for holes
  • Turn lights off at night


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.

How Do You Get Millipedes?

Millipedes usually dwell in the dark, damp areas, and outdoor spaces but will migrate indoors typically in the late fall in preparation for winter. Inside, millipedes typically gather on porches and patios and find entry through basement doors and windows, crawlspace vents, doors with missing weather stripping, and garage doors.

Severity of Millipedes

Millipedes do not bite or sting or cause damage to structures or furniture. However, detecting an infestation can be difficult. Therefore you may have an infestation before you realize it or start to notice them. A professional will be able to design a solution for treating the pests and preventing them from getting inside in the future.



House Mouse

Did you know that 82% of homes in the U.S. were found to have mouse allergens. 

How to identify an infestation?

Mice can reproduce fast creating a litter within only 25 days! To make things worse a female mouse is capable of reproducing 6 weeks after its birth. That being said, one mouse can quickly become many. To identify a mouse infestation you might see some of the following signs: 

  • Mouse Droppings 
  • Scratching or squeaking 
  • Sounds of scampering feet 
  • Chew marks on furniture, walls or boxes
  • Musky odor 
  • Nests ( shedded fibers, paper, and other materials)

Ways of Identifying House Mice

Many people have come across a house mouse and they are pretty recognizable once you see one. A house mouse will have a pointed nose, little beady black or pink eyes, small rounded ears, a long pinkish brown tail, and will come in a variety of colors including: tan, brown, gray, white, and even black. 

House Mice Prevention

To avoid a potential house mouse infestation you might consider: 

  • Removing open food sources 
  • Sealing any entry points
  • Use natural mice repellent 
  • Use sound
  • Properly store or remove any storage items that could potentially be used for nesting 
  • Get a house cat 
  • When all else fails, call the exterminators at  Diam Pest Control!


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Brown Rat

Brown rats, also known as Norway rats or gray rats, are a common rodent in Iowa. They usually measure between 8-10 inches in length and have brown or dark gray  fur with a lighter underbelly. Brown rats are excellent climbers and can get into your home through small openings around windows or vents.

Brown rats are omnivores so they can eat almost anything, including pet food and scraps from the kitchen. They can cause damage to property and spread disease, so it’s important to take preventive measures if you think you may have an infestation. This includes keeping areas clean of potential food sources and sealing off any access points around the home. Contact us if you think you have rats living in your home!




Sowbugs resemble miniature armadillos. Their small oval bodies are segmented, many-legged, and bear two antennae. Because they feed on decaying organic material, they need a very moist habitat to survive. Therefore, they frequent high-moisture areas under trash, rocks, boards, or just beneath the soil surface. They avoid light when possible. During the day, they hide under stones, boards, mulches, or other similar materials that lie flat on the ground.

They typically get into homes through ground-level doors and windows. When sowbugs crawl indoors, they usually die quickly because of a lack of food and moisture.

Severity of Sowbugs

Sowbugs don’t bite, spread disease, or damage property but are a nuisance if they make their way into your home. You can help keep sowbugs at bay by maintaining compost piles, decaying vegetation, and woodpiles away from your house and making sure windows and exterior doors are caulked and sealed well. In addition, if your home is damp and you notice sowbugs around, you can try running a dehumidifier to reduce some of the humidity.


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 underground holes. Yellow jackets are very aggressive if their nest is threatened or disturbed, and multiple stinging can occur.

How Did I Get Yellow Jackets?

Yellow jackets usually enter yards because they smell food or other attractants–meats and sweets often attract these pests to yards and outdoor dining areas. Open waste containers are also attractive to yellow jackets. The queen will pick either an underground or aerial site to build her nest. Common places for nests include bushes, trees, and overhangs on homes.

Treatment of Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are very territorial, and if their nest is approached, they will become very aggressive. They can sting multiple times, and those allergic to their venom could have a severe reaction. You should contact a pest control professional if you encounter a nest around your home.

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Black Widow Spider

Black widow spiders are one of the most feared pests in the United States. They are also notorious for their venomous bites, which can cause serious health problems in humans. Black widows are found in all 50 states. 

Identifying Black Widow Spider 

Black Widow Spiders typically build their webs in dark, undisturbed areas such as basements and attics. These spiders are known for their large, round abdomens and their glossy black bodies. If you think you have spotted a black widow spider in your home, it is important to call a team of professional pest exterminators to ensure the matter is solved immediately.


Wolf Spider

Although wolf spiders don’t pose a threat to humans as their venom is not poisonous some may still be allergic. Not to mention due to wolf spiders being large in size their bite may be painful to some. 

How to identify an infestation? 

Other than seeing the spiders themselves it may be hard to know if you have a full infestation. Wolf spiders do not create spun webs and instead burrow so be sure to look for their silken nests in the ground. However, the best advice we can give is if you continue to see securing wolf spiders in your home or commercial building to call a team of professional exterminators. 

Ways of Identifying Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows. They will also have other physical features like hairiness, brown & gray in color with various markings/lines, females sizes range from 1- 3/7” and males are ¾” long. There are also  three claws at the end of their tarsals.

Wolf Spider Prevention

To prevent wolf spiders from entering your home or building you may consider: 

  • Sealing all cracks on the outside home/building 
  • Use screens on doors and windows 
  • Clean and vacuum thoroughly
  • Reduce clutter in undisturbed areas (closets,garages,basements, attics)
  • More firewood or building materials away from the house
  • Keep your garden well maintained

Subterranean Termite

In nearly every state, they are the most common pests injuring structural timber and are the most common type of termite. 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. Then, the nymphs proceed through several molts during which the four 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 they must eat for food.

How Did You Get Subterranean Termites?

Subterranean termites live in the soil beneath and around homes and often enter through wood that touches the ground or by constructing “mud tubes” from the ground to the wood. Mud tubes look like long tunnels made of wood and soil, which the termites construct to protect them from drying out as they travel. Cracks in concrete walls and foundations made of hollow blocks can also be entry points. Other common warning signs of a subterranean termite infestation are the presence of winged swarmers (termites dark-brown to black in color, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and two pairs of wings), mud tubes, damaged wood, uneven or bubbling paint, and small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest. Discarded wings near doors or windowsills also indicate that swarmers have entered and infested the home. 

Severity of Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termite nests can multiply quickly and contain hundreds to thousands of termites. These pests can infest a home for years before they’re detected, so it’s essential to pay attention to any warning signs and have them looked at by a professional. A professional pest control company will be able to assess the situation, determine the degree of infestation and develop a treatment plan for your home.



After reading through our Pest ID page, do you believe you have an infestation? Then, give us a call to get an experienced, reliable team of expert exterminators in the Des Moines, IA area!