Identify and Learn About Common Northwest Pests

Odorous House Ants Pest Control Vancouver

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ant workers are monomorphic and are about 1/16-1/8 inches long. The body is brown to black, usually, they’re black, and they do have a stinger. Workers emit a rotten, coconut-like odor when crushed and is how they get their name. A visible indication of an infestation from odorous house ants is the presence of these ants in numbers. These ants typically will nest outdoors but have been known to nest indoors. Because these ants have multiple queens in the colony, it is a mistake to spray with a material that kills off the foragers too quickly the colony will split or “bud” to survive which can spread the issue. For this reason, Complete uses their habits against them using baits and materials that they will pick up and bring back to the colony.

Carpenter Ants Pest Control Vancouver

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ant workers are about 1/4 – 1/2 inches long, dull black with reddish legs and golden hairs covering the abdomen. Queens are about 5/8+ inches long. Other color combinations of carpenter ants can be of red and black, or completely red or brown. Although carpenter ants do not sting, their bites can be quite painful, especially when they inject formic acid into the wound.

External indication of infestation from carpenter ants is usually indicated when there are is a presence of small openings on the surface of the wood. Here the workers will expel debris which consists of sawdust-like shavings and fragments of insulation and insect body parts. They prefer to a hollow out soften wood that is associated with moisture problems and fungus.

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Pharaoh Ant

Workers are monomorphic and are about 1/16 inches long. The body is usually pale yellowish to reddish with the abdomen often darker to blackish and unevenly rounded. They do have a stinger. Queens are about 1/8 inches long with or without wings and slightly darker in color than the workers.Pharaoh workers are about 1.5 to 2 millimeters long, a little more than 1/16-inch. They are light yellow to reddish brown in color with a darker abdomen.Pharaoh ant workers have a non-functional stinger used to generate pheromones. The petiole (narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen) has two nodes and the thorax has no spines. Pharaoh ant eyesight is poor. The antennal segments end in a distinct club with three progressively longer segments. Males are about 3mm long, black, winged (but do not fly). Queens are dark red and 3.6–5mm long. They initially have wings that are lost soon after mating, but do not fly

Moisture Ants

Moisture Ant

Moisture ants are a collective term for ant species that seek out moist places to build their colonies and require plenty of water to survive. While there are many species of moisture ants, they all tend to congregate and form a nest near moisture sources in your home. Whether or not you need chemical treatment to get rid of moisture ants will depend on your home and situation. In many cases, like when the ants are still a minor presence and haven’t intruded beyond lesser-trafficked areas, simply removing the moist material should inspire the ants to leave.



House Mouse

Adults are about 5.25-7.5 inches with the tail. The tail can take up 2.75-4 inches, relative to the size of the mouse. The fur is smooth and usually dusty gray above and lights gray or cream on the belly. The color will vary considerably from area to area regardless of living habits. The muzzle is pointed, eyes are small, incisors are ungrooved, ears are large with very little hair on them, feet short and broad, and a uniformly dark, scaly, semi-naked tail. Their preferred nesting sites are dark, secluded places where there is abundant nesting material nearby and little chance of disturbance. Nesting materials include paper products, cotton, packing materials, wall/attic insulation, fabrics, etc. Mice are nocturnal inhabit. They require an opening of greater than 1/4 inch to gain entry.

Norway Rat Pest Control Vancouver

Norway Rat

Adults are about 7-18 inches in length, the head and body uses up 7-9.5 inches of that length. Anywhere from a half-pound to a pound. Their hair is coarse, shaggy, brown with scattered black hairs. The underside it grey to yellowish-white. The muzzle is blunt, eyes are small, and the ears are small and densely covered with short hairs. The tail is bicolored and scaly. Norway rats are nocturnal and are cautious. Although they constantly explore their surroundings, they shy away from new objects and changes.

They prefer to nest in burrows in the soil along railroad embankments, stream/river banks, piles of rubbish, under concrete slabs, etc. Their burrows will have a least one entrance and one escape hole, but these animals are social and tend to have more than one entrance hole. The opening will be greater than 1/2 inches. Indoors this rat will nest in basements and the lower portions of buildings in piles of debris or merchandise as long as it is not disturbed. On occasion, you can find this rat in the attics, roofs and other higher places.

Roof Rat Pest Control Vancouver

Roof Rat

Adults with combined head and body length 6-8 inches and the tail length is between 7-10 inches. The fur is soft and smooth; color is between brown with black intermixed to gray to black above with underside white, gray, or black. The muzzle pointed, eyes and ears are large, and they are almost naked. The tail will be scaly, uniformly dark, longer than head and body combined. Once established indoors, roof rats tend to follow the same route or pathway between their nest and food sources. Runways along vertical surfaces will usually include dark rub or swing marks on the vertical surface where their fur makes contact. Their runways will be free of debris, outdoors, the grass will be worn away to the bare soil.




These animals are not insects, but arthropods. They have two body regions, cephalothorax, and abdomen connected by tiny waits. They have no antennae, 4 sets of legs and 8 simple eyes, sometimes 6. Below the eyes are two jaws which end in a hollow fang that is connected internally to a poison duct. The males are usually smaller than females and may differ in coloration. The immature stages are egg and spiderlings, the latter closely resemble the adults except for size and coloration in most cases. Many spiders are associated with moisture and, therefore, are found in basements, crawl spaces, and other damp parts of buildings. Others will live in warm, dry places so are found in subfloor air-vents, in upper corners of rooms or in attics. All spiders in the Northwest prey on insects or whatever they can capture.


House Fly Pest Control

House Fly

Adults are about 1/8-1/4 inches long, with the female being larger than the male. They are dull gray, with the face having 2 velvety stripes, each silver above and gold below. The thorax has 4 narrow black longitudinal stripes on dorsum. Mature larva about 1/4-3/8 inches long. They are eyeless, legless and taper from the head back. They are a cream color. House flies have been known to migrate up to 20 miles, most stay within 1-2 miles of where they were hatched. Females seek almost any warm, moist material with sufficient food for larval development for egg-laying purposes. During the day, house flies tend to rest less than 5 feet from the ground on walls, floors, and various objects. At night they rest primarily above 5 feet on ceilings, walls, plants, etc. Their night resting place is usually near their daytime food source.


Cluster Fly

Adults are about 3/8 inches long. Their coloration is dark gray, non-metallic, thorax lacking distinct stripes but with numerous short golden hairs, and the abdomen with irregular lighter areas. They are slow-moving and when the crushed smell of buckwheat honey. Cluster flies occupy attics and/or between-wall voids of walls which receive the most sunlight when they are ready to hibernate. They usually try to use the same structure year after year. While they are there they will not multiply.


Blow Fly

Adults are large flies with a metallic blue or green color and are twice the size of a housefly (about 1/4-1/2 inches long). These flies are common in populated areas and are particularly abundant near such places as slaughterhouses, meat-processing plants, and garbage dumps. Blowflies will eat anything and will use their sponging mouthparts to do so. They will use regurgitated fluids to turn their food into liquid and then proceed to feed.


German Cockroaches Pest Control

German Cockroach

Adults are about 1/2-5/8 inches in length. They are light brown to tan except for 2 dark longitudinal stripes on the pronotal shield. Females are darker than the males, her abdomen is also broader than his. They rarely do fly. German cockroaches are found throughout structures but show a preference for warm and humid areas. They are usually found in kitchens and secondarily in bathrooms. Infestations often occur in rooms where people eat and drink (i.e. the den, bedroom, kitchen, etc.). Any crack located near a source of food and/or water is prime feeding grounds, and they spend about 75% of their time in such a place. First instar nymphs require a crack of about 1/32 of an inch, whereas adults require a crack of about 3/16 inches in width.


Asian Cockroach

Adults are about 1/2-5/8 inches in length. They are light brown to tan except for 2 dark longitudinal stripes on the pronotal shield. These cockroaches are strong fliers when they do. These are difficult to identify because of their color patterns being so close to the German cockroach. Asian cockroaches not only readily fly but are strong fliers, but capable of traveling more than 131 feet at a time. Adults will take flight when disturbed, even during the daytime. They are often transferred by having the habit of hitchhiking on campers and recreational vehicles coming from infested campgrounds.

American Cockroach Pest Control

American Cockroach

Adults are about 1 3/8-2 1/8 inches long. Their color variation is usually reddish-brown except for a submarginal pale brown to yellowish band around the edge of the prenatal shield. Last segment of cercus at least 2 times longer than wide. Both sexes are fully winged with wings of the male extending beyond the tip of the abdomen whereas, female’s do not. These cockroaches are poor to moderately good fliers. The egg capsule dark reddish to blackish brown. It is about 3/8 inches long.

American cockroaches are found in residences but are commonly found in large commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, etc. There they infest food-storage and food-preparation areas, basements, etc. During summer months, they can be found outdoors in yards and alleys. It is the most common species found in the city sewer systems. They can enter structures by being brought in, coming up from the sewer system via drains or occasional mass migration from other structures, dumps, etc., usually in the warmer weather. They show a likeness for fermenting foods.



Western Subterranean Termite

Swarmers are about 3/8 inches long, including wings. The body is dark brown to almost black. The soldier’s head is rectangular in shape, not narrowed toward the front. The length is fully 2 times the width. The mandibles lack teeth. They only eat the springwood and leave the lignin-containing summer wood which they cannot effectively digest. Hence, damaged wood appears to be layered. The colonies are usually located in the ground. Location is usually below the frost line, but above the water table and rock formations. Mud tubes are built to cross areas of adverse cracks less than 1/16 inches wide. If a constant source of moisture is available, colonies can exist above ground and without ground contact.


Dampwood Termite

The swarmer is up to 1 inch long, including wings. The antennae usually have more than 22 segments. They are not hairy and have 1 or more large spines along the length of the tibia and the apex. The coloration of the body is amber. The soldier between 3/8-3/4 inches long. The mandibles have an unequal number of teeth on each member of a pair. Antennae are the same as the swarmer, as well as the spines and coloration. If the wood is sound, they will eat only the springwood, however, if the wood is decayed, they will eat across the grain, consuming both spring and summerwood. By doing this, they make a series of chambers connected by tunnels whose walls are smooth as if finely sandpapered.

Other Pests

Springtail Pest Control


Springtails are white, gray, or light-colored measuring about 1/16 inches long. They have a distinctive head with long antennae. The rest of the body has a somewhat “hump-backed” appearance. Springtails get their name from a forked appendage attached to the end of the abdomen which allows them to spring forward like a flea. They have no wings. They feed on algae, fungi, decaying vegetable matter, and some consume living plants and dead animal matter.

Indian Meal Moth Pest Control

Indian Meal Moth

Adults have a wingspan that is about 5/8-3/4 inches wide, wingtip to wingtip. Wings pale gray but 2/3 is reddish-brown with a coppery luster.
The mature larva is usually about 1/2 inches long. They can be white and very to a greenish, pinkish, or brownish hue depending on their food. The head is prothoracic plate/shield yellowish-brown to reddish-brown. They have 5 pairs of well-developed prolegs on the abdomen and each bearing crochets. The cause no damage except the nuisance that they are when they reach high numbers. The larvae are surface feeders and generally produce a lot of webbing throughout the infested parts of materials.

Box Elder Control

Boxelder Bug 

Adult boxelder bugs are 1/2 inches long. They are brown-black in color with three red stripes on the thorax and red veins in the wings. They are sometimes referred to as beetles but are really “true bugs”. The nymphs are smaller and are bright red. They are fond of feeding on the leaves, twigs, and seeds of female boxelder trees. They will also feed on maple, ash and the young fruit of grapes, apples, and plums.



The Lepisma adult body length is 1/2 inches excluding the tails at the end of the anal area. Their coloration ranges from gray to almost black, with a metallic sheen. The Ctenolipisma adult body length is 5/8 inches excluding the tails at the end of the anal area. Their coloration is a dark gray with 4 dark lines running the length of the body. All silverfish taper from head to tail. Immatures similar to adults in appearance, except for size. The scales appear with the 3rd or 4th molt. Feeding marks are irregular whether they are holes, notches along an edge, or surface etchings. Yellow stains, scales and or droppings may be seen on infested materials.


Cat Flea

Adults are about 1/8 inches long. Their body is laterally flattened and is brownish-black to black. They have a reddish back when they are full of blood. They have no wings and hop when they move. Mature larvae are about twice the size of an adult in length. Larvae are whitish, slender, eyeless, and legless. They do have well-developed heads. It is not necessary to have pets in the house since your blood will do. Fleas can jump about 6 inches vertically. Many people who leave their homes for an extended amount of time are unaware of the few adult fleas present. They are often greeted and severely attacked by fleas upon their return. this can occur even if the building has been vacant of animals and humans for as long as 6 months. This situation can occur because of the potentially long pupal period. Adults can live for months without food, and because fleas have not been removed via normal vacuuming.