Common insect pest species in homes
This page contains information on a number of common insect pest species that can be found in homes and cause damage to food, furniture, clothes and plants.
Each factsheet is downloadable as a PDF file, and offers information on how to identify the pest, its life cycle and suggestions as to how to control it.
Biscuit beetle, Stegobium paniceum
The bread, or biscuit beetle (or the drugstore beetle in the USA) is one of the commonest pest insects of stored food. They are small, between 2-4 mm in length, and reddish-brown.
Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella
The pantry, or Indian meal moth is a common pest of stored foods. As the yellowish white or pinkish larvae feed they cover foodstuff with webbing - often the first indication of an infestation.
Golden spider beetle, Niptus hololeucus
The golden spider beetle has golden yellow, silky hair and a spider like appearance. Adults are 3.0-4.5 mm long. Often a pest of stored food products but can also attack textiles.
Furniture beetle, Anobium punctatum
Furniture beetle larve develop over 3-5 years, feeding and growing within wood. When the adult beetles exit the larval tunnels, they leave behind round exit holes 1.5-2.0 mm wide, and small piles of wood dust characteristic of woodworm damage.
Death watch beetle, Xestobium rufovillosum
Adult death watch beetles are 5-9mm in length. Holes in wood from their tunneling larvae are the most likely piece of evidence to suggest an infestation. The holes and tunnels are circular and around 3mm in diameter.
Powder-post beetle, Lyctus brunneus
Adult powder-post beetles are generally 4-5 mm long and range in colour from light brown to reddish-brown. Adult beetles usually emerge from the infested wood between May and September, with bore holes 1.5mm to 2mm in diameter.
Clothes, carpets and natural fibres pests
Common clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella
The adult clothes moth has golden coloured wings and a wingspan of 12-17mm. Their larvae feed on natural animal fibres such as wool, silk and fur and can cause serious damage to carpets and clothing.
Case-bearing clothes moth, Tinea pellionella
The adult case-bearing clothes moth has silver grey-brown coloured wings and a wingspan of 9-16mm. Their larvae spin tunnel-like cases from silk and surrounding materials to camouflage and protect themselves.
Varied carpet beetle, Anthrenus verbasci
Adult varied carpet beetles are small (1.5–3.5 mm) and round, patterened with white, orange and black patches. Their larvae, which eat wool carpets and other fabrics of animal origin, are called woolly bears because of their bodies being covered in hairs.
Two-spot carpet beetle, Attagenus pellio
The two-spot carpet beetle has an elongated oval body, 4.5-6 mm long, very dark brown to black in colour, with two white spots on the wing cases. Their larvae are up to 6.5 mm long when fully developed, torpedo-shaped, with two long orange tufts of hair at the end of their abdomens.
Vodka beetle, Attagenus smirnovi
Adult vodka beetles have oval bodies 2-5 mm long and 2-2.5 mm wide, with black base colour and dense hairs giving brown to reddish-yellow wing cases. Their larvae are up to 8 mm long when fully developed, torpedo-shaped, with darker and lighter stripes.
Bed bug, Cimex lectularius
Bed bug adults are small (4–5 mm long and 1.5–3.0 mm wide), oval, flattish insects with needle-like mouthparts which pierce the skin of mammals and birds to suck their blood. Usually bed bugs are mahogany-brown in colour but they become deep purple or red after a meal.
Vine weevil, Otiorhynchus sulcatus
Vine weevils are fairly large beetles, around 1cm in length, with long snouts (rostrums) and elbowed antennae. As plant pests, their larvae live in the soil and eat roots, while the adults feed on foilage.