Flowers and Garden Home Certain bugs may become a nuisance in and around the home or cause concern especially when individuals are found indoors.  
Learn about the different insects and pests that affect gardens, lawns and food crops, and how to deal with them.
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Browse Articles: Insects and Pests
Bugs in and Around the Home
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Reference: Ohio State University Extension

Certain bugs may become a nuisance in and around the home or cause concern especially when individuals are found indoors. Homeowners may confuse them with some harmful insects associated with the home or humans. Actually, most bugs live outdoors, feeding on plant sap, seeds, fungi and fruit juices with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Some bugs do feed on the blood of humans and animals, but the great majority are of no direct economic consequence to individuals. They do not cause damage to the household, infest the pantry nor eat fabrics or wood. They do not reproduce indoors. Many accidentally enter the home through windows, doors or other small openings, sometimes near night-lights. Others may enter to overwinter. Many bugs have scent glands on the side of their body used in secreting odors.

Common Name Scientific Name
Western Pine Cone Leaffooted BugLeptoglassus occidentalis Heidmann
Green Stink BugAcrosternum hiare (Say)
Say Stink BugChlorochroa sayi stal
Spined Soldier BugPodius maculiventris (Say)
Harlequin BugMurgantia histrionica (Hahn)
Large Milkweed BugOncopeltus fasciatus (Dallas)
Damsel BugNabis alternatus Parshley
Meadow Plant BugLeptopterna dolabrata (Linnaeus)
Tarnished Plant BugLygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois)
Rapid Plant BugAdelpocoris rapidus (Say)
Fourlined Plant BugPoecilocapsus lineatus (Fabricius)
Minute Pirate BugOrius insidiosus (Say)
Sycamore Lace BugCorythucha ciliata (Say)

Say Stink Bug
Adults are about 3/4 inch long, bright green with white spots or tiny raised points on the dorsum (back) and three white or pale orange spots across the base of the scutellum (middle back). It feeds primarily outdoors on alfalfa seeds.

Spined Soldier Bug
Adults are about 1/2 inch long, grayish-brown, sometimes marked with purplish-red and are recognized by the sharp-pointed spine projecting from each side of the pronotum in front of the wing bases. The tip of the triangular scutellum projects backwards between the wings and is rounded. Adults are predaceous, feeding on other insects. They are present from May to October and found on tall weeds, along streams and in dense woodlands.

Harlequin Bug
Adults are easily identified by the irregularly marked black and yellowish or orange color pattern. They are 3/8 to 7/16 inch long and are serious pests of cabbage, kale and related plants. Eggs are white with two black bands and a white spot. Eggs are deposited directly on the leaves of plants, resembling rows of small barrels. Adults overwinter.

Large Milkweed Bug
Adults are 9/16 to 10/16 inch long, black, and gaudily marked with reddish-orange on the head, sides of the pronotum and the wing covers. They have a Y-shaped head marking and two broad transverse orange bands across the wings. They are common on milkweed plants.

Damsel Bug
Adults are narrow, gray or brownish-gray, about 5/16 inch long with a median, dark band over the head and three dark bands over the pronotum. The scutellum has three black marks. Also known as nabids, these insects are predaceous in habit, feeding on other insects.

Meadow Plant Bug
Adults are 5/16 inch long, pale greenish-white with brownish markings and two longitudinal black stripes over the pronotum and scutellum. Two forms of females occur, one with short wings and the other with long wings. Overwintering occurs in stems of grasses as yellow, curved eggs. Hosts are bluegrass, timothy, redtop and orchard grass.

Tarnished Plant Bug
Adults are 3/16 inch long, brownish-yellow and blackish-mottled flat bugs with a Y-shaped yellow marking on the scutellum. Overwintering adults become active in the spring and deposit curved eggs in the stems, petioles, midribs and blossoms of host plants. They cause catfacing of peaches and misshapen apples and strawberries.

Rapid Plant Bug
Adults are 4/16 to 5/16 inch long, dark brown with yellow costal margins and a yellowish pronotum having two black spots near the base. Nymphs are red-tinged. Antennae are alternately black and yellow. There are several hosts, including alfalfa and sweet clover.

Fourlined Plant Bug
Adults are 5/16 inch long and yellow-green with four dark stripes on the back. The nymphs are orange and emerge in the spring from overwintering eggs. They feed on numerous plants, including legumes, fruits, ornamentals and vegetable garden plants.

Minute Pirate Bugs
Adults are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, flattened and often black with white markings. Wings are pale yellow except for a dark brown cuneus and surrounding area. Most of these bugs are predators of insects. Many occur on flowers (called flower bugs) and others live under bark of trees, in animal nests, etc.

Sycamore Lace Bug
Adults are 1/8 inch long and grayish to white colored with the pronotum and front wings having elaborate lace-like sculpturing. They have four segmented antennae and a long beak. They occur commonly on sycamore trees in large numbers, turning the leaves white from loss of sap. Leaves fall prematurely. Other hosts are ash, hickory and mulberry.

Green Stink Bug
Adults are shield-shaped, bright green with the margins of the pronotum straight and yellowish or pale. They are about 9/16 to 11/16 inch long with five segmented antennae. Adults overwinter in plant debris. Barrel-shaped eggs are laid in clusters in the spring under plant leaves. Feeding occurs on soybeans, corn, alfalfa, lima beans, peaches, etc. They sometimes gather in large numbers under night-lights.

Western Pine Cone Leaffooted Bug
Adults, nicknamed Pine Seed Bug, are about 3/4 inch long, elongate, moderately heavy bodied (resemble squash bugs), reddish, dull brown with a faint, white zig-zag straight line across the center of the wings. The hind legs are flattened (leaf-like) at the tibiae with a white dot on the upper side. They have well developed scent glands with odors pleasant (like pine) and not so pleasant. Individuals can become a nuisance when crawling up the sides of buildings during the autumn months (September and October). Sometimes, they cluster in small groups of five or so, with as many as up to 100 on one house at a time. Bugs can take flight readily and can make a buzzing noise if disturbed. Some overwinter in the house and re-emerge on warm, sunny days during the winter and spring months. The nymphs (immatures) feed by sucking nutrients from the seed cones of pines, Douglas fir and incense cedar. This feeding damage does not hurt the tree, but reduced seed production may result from heavy infestations. Usually a single generation occurs each year.

Control Measures
Use proper night-light discipline and special yellow lights, which are least attractive to these bugs. Be sure to caulk and seal any openings into dwellings, especially around windows and doors. Check all roof vents and place fly screening over any openings or grills. If bugs become bothersome, an aerosol can of pressurized spray containing pyrethrins may be used. Shrubs and grass can be sprayed lightly with acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin) or chlorpyrifos (Dursban) to reduce hiding places. Usually, one can use a broom and dust pan or a vacuum cleaner to collect individuals. It is best to discard collected individual bugs outdoors far away from dwellings since some may be beneficial to agriculture. Normally, chemical controls are not needed.

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  Data Source: Ohio State University Extension. Articles and resource may contain pesticide recommendations that are subject to change at any time. These recommendations are provided only as a guide and it is always the pesticide applicator's responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used.