Help me identify this insect

Help me identify this insect

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Over the last week or so as warmer weather has arrived, I've noticed small insects crawling around in the bathroom. I'm located in western Europe. They are perhaps 1mm in length, quite difficult to see without a magnifying glass. I used a macro lens to capture these pictures. What might they be? Ticks? Aren't ticks larger? Why are there so many?

Note: these pictures are heavily magnified (they are on an old wooden door with cracking paint), and I've applied lighting auto correction. Actual size of each insect is 1mm or less.

After a long hunt it seems they are Dermanyssus gallinae. It appears I have a pigeon's nest somewhere near my building.

10 Ways to Identify an Insect

When you encounter a new insect in your backyard, you want to know what it’s likely to do while it’s there. Is it going to eat one of your garden plants? Is it a good pollinator for your flowers? Will it lay eggs in the soil or pupate somewhere? You can learn some things about an insect just by observing it for a while, of course, but that’s not always practical. A good field guide or website may provide information about the mysterious visitor, but you need to know what it is first.

So how do you identify an insect you have never seen before? You collect as much information as you can, looking for clues that will place the insect in a taxonomic order. If you have a camera with you or a smartphone with a camera, it's a good idea to take several photos of the insect using the macro (close-up) setting. Then, ask yourself each of the following questions about your unidentified insect. You might not be able to answer all of them, but any information you gather will help narrow down the possibilities. First, be sure you are looking at an insect and not another arthropod cousin.

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Insects also are the most highly developed class of invertebrate animals, with the exception of some mollusks. Insects such as the bees, ants, and termites have elaborate social structures in which the various forms of activity necessary for the feeding, shelter, and reproduction of the colony are divided among individuals especially adapted for the various activities. Also, most insects achieve maturity by metamorphosis rather than by direct growth. In most species, the individual passes through at least two distinct and dissimilar stages before reaching its adult form.

In their living and feeding habits, the insects exhibit extreme variations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the life cycle of various species. Thus the so-called 17-year locust matures over a period of 13 to 17 years. The ordinary house fly can reach maturity in about ten days, and certain parasitic wasps reach their mature form seven days after the eggs have been laid. In general the insects are very precisely adapted to the environments in which they live, and many species depend on a single variety of plant, usually feeding on one specific portion of the plant such as the leaves, stem, flowers, or roots. The relationship between insect and plant is frequently a necessary one for the growth and reproduction of the plant, as with plants that depend on insects for pollination. A number of insect species do not feed on living plants but act as scavengers. Some of these species live on decaying vegetable matter and others on dung or the carcasses of animals. The activities of the scavenger insects hasten the decomposition of all kinds of dead organic material.

Certain insects also exhibit predation or parasitism, either feeding on other insects or existing on or within the bodies of insect or other animal hosts. Parasitic insects are sometimes parasitic upon parasitic insects, a phenomenon known as hyperparasitism. In a few instances an insect may be parasitic upon a secondary parasite. A few species of insects, although not strictly parasitic, live at the expense of other insects, with whom they associate closely. An example of this form of relationship is that of the wax moth, which lives in the hives of bees and feeds on the comb that the bees produce. Sometimes the relation between two species is symbiotic. Thus ant colonies provide food for certain beetles that live with them, and in return the ants consume fluids that have been secreted by the beetles.

Social Insects
One of the most interesting forms of insect behavior is exhibited by the social insects, which, unlike the majority of insect species, live in organized groups. The social insects include about 800 species of wasps, 500 species of bees, and the ants and termites. Characteristically an insect society is formed of a parent or parents and a large number of offspring. The individual members of the society are divided into groups, each having a specialized function and often exhibiting markedly different bodily structures. For discussion of the organization of typical insect societies, see articles on the insects mentioned above.

All insects have three pairs of legs, each pair growing from a different part of the thorax, called, from front to back, the prothorax, the mesothorax, and the metathorax. Many larvae have, in addition, several pairs of leglike appendages called struts, or prolegs. The forms of the legs vary, depending on their uses, but all insect legs are made up of five parts. In winged insects, the wings, usually four in number, grow from the thorax between the mesothorax and the metathorax. The upper and lower membranes of the wings cover a network of sclerotized tubes, called veins, that stiffen the wing. The pattern of veins of the wings is characteristic of most insect species and is extensively used by entomologists as a basis for classification.

Insect abdomens usually have 10 or 11 clearly defined segments. In all cases the anal opening is located on the last segment in some species, such as the mayflies, a pair of feelers, called cerci, is also present on this segment. The abdomen is devoid of legs. In female insects, it contains the egg-laying organ, or ovipositor, which may be modified into a sting, saw, or drill for depositing the eggs in the bodies of plants or animals. Insect sexual organs arise from the eighth and ninth segments of the abdomen.

Insects have an external rather than an internal skeleton this exoskeleton is a rough integument formed by the hardening of the outer layer of the body through impregnation with pigments and polymerization of proteins, a process known as sclerotization. The exoskeleton at the joints does not become sclerotized and therefore remains flexible.

Most insects possess wings during at least part of their life cycles. Insect wings are large folds in the exoskeleton composed of two sheets of cuticle permeated with stiff supportive veins. The wings are powered by two sets of muscles that independently drive the upstroke and downstroke of the wing movement. The frequency of wingbeats ranges from 4 beats per second in butterflies to nearly 1000 beats per second in some gnats.

Insect wings not only move up and down but they also move forward and backward in an ellipse or figure eight pattern that provides both lift and thrust. Given their shape, speed, and stroke pattern, it has never been clearly understood how insect wings can generate enough lift to sustain flight. Recently scientists discovered that insects generate a vortex, or spiral air motion, along the leading edge of their wings. This vortex flows out toward the wing tip in widening spirals. The whirling cylinder of air above the insect provides the extra lift that makes flight possible.

Certain species of insects breathe through the body wall, by diffusion, but in general the respiratory system of members of this class consists of a network of tubes, or tracheae, that carry air throughout the body to smaller tubelets or tracheoles with which all the organs of the body are supplied. In the tracheoles the oxygen from the air diffuses into the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide from the blood diffuses into the air. The exterior openings of the tracheae are called spiracles. The spiracles are situated on the sides of the insect and are usually 20 in number (10 pairs), 4 on the thorax and 16 on the abdomen. Some water-breathing insects have gill-like structures.

The circulatory system of insects is simple. The entire body cavity is filled with blood that is kept in circulation by means of a simple heart. This heart is a tube, open at both ends, that runs the entire length of the body under the exoskeleton along the back of the insect. The walls of the heart can contract to force the blood forward through the heart and out into the body cavity.

106 More Questions

Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Question: White Round Tiny Insect Eggs?

What insect eggs are these? On the glass door to my back garden.


These look like a moth egg that has been laid on the window. I would clean them off and kill the eggs if you don't want an infestation of moths flying around your home. The moths can eat the plants in your yard or even get into your home and eat your clothes. I would clean them up quickly and get rid of them so you ae protected in your home. If you find more around the yard on your trees or even the leaves make sure to get rid of them too.

Question: Identifying Insect Eggs?

Can you please tell me what type of insect eggs these are? I found them in the corners of my office kitchen. They are behind boxes and cardboard. I also found them in-between the broom bristles and along the edge of the wall.

There are quite a few of them.
If you could please provide me some tips on how to avoid getting these eggs or killing off the main insect would be helpful.


To identify an egg is not that easy. However, there is a way to find out what the insect egg is.

Step 1
Take the eggs that you have gathered and put them in a plastic bag.

Step 2
Go to a pet exterminator company and show them the eggs.

Step 3
They will help you identify the eggs and the insect.

Step 4
Find out if you can take care of this at home on your own.

Step 5
You might need a professional to come in to spray for the insect and the eggs.

Question: Insect Eggs?

What insect do these eggs belong to?

Question: What are These Insect Eggs?

I found tons of those eggs in the soil and around the root system of a house plant I was transplanting. What are they?

Question: Identifying Insect Eggs on a Tomato Plant?

I found these on my tomato plant, any idea what kind of eggs they are?


It sounds like you could be dealing with stinkbugs, aphids, or tomato hornworms. All these seem to leave yellowish egg clusters on the undersides of leaves.

Constant vigilance and picking the eggs off is one solution.

Yes, they are tomato worms. I have to go through the garden every couple of days & pick them off. You have to squish them, too, so I wear garden gloves.

Question: Are These Insect Eggs?

I woke up this morning and found this black mass of I don't know what on my bathroom wall, but it may be eggs of some kind of insect. Does anyone have any ideas?


Yikes! Looks like larvae. Get rid of it:

Step 1
Pour boiling water on them, gather the waste, and dispose of them far from your house

Step 2
Flush the drain with bleach and boiling water

Step 3
Deep clean your shower

Step 4
If you see any full grown after these steps, they can be eliminated with any commercial insect-killing spray.

Question: What Type of Insect Eggs Are These?

Can anyone identify these eggs? They are on a muscadine leaf in North Carolina.

Question: Are These Insect Eggs?

I came home to my Florida wonder house and found this on the floor not near anything else. Any ideas?


These are not eggs from any insect. This is wood from a termite eating your home. You need to get it sprayed right away in order to save the wood in your home.

This looks like Frass from termites. the termites chew the wood and leave behind this type of crumbly mess of sawdust and termite excrement. You should get an exterminator ASAP . Good luck.

Question: Is This a Brown Banded Roach Egg Case?

Can anyone confirm if this is a brown banded roach egg case? It was at my sister's on the sill by her AC unit that is rarely used. It's just under 1/8th of an inch and as you can see by the photo appears to look identical to photos of those egg cases online, albeit a bit smaller.

If it is not one can you hazard a guess what it may be?

Thank you all for your help!


It sure looks like it. We live by the river and at certain times when it rains we seem to get roaches in our home. Not all the time. But when they are here I do find these casing around the house and most of them are already broken or hatched. This one sort of looks like it has not hatched as of yet.

It does look like a roach egg and these nasty bugs multiply fast.
See which species your egg looks like as well as several suggestions on how to kill these quickly.
Remember - pictures are graphic.

Question: Identifying Insect Eggs?

These eggs were found on the pantry wall in my camper. Anybody know what they are and if I should be worried?


I believe your picture is of a Triangulate Cobweb Spider Egg Sac. These are common spiders more info at triangulate-cobweb.html

These are larva eggs either from a moth or spider that has gotten in your camper. My bet is a moth that has laid the eggs in your camper.

Question: What Type of Insect Egg is This?

I saw these egg-like things on my shirt a few days ago while taking a shower. Yesterday, my sister took shower and today when she went to grab her shirt, she was horrified to see these things on her shirt. She says, they weren't present on her shirt when she was taking shower.

They are tiny, aligned in a pattern, whitish in color. Also very hard to remove means I have to apply a little pressure to remove them from my cloth as they don't just get washed under running water. I never saw them before in our clothes. We recently moved to a new house. Also we live in Bangladesh. So I guess you can help me determine what this thing is and also aware me of any harmful effects thus might have.

Moth Identification Help: Large Moths Pictures

Moth identification becomes a bit easier when it comes to the largest of the native moths.

Additionally, everyone enjoys a largest moth story, and this section provides some good stories. It starts with the fact that Atlas moths, native species in Indonesia rank as the world’s largest moths with a sing span approaching ten inches in length.

That’s a pretty impressive number and provides a comparative baseline for a discussion of large moths in the United states. Local large moth conversations usually start with species from the Saturniidae family of giant silkworm and royal moths. Here’s four examples.

Starting with Cecropia silkmoths (Hyalophora cecropia), foten billed as North America’s largest native moths. They live in many areas that have some trees and green spaces. Those characteristics, plus the availability of artificial lights makes urban areas an attractive home.

Green wings and long tails might make it easy to confuse Luna Moths (Actias Luna) with Swallowtail butterflies. The feathery antenna definitively identifies them as moths.

They can grow to have a wingspan of up to four inches, placing them squarely in the large moth category. Luna moths are mostly active during the evening hours and can be common sights in deciduous wooded areas east of the Rocky Mountains.

Polyphemus moths are probably the most common of all the large moths found in the United States. Their caterpillars have a very flexible diet and feed on most deciduous trees. Adult wing span can reach up to six inches.

The Polymethus moth caterpillar.

The pink and yellow or cream colors of the Rosy Maple moth make it another of the very beautiful royal moths.

The wing span reaches two inches, making it smaller than the others presented here. They are quite common in the eastern areas of the United States with maples and other deciduous trees.

Wait! There’s more to the story of the largest moth in the United States. With a wing span that often reaches seven inches, the Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata) ranks as the largest moth found in the United States.

The difference is it is not a native moth. Native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the northern part of South America, the Black Witch Moth makes an annual journey to many parts of the United States during the summer months. It does so to avoid the rainy season in its home territory.

They are more commonly found in the South than the North, although their ability to make the long flight north to the Alaskan or Canadian border has been documented in local news stories. Hawaii also has an introduced population.

The two pictures show a male and female respectively. The color variation in the pictures is an artifact of the lighting. The white band through the center of the female’s wings is the key field identification clue.

The Tiger Moth family is probably best known for its woolly bear caterpillars.

Less known is the fact that the largest of the Tiger Moths is the Giant Leopard moth. The wing span can exceed three inches in length and the body grows over two inches.

They are common throughout the eastern United States because the caterpillars are not picky eaters.

Moth identification becomes easy seeing a striking white winged moth covered in circles. The colorful abdomen shows shades of blue and orange.

After reading about the really large moths, hearing about a moth that has close to a five inch wing span brings some perspective.

The Modest Sphinx Moth is common in most areas of the United States where their larvae food (poplar, aspen, cottonwood and willow trees) grows. The purple line across the underwing and large size are good field identification clues.

The Underwing moths normally do not get classified with the larger moths.

They are moth collector favorites in many areas because of the colorful underwings. They do grow to be medium sized to larger sized moths.

The picture shows a Red Underwing moth.

Yellow Underwing moth.

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Picture Insect: Bug Identifier 4+

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11 Pictures of Common Bug Bites and How to Identify Their Symptoms

That sinking feeling is all too recognizable: You notice an odd pinch, look down, and discover a new bug bite&mdashsometimes instantly, but often only days later. It aches, relentlessly itches, or both, and you don&rsquot have the slightest idea what critter could have caused it.

That&rsquos because almost all bug bites look pretty similar, and many experts agree that it&rsquos hard to ID the culprit unless you actually catch it in the act, because everyone&rsquos immune system responds to bites and stings differently. If you experience any symptoms other than mild itchiness or pain, contact a doctor or seek immediate medical help to make sure you aren&rsquot having a severe allergic reaction, suffering from an insect-borne disease, or experiencing an infection.

All that said, the area around the bite or sting site, where you were attacked, and other clues could reveal the identity of the offending insect&mdashhere are the most common ones to keep on your radar.

Help me identify this insect - Biology

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Systematic Entomology Laboratory: Beltsville, MD

Insect & Mite Identification Service

SEL scientists actively collaborate with members of academia, providing taxonomic support for a broad range of basic and applied biological projects. Every attempt is made to provide timely service however, our scientists' diversity of commitments and shortage of technical support staff limit the speed at which identification requests can be completed. The information that follows includes suggestions of steps you can take to facilitate the processing of your specimens.

  • Provide tentative IDs. In most cases, you should be able to provide tentative IDs to at least the family level. This information is essential for CTSU staff to assign your specimens to the appropriate specialist. By providing tentative IDs you decrease the amount of time CTSU requires to process your submission.
  • Submit your specimens to CTSU. If you send specimens directly to scientists, there is a greater probability that your specimens will be misplaced or lost. CTSU maintains a database of all pending SEL identifications, and this system allows us to keep track of submissions within the lab.
  • When identifications are used in publications, please acknowledge the contributing taxonomist(s) and include the taxon or group of taxa idenitified as well as their professional affiliation. The following is a suggested format for citations:

    Name of Taxonomist (taxon), Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture

  • When available, please send reprints of publications where identifications are reported to CTSU.

Communications & Taxonomic Services Unit
USDA-ARS-Systematic Entomology Laboratory
Building 005, Room 137, BARC-West
10300 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

Watch the video: Insect Identification Keys (May 2022).