Pest Identification

MetroPest cover a variety of pests including:

Bed Bugs

Common Name: Bed Bugs Scientific Name: Cimex lectularius Size: 4 – 5 mm

Biology: Female bed bugs lay 1-5 eggs per day with the white eggs being deposited individually in cracks or on rough surfaces and secured with a transparent cement for an average total of 200 eggs; maximum eggs per day is 12, with 541 for a lifetime. About 3-10 minutes are required for each blood meal. Development time egg to adult takes 21 days at 30°C to 120 days at 18°C. with normal feeding and reproductive cycles individuals can live upto 316 days. Humans are the preferred hosts of bed bugs but in their absence bed bugs will feed on poultry, canaries, sparrows rats, mice etc. Bed bugs have been found to be infected with some 25 different disease organisms. Incomplete Metamorphosis.

Habits: Bed bugs harbour in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. Typically they can be found around mattress buttons and beading, in bed springs or coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame. Other places to look are picture frames, stuffed furniture, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper and door and window frames etc. adults can survive for upto 6-7 months if they are well fed and they can feed on other animals if humans are not present.

Biscuit Beetle

Common Name: Biscuit Beetle Scientific Name: Biscuit Beetle Size: 2 – 3.5 mm

Biology: The female biscuit beetle lays her oval eggs in and about food materials, and they hatch in a few days. The full-grown lava pupates in a silken cocoon with bits of foodstuff incorporated into it, and pupation lasts 12-18 days. The complete life cycle of an egg to an adult usually takes about 7 months, but there may be 1-4 generations per year depending on the temperature.Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The biscuit beetle attacks a host of items that include any household food and spice, as well as such things as drugs, hair, horn, leather and museum species. Most commonly attacked are bread, flour, meal, breakfast foods, and condiments such as red pepper. It is also a pest of books and manuscripts. Adults can fly and are attracted to light.

Black Ant

Common Name: Common Black Ant Scientific Name: Lasius niger Size: 2.5 – 4 mm

Biology: Overwintering females or Queens lay their eggs in the spring. The white legless larva’s hatch in about 3-4 weeks and are fed by the Queen on secretions from her salivary glands. The entire life cycle takes about 2 months. The nests can last for several years and can contain 15-20,000 ants.

Habits: Their life is mainly spent outside in the soil and under paving slabs etc. but because of the foraging for food they enter indoors and become a problem. As they forage for food they leave scent trails for the other ants to follow which is why you have long lines of ants. They are a very social insect that is the reason you see them in large numbers.

Blow Fly

Common Name: Blow Fly Scientific Name: Calliphra spp Size: 4 – 16 mm

Biology: Females lay their eggs upto 2,373 on a suitable larval food material. When the eggs hatch they may feed on the surface and then burrow into the food material, which is less, decayed. They usually overwinter as mature larvae or pupae. Blowflies are a big carrier of disease because of their feeding habits. Complete Metamorphosis.

Habits: Many species develop in meat or animal carcasses, but if these are not available they will use animal excrement, decaying vegetation and rubbish. These insects are usually the first to arrive and infest after an animal dies. Some of the species are very strong fliers and do have a range of between 4-28 miles. They are most active on warm, sunny days. They are attracted to bright light coming through windows.

Carpet Beatle

Common Name: Varied Carpet Beetle Scientific Name: Anthrenus verbasci Size: 1.8 – 3.2 mm

Biology: Females do not always lay their eggs on larval food material. The eggs hatch in 17-18 days. Development time from egg to adult usually requires 249-354 days at room temperature, but may take as long as 2-3 years depending upon temperature and food. Adult males live 13-28 days whereas females live 14-144 days. Complete Metamorphosis

Habits: Varied carpet beetle larvae feed on a wide variety of animal and plant products. Animal origin materials include woolens, carpets, furs, hides, feathers, horns, bones, hair, silk, fishmeal, insect pupae and dead insects. Plant origin materials include meal, corn, cacao and cereals etc. Their favoured foods are insects and spiders, which makes them a major pest of museum collections. On fabrics the larva tend to surface graze but are quite capable of making small or large irregular holes.

Case Moth

Common Name: Casemaking Clothes Moth Scientific Name: Tinea pellionella Size: 10 – 14 mm

Biology: Females mate on the day they emerge as adults and can start laying eggs the next day. They lay on average about 37-48 eggs singly on a suitable Laval food. The eggs hatch in about 4-7 days and the lava wanders about for 24 hours. Development time from egg to adult takes about 46-116 days. Female adults live about 3-8 days and males live about 3-5 days.

Habits: Casemaking clothes moth larvae attack primarily materials of animal origin and secondly those of plant origin. Animal origin materials include, feathers, wool’s, rugs, furs, taxidermy mounts and piano felts. Plant origin materials include tobacco, various seasonings, hemp almonds, saffron etc. it is a major pest of feathers/down and hair/fur.

Cat Flea

Common Name: Cat Flea Scientific Name: Ctenocephalides felis Size: 2.5 mm

Biology: Female’s lay 4-8 eggs after each blood meal, laying some 400-500 eggs during their lifetime. The eggs are not glued or stuck to the hairs or body but are deposited on or between hairs, or in the nest or bedding material. Hence, eggs are deposited on the animal either fall or are shaken off, and are frequently found in cracks and crevices where pets sleep or frequent. Adults usually begin to seek a blood meal on the second day of emergence, but can live for several months on stored body fat. Although they have a preferred host, they will readily bite and can survive using other species as hosts.

Habits: It is not necessary to have pets in the building to have fleas present. Since fleas can jump 6″ or more vertically, they can easily hitch a ride on trousers and shoes etc. if a building has been vacant for some time they are often greeted and attacked by fleas. This can happen even if a building has been vacant of animals and humans for as long as 6 months or so. This can happen because of the potentially long pupa period, and adults can live so long without food.

Clothes Moth

Common Name: Common Clothes Moth Scientific Name: Tineola bisselliella Size: 12 mm

Biology: On the day of emergence from there pupae, adult females can mate and lay eggs. Each female on average lays 30-40 eggs, either singly or in small groups over a 2-3 week period. The eggs hatch within 4-10 days in the summer but may require up to 3 weeks in the winter. Development time from egg to an adult varies from a typical 50-90 days to between 35 days to 4 years. Females die after all their eggs are laid, usually in about 116 days, whereas males live on average about 28 days. Complete Metamorphosis.

Habits: They attack synthetic fibres only when they are interwoven with natural animal fibre material or are soiled. They feed on materials such as wool, hair, fur etc. they have been found infesting beef meat, fish and milk products in addition to furs and woollens. Under heavy infestations larvae may be seen crawling about exposed. The adults do not feed.

Cluster Fly

Common Name: Cluster Fly Scientific Name: Pollenia rudis Size: 8 mm

Biology: Eggs are laid in soil cracks and hatch in about 3 days. Development time from egg to adult varies from 27-39 days. There are usually about 4 generations per year. Complete Metamorphosis

Habits: As the days shorten and the weather cools, cluster flies enter buildings to overwinter, and can travel more than a mile to do so. They usually occupy attics and wall voids. They normally use the same structure year after year. They can be a problem in the autumn, winter and/or spring days, in autumn they enter to hibernate. On warm sunny winter days and again in the spring they can also be a nuisance when they begin to leave the structures. Once stimulated cluster flies seek light. They can be found crawling around windows or around lamps and lights.

Common Wasp

Common Name: Common Wasp Scientific Name: Vespula spp Size: 10 – 16 mm

Biology: Wasps are social insects and live in nests or colonies. Typically, only inseminated queens overwinter and do so in sheltered places. She will begin to make a few cells in a small nest to begin a colony. One egg is laid in each cell and the queen feeds the developing lava. After about 30 days the first 5-7 workers emerge and shortly take over all the work except egg laying. Nest size varies, but average 2000-6000 cells and usually contains 1000-4000 workers. The founding Queen, the workers and males all die during the winter the new queen overwinters.

Habits: Depending on the species, the overwintered queen will usually select either a subterranean or aerial nesting site. The German wasp (common wasp) normally nests in buildings. There are usually guards near their nest. Some people become hypersensitive to their stings and future stings can become life threatening. Those nesting in buildings are only a problem when the nest or nest entrance is located near human activity.

Confused Flour Beatle

Common Name: Confused Flour Beetle Scientific Name: Tribolium confusum Size: 3 – 4 mm

Biology: The confused flour beetle female deposits about 300-500 clear white sticky eggs on or among food materials in cracks and crevices, in bags or through the mesh of sacks containing food. The female lays 2-3 eggs per day but lives for 2-3 years. The life cycle can be completed in only seven weeks, or it may require 3 months or longer. In heated storage facilities and processing plants, there are 4-5 generations yearly. Complete Metamorphosis

Habits: These beetles are unable to feed on whole kernels or undamaged grain. They have been recorded attacking grains and grain products, peas, beans, shelled nuts, dried fruits, spices, milk chocolate, drugs, snuff cayenne pepper, insect and other museum species. They are attracted to light even though apparently they do not fly. Although humans are not injured by it, confused flour beetles do impact a disagreeable odour and taste to the flour they infest.

Fruit Fly

Common Name: Fruit Fly Scientific Name: Drosophila spp Size: 3 – 4 mm

Biology: Adult females lay their eggs on average 500 near the surface of fermenting fruits and vegetables or near the cover crack of imperfectly sealed containers. They hatch in about 30 hours. The whole life cycle can take as little as 8 days, the female mates after 2 days of becoming an adult. Their reproductive potential is enormous.

Habits: Fruit flies are attracted to fresh fruits and vegetables because of the fermenting yeast. They are not only attracted to decaying food but also fermenting liquids such as, beer, cider, vinegar and wine. They tend to use the mops and brush heads and other cleaning materials and areas to breed. Adults tend to hover in small circles.

German Cockroach

Common Name: German Cockroach Scientific Name: Blattella germanica Size: 13 – 16 mm

Biology: The reason that German cockroaches are such successful breeders is they carry the egg case (Ootheca) until 1-2 days within hatching. Each egg case produces between 30-40 eggs and they can produce up to 8 cases a year. Development time from egg to adult varies between 54-215 days depending upon the environment. Adults can live on average 200 days.

Habits: German cockroaches are found throughout structures but have a preference for warm (21C) And humid places. They are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms, but they also occur in the lounge and bedroom etc. Any crack or crevice they will use as a harbourage. For young adults (Nymphs) they need a crack of only 1mm adult’s need only 5mm. They feed on almost anything including all kinds of food, and such things as soap, glue and toothpaste. Because of the way they spend their time in the harbourage about 30% of the young nymphs will not be seen during an inspection.

Grain Weevil

Common Name: Grain Weevil Scientific Name: Sitophilus granarious Size: 3 – 4.8 mm

Biology: The granary weevil female bores a hole into a kernel of grain and lays an egg, sealing the opening with gelatinous material. The egg hatches in a few days. A female can lie more than 200 eggs under favourable conditions (range 36-254). The entire life cycle from egg to adult may be as short as one month during the summer or as long as 5 months during the winter, being very dependent upon the temperature. There are usually 4 generations per year. The adults can live 7-8 months. Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The grain weevil is usually confined to stored grain and is primarily transported by man. The larva typically requires a whole kernel for development but can develop in caked grain material. It attacks all kinds of grains and grain products. When disturbed, it drags its legs up to its body and plays dead. Adults are not attracted to light.

House Fly

Common Name: House Fly Scientific Name: Musca domestica Size: 4 – 7.5 mm

Biology: The female lays her eggs in batches on average between 75-150 per batch and will lay 5-6 batches in her lifetime. Eggs are laid in moist material and the lava (maggots) hatch in about 8-20 hours. Depending on conditions egg to adult development time can be as little as 6 days. They’re maybe as many as 10-12 generations per summer. Adults usually live between 15-25 days.

Habits: Houseflies can migrate up to 20 miles but most stay within 1-2 miles of their release point as adults. During the day house flies tend to rest less than 1.5mts from the ground. At night they tend to rest above that height and usually nearer their feeding point in the morning. Many people worldwide die from diseases passed on by houseflies, such as food poisoning, diarrhea and dysentery.

Indian Meal Moth

Common Name: Indian Meal Moth Scientific Name: Plodia interpunctella Size: 16 – 20 mm

Biology: Chiefly at night, the female lays 100-400 eggs, singly or in small groups, on the lava food material during a period of 1-18 days. The Laval period lasts 13-288 days, depending primarily on temperature and food availability. When the last stage of growth for the lava is ready to pupate it wanders about until a suitable pupation site is found. There are usually 4-6 generations per year, with the life cycle egg to egg typically requiring 25-135 days. Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The adult causes no damage. The lava are surface feeders and generally produce a lot of webbing throughout the infested parts of materials. They are general feeders and attack grain and grain products, a wide variety of dried fruits, seeds, nuts, powdered milk, biscuits, chocolate, and bird seed. They are very destructive wherever dried fruits are stored. Adults are attracted to lights.

Larder Beatle

Common Name: Larder Beetle Scientific Name: Demestes lardarius linnaeus Size: 7 – 9 mm

Biology: Adult females lay their eggs on suitable food for the larva or in cracks and crevices where such food is stored, the number of eggs range from 102-800. Development time from egg to adult may only require 40-50 days but usually takes 2-3 months or longer. There is usually only one generation per year but in some locations there may be as many as 6. The adults overwinter in bark crevices and enter the buildings in the spring and summer. Adults live about 3-5 months. Complete Metamorphosis.

Habits: The adults and larvae feed on all kinds of animal products such as dried fish, ham, bacon, meats, cheese, dried pet food, and dried museum species including insects, hides, feathers, horn, and hair. Most damage is done by larval feeding, but adults also feed and cause damage.

Masonry Bee

Common Name: Masonry Bee Scientific Name: Osmia rufa

Biology: Honeybees are social insects and live as colonies in hives, with mature colonies of between 20.000-80.000 individuals. The entire population overwinters. There is only one egg laying female in the hive and she mates only once. She can lay as many as 1,500-2,000 eggs per day, and may live as long as 5 years. Workers live only about 5-7 weeks during the summer but those emerging in the autumn overwinter. Drones (males) appear periodically and are short lived, usually living only a few weeks.

Habits: Honeybees are not aggressive, and do not search for something to attack. Instead they are defensive and only attack when threatened. Bees in a swarm are not likely to attack because they harbour no food or young and therefore have nothing to defend. However if the hive entrance is approached the guard bees can become very aggressive. The normal reaction to a bee sting is local pain then swelling in people who are allergic it can be very serious.

Mediterranean Moth

Common Name: Mediterranean Moth Scientific Name: Anagasta kuehniella Size: 24 mm

Biology: The female lays 116-678 white eggs in or on the food material, which hatch in 3-5 days. They typically pupate in a silken cocoon but this may be lacking if pupation takes place in a crack or crevice. Regardless, pupation occurs in clean food material, away from mass of infested material. The life cycle egg to egg usually takes 8-10 weeks but in heated structures may be completed in 4-6 weeks. This means there may be 4-6 or more generations per year, depending on the temperature. Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The adults cause no damage. The lava causes most of the problems because as they crawl around extensively, and spin silken threads which mat food particles together These cause damage to machinery and sometimes causing shut down until they are removed. Adults are attracted to light. The Mediterranean flour moth infests flour, cereals, bran, beans, biscuits, nuts, chocolates, dried foods and many other food stuffs.


Common Name: Mouse Scientific Name: Mus domesticus Size: 6.5 – 9 cm; Tail 7 – 10.2 cm

Biology: The house mouse is a prolific breeder, they reach sexual maturity within 35 days. Pregnancy lasts an average of 19 days. There is about 8 litters a year with an average of 6 young per litter. A mouse requires about 3gr of food per day and 1.5ml of water although this can be extracted from the food they eat. They carry disease the worst being Salmonella via their droppings of which on average is 50 per day. Over a 6-month period a pair of mice will eat about 1.8kg of food, produce 18,000 droppings, and 355ml of urine.

Habits: Their proffered nesting sites are dark secluded places where there is little chance of being disturbed. They require an opening of only 6mm to gain entry to premises. They eat many kinds of food but prefer seeds, they will always try new foods. If food and shelter are plentiful they will only travel 1.5-2.0mts from their harbourage. Nesting materials include paper products, cotton, packing materials, wall/attic insulation fabrics etc.

Oriental Cockroach

Common Name: Oriental Cockroach Scientific Name: Blatta Orientallis Size: 32 mm

Biology: Not such a prolific breeder as the German cockroach, the female usually deposits her egg case within about 30 hours after it is formed. It is either dropped or glued to something in a warm protected area close to a food source. Development time is dependent upon temperature but it takes a male 575 and a female 602 days on average at room temperature.

Habits: In many areas this cockroach can survive quite well outside but does live mostly inside. They are found many of the times in cellars, voids and on first floors and at times higher in buildings as they use the water pipes to climb. They feed on all types of food and decaying organic matter. They are despised because of their strong smell of cockroaches and because they feed on dirt and bad Hygiene.

Pharaohs Ant

Common Name: Pharaohs Ant Scientific Name: Monomorium pharaonis Size: 1.5 – 2 mm

Biology: The colonies tend to be large with workers numbering in the thousands to several hundred thousand. New nests can be formed by “budding” with as few as 5 workers, 10 pre adults and one Queen migrating from the original colony. Development time from egg to adult for workers is about 38 days at 27°C. workers live about 9-10 weeks and males die about 3-5 weeks after mating. More than a dozen pathogenic bacteria have been found on Pharaoh ants collected in hospitals.

Habits: Inside Pharaoh ants nest in warm 30°C and humid areas near sources of food and water. Nests are usually located in inaccessible places such as wall voids, under floorboards, in furniture etc. They commonly use electrical and telephone wires as a highway system to travel through walls and between floors. The ants are common problems in commercial food handling places such as hotels, grocery stores, hospitals and in apartment complexes.


Common Name: Pigeon Scientific Name: Columba livia

Biology: Breeding can occur throughout the year, but the peak occurs between March and July. Two white eggs are laid and incubated for 17-19 days by both parents. The young pigeons or squabs are fed on highly proteinaceous Pigeon milk. But this was gradually replaced by regurgitated grain. The young are independent after 30-37 days. Upto 4 broods maybe reared during the year. Some young birds breed at 6 months.

Habits: Nests are built in or on buildings, bridges, ledges or hollows such as gutters. Grass, twigs, feathers and scraps such as pieces of wire are used in their unusually flimsy nests. Feral Pigeons mainly rely on spillage’s or scraps left by the public. Some pigeons fly to arable farmlands to feed on sowings and stubbles. Pigeons normally feed in flocks.


Common Name: Rat Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus Size: 18 – 25 cm; Tail 15 – 21 cm

Biology: Reach sexual maturity in 2-5 months. Pregnancy lasts an average of 23 days. Average number of litters per year is 3-6 each containing 7-8 young rats. They require about 25g of food per day (approx. 10% of body weight) and 25ml of water each day. They can carry many Diseases including Murine typhus via fleas, Weils disease, Salmonellosis via their droppings which is between 30-180 per day and 16cc of urine everyday.

Habits: Normally nest outdoors but do nest indoors in cellars and lower portions of the building although they will infest attics and roofs if it’s possible. An entry point of no more than 12mm is required for rats to enter the premises. They will eat practically anything they prefer meat, fish and cereals although if they dislike a food they will quickly develop food shyness. They also need a non-food source for liquid. They will travel between 30-47mts from their harborage for food and/or water. They will gnaw anything to get to a food source and water source even plastic and lead pipes.

Rice Weevil

Common Name: Rice Weevil Scientific Name: Sitophilus Orzae Size: 2.5 – 3.5 mm

Biology: The rice weevil female bores a hole into the kernel of grain and lays an egg, sealing the opening with gelatinous material. Females can lay 300-400 eggs in their lifetime but egg laying is sporadic during the winter time, with less activity the cooler the temperature. The life cycle from egg to egg may be as short as 32 days in the summer. The adult may live for 3-6 months. Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The rice weevil is usually confined to stored grain. Adults fly from stored grain to infest new grain crop in the field and continue through storage. It has been recorded attacking grain, rice, beans, nuts, cereals, stored cotton, and wheat products of all kinds and grapes. In addition it will feed on apples and pears. When it is disturbed it will draw its legs up and play dead. Adults can fly are attracted to light.

Sawtoothed Beetle

Common Name: Sawtoothed Beetle Scientific Name: Oryzaephilus surinamensis Size: 2.5 – 3 mm

Biology: The female lays 45-285 white shiny eggs singly or in small clusters in crevices in the food material over a 2-5 month period. The life cycle from egg to adult typically requires 30-50 days. The optimal development conditions are 30-35°C and 70+% humidity. There maybe as many as 6-7 generations per year but the number is greatly dependent on temperature. On average the adults live 6-10 months but may live longer than 3 years. Complete metamorphosis.

Habits: The Sawtoothed grain beetle does considerable damage to grains but it cannot attack sound kernels. Its flat body allows access through very small cracks and into imperfectly sealed packages. Adults are not known to fly and are not attracted to light. It attacks a wide variety of foodstuffs, which include cereals, bread, breakfast foods, dried fruits, nuts, sugar, chocolate, dried meats, drugs, tobacco and many other stuffs.

Yellow Mealworm Beetle

Common Name: Yellow Mealworm Scientific Name: Tenobrio molitor Size: 12 – 16 mm

Biology: The adult female lays eggs singly or in clusters in food material over a period of 22-137 days, with an average of 276 eggs being laid per female. Development time from egg to adult usually requires 280-630 days. There is usually 1 generation per year but some individuals may require upto 2 years to complete their development. Adults usually live 2-3 months. The species is of medical concern because the eggs and/or lava are ingested with cereals or breakfast foods can cause stomach discomfort.

Habits: Yellow mealworms are usually found breeding in grain refuse and debris, and typically indicate lack of proper hygiene. They prefer dark damp situations. They have been found in neglected corners with accumulated grain, under bags of grain in warehouses and feed stores, in spillage around grain bins, in litter of poultry houses where grain is mixed with droppings.