Most Common Insects in Pennsylvania

As a seasoned entomologist with years of experience studying insects in Pennsylvania, my connection to these common bugs runs deep. I believe that by sharing my experience, we can better understand and appreciate the intricate world of these tiny creatures.

From battling household invaders to marveling at the diversity of stingers, my encounters with Pennsylvania’s insects have shaped my expertise in pest management.

Join me on a journey to uncover the top insect offenders in Pennsylvania and discover effective ways to coexist with these fascinating critters.

Key Takeaways

  • Honey Bees are crucial pollinators in Pennsylvania, living in colonies and communicating through dances and pheromones.
  • Invasive pests like Japanese Beetles and Spotted Lanternflies damage plants, requiring control to protect crops.
  • Pest control includes managing Eastern Tent Caterpillars and Stink Bugs to mitigate harm to trees and crops.
  • Wood-damaging insects such as Carpenter Ants and Termites pose threats to structures, needing professional control and prevention measures.

Honey Bees

Why are honey bees crucial pollinators in Pennsylvania?

Honey bees play a vital role as pollinators, ensuring the reproduction of many plant species. Living in large colonies with a queen, drones, and worker bees, these industrious insects work together to collect nectar and pollen.

Worker bees, the females of the colony, gather nectar from flowers and use it to produce honey, which serves as their main food source. Through intricate dances and the release of pheromones, honey bees effectively communicate and coordinate tasks within the hive.

While honey bees are known for their painful stings, which are barbed and result in the bee’s death, these stings also release a pheromone that alerts other bees to defend the colony if needed.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars

Honey bees, crucial pollinators in Pennsylvania, are often overshadowed by another common insect native to the region, the Eastern Tent Caterpillars. These insects can be found constructing silk tents in tree branches for protection and shelter. They primarily feed on the leaves of trees such as cherry, apple, and crabapple. Despite their capacity to defoliate trees, Eastern Tent Caterpillars typically don’t cause lasting harm to healthy trees.

Their life cycle involves metamorphosis, transforming them into moths after they’ve consumed sufficient food and grown. Although they can be considered pests, proper insect control measures can help manage their population and minimize any potential damage they may cause.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles, invasive pests in Pennsylvania, are known for causing extensive damage to a wide variety of plant species in the region. These beetles have metallic green bodies with copper-brown wing covers, making them stand out in gardens. They feed voraciously on leaves, flowers, and fruits, skeletonizing plants and leading to severe aesthetic and economic damage. Attracted to specific plants like roses and linden trees, Japanese Beetles are a common nuisance for gardeners. Combatting these pests can be done through various methods such as handpicking, using traps, employing biological controls, or resorting to insecticides.

Body ColorMetallic green with copper-brown wings
Feeding HabitsDevour leaves, flowers, and fruits, causing skeletonization of plants
Control MethodsHandpicking, traps, biological controls, and insecticides

Spotted Lanternflies

Spotted Lanternflies, a concerning invasive species in Pennsylvania, are recognized for their vibrant red wings and black spots, posing a significant threat to agricultural crops and the local ecosystem. These insects devastate crops by sucking plant sap dry, leading to economic losses in agricultural industries. The damage they cause extends beyond farms, affecting vineyards, orchards, and forests, making them an environmental threat.

To mitigate their impact, controlling the population of Spotted Lanternflies is crucial. These pests not only harm plant health but also disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem, highlighting the importance of managing their presence effectively. Take action to safeguard Pennsylvania’s agriculture and environment from the destructive influence of these invasive insects.

Stink Bugs

In Pennsylvania, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are prevalent overwintering pests known for devaluing produce and emitting a foul odor when disturbed. These nuisance insects, seeking refuge from the cold, often invade homes in large numbers.

Feeding on various plants, they pose a threat to crops by causing significant damage. Effective prevention methods recommended by pest control experts include sealing entry points such as gaps around doors and windows.

Implementing measures to deter infestations is crucial to safeguarding your home and crops from these odorous invaders. Being proactive in addressing potential infestation areas can help mitigate the impact of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs on both agricultural yields and indoor comfort.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants, with their distinctive black color and size ranging between ⅜ to ½ inch, are notorious for the significant damage they cause through their nest-building activities.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Sawdust trails: Watch out for sawdust trails left behind by carpenter ants as they excavate wood for nesting.
  2. Moisture sources: Eliminate moisture sources around your home to deter carpenter ant infestations, as they’re attracted to damp environments.
  3. Prevention methods: Cut back tree limbs that can provide a bridge to your home and keep woodpiles away to prevent these pests from causing structural damage.

If infestations persist, seeking professional help is recommended for effective control and eradication.


Mosquitoes, prevalent in Pennsylvania, pose a significant threat as common biting insects in the region, with approximately 60 species found within the state. These insects are vectors for diseases like West Nile virus, which can be transmitted through their bites. Female mosquitoes, needing blood meals for egg development, are the ones responsible for biting humans and animals.

To reduce mosquito populations and potential bites, consider using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing, and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed. Mosquitoes thrive in moist environments and are most active during dusk and dawn, so taking preventive measures can help minimize encounters with these pesky insects and the risks associated with their presence.


Termites, known for causing significant damage to wooden structures, are social insects that live in colonies and feed on cellulose-based materials like wood, paper, and insulation. In Pennsylvania, these destructive pests are a common concern for homeowners and property owners.

Here are some key facts about termites in the state:

  1. Subterranean termites are the most prevalent type in Pennsylvania, capable of extensive tunneling to reach their food sources.
  2. Signs of termite infestation include mud tubes, discarded wings, hollow-sounding wood, and visible structural damage.
  3. Professional termite inspections and treatments are crucial for detecting and eradicating termite colonies, preventing costly damage to buildings.

Stay vigilant and proactive in protecting your property from these silent destroyers.

Black-legged Ticks

Black-legged ticks, prevalent in Pennsylvania, pose a serious health risk as carriers of Lyme disease. These deer ticks, small and reddish-brown, need a blood meal at each life stage, making them a significant health concern.

Transmission of Lyme disease from black-legged ticks to humans occurs during feeding, typically after 24-48 hours of attachment. To prevent this, wear protective clothing, use insect repellent, and check for ticks after outdoor activities. Taking these precautions can help reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease from black-legged ticks.

It’s crucial to be vigilant when in tick-prone areas to avoid potential exposure to this harmful disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Tiny Biting Bugs in Pa?

When dealing with tiny biting bugs in PA, it’s crucial to identify them for effective prevention. Mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and biting gnats are common culprits. No-see-ums near water, biting midges, fleas, and mites are prevalent. Knowing the specific type helps combat them.

What Bugs Are Attracted to Light in Pa?

When bugs are attracted to light in PA, it’s usually moths, beetles, and flies. They get drawn to light sources like Indian Meal Moths and Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles. Understanding this helps in effective pest control.

What Are the Black Stinging Insects in Pa?

Identify black stinging insects in PA like bees, wasps, hornets, and ants. Varying in size and pattern, some can sting multiple times. Accurate identification is crucial for proper management and prevention of stings or infestations.

How Many Species of Insects Are in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, there are over 19,000 species of insects. This diverse insect population contributes to the state’s ecosystems in various ways, from pollination to nutrient cycling. Understanding this insect diversity is crucial for managing pests and conserving the environment.


In conclusion, Pennsylvania hosts a diverse array of insects, each with unique characteristics and behaviors. From the pollination prowess of Honey Bees to the destructive tendencies of Carpenter Ants, these insects play a significant role in the ecosystem.

Understanding their habits and implementing effective pest management strategies is essential for maintaining a harmonious environment. By staying informed and proactive, residents can coexist peacefully with these common insects in Pennsylvania.