Wyoming: Miller mothEveryone has seen a light bulb covered in moths before. Miller moths are probably the most harmless but annoying pest. As they migrate west, they pester Wyoming citizens by their sheer volume and ability to sneak into any room. These pests travel by night and are attracted to lights emanating from your house. Their strength lies in numbers not brains, so they tend to get stuck fluttering around garages and houses. Source, Source
Alaska: Carpenter antsCarpenter ants are among the few pests that can survive Alaska’s harsh climate. They withstand the cold using a natural antifreeze. However, these are not trustworthy carpenters. These scammers will construct their home in your home. This invasion can cause significant structural damage as well theft from your pantry. Following the small trails of sawdust they leave is the best way to locate their nests. Source
North Dakota: Boxelder bugNative to North Dakota, boxelder trees are boxelder bugs’ favorite food. They stay close to their food, so if you’re finding them around your house, they’re likely feeding and mating in trees nearby. Large swarms tend to sneak through cracks in houses when winter rolls around. Pro tip: Avoid squashing these pests. They impart a stinky smell and stain when squished. Source, Source
South Dakota: EarwigsLuckily for South Dakotans, earwigs don’t really crawl into your ear and lay eggs in your brain. However, you may see them at night as they are attracted to lights and damp places such as your bathroom, basement, and laundry room. Don’t worry, their pincers aren’t intended for humans but for hunting and fighting other earwigs. If you are pinched, it’s far more gross than painful. Source, Source
Washington: Norway ratsWell, rats. The biggest pest problem in Seattle is the Norway rat. This pest loves burrowing in crawl spaces, basements, and other hidden areas. A rat of many names, Norway rats are also called brown rats, sewer rats, and wharf rats. Also a rat of many tastes, they like to chew through pipes, electrical wires, pantries, and every inch of your house. Source, Source
Oregon: Hobo spiderFast, frequent, and supposedly furious, many people fear hobo spiders. They are the most commonly submitted spider for identification in Oregon. Yet, the belief that hobo spiders have a harmful flesh-killing bite is actually false. Only two hobo spider bites have ever been confirmed. One of these bites was in Oregon. The symptoms were temporary and mild redness, pain, and twitching. All legs and no bite? Source, Source, Source
Idaho: Mormon cricketWhile hard to verify if Mormon crickets are Mormon, it is clear they’re not crickets. These native Idaho pests are closer to fat grasshoppers that can’t fly. Back in the day, they got their name from destroying early Mormon settlers’ crops. Although flightless, Mormon crickets migrate fast and eat over 400 species of plants. Source, Source, Source
Montana: Stink bugsThought to have caught a ride from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug invaded Montana in 2021. They are known as stowaways, troublemakers, and unwanted house guests who are too comfortable with taking what isn’t theirs. As if eating over 170 different types of plants wasn’t enough, come winter, they will gladly sneak into your house and invite everyone they know. A study once collected 26,205 of these freeloaders from a single house. Source, Source, Source
California: Bed bugs
Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are among the top worst bed bug-ridden cities in the U.S. These vampires love traveling, and with so much travel to and from California, they find it perfect for hitching a ride on clothing, luggage, laundry, and hotels. If you’re visiting the Golden State, you might pick up an extra friend or twenty.
Nevada: Whiptail scorpion
Scorpion? Spider? Land lobster? You can run into all kinds of alarming things in Vegas, but a giant whiptail scorpion or vinegaroon may be the weirdest. Their name comes from their thin “tail” that releases vinegary acid when threatened. This foul-smelling acid makes up for their lack of a venomous bite or deadly sting. Their acid isn’t lethal, but it can cause irritation and blistering as well as stain fabrics. Like many of Nevada’s wonders, this pest is reserved to certain areas of the US.
Do people eat crickets in Utah? The short answer is probably not. But the seagulls did. In 1848, seagulls saved early Utah settlers by eating up hordes of crop-destroying crickets. Ironically, the California gull is now Utah’s state bird. Moreover, these crickets weren’t crickets but closer to grasshoppers. Nowadays Utah has several cricket species that will eat plants, fabrics, foods, papers, and even each other. While they usually wreak havoc outdoors, they will occasionally slip into homes through cracks and other openings.
Colorado: Colorado potato beetle
The Colorado potato beetle isn’t native to Colorado, but Colorado was one of the first states where these pests were found. It has gone through many names, but it was eventually tied to Colorado because of the amount observed there. They are a major problem for home gardens and the agricultural industry. If left unchecked, Colorado potato beetles can kill an entire potato field by mid-summer. Once a population is established, it doesn’t stop growing.
Hawaii: Coconut rhinoceros beetle
When coconut rhinoceros beetles first invaded Palau, many islands’ coconut tree populations were entirely destroyed. This hefty beetle invaded Hawaii around 2013. While it’s named after its favorite food, it also damages and kills banana, sugarcane, pineapple, and sisal plants. The obvious sign of a coconut rhinoceros beetle infestation is v-shaped cuts and holes in coconut fronds.
Arizona: Bark scorpion
Over 97% of scorpion stings occur within the home. The Arizona bark scorpion is not only the most lethal in North America, but the most common and only lethal scorpion found in Arizona. True climbers, they typically use your house’s vents to drop into cool areas like bathrooms, beds, and your baby’s crib. For small children and pets, their sting can cause severe reactions.
New Mexico: Assassin bug
The assassin bug is a rarity special to the bottom of the US with New Mexico being one of the most common states. This nimble bug got its name by impaling its victims with its beak, paralyzing them, and sucking out their insides like a slurpee. Because of their predatory diet, assassin bugs are great for gardeners. However, one wrong move and they will deliver a quick and incredibly painful bite.
Texas: Red Imported fire ant
Which pest causes hundreds of millions of dollars annually in damages, prevention, and health across Texas? And which pest stung over 79% of Texans in 2000 alone? That would be the red imported fire ant. This species with their odd affinity for short circuiting electric systems, nasty venom, and hobby of driving out native wildlife are incredibly invasive and aggressive. Since the 1950s, they have inhabited more than two-thirds of the state and continue marching across America.
Minnesota: Asian lady beetles
Some ladybugs are not lucky. Minnesota’s seasonal Asian lady beetle is one such case. During the fall, they escape the oncoming winter by invading houses in large swarms. Once inside, they nestle into cracks in your house’s walls. These imposters can bite hard enough to break human skin, release a strong smelling liquid from their limbs, and stain surfaces when crushed. While they don’t do well indoors, Asian lady beetles are beneficial pests for gardens and farms.
Nebraska: Corn rootworm
Rootworm isn’t a home invader, but it is the most concerning pest for corn growers in Nebraska. These pests lay eggs in corn fields during the summer and then feed on corn roots in the spring. In their larvae phase, rootworms are the most damaging because they eat the plant roots. When they emerge as beetles, they feed on the plant silk. A deadly combo, the larvae stunt the growth and the adults disrupt the pollination.
Kansas: Walnut caterpillar
Walnuts, and pecans and hickory, oh my! Walnut caterpillars’ leafy appetite can cause serious damage to your yard. These pests form big squirmy clusters on trees as they feed on leaves. They’re most common in eastern states but found as far west as Kansas. Many trees fall to their ravenous appetite.
Nobody likes gnats in their produce or houseplants, especially not Iowans. Gnat species have become a state-wide menace in the agricultural landmark Iowa. Iowa’s particularly blood thirsty gnat species known as the buffalo gnat feeds on human blood to lay eggs. Biting gnat species like the buffalo gnat can transmit disease and kill livestock and wildlife. Even when gnats aren’t bloodthirsty, the massive swarms they form in your house and around your face are anything but enjoyable.
The most common basement dwellers in Ohio are not 35-year-old men but silverfish. Like man-children, they will crawl around eating anything. To avoid human interaction, they will hide during the day and then look for food at night. These nuisances can eat up precious belongings and eat foods, leathers, photographs, wallpaper, glue, and other insects. While it is unclear what causes human basement dwellers, silverfish are drawn to secluded, air conditioned areas with clutter, carbohydrates, books, and dust.
According to Google Trends, Kentucky has a lice problem. The state has a staggering amount of searches regarding lice and lice shampoo. Lice are a year-long pest. They live exclusively on humans and are most common on children’s heads. As they jump from human to human, infestations can be hard to eliminate because they fall onto beds, clothing, hairbrushes, furniture, and other places infected hair touches. All it takes is for one tiny nit or egg to restart the entire infestation.
The house centipede is the most common centipede in Missouri. It enjoys damp areas like bathrooms and basements. As winter moves in, they sneak into houses looking for hiding places and food. They’re very fast, have long legs, and will scuttle off when a human approaches. If you look past their gross appearance, these houseguests may eat other pests for you.
Wisconsin: Bark beetles
Wisconsin’s millions of forested acres make the perfect home for some of the US’s 600 bark beetle species. Small but mighty, these pests spread from tree to tree killing thousands of acres. They don’t play fair and are drawn to weakened trees from drought, construction, or overpopulation. They may wander into your house, but your garden and landscape are where they deal damage and thrive. Since 2000, they’ve killed 85,000 square miles of forest in the western US.
Illinois: Sewer rat
Chicago has been named the rattiest city or “rat capitol” in the US on several occasions. The sewer rat or Norway rat carries fleas and ticks that can pass several diseases to humans. Sewer rats aren’t picky. They will eat the finest foods Chicago has to offer, trash, or their own young. Practically indestructible, these rats can fall from a five story building and walk away fine. The apartment they fell out of on the other hand will not be in such good condition.
Michigan’s bountiful lakes put mosquitoes at the top of their pest concerns. The state has around 65 species of mosquitoes. Michigan mosquitoes can carry the West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis which are harmful to humans and pets. Although contracting diseases from these pests is not common, their bites are notorious for causing itching and swelling.
Indiana ranks high for searches relating to mice and mouse traps. Two common mice in this state are house mice and eastern deer mice. Eastern deer mice are particularly hard to remove from houses and are one of the most widespread species throughout Indiana. Named after their preferred habitat, house mice depend on people for food and shelter. They are known to build their nests in walls, attics, and basements. Unfortunately, both house mice and western deer mice are terrible roommates.
There are 23 known species of blow flies in Mississippi. Stronger, shinier, and louder than normal houseflies, blow flies are quite a bother. Because they are attracted to lights, they are known to buzz loudly as they follow you from room to room. House infestations can start from a few blowflies zipping through a door or window. If you’re finding them in your home, they are likely breeding in your trash or some other decaying matter nearby.
Fleas are everywhere. But Tennessee ranks higher than other southeastern states with 33 species of fleas. Fleas are a nuisance as well as a danger because they carry diseases. Despite the numerous flea species in this state, disease-carrying ticks are very rare. The cat flea is the most common flea found on Tennessee dogs and cats. This flea leaves itchy bites and can transmit dog tapeworm to pets and owners. Once fleas infest a house and host, they are very difficult to remove.
The classic and sweet roly-poly or pillbug can be found in all 50 states and is a beneficial pest to gardens and landscapes. Alabama’s greenery and humidity are perfect for these little terrestrial crustaceans. They work hard as decomposers eating decaying material and improving soil quality. While they don’t make their way indoors very often due to the dryness, they can harm vegetables, fruits, leaves, roots, and seedlings if the population grows too large.
Oklahoma: Brown recluse
Brown recluses are one of two highly venomous spiders found in Oklahoma. Also known as violin spiders, they prefer secluded areas like workplace corners, closets, bedrooms, furniture, shoes, and attics. People are often bitten by mistake when putting on old shoes or clothing, cleaning out storage, or rolling over in bed. Bites are painful and can cause severe symptoms. If a bite is left untreated, the skin will rot away and reveal the underlying tissue.
Arkansas’s greenery is chigger country. Contrary to popular belief, these microscopic mites don’t burrow into your skin and lay eggs or drink your blood. However, they are to blame for itching that lasts for weeks. Chiggers create a feeding tube in the skin that they suck liquified tissue out of. Bites are usually around the ankles and tight creases in clothing. It is common for kids and pets to become infested while playing outdoors and then bring them back into the house.
While all states suffer from mosquitoes, Louisiana wins the most mosquito-related searches according to Google Trends. This ranking may be because of the 64 mosquito species present in the hot and humid state. In 2022, the state had the fourth highest rate in the country for the mosquito-spread West Nile virus. For some, this virus has life-long and severe consequences. While mosquitoes are typically thought of as nuisances, they can transmit a number of potentially life-threatening diseases.
Florida: Palmetto bug
The palmetto bug is a fake bug. It is a local name given to various large cockroaches found in Florida palmetto palms. The name most commonly refers to American roaches, Florida woods roaches, and smokey brown roaches. What isn’t fake is the damage and disease palmetto bugs can cause. These large cockroaches can invade kitchens, basements, bathrooms, storage rooms, and yards all while eating almost anything.
Georgia: Joro spider
In 2013 Georgia became famous for the new invasive Jorō spider that clutters homes, gas stations, streetposts, and lawns with its massive golden webs. It is believed this large black and yellow spider traveled from East Asia on shipping containers. Contrary to their looks, a recent study found that these spiders are actually big scaredy-cats. While other spiders freeze for only a few seconds when disturbed, Jorō spiders freeze for over an hour. This timidness has earned them the “shyest spider” title.
Oh tick! Virginia has sixteen different tick species. Luckily for Virginians, only three of these species tend to bite humans. These bloodsuckers prey on kids and pets and spread serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Despite being the size of a sesame seed, the invasive species known as the Asian longhorned tick has quickly made its way across Virginia yards and neighborhoods. True feminists, female Asian longhorn ticks don’t need a male to create a new population of 2,000 eggs.
West Virginia: Yellow jacket
They sting, they bite, and they’re all over the country roads of West Virginia. And no, we’re not talking about the state’s Yellow Jackets sports team. West Virginia ranks number one on Google Trends for yellow jacket searches. Yellow jackets are incredibly aggressive, can sting repeatedly, and like to nest in lawns and around houses. These bullies have also been known to sneak into soda cans and sting unsuspecting victims’ lips.
North Carolina: Formosan termite
The dense forests of North Carolina are filled with tree stumps and decaying logs that formosan termites thrive in. This “super termite” was first spotted in the US in South Carolina in 1957 and currently only lives in a few states on the southern east coast. Queens can produce over 2,000 eggs a day with colonies reaching over a million bugs in a 300 feet radius. They will consume anything from paper, wood, and crops to asphalt, plaster, and plastic. They are estimated to cost homeowners several tens of thousands of dollars in damages and control each year.
South Carolina: German cockroach
The German cockroach is the cockroach of all cockroaches. It is the most common cockroach in the US, and South Carolina ranks second for German cockroach searches online. These indestructible pests invade hospitals, houses, apartments, restaurants, and even aircrafts. They’ll eat human and pet food, books, leather, each other, and food residue off of sleeping humans’ faces. Oddly enough, German cockroaches need human civilization to survive. And we hate to say it, but the most common places they’re found are refrigerators, stoves, and bathrooms.
Springtails are known as the jumping bugs of Maine. Also called snowfleas, their swarms can completely blanket the snow-covered ground as they emerge for spring. Their special forked appendage allows them to jump around. They are known to collect in pools, houses, basements, and doorways. Maine’s position in the top 10 most humid states makes it the preferred environment for these damp-loving pests.
Does Vermont have a murder hornet that mercilessly kills entire hives of honeybees and feeds them to its young? Not yet. This invasive hornet also known as the Asian giant hornet is thankfully contained to Washington. But Vermont does have an invasive look-alike hornet called the European hornet. This hornet is twice the size of Vermont’s usual baldfaced hornet and is the only hornet known to be active at night. Sadly, the European hornet also preys on honey bees and is aggressive towards humans.
New York: Brown rats
Gross and dangerous, everybody thinks of rats when they think of New York. NYC is thought to be the first city brown rats infiltrated back during the American Revolution. Viral videos like the pizza rat and aggressive subway rat attacking innocent escalator users circulate the internet and establish rats as real New Yorkers. Jokes aside, rats cause billions of dollars in damages to health, infrastructure, and agriculture across America. The NYC rat population is now an estimated 2 million and spreads throughout 90% of the city.
Rhode Island: June bug
This June visitor frequents Rhode Island along with many other states. Also known as May bugs, June bugs love to clumsily fly into your window, porch, lawn, and face. Sometimes it seems like they don’t know how to move their big sleepy bodies after living underground for so long. Their little baby grubs can quickly turn your lawn and garden a sad yellow.
Massachusetts: Pantry moth
Massachusetts has the highest search volume for pantry moths. These household pests infest stored foods like rice, cereal, and other grains and make webs of larva. Females can lay up to 400 eggs in a single food source. And they don’t just live in your food, they leave exoskeletons, feces, eggs, and webs. Infestations may come from grocery stores or small cracks in food packaging.
Connecticut: Odorous house ant
The odorous house ant is a stinky and invasive ant that is very common in Connecticut. House owners beware, crushing this bug will release a strong odor. The smell is said to resemble a rotten coconut. As their name also suggests, odorous house ants invade houses in large numbers. While not harmful, they can contaminate your food and spread across your house.
New Hampshire: Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are a major problem throughout the US, but they get searched for the most in New Hampshire. They have been named (along with termites) the number one structural pest in the state. There are four carpenter ant species in New Hampshire. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood. Rather, they dig holes in decaying wood like porches, stares, walls, doors, and beams. Colonies can survive for years, have a painful sting, and are particularly difficult to remove once established in a building.
Pennsylvania: Horse fly
What do horse flies, Pennsylvania, and July 4th have in common? They all shaped the Declaration of Independence. On July 4th 1776, congress gathered to discuss the final changes to the Declaration of Independence. However, the meeting was cut short because of a swarm of horse flies that invaded the room and started biting everyone. Thus, horse flies are to thank for the swift delivery of the Declaration of Independence. These pests’ bites are so fierce, even congress couldn’t bear to stay in a room with them.
Delaware: Daddy Long Legs
True or false: Daddy long legs are one of the most venomous spiders. False.
True: Daddy long legs are one of the most misunderstood spiders. Daddy long legs refers to harvestmen and cellar spiders. Harvestmen don’t make webs, have no fangs, and aren’t spiders. Cellar spiders are spiders, spin big wispy webs, and are common in Delaware houses. Lucky for homeowners, cellar spiders may hunt down the venomous black widow and brown recluse for you.
New Jersey: Pavement ants
Pavement ants are a common nuisance in all 50 states. However, New Jersey’s extremely high population density and urbanization is heaven for these pests. True to their name, pavement ants live in concrete slabs like your sidewalk and driveway. Their sweet tooth can also lead large colonies into your home. Colonies can have up to 10,000 worker ants. If you see massive swarms on the ground, it’s likely multiple colonies fighting over territory.
Maryland: Kissing bug
What pest lives in your bed, sneaks onto your face while you sleep, and drinks your blood? That would be the infamous kissing bug. Recently spotted throughout Maryland, these smoochers earned their name by crawling onto sleeping humans and biting them near the lips. Unfortunately, over 55% of kissing bugs are infected with a parasite that causes the potentially chronic Chagas disease. Even more unfortunate, their kiss isn’t the deadly part, the feces they deposit onto your face are what spread the parasite.