Insect Pest Prevention and Management

  • Can you identify an insect over the phone or from a photo?In most cases it is difficult to identify an insect over the phone. It is best to collect it (put it in a closed container) and have it identified. You may bring it to our Salem office, take a photo and email it to one of the entomological staff, or submit a photo using our online report and identification form. Or, you may take the specimen to your local OSU extension office.
  • Do I have a hobo spider or brown recluse spider in my house?Brown recluse spiders are not known to occur in Oregon. They live in the south central Midwest from Nebraska to Ohio and south through Texas to Georgia. However, you could find a hobo spider, giant house spider, or European house spider in your home. These three spiders are related and look similar. The slight differences are not a reliable way to positively identify them. The best way to distinguish a hobo spider from the giant house spider and European house spider is to have it examined by an entomologist at ODA. Although hobo spiders are common in the Northwest, bites are rare.
  • Do I need a permit to purchase live insects?You do not need a permit to purchase live insects that are on the Oregon Approved Insect List.
  • Do I need a permit to sell insects?If the insects you are selling are on the Oregon Approved Insect List, you do not need a permit to sell them.
  • How can I help to keep Oregon free of damaging or invasive insects?You can keep your eyes open for any new, or unfamiliar insects in your area and report any sightings of concern. If you travel out-of-state, do not bring any fruits, vegetables, or plants back into Oregon unless they have been inspected. If you are traveling in a car, RV, or with a boat, make sure you, or a border inspector checks thoroughly for egg masses, pupal cases, or mussels before re-entering the state.
  • How do I get rid of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB)?The best solution is to prevent their entry into your home in the first place by sealing gaps and openings to the outside with weather-stripping, caulking, or other methods.
  • How do I protect myself from West Nile Virus? Whom can I call?The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has information about protecting yourself from West Nile virus as well as numbers of reported cases and helpful links. You also can call 503-988-NILE for more information.
  • I am moving to Oregon. Can I bring my houseplants with me?Plants that are in soil should not be brought into Oregon unless they have been inspected. However, there is no mandatory rule. There is a noxious weed list that prevents some plants from being transported into the state.
  • I have a swarm of aggressive bees. Are they African(ized)?First you should identify whether you have a swarm of honeybees or wasps. Wasps and hornets have narrow waists, are smooth (not hairy), are patterned bright yellow and black, and feed on insects and other arthropods. Honeybees are more robust, hairy, are banded with brown contrasting with black, and feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. Honeybees that are swarming are generally not aggressive. They have just gorged on honey and do not have a home to defend. In Oregon, it is unlikely that the bees are Africanized. They are known to occur in southern California and parts of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Africanized bees can only be distinguished from European honeybees by laboratory analysis. You should stay at least 20 to 30 feet away from the swarm. Call a pest control company for bee removal, call a local beekeeper, or wait until the swarm leaves on their own. A swarm may continue for several days.
  • I think I found a gypsy moth in my yard. What do I do and whom do I call?Collect it (put it in a closed container) and have it identified. You may bring it to our Salem office, take a photo and email it to one of the entomological staff, or submit a photo using our online report and identification form. It may be possible for someone to come and pick it up by calling the invasive species hotline (1-866-INVADER).
  • I think I found Asian longhorned beetles. What do I do and whom do I call?Collect it (put it in a closed container) and have it identified. You may bring it to our Salem office, take a photo and email it to one of the entomological staff, or submit a photo using our online report and identification form. It may be possible to arrange for specimen pick up by calling the invasive species hotline (1-866-INVADER).
  • Is it okay to sell or move firewood?There is a new legislative rule in Oregon that describes firewood restrictions to prevent the transport of invasive species. Section 3 states that no person shall transport, by any means, untreated firewood into the State of Oregon, for sale or use within the State from any location outside of the Pacific Northwest.
  • I've been bitten by an insect/spider. Can ODA identify it?If you are stung or bitten by an insect or other arthropod, ODA can identify it if you catch it and properly preserve it. Collect it (put it in a closed container) and have it identified. You may bring it to our Salem office, take a photo and email it to one of the entomological staff, or submit a photo using our online report and identification form.
  • My house/window and door screens are covered with boxelder bugs. What can I do?Boxelder bugs over-winter as adults in protected areas such as garages and cracks and crevices in homes. They can be a nuisance from fall through early spring. The most effective method of keeping them away from your house is to remove their favorite food source from your yard: maple and boxelder trees. A less permanent solution is to add screen to any building crevices or openings, call a pest control company to treat the outside of your house with insecticides, or use a vacuum inside the house. Although they can be a nuisance, they won’t damage your house (they are not structural pests). Boxelder bugs don’t bite or sting and won't get into your food. 
  • There are bugs in my firewood. Whom should I call?You can call the ODA invasive species hotline (1-866-INVADER) if there are insects or beetles emerging from your firewood. Ask for an entomologist. You can also submit a photo using our online report and identification form. If the insect or beetle is thought to be an exotic, invasive pest, we may ask you to bring it in for identification.
  • There are insects/bedbugs in my rental and the landlord will not help me. What can I do?The ODA entomology laboratory can positively identify insect pests, including bedbugs, for you. We do not engage in renter/landlord disputes or control measures, as these are not under our jurisdiction. You will need to find legal or other sources of help in resolving this problem.
  • There is something in my berries that is making them mushy. Do you know what it is?There are a number of diseases and pests that can affect berries. If you can see small maggots in your fruit, they may be one of our newer fruit pests, the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). You will need to bring a sample of the fruit to our lab to determine whether your fruit is being attacked by this pest or is affected by some other problem.
  • What are all of the little insects in my kitchen?Small beetles or small moths in your kitchen may be stored products pests. These are pests that feed on foods that are stored in containers or boxes such as whole grains, flour, pasta, cereal, dried fruit, chocolate, wild bird seed, or pet food. The best way to eliminate the insects is to find the source of the infestation in your stored foods. Check the containers for webbing, powder, or small insects or larvae. Anything that is contaminated should be disposed or re-infestation is likely. If possible, place the contaminated food in the freezer for several days before disposing of the food. To prevent future infestation, keep all foods in tightly-sealed containers, not cardboard, paper, or plastic bags. Keep pantries, kitchen cabinets, and other food storage areas free of debris that could harbor stored product pests. 
  • What are the webs that I see in my trees? Are they gypsy moth?These large webs are created by the fall webworm, a native insect that is widespread in Western Oregon. The adults are moths about three-quarters of an inch long and mostly white. They come out of their cocoons in June, mate, and then lay eggs on a variety of trees, including alder, apple, ash, cherry, cottonwood, poplar, walnut, and madrone. Three key differences between Gypsy moth and fall webworm are: Gypsy moth caterpillars don’t make webs, the two species are found during different times of the year, and Gypsy moths are not native to Oregon.
  • What are these insects all over the outside of my house?Some insects may land on your house to warm in the sun or to seek refuge in cracks and crevices for the winter. The most noticeable insects that aggregate on houses in Oregon are the multicolored Asian ladybird beetle, cluster fly, grass bug, boxelder bug, and brown marmorated stink bug.
  • What are these tiny bugs crawling all over me that I can't see?There are not many arthropods that live on or feed on humans. Many insects you see on your body probably are there by accident, especially if you have been outdoors brushing up against plants. After you brush away the insects, you won't be bothered anymore. If you continue to be bothered by insects crawling on you, the pest will need to be identified before we can determine what would help. If an arthropod is not identified as the source of the problem, it may be caused by several medical conditions. In general, ODA identifies insects associated with plants and not humans. For more information, contact your physician or the dermatology department at OHSU, (503) 418-3376.
  • What is that trap hanging on my tree?The IPPM program places a variety of insect detection traps in Oregon each year. You can call us to identify the insect trap or see our photos online. Most of the traps placed in residential trees are for the gypsy moth or Asian gypsy moth.
  • Which insects do we want to keep out of Oregon?There are many invasive insects we want to keep out of Oregon. See the link for the 100 worst invasive species. This list is updated each year to reflect changing and new invasive species problems.
  • Which insects may I import, possess, sell, purchase, exchange or transport in the state?Insects that are on the Oregon Approved Insect List may be imported, sold, bred, and kept in the state.
  • Which pests are of national concern?The National Invasive Species Council provides information about invasive species and what is being done at the national level. Links within this site provide detailed information about invasive pests, as well as government programs working on this problem.
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