Pest Identification in Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, and Wheaton areas

Pest Identification for More Effective Extermination

Imagine your home is infested with hundreds of little pests you’ve never seen before. You want to call pest control, but you’re not sure what to tell them—only that your home has been invaded and you want them out. But wouldn’t it be easier if you had a better idea of what you’re dealing with, so the exterminator will too? Through effective pest identification Chem-Wise can help you.

That’s the goal of this page—to help you to identify any pest in your home, through helpful pictures and descriptions that give you a thorough understanding of each creature. Some descriptions also include the pest’s ideal habitat, how to identify evidence of their existence, and how we can help you with the infestation.

If you have any questions regarding the content on this page, or about Chem-Wise’s environmentally-friendly pest management services, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are always happy to provide more information at your request.

Indian Meal Moths


The Indian Meal moth is a very common insect found in stored food products within the home. Indian Meal moth larvae feed on any grain product such as flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc. They will also feed on seeds, bird seed, dried beans, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, and even dog food. These larvae often leave their food supply when they are ready to spin their cocoons and they may wander about in search of a suitable place to pupate. They are frequently found in unsuspected places because of this wandering behavior.

Control of any stored food pest requires locating and eliminating the infested item(s). All potentially infested foods should be checked. The insects may be in unopened boxes or containers. Empty and thoroughly vacuum clean cupboards or shelves holding infested items, paying particular attention to cracks and corners. Vacuum cleaning picks up hiding insects and spilled or infested material. Empty the vacuum cleaner bag after use to prevent re-infestation. Insecticide sprays are not recommended for controlling insects in stored food cupboards.

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Clover Mites

Clover mite

During spring, many homes are invaded by tiny red “bugs” that crawl on the walls and curtains. These are clover mites and can become an annoying household pest, especially in and around homes where new lawns are being established or where there’s a heavy growth of well-fertilized grass close to foundation walls.

These mites are very tiny creatures and may occur in countless numbers. They usually appear first around windows, but later may overrun the entire home. They will leave a red stain when crushed. Clover mites feed on grasses, clovers, and certain other plants in the lawn and around the home. Clover mites are most abundant in spring and fall and are relatively inactive during the hot summer months and again during cold weather. They will migrate into homes either when population pressure becomes too great or when feeding conditions become unfavorable, such as the onset of hot or cold weather. Once inside a home, clover mites will die within 24-48 hours.

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Find out when to call for rodent control in Schaumburg and the surrounding areas!

Mice are especially difficult pests to have because of their ability to multiply rapidly and do serious damage to your home or business. Fortunately, Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management offers rodent control in Schaumburg to remove these animals from your home.

What You Should Know About Mice

If mice find adequate food, water, and shelter, they can produce about 8 litters in a lifetime, with 4-7 pups per litter. If you find mice droppings or other evidence of mice in your home, call us for mice control in Evanston immediately. In wintertime, mice may nest in soft materials like your house’s insulation or furniture stuffing, causing damage and leaving behind mice droppings.

Look Out for Mice:

  • Near foundations
  • In shrubbery
  • In weeds
  • In crawl spaces
  • In basements
  • In garages
  • In wall voids
  • In ceiling voids
  • In storage boxes
  • In drawers
  • Under major appliances
  • Within the upholstery of furniture

How We Can Help

Mice can cause damage to your walls, insulation, and furniture and can damage and eat any food in your home. For quick and thorough mice control in Arlington Heights and surrounding areas, give us a call. We offer free pest evaluations and estimates. If we find mice, we’ll send out our experts in mice control in Evanston to protect your home from further damage as soon as possible. We use safe pest control methods, under the advisement of an environmental biologist, and we guarantee our one-time services for ninety days to show how confident we are in our mice control in Arlington Heights and other surrounding areas. If you have recurring problems with mice, we can advise you on how to take preventative measures and can offer you a tri-annual pest control service to maintain your pest-free home. If you have mice, give us a call today, and we’ll get you mouse-free in no time!

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Earwigs are primarily nocturnal, feeding at night. They are scavengers, eating primarily dead insects and decomposing plant materials. Some species are attracted to lights. During the day, they will seek shelter under organic matter such as mulch, pine straw, leaf litter, and other debris. They prefer dark and damp areas like under sidewalks and stones. They are found in homes and can get in through entry points like doors and windows, and by going up the foundation. They produce large populations rather quickly and are often a major problem in new subdivisions.

When in a home, they have an uncanny ability to seek out moisture. Homeowners can reduce their activity by keeping damp laundry and wet towels off the floor. Remove anything that retains moisture away from the home, such as leaf litter, garbage bags, children’s toys, and potted plants. An outside perimeter treatment will take care of most of the problem, but for heavier infestations, some inside treatment may need to be done.

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Pill Bugs

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Pill bugs are more closely related to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. They are the only crustaceans that have adopted to living their entire life on land. Pill bugs have no posterior appendages and can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed which is where they get their nickname “Roly-Poly.” They live in moist environments outdoors but occasionally end up in buildings. Although they sometimes enter in large numbers, they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing, or wood. They range in size from ¼ to ½ inch long and are dark to slate gray since they require moisture; they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless they are in very moist or damp conditions.

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Spiders are not insects, but arachnids. Most spiders are harmless or even beneficial because their food source consists of the other insects in and around a home. A few spiders such as the black widow, wolf or hobo spider, and the brown recluse can cause injury or illness to humans and other domestic animals.

During late summer and fall, spiders often appear in and around homes and other buildings. In the vast majority of cases, spiders are welcome in our environments because they feed on insect pests and other small invertebrates. Homeowners can help eliminate spiders by knocking down cobwebs from the basement, garage, and other living areas of the home. Spiders that build webs outside of the home are of little concern as they will be gone after the first hard freeze.

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Pavement Ants

p antsPavement or slab ants are very common for this area. Our goal is to eliminate the entire colony, not just the foraging ants that you see in your home. Normal colony elimination takes at least 14 days. Usually you will see a surge in activity within the first 2-7 days after treatment and then again 10-14 days after treatment. This is due to the adult ants emerging from the pupa stage and is a normal result of the material that we use.

After our material dries, the ants that come into contact with it will not die immediately. The baits that we use may take 2-5 days to kill an ant after it has come in contact with the material. This is enough time to allow the contaminated ants to carry our material back to the nest to spread to the entire colony.

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Asian Beetles & Boxelder Bugs

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We group these insects together because they have very similar habits. During the fall, these insects will migrate from their natural environment outdoors to the wall of any nearby structure. Unlike other insects in the area, they will survive throughout the winter. In the spring when the weather gets warmer, they will emerge from the walls in an effort to return to their natural environment. They can usually be found on the side of the home that receives the most sunlight. Treatment usually consists of an outside perimeter treatment, paying close attention to areas around window and door frames through which most of these insects enter the home.

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Bald-Faced Hornets


Bald-faced hornets are among the most aggressive of all wasps. They range from about ¾ of an inch to 1 inch in length, are stock and are excellent flyers. They are black in color with prominent white or pale yellow markings. Hornets often will attack anyone who gets too close to their nest. Their stings are extremely painful and can trigger anaphylactic reaction in sensitive humans.

Hornets build oval shaped paper nests that commonly are suspended from tree limbs or other similar perches. On occasion, they will build nests inside buildings, especially in attics or other unoccupied areas. Their nests can be quite large. The entrance hole is usually located at or toward the bottom of the nest. Typically, two hornets remain outside the nest home acting as “sentries.” When alarmed, they alert the other members who will attack in masse. This can result in a person receiving hundreds of painful, potentially harmful stings at one time.

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Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon blood of warm-blooded animals. Their color ranges from nearly white or a light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange. When disturbed, bed bugs actively seek shelter in dark cracks and crevices. Bed bugs seek out people and animals, generally at night while these hosts are asleep, and painlessly sip a few drops of blood. The skin lesion produced by the bite of a bed bug resembles those caused by many other kinds of blood feeding insects, such as mosquitoes or fleas. Bed bugs are not known to transmit any infectious agents.

Bed bugs hide in small crevices. They may be found in luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and other objects when they are moved between apartments, homes, and hotels. They can wander between adjoining apartments through wall voids and holes where wires and pipes pass.

The best way to determine if you have bed bugs is to inspect the bedroom and other sleeping areas. Look through folds and creases in bed linens, and seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs. These areas may contain bed bugs or their eggs. Before considering treatment, collect a sample of the bug to confirm its identity. Click here to learn the proper ways to be prepared for us to come out and perform a bed bug service.

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Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are fairly common for this area. Although they do not eat wood like termites, they do burrow into it to make their nest. If left untreated, carpenter ants may cause structural damage. To determine if you have a carpenter ant infestation in your home, ask yourself these questions:



  1. Are the ants that I see larger than other ants?
    Carpenter ants are larger than most other ants, usually ¼ to ½ inch or larger.
  1. Have I noticed any piles of frass that look like sawdust or pencil shavings?
    Frass piles are usually located next to nest sites. Frass is the debris left behind by the ants that are burrowing into the wood.
  1. Have I had any water leaks, moisture damage, or noticed any rotting wood?
    Carpenter ants often nest in moist or rotting wood.

Keep in mind that even though you are seeing carpenter ant activity on the inside of your home, the nest could be located elsewhere on your property like a tree trunk or wood pile in your yard. Often our customers will complain that they are seeing “ants with wings” and automatically assume that they have carpenter ant infestation. Pavement ants will sprout wings while they are in their reproductive stage, causing people to mistake them for carpenter ants. At Chem-Wise, we WILL NOT drill holes into your walls like many other companies do. Instead, we will do a thorough inspection of your home and the surrounding areas in an effort to locate the colony site and treat only those areas where activity is present.

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The house centipede is a common pest in many parts of the United States. Unlike most other centipedes, this species generally lives its entire life inside a building. The house centipede is grey-yellow with three stripes down the back and has very long legs banded with white. The body of the centipede is only 1 to 1.5 inches long at the most, but its 15 pairs of legs make it seem much longer. In homes, the centipedes will prefer to live in damp areas such as cellars, closets, bathrooms, attics, and unexcavated areas under the house. Eggs are laid in these same damp places as well as beneath bark or firewood.

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Fruit Flies

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If your home is infested with fruit flies, a treatment by Chem-Wise may not be necessary. The key to eliminating fruit flies is to identify the source and either remove it or clean up the area. The cause could be over-watered house plants, floral arrangements that are kept in the home too long, recycling bins, garbage cans, or a water leak. We ask that customers remove any fruit or floral arrangements that the flies are coming from. Check the house plants, let the top soil dry out a bit, and then mix it up really well. Take a look at recycling bins and garbage cans, the ones in the home as well as those stored outside. Scrub all garbage cans with a strong detergent, spilled food or soda on the sides of the cans could be a source. Remember, flies fly so the source could be in another room from where you are seeing the activity.

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German Cockroaches


The German cockroach is the most common cockroach infesting homes and businesses in the United States. Adult German cockroaches are about 5/8 of an inch in length. They are reddish-brown in color with a distinct stripe on the top of the thorax. They tend to be found in warm, moist areas near available sources of food. Adults have wings but they do not fly.

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Grubs are white in color, with a ‘C’ shaped body when found in soil. White grubs are the most serious and destructive lawn insect pest in Illinois. Even though grubs do not affect every lawn every year, there are some important points to consider concerning managing these destructive pests.

Grubs are the larval stage of beetles. They lay their eggs in the soil in mid-summer, primarily on well-watered lawns in full sun, often near pavement. Damage typically starts to appear in lawns in August and may *continue through October. The damage appears as browning of the lawn. There may be other factors that could cause the browning in your lawn, so you want to check for evidence of grubs to determine the source of the browning area. They are easy to find by lifting sod in damaged areas and checking the root zone for the whitish grubs. Also, keep in mind that grubs like areas with a lot of sunlight and are not typically found in shady lawns. Another sign you may have grub damage is from skunks and raccoons digging up your lawn in search for the grubs as food. This typically occurs at night.

*There is no way to predict if your lawn will have grubs this year or not. One thing you may want to do is keep an eye out for a lot of adult beetles on the lawn in July. Also watch lawns closely, starting in August and continuing through October, for wilting and browning areas. Chem-Wise also offers a grub treatment to help prevent them becoming a problem in your lawn. If you do receive the grub treatment, you will want to make sure that you water the material in within 1–2 days after Chem-Wise has completed the treatment.

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Millipedes are commonly found during the spring and fall as they enter homes from the outside. They can live in many different habitats such as mulched flowerbeds where moisture, humidity, and organic matter are high. Long-term control depends on changing their habitat and sealing them out of the home by caulking cracks, fixing windows, adjusting doors, etc. Short-term control may be achieved by using chemical applications around the outside perimeter of the home.

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Silverfish can live in a dark, moist environment or a dry environment such as an attic and require a large supply of starchy foods or molds. They feed on wallpaper pastes, natural textiles, books, paper, and photographs. They also feed on mold or fungi that can grow on various surfaces. They are fast moving and can travel throughout buildings. Once these insects find a good source of food, they stay close to it. Attics are a favorite place for them due to the abundant food sources such as recycled, blown in, paper insulation and storage boxes. You may see them trapped in sinks and bathtubs because they enter seeking moisture and are unable to climb a slick vertical surface to escape. Outside, they may be found in nests of insects, birds, mammals, and under tree bark and mulch. They can be found in wood shingles or siding on houses—this is also a primary entry point.

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Fleas are tiny, wingless insects. The adults have powerful legs with which they can jump extraordinary distances, considering their tiny size. There are many varieties of fleas, with most being named after their preferred host. Most fleas will readily feed on any warm-blooded animal that they happen to come across, including humans. All adult fleas are paradises. They survive by piercing the skin of their hose and drawing blood through specially adapted mouth parts. Fleas usually lay their eggs in the fur or hair of a host animal. The eggs are not attached to the animal so they can shake off quite easily, thus dispersing the eggs over a wide area as the infested animal travels about.

Since fleas are so small, many people don’t actually notice the insects themselves. Some signs that you may have a flea problem include persistent scratching by household pets, or the appearance of flea bites on family members. Flea bites usually appear as tiny dark red spots. Most commonly these will appear on the feet or legs of adults, but they may appear anywhere on the body, particularly on children.

The most effective control of fleas requires a coordinated effort between Chem-Wise; you, the customer; and your pet’s veterinarian. Click here for instructions on how to prepare your home and your pets for a flea treatment, and a description of your treatment methods.

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Don’t live with wasps—we specialize in wasp removal in Schaumburg and the surrounding areas!

If you see “bees” around your hedges, they may actually be yellow jackets, a type of wasp. Don’t approach them; they can be dangerous. Instead, call Chem-Wise for bee removal.

What You Should Know About Wasps

Wasp colonies are generally largest in the fall and most often pose a nuisance in their search for food. If you find wasps on your property, be careful. If disturbed, wasps are aggressive and will sting any bystanders. Stings are temporarily painful for most people, but those who are allergic may need to seek medical attention after being stung. Because of their aggressive nature, you should not try to remove wasp nests on your own. Instead, call for wasp removal in Schaumburg. We can safely and permanently end your wasp problem.

Watch for Wasps In:

  • The ground
  • Wall voids
  • Railroad ties
  • Your shrubbery

If you find any wasps in these or other places on your property, call us immediately for bee removal in DeKalb and surrounding areas!

How We Can Help

If you aren’t sure whether you need wasp control in Aurora or surrounding areas, give us a call anyway for a free consultation! We offer free pest control evaluations, and we’ll send our experts in wasp control in Aurora to your home at no cost to you. We’ll even give you a free estimate if we find any pests. We use safe, environmentally friendly techniques for wasp control in Aurora and surrounding areas, and we do a thorough job—so thorough that we offer a 90-day guarantee as a show of confidence for each of our visits. If you notice bees or wasps on your property, be safe and give us call for fast, thorough, and affordable service!

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