8 Bugs in Ohio That You Probably Didn’t Know About

Did you know that Ohio is home to some of the most interesting bugs in the country? 

From countless stink bug species to oversized butterflies, these creatures are sure to amaze and intrigue you. 

In some cases, however, they may be a health hazard or a major nuisance. 

Whatever the case may be, here are some of the most unique bugs in Ohio!


Key Takeaways

  • There are many different species of native and invasive insects in Ohio, including parasitic wasps, beetles, bees, ants, spiders, and much more. 
  • While some of these pests do nothing more than cause delight with their beauty and environmental benefits, others can cause extensive damage or even inflict painful stings.
  • If you’re dealing with a pest infestation, your best bet is to contact a local pest control company for help.


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From the mostly innocuous eastern cicada killer to the dangerous bald-faced hornet, these are bugs that you’ll want to keep an eye out for the next time you’re outdoors in the Buckeye State. And if you notice a few too many in or around your home, it might be time to call for pest control services.


     1. Eastern Cicada Killer

Cicada killers are one of the many interesting bugs that call Ohio home. These wasps may be intimidating because of their size and appearance, but they are actually not dangerous to humans unless they are provoked or disturbed while nesting.

The eastern cicada killer is a large predatory wasp that lives in eastern North America. Adults can reach up to two inches in length and are dark-colored with yellow stripes on their abdomens. 

They are most active during the summer months when they can be seen flying around in search of food. 

Cicada killers primarily feed on cicadas, which they paralyze with their sting and then drag back to their nests. 

Although they are not aggressive towards humans, their large size and powerful sting can be alarming. Cicada killers are not harmful to humans or other animals and actually help to control the population of cicadas. However, they can become a nuisance if they build their nests too close to human habitations.


     2. Red Velvet Ant

The red velvet ant is a type of wasp that is found in North America. These insects are black or dark brown in color and have a dense coat of red hair, hence their name. They look just like ants – but aren’t.

They are about 1/2 inch long and have a narrow waist. Red velvet ants are not actually ants but females belonging to a wasp family known as Mutillidae. Males are winged, but females are wingless. Both sexes have a painful sting.

Red velvet ants typically live in dry, open habitats such as deserts, grasslands, and woodlands. They are often seen near roads or other disturbed areas. 

These insects feed on nectar from flowers and prey on other insects, especially bees and wasps. They are not considered harmful to humans, but their sting can be quite painful.


     3. Cuckoo Wasps

Cuckoo wasps are members of the family Chrysididae and are named for their parasitic habits. 

These wasps lay their eggs in the nests of other insects such as bees and mud daubers. When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the host insect’s larvae or pupae, killing them in the process. 

Cuckoo wasps are small creatures, ranging in size from 2 to 15 mm. They are typically bright metallic green or blue in color with short legs and a slender body. Although they are parasites, cuckoo wasps are not harmful to humans. In fact, they can be beneficial as they help to control populations of destructive insect pests.


     4. Great Golden Sand Digger 

The great golden sand digger is a type of wasp that is native to North America. These creatures are colored a vibrant orange and black, and they are approximately one inch long. 

Great golden sand diggers tend to gravitate in areas that have plenty of compact clay soil as well as flower nectar for the adults to feed on. If you live near a field, meadow, park, or garden, you’re more likely to have these pests venture into your home. 

These wasps eat smaller insects and larvae, which they dig out of the sand using their long front legs. 


     5. Bald-Faced Hornet

Bald-faced hornets are a type of wasp that can be found in North America. They get their name from their black and white coloring which resembles a bald head. These insects are relatively large, measuring about ¾ of an inch in length. 

They are brown or black, with white markings on their faces, thoraxes, and abdomens. Their wings are clear and they have long legs that they use for catching prey. Bald-faced hornets build nests out of paper that they create by chewing wood. 

These nests are usually umbrella-shaped and can be found in trees or shrubs. The nests can contain up to 700 hornets at a time! 

Bald-faced hornets are predators, and they primarily eat other insects such as flies and bees. They will also eat nectar from flowers. 

Although they are not aggressive towards humans, bald-faced hornets will sting if they feel threatened. Their stings are very painful and can cause swelling, redness, and itching. If you are allergic to their venom, a sting can even be fatal. For this reason, it is best to leave these insects alone if you see them!


     6. Luna Moth

The luna moth is a large, beautiful moth measuring up to 4 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 7 inches.

The luna moth is one of the most striking insects in the world. With its large, green wings and long tail, it is easily recognizable. The luna moth is found throughout North America and is typically eaten by birds. 

The Luna Moth is nocturnal and attracted to light. It feeds on nectar from flowers, and it does not bite or sting. 

However, the luna moth is not harmful to humans. In fact, it is considered to be a lucky charm by many cultures. The luna moth is a fascinating creature, and it is well worth taking the time to observe.


     7. Common Buckeye

The Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) is a species of butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in the United States, where it is one of the most widespread and familiar butterflies. The Common Buckeye has a wingspan of up to 18 inches!

The upper side of the male’s wings are dark brown with a pale orange band near the outer margins, while the females are brown with two orange bands. The underside of both sexes’ wings are mostly pale brown with darker brown markings. 

The caterpillars of the Common Buckeye feed on plant leaves, including those of the buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra). Adults feed on flower nectar. 

Although the Common Buckeye is not considered harmful, its caterpillars can cause minor damage to crops such as tomatoes and beans.


     8. Evergreen Bagworm

The Evergreen Bagworm is a small, brownish-gray moth that is native to North America. Their larvae cause damage to evergreen trees and shrubs, such as junipers, cedars, and arborvitae. 

The larvae spin silken bags around themselves as they feed on the foliage of these plants. This feeding can result in significant damage or even death of the plant. 

In addition, the Evergreen Bagworm is often host to other harmful insects, such as scale insects and spider mites. As a result, this moth can pose a serious threat to home gardens and landscapes. Although there are chemical controls available for Evergreen Bagworms, the best defense is to maintain healthy plants and to remove infested branches as soon as possible.



Curious about other pests you might find in Ohio? There are all kinds of native and invasive species that might cause people trouble here when they appear in large numbers, including the brown marmorated stink bug, aphids, the spotted lanternfly, paper wasps, honey bees, samurai wasps, Japanese beetles, and many more.

If you’re interested in getting more information on any of these pests as well as your best course of action in dealing with an infestation, be sure to contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture or your local extension office. 

While some of these bugs are more harmless than others, all of them can be a nuisance if they make their way into your home. So next time you see one of these creepy crawlers, make sure to give them a wide berth!