18 Different Types of Insects in Canada

Types of Insects in Canada
Photo by James Wainscoat

Canada has a rich diversity of insect life. Some estimates suggest that there are over 30,000 types of insects in Canada.

The country is home to several unique species, such as the monarch butterfly, the wasp, and the giant water bug.

Some of these insects live only in certain parts of the country, while others are found throughout the country. Also, some are harmful to humans, while others are beneficial.

Knowing which ones live where can help you identify pests or attract helpful pollinators. Read on to learn more about some of these insects.

Different Types of Insects in Canada

1. Housefly

The housefly is the most familiar type of fly since it can live everywhere. You can easily identify them by their distinctive shape and large eyes. 

A housefly’s body usually consists of three parts: the head, the abdomen, and the thorax. The species will determine the fly’s size and color. These flies are often no longer than 10 mm in length.

Most often, houseflies are found close to food sources. However, their primary source of nutrition is the decaying organic matter in warm and moist places.

You can find these insects near garbage, manure, composting matter, uncovered food, trash bins, or animal remains.

In addition, they’re attracted to light which is why you often see them near windows or doors. These insects can fly lo distances in search of food and breeding areas.

2. Fruit Fly

This is among the different types of insects in Canada. Fruit flies are about ¼ inch long and red-eyed. You can find them near fermenting or overripe fruits and vegetables. 

However, they do not only come from fruits and vegetables. They are common in pubs and restaurants, as well as in homes.

These flies can reproduce anywhere there is fermenting organic matter that constantly stays wet. Similar to other flies, they begin life as larvae. 

These flies are typically found in bars and restaurants where a lot of food is thrown away. Moreover, these places contain several wet spots where they can establish their breeding grounds.

Removing the breeding ground that serves as their source if you find an infestation in your home is essential. Other measures might assist in reducing the infestation, but it is best to hire professional exterminators. They can easily trace the source and destroy the larvae and eggs.

3. Fire Ants

Fire ants are reddish in color in shades ranging from medium to black. They reside in mud and leaf litter mounds, digging underground tunnels to travel around the colony. 

In open areas or where there is no natural shelter, they will burrow into the ground to form colonies up to 1.5 meters deep, with a mound up to 40 centimeters tall.

Fire ants prefer to build their nests in damp locations with plenty of sunlight, such as lawns, parks, fields, and meadows.

These ants will seek food, attracted to plant sweet secretions, human trash, and litter.

However, they’re quite active and aggressive and may kill other insects and small animals to feed the colony. They will also sting any animal that approaches them.

Although these ants attack, they use their jaws to grab onto their victims and then sting them. The poisonous alkaloids in the sting may produce an allergic reaction in some people.

A strong allergic reaction can cause severe chest discomfort, nausea, intense sweating, loss of breath, swelling, impaired speech, and death if not treated.

4. Hornets

Also among the different types of insects in Canada are the hornets. These insects are usually black, white, yellow, or reddish-brown.

Their antenna comprises 13 segments and two pairs of wings, with the front ones longer than the hind ones.

You can easily identify the different species by the yellow or black and white patterns on their abdomen. 

Hornets are distinguishable from other wasp species by their bigger size, painful sting, and aggressive behavior when threatened or guarding their nest.

They are aggressive, although they do not attack unless provoked. If a nest is found in the ground and people around are particularly sensitive to hornet stings, the nest must be controlled.

5. Mosquitoes 

Mosquitoes are insects that come in colors such as white, silver, gray, or green. They’re usually 4mm – 10mm long with three pairs of long legs and a pair of membranous and scaled wings. However, some species are brilliantly colored and have patterned wings. 

Mosquitoes breed in still water because flowing, such as streams, washes out eggs, larvae, and pupae. Ideal habitats include storm drains, flooded regions, tree holes, old tires, bird baths, and flower pots. Or anywhere, water may accumulate for more than three days. 

When not searching for hosts to feed on, adults rest in tall, shaded vegetation near a water source or other protective resting locations. Moreover, Mosquitoes are more active in regions with enough cloud cover or shaded areas than in areas with direct sunlight.

6. Oriental Cockroaches

These cockroaches are among the different types of insects in Canada. They’re usually very dark brown, almost black, with a greasy sheen.

Males have wings that cover around 75% of their abdomen. Females have bigger, heavier bodies and basic wing pads.

Most Oriental cockroaches begin their lives outside, beneath logs, leaves, and mulch, or in sewers and storm drains. These areas have the ideal balance of decaying organic materials and moisture for survival.

Oriental cockroaches may enter homes through exterior wall damage, but they are unlikely to go much further without a water source.

These cockroaches are most likely to be found near drains, leaky water pipes, refrigerators, sinks, washing machines, and basements.

7. Wasps

Wasps are usually yellow, black, white, or reddish and measure 13 – 40mm long. Their head features mouthparts, compound eyes, sensory organs, and segmented antennae. They have two pairs of membranous wings and three pairs of legs.

You can find wasp nests in several places in and around the house. For instance, paper wasps build nests hanging from the eaves of roofs, trees, and playground equipment. 

However, the majority of yellow jacket species build their nests underground. And it’s often in abandoned rodent burrows or safe spaces hidden beneath plants and rock formations. For effective wasp nest removal, species identification is necessary.

8. Gnats

Gnats are among the types of insects in Canada, and you may also come across them anywhere. They’re usually brown, gray, black, or yellow and measure 1mm to 13mm long.

These insects have a pair of long wings, thin legs, and two antennas that exceed the length of their head.

Gnats are common in Canada and the rest of the world. You’ll often find them in greenhouses, nurseries, and sod farms.

However, some species stay close to overwatered and fungus-infected plants to eat and breed. Other species can be found near running water, especially in fast-moving streams and rivers.

Furthermore, female gnats bite humans, birds, or mammals and suck their blood to get the blood meal required for egg development. Although it doesn’t spread disease, this can result in a small wound or severe swelling.

9. Weevils

Weevils are insects that are red, dull brown, black, or beige in color. They have round bodies, three pairs of legs, two short antennas, and long mouthpieces. 

Weevils are herbivorous animals that consume all parts of plants, including their leaves, stems, roots, and fruits. Additionally, for some species, flour and dried grains can be important food sources.

Different weevil species target specific plants or foods and have specialized diets. Furthermore, these insects prefer warm and moist environments.

Some species feed and reproduce within stored food items like cereal grains. At the same time, others live among plants and lay their eggs in tightly rolled-up leaves. Weevils usually invade homes in search of food and shelter.

10. Pseudoscorpions 

The types of insects in Canada also include pseudoscorpions. They vary in color from yellowish-tan to dark brown.

They have a flat, pear-shaped body, four pairs of legs, and pincers that look like those of scorpions. These insects can have up to four eyes, but some species have none at all.

Pseudoscorpions live in damp debris, trees, and soil. You can find them under tree bark, leaf and pine litter, tree hollows, caves, and under stones. 

They feed on insects such as carpet beetle larvae, booklice, ants, mites, and small flies, using venom to trap and paralyze their prey. After that, they pour a mildly corrosive liquid over their victim and consume the liquefied remnants.

When they get into houses, they usually end up in dusty books full of mites or damp places like basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, or drains. Get the services of a professional pest control agency to deal with infestations the right way.

11. Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are usually red, black, and orange. They’re 11 to 14mm long with three distinctive reddish-orange stripes on their thoraxes. The stripes overlap when their wings lie flat to form the letter X.

Boxelder bugs feed by sucking sap from the seed pods of their host trees and other similar species. These pests occasionally eat fruit trees such as cherry, plum, peach, and apple.

Adults like to spend the winter in dry, sheltered places like woodpiles, inside barns and sheds, or around window casements. These insects are brightly colored and easy to spot. They infest homes in large numbers when seeking shelter from cold winters. 

Because boxelder bugs infest in such large numbers, hiring a professional pest control service to apply exterior treatments efficiently is important.

12. Earwigs

Earwigs are among the different types of insects in Canada. They’re dark red-brown and 5 to 16mm long. They possess short, thick forewings that cover and protect their hind wings. In addition, they have a visible pincer-like appendage called cerci near the tip of their abdomen.

In addition, the European earwig prefers dark, wet areas and may frequently rest under tree bark or beneath stones. They are also drawn to tiny gaps in foundations, under floorboards, and other small spots around the house.

Earwigs feed at night on dead or rotting plant materials, dead insects, spiders, aphids, caterpillar pupae, and other small invertebrates. They use their cerci to catch and hold prey before leaning back to move it to their mouthparts.

13. Aphids

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects. They’re usually red, black, pale green, or cloudy white. These pear-shaped insects might be winged or wingless, depending on the season.

Aphids consume plant sap. They pierce the surfaces of the leaves and stems and extract the sap from the plants. Although they will eat any part of a plant, they prefer fresh plant growth.

Furthermore, aphids produce honeydew as they feed, a sweet, mushy substance that draws ants and other insects to the plant. It can also lead to fungal growth on the plant’s surfaces, which is bad for the plant.

Coriander, basil, catnip, chives, and dill are among the plants you may add to your garden to ward off aphids. Sweet alyssum, yarrow, or plants from the carrot family can also draw beneficial insects like lady beetles, lacewings, and flies that consume aphids.

14. Ticks

Don’t be surprised! Ticks are also among the different types of insects in Canada. They range in colors from black and brown to gray. These insects have external mouth parts that extend from the head, eight legs, no wings, and no antennas.

Ticks only consume the blood of other animals, including cold-blooded animals like lizards and warm-blooded animals like birds and mammals. Each stage of the life cycle of a tick typically involves a single blood meal.

After feeding on their host’s blood, they normally fall off and seek shelter somewhere. This lasts until they feel the need to eat again, and the process starts all over again.

However, most ticks may survive for long periods between feedings if necessary. Adult ticks prefer larger hosts such as dogs, rabbits, raccoons, mice, squirrels, and humans.

15. Moths

Moths vary in size and appearance from one another. The Indian meal moth, for example, is little, measuring around 9 mm in length, but has a wingspan of up to 16 mm.

The reddish-brown or copper sheen on these moths’ forewings distinguishes them from other pantry pest species.

As adults, most moths feed on nectar and sap. The larvae, often known as caterpillars, are the ones who cause damage by attacking stored goods or materials.

In addition, the stored-food pest species eat seeds, grains, cereals, dehydrated herbs, and dried pet food. Clothing moths may munch through wool carpets, rugs, clothing, furs, and synthetic and cotton blends.

Furthermore, moth larvae can cause damage to clothing, carpets, furniture, and wall hangings.

They can also render pantry products unfit for consumption. Ingestion of moth cocoons or larvae might result in gastrointestinal irritation.

16. Crane Flies

You’ll also find crane flies among the different types of insects in Canada. They’re usually gray or brown with long, thin bodies, smoky wings, and extremely long legs.

Crane fly larvae are cylindrical and resemble worms, reaching 4 cm long. Because of their rough skin, they are often referred to as leather jackets.

Crane flies do not feed as adults. The only feeding forms are the larvae. They feed on grassroots and decaying organic materials.

The larvae’s food sources remain abundant due to the insects’ habitat, which includes sections of Atlantic Canada and western provinces.

In addition, crane flies are commonly found in damp vegetative environments. Also, their larvae can be found in wet soil, where they feed on rotting plants and plant roots.

Some species can be found in streams, where they feed on small water insects, invertebrates, and any decaying plant life near the surface. Adults emerge from lawns and pastures in late spring. They thrive best in mild winters and cool summers.

17. German Cockroaches 

German cockroaches are light brown to tan in color. They have long, flat bodies with six legs and two long antennas protruding from the head. Also, they have two dark lines on the shield behind their head.

Cockroaches enjoy warm and humid environments. Like most indoor pests, they seek food and water, as well as a safe location to rest and reproduce.

Cockroaches are commonly found in and around appliances, bathrooms, under sinks, dishwashers, medicine cabinets, and mop closets.

You can also find them where you store food overnight, such as in pantries and storage closets. Cockroaches are unlikely to move from one place to another. But that hasn’t stopped them from spreading worldwide through shipments and packaging.

These insects are omnivorous and scavengers, which means they will eat practically anything. However, they prefer sweet foods, fat, carbs, and meats.

In heavily infested buildings, they may eat glue, and packaging materials, bite humans and even become cannibalistic.

18. Centipedes

This list won’t be complete without mentioning centipedes. These insects are dark brown, gray, or tan.

They have two long, thin, swift legs per body segment. Also have flattened bodies, two antennas, and a bristly appearance. 

Centipede infestations may go unnoticed for some time because they do not leave visible signs of infestation, damage buildings, or contaminate food. The best time to look for centipedes is at night when they are most active.


There you have it – 18 different types of insects in Canada. We hope that you enjoy reading this article and you’re more familiar with some of the insects you may come across.

Ensure to keep your surroundings clean to prevent insect infestation and keep yourself safe. Thanks for reading!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like