16 Different Types of Insects in Ohio

Types of Insects in Ohio
Photo by Rainer Gelhot

Ohio is home to some pretty interesting species of insects. From beetles to butterflies, moths to bees, there are plenty of creepy crawlers living in the state.

Although not all these insects are harmful, it’s important to identify them in case you encounter some terrifying bugs.

If you want to know more about the types of insects in Ohio, read on.

1. Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants range in size from 3/8 to 1/2 inch and are black or brown in color. These ants are sociable insects that prefer to build their nests in wood.

They frequently create holes or tunnels in trees, structures, timber, and foam insulation.

From dusk till dawn, they continuously consume the majority of human foods, especially sweets and other insects.

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist and rotting wood, making your home an ideal place to establish a territory. As a result, they are more than just a disturbing pest. 

For instance, a dripping or sweating pipe could produce moisture in wall cavities that are invisible to you and ideal for carpenter ants.

They will excavate the damp or rotten wood to form a new sub-colony, endangering the structure’s integrity.

You can easily discover carpenter ant nests by looking for their distinct foraging trails at dusk or after dark.

There will be ants traveling in both directions, and those heading toward the nest may be carrying insects or bug pieces for a meal.

Finding this nest is important since removing a single traveling ant will not eliminate the colony.

2. Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly
by docentjoyce is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You can easily identify adult monarch butterflies by their two pairs of orange, black-veined wings with white spots around the edges. Males have a distinct black dot towards the center of their hind wing.

They use their bright colors to warn predators that they’re foul-tasting and poisonous. Their diet contains the toxin. Milkweed is toxic, but these butterflies are able to tolerate it.

Also, they benefit from it by storing the poisons in their bodies and making themselves dangerous to predators like birds.

3. Wasps

This is among the different types of insects in Ohio. They are one of the most diverse organisms on the planet, with over 100,000 species worldwide.

Contrary to popular belief, most wasps are peaceful, solitary creatures.

Wasps, which are similar to bees and ants, are distinguished by their thin, smooth bodies with little hairs. They have a narrow petiole that connects the abdomen to the thorax.

Furthermore, all wasps create nests, and while their structures resemble bees, they are made of paper.

They build their homes by chewing wood fibers to a pulp with their strong mandibles and then secreting the pulp into honeycomb shapes.

Basements, sheds, and other dark, cold locations are popular spots for wasp nests.

4. Red Velvet Ant

Red Velvet Ant
by Kerry Wixted is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Red velvet ants are actually wasps in the Mutillidae family. They are known as “velvet ants” because both men and females have dense, velvety pubescence. This comes in dazzling patterns of black with red, yellow, or orange.

The wingless females are often seen scurrying across the ground, while the winged males go unnoticed.

Although winged males are harmless, wingless females can inflict a painful sting. Despite being incredibly painful, the sting rarely poses a threat.

Furthermore, their vibrant coloration serves as a warning of potential danger. These ants may also make a squeaking sound when disturbed, which also serves as a warning.

They produce the sound by rubbing parts of two abdominal segments against one another.

Velvet ants are rarely abundant enough to be a nuisance. They pose no threat to pets, people, and livestock. Also, they normally stay outside, though you may find them inside buildings.

Although adult velvet ants are not aggressive, you should never pick them up with your bare hands.

5. American Bumblebee

American Bumblebee
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The different types of insects in Ohio also include the American bumblebee. These yellow and black flying insects have one to three yellow stripes on their abdomen.

A closer look shows that the bumblebee is covered with microscopic hairs.

The buzzing sound you hear while relaxing outside this summer could be an American bumblebee hard at work.

It helps to pollinate our flowers and vegetation. This pollination mechanism is a result of how bees feed themselves.

A bee will use tiny fibers on its legs to capture pollen from a plant. Then, it will eat the pollen that doesn’t fall off onto other plants.

When foraging, bees can travel a mile or two from their hive in search of flowers. Bumble bees don’t store more than a few days’ worth of food. They do not process the pollen into honey either.

Normally, bumble bees are not hostile to humans. However, their stinger differs from those of some other bees.

The American bumble bee keeps its stinger, allowing it to sting again if necessary. Before stinging, they will roll onto their backs while holding their stinger in the air as a warning.

6. American Lady

American Lady - Butterflies in Canada 
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The American lady is among the types of insects in Ohio. This butterfly is a close relative of the Painted Lady and has a similar appearance. It flies fast and is partially migratory.

It is most commonly seen in open areas such as fields, meadows, or around beaches where migrants accumulate. However, this butterfly is unlikely to overwinter at this latitude.

So, the first individuals observed in the spring are migrants who reproduce for several generations before returning in the autumn.

7. Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs
by Medill DC is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bed bugs have an oval form and develop to be around 3/16th of an inch long. They are brown and flat before feeding. Bed bugs become more red, bloated, and elongated after eating.

These insects have three pairs of legs and two antennas. Despite having smaller wing pads, they don’t have wings and cannot fly.

Adult bed bugs are noticeable and can be found by sight, especially in mattress seams and box springs. Nymphal bed bugs are smaller and have a paler color, making them more difficult to spot.

Blood is the only food source for bed bugs, and they require blood meals to survive and grow.

Apart from humans, they also harm various warm-blooded animals, including chickens and other birds.

Furthermore, these insects have been associated with humans for over 3,000 years. You can find them almost everywhere people tend to gather, including schools, hotels, offices, homes, and even public transportation.

8. Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant
by adwsocial is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pharaoh ants have pale bodies that vary from yellow to red, with an abdomen often darker to black. They are monomorphic with segmented bodies.

Pharaoh ant colonies are often huge, with thousands of workers. If the colony is disturbed, members will relocate to different areas to develop several new colonies through a process known as budding.

They eat various foods such as sweets, oils, proteins, and other dead insects.

Pharaoh ants are common in commercial food handling organizations such as hotels, supermarkets, and hospitals. They nest inside in warm, moist regions near food and water sources.

Nests are typically found in inaccessible places such as wall gaps, behind baseboards, furniture, and under floors.

These ants go through walls and between floorboards by using electrical and telephone lines as a highway system.

9. Evergreen Bagworm

Evergreen Bagworm
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bagworms are among the different insects in Ohio. They are the larvae of a small, black, hairy male moth and a gray female.

Bagworms will emerge from their eggs in late April or the beginning of May and begin a lengthy period of insatiable feasting.

Although their favorite hosts are junipers and other conifers, you can still find them feeding on maples, oaks, Indian hawthorn, and other plant species.

Bagworms get their name from their habit of attaching bits of leaves from the plant they are feeding on to a silken bag that covers them. Moreover, the bag provides both camouflage and protection.

The caterpillar’s head and front legs protrude from the bag while feeding but will retract within the bag when disturbed or resting.

10. Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak - Types of Butterflies in Alaska
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The mourning cloak is a big, unique butterfly that’s easily identifiable from other butterflies. They have four-inch wings that are velvety dark red/brown with yellow margins when opened. 

In addition, there are bright blue spots on the black margin between the red/brown and yellow. The wings are mottled grey with yellow tips when closed.

Adults feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, mud, and sometimes on flower nectar. You can always find them at sapsucker holes in the spring.

These parallel rows of little holes drip sap and attract flies, bees, and butterflies.

11. Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The common buckeye is a medium-sized butterfly with numerous large, noticeable round eyespots.

Adults have wingspans ranging from 45 to 70 mm. Females are larger and have more rounded forewings than males.

The upper part of the forewing features a broad white postmedian band that touches and encircles a single big eyespot.

Two distinct orange bars are visible in the forewing cell. And the hindwing’s upper surface bears two huge eyespots and a broad orange submarginal stripe.

Furthermore, you can find them in many habitats, such as old fields, gardens, utility corridors, and parks.

They’re also in yards, agricultural lands, scrubs, pine savannas, and woodlots. Each year, the common buckeye produces several generations.

12. Luna Moth

The luna moth is one of the most spectacular types of insects in Ohio. It got its name from Luna, the Roman moon goddess.

These insects are saturniid moths because they use their wing patterns as a defensive mechanism against predators.

Although they’re always active at night, you can also see them during the day. They’re most likely to be found in forested areas, but they’re also attracted to well-lit areas in the evening.

Furthermore, luna moths are not endangered, but there are fewer sightings in some locations.

Keep an eye out for this magnificent natural wonder when you are out at night. Who knows? You might catch a glimpse.

13. Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail
by ahisgett is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Black Swallowtails are big black butterflies with prominent tails. Males have a band of brilliant yellow spots that run over the outer edge of each upperside wing.

They also have a row of yellow dots and dashes that surround those wings. Females may lack or exhibit only a faint yellow band.

Furthermore, the black swallowtail butterfly goes through a complete metamorphosis. Their life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

You can find black swallowtails in open fields, meadows, residential yards, and roadsides.

14. Imperial Moth

Imperial Moth Caterpillar
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The imperial moths are among the different types of insects in Ohio. It is one of the most common, large, attractive silkworm moths.

Its color is similar to that of an autumn leaf, which hides it from predators during the day. Also, its wingspan can reach 6 inches.

It resembles a fading leaf on a poplar tree and even takes on the shape of the leaf. The coloration can be lighter or darker depending on the range. But the colors in the males are often more strong than in females.

Furthermore, the imperial moth does not eat. Its sole purpose is to reproduce; hence, its lifespan is usually no more than a week.

However, the caterpillar’s diet is wide. It includes oaks, pine trees, sweetgum trees, and basswood.

15. Stag Beetle

Stag Beetles
by zleng is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The stag beetle is a huge, hard-shelled flying bug with the ability to eat rotting wood as a larva.

The name of this insect comes from the male’s massive mandibles, which curve and branch like deer stags.

Their numbers appear to be dropping in several areas of their range due to habitat and food source loss.

This species can be found all throughout the world; however, it prefers loose soil and warm weather. They inhabit forested areas, but you can find them in all kinds of unexpected places.

Although stag beetles have large mandibles, they rarely bite humans. However, these beetles will bite if they feel threatened.

The male stag beetle’s mandible isn’t harmful, but female bites can be quite painful. 

16. Honey Bee

Honey Bees

Don’t be surprised! Honey bees are also among the different types of insects in Ohio. They’re among the most popular bees, although they represent only a small percent of bee species.

These bees are about 15mm long and brown in color. Honeybees are oval-shaped with golden-yellow colors and brown bands.

However, their color varies between species, and some honey bees have prominent black bodies. 

Furthermore, honey bees do not hibernate as other bee species do during cold weather. Instead, they remain snuggled together inside the nests, sharing body heat and feasting on stored food reserves.

Honey bees play an important role in pollination and ecology. However, precautions should be taken to ensure that hives do not exist close to your home due to the risk of being stung.

Never deal with an infestation without first speaking to a pest control expert.


There you have it – the different types of insects in Ohio. Have you encountered any of these insects, both the sweet and terrifying ones? If so, share your experiences with us.

Thanks for reading!

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