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Pest Identification Photos #201 to 300

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Pseudoscorpion  #300  Moved into an apartment in November 2004, its on the 2nd floor of an old house here in Toronto.  I've now found two of the same small but disturbing bugs, which I'm having difficulty identifying.  The first was found in a newspaper which was on the floor by a recently acquired 1970's organ.  The other between photo's in a plastic box (crawled into?) which was again on the hard wood floor in the same room.  They look like very small crabs.  They are a brown/red colour, have 8 legs, and two very long arms with claws at its front.  The body is about 3mm, while the span of the arms/claws seem to be about 10mm.  When disturbed, they pull in the arm/claws, and legs looking like a small brown bit of dirt.  Attached is a photo of the first one, dead.  Tried to save it but it died within a few hours of finding it (had it outside, cold here in Toronto!).  Any help would be great!  Thank-you.  Mike.
This is a
Pseudoscorpion. These are arachnids.. part of the group which includes spiders, ticks, mites and scorpions too. Pseudoscorpions are usually very tiny.. only about 4 mm in length. See similar photos,  # 8 and 32.
Camel CricketCamel Cricket  #299  Sorry for the poor photos by my camera doesn't like bugs either!! This one was on my husbands leg and gave him a nasty bite. It appears to be a camel cricket, but do they bite? We've had a cold January here in SE Manitoba, would warmer weather have them coming out of hiding in the basement? Thanks!. Shane
Although the photos are indeed fuzzy, the insect appears to be a camel/cave cricket (Orthoptera:Gryllacrididae - or Rhaphidophoridae of some authors). Many orthopteran insects, including some grasshoppers and katydids, have jaws powerful enough to give a very painful pinch to humans, but they do not usually make a habit out of biting people!  See for a fact sheet.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
German Cockroach  #298  I live in Toronto, I've seen about 5 of these critters in my house from Nov-Dec 2004 but have not seen any since. This is the last one I saw and captured late Dec. It's still alive as of Feb 5. It looks roach-like but it is slow for a roach and doesn't look exactly like any that I've ever seen before. Any idea what it is? Should I worry?  Thanks,  Robert
This appears to be a nymph of a German cockroach (Blattella germanica), a very common household pest in North America (see for a fact sheet). As you suspect, these insects usually are fairly fast moving - perhaps you have your thermostat set a bit low for their comfort?
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
Jerusalen cricket  #297 Found this in my patio trying to get into our home, in Solana Beach, CA.  I found them before, but I have never been able to identify it.  It is almost 4 centimeters long (or 2 inches).  I have other pictures if requested.  Clay.
This is a Jerusalem cricket.  They are about an inch and a half long  wingless insect.  Nocturnal predators, Jerusalem crickets burrow into the ground for the day. Renowned for their proportionately large head with strong jaw muscles, this beast can catch and consume just about anything in its size range and will pack a powerful bite if startled when picked up.  Photo #249 is very similar.
  The photo/insect you call a 'Jerusalem Cricket', is actually a Mole Cricket. A 'Jerusalem cricket' or 'Potatoe Bug' looks like this.
Take it easy.
Bald John of Tucson
According to numerous websites, the photo is a Jerusalem cricket, not a Mole cricket as identified by Bald John of Tucson. Here are just two corroborating website articles:'Jerusalem%20cricket'Thank you for your site. Finding this thing in my living room scared the bejeezez out of me. It was a relief to identify it as basically harmless.Elita M..  Inverness, CA
  #296   I live in an apartment in St. Catharines, Ontario on the 6th floor. I have these little insects crawling around a lot of places; mostly I see them crawl up on the wall or occasionally on the floor in my bed room. They are very fast and I have seen them even in our bathroom. They are about 1cm in length but I have seen some smaller ones that are about 0.5 mm in length as well.  I would love to know what it is, Thank you very much. Mats
This is a silverfish or firebrat.  They prefer dark, damp locations and only a small percentage of the population may be seen in daylight. Fortunately they do not breed rapidly but they can be difficult to control. There is more information on the Silverfish web page. 
  #295  picture taken Jan 25, 2005 inside my house near Penticton BC... it was about as long as from my fingernail to the knuckle...thanks,  Tom
 Next time you take a picture of a house hold pest avoid using the flash. It causes the carapace to glisten making it harder to identify your intruder. From what I can see the markings on the back indicate a Cobweb Spider (/Tegnaria gigantea/) although the colour, which I assume is black, does not. It's possible that the room wasn't lighted well enough but it's also possible that this species, which lives around the world, is coloured differently from place to place. An excellent specimen. Jacob Duarte, aspiring Arachenologist
   #294  I found this bug in the corner of my living room by a wall where my toilet pipe runs inside of this wall. Its black and a tint of red on its back. The odour that came from it when I squat it stinked. Thanks for you help.  Thank -you,  Pauline
This appears to be a ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae). This is a very large family, and most members are predaceous on a wide variety of other insects, other small arthropods, and even snails. A very few are plant feeders, such as the seed corn beetle. Several species do have a strong characteristic odour when handled or crushed.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  #293  I saw this in Sanuma, Japan, last summer. It's body is about the size of a large jelly bean. They looked pretty aggressive, but you could touch them with your finger and they would hardly react at all. I threw a rice husk on the web and it grabbed it and wrapped it up. Any idea what kind of spider it is? thank you, Wade.

This appears to be Nephilia clavata, an orb-weaving spider commonly seen in late summer-autumn in Japan (see ). When we lived in Japan (1972-1975), we often had similar spiders spin webs on our front porch. As with other orb weavers, they tend to have relatively small fangs in relation to their body size, and pose no threat to humans. I have never known spiders of this group to be aggressive. 

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

   #292  I found this beetle outside my door last night. I was scratching at the door and I though it was a cat outside! It is roughly 3 cm long. It has wings under the shell. It moves quite slow, too. Can you tell me what it is? Thank you! Wade.

This is a predaceous diving beetle (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae); their larvae are fully aquatic, and sometimes called “water tigers.” Both adults and larvae are predaceous on small aquatic organisms, mostly other insects, but the larvae of some of the largest species occasionally will catch tadpoles or small minnows.
See for more information.  

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#291 I have two pests that I have found:  The first is a large bee like insect that was about 1.5 to 2 inches long and about .5 inches around, I had no scale in the picture.  It was found early one morning on a Deck rail in central Ohio.  The second is a small insect that I have seen twice in my house in central Ohio.
Thanks,  Brian

The larger specimen appears to be a European hornet (Vespa crabro) that now can be found in much of eastern North America. We have a small colony on our WV property, and they do not appear to be particularly aggressive. My biggest complaint is that they girdle the small branches on our lilac tree. See for much more information.

            The smaller insect appears to be a brown lacewing (Neuroptera Hemerobiidae). Like their green cousins, these insects are voracious predators on small soft-bodied insects such as aphids. See for more information.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#290  I killed 2 of these inside the house yesterday and am wondering what it is. It looks very much like Photo #222 and I'm assuming it's some sort of wood wasp but not certain. The description is approximately 1 centimeter in length, jet black with yellow bands around the thorax. This was captured inside my home in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was able to capture it in an empty mayonnaise jar and take one good picture of it before euthanizing it.
  I tried to get you a good shot of it's "face" :)   Thank You,  Bradley

This indeed a wasp, but not a wood wasp (although many paper-nest building wasps will scrape wood in order to make the ‘paper’ for their nests, they do not as a rule actually bore into wood. If no viewer of this site can provide you with a specific identification, you could try taking a specimen to your county cooperative extension service office for assistance.
See for links.
 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#289  I found this millipede when I was camping at a cottage located on Chalk Lake in the Township of Scugog, Ontario in late August of 2003.  It was roughly 12cm in length; however, I have been told that millipedes in Canada are normally no larger than 5-6cm.  I was wondering anyone could help to identify what it is.  Thanks,  Caitlin

This indeed a millipede, possibly Narceus americanus, one of the largest species in North America. Although basically harmless (they are detrivores), they will give off a caustic substance if mishandled. I can tell you from personal experience that it is one of the most vile-tasting substances that I have ever encountered! In some tropical species, this defensive excretion can be forcibly expelled, and is strong enough to cause chemical burns to human skin. See, and look at the sporobolid millipede. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #288  Hi, thank you (in advance) so much for helping me! I found this beautiful spider walking across the carpet in our living room earlier this evening.  I live in a south suburb of Chicago, IL and have never seen one like this before.  It could probably cover a quarter, with legs and all, possibly a little bigger too.  The back seemed tan, while the head area looked more dark red.  The legs appeared orange.  I will let the photo speak for it all.  Thanks again!!  :)  sue

This bears a very close resemblance to Dysdera crocata, a spider that specializes in preying on isopods (small crustaceans known as woodlice or roly polys) that sometimes can be pests in houses, particularly where damp conditions are common. The spiders’ long fangs enable them to penetrate the tough exoskeleton of the isopods. See for images and more information. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #287  My 8 year old daughter and I were surfing the web and found your site.  She is doing a science project on the attached wasps (or hornets?).  We live in Brighton, Michigan and this fall found the attached nest in one of our trees.  It was so beautiful!!  We wanted to learn more about the creatures that created it.  We have tried to identify them and think that they might be bald faced hornets, but would like advice from an expert.  If you have any additional information or links to learn more, please let us know!!!  We are under a deadline, so please help us ASAP.  Her project needs to be well underway by the end of January.  THANK YOU!!!  Patti
I think you have identified them correctly.  The nest definitely looks like the ones build by bald faced hornets in Canada.  The hornets don't seem to have much white showing on their faces, but perhaps it is just because of the camera angle.  You will find some general information on our wasp, bees and hornets page


I concur that there is a resemblance to the bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata
see ), and that the lack of apparent white areas on these specimens as well as the relatively pale wings could be an artifact of the camera angle and/or exposure used. For additional information, you may consider contacting your county cooperative extension service office -
see for links. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to the experts that took the time to answer our questions about the bald faced hornets.(#287)  You really helped to make her science project spectacular!!!!   Patti
#286  I live in Toronto. I have an wooden drum that I've owned for eight months with no problems. I recently found a 1/4" perfect hole in the wood, and sawdust in my drum case. The hole was about 3" deep. After careful inspection, I found this critter walking on the drum. The insect is approximately 3 to 4 mm in length.  Is it related to any wood boring insect? Is there a risk to my house?  Thanks,  Les.  Toronto
This is a true bug in the order Hemiptera, and is not a wood-boring insect. As such, it is of no threat to either your house or the wooden drum. Most hemipterans feed on plant sap (your specimen appears to fall into that category) and many species are of economic importance. A few are predaceous on other insects and some that occur from Mexico on south are blood feeders. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  #285  I found this insect on my basement floor in January.  I searched through books and online and can’t find anything like it.  It reminds me of an armadillo because it has multiple plated segments. It moves in a very strange way:  it crawls with its legs while curling its tail under, then straightening it out to scoot forward.  Its long neck moves the tiny head back and forth so it reminds me of an elephant’s trunk.  If frightened, it rolls up, pulls its head in and plays dead. I guess it’s some sort of larva??  I’m keeping it alive in a jar by feeding it bread. -Robin, Louisville, Kentucky.
This could be a larva of a net-winged beetle (Coleoptera: Lycidae). These are close relatives of  fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae), but rather than being predaceous, these larvae appear to feed primarily on liquids and associated microfauna in rotting wood and other decaying organic matter.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
#284  We have just recently had a house built in October 2004 and we have noticed a number of moths since then.  They are usually found in the basement; however, we have found the odd one throughout the house.  They are about 1/2 long and seem to prefer dark places such as under the woods along the basement floor, and under the insulation in the basement walls.  They seem to crawl rather than fly.  We would appreciate any help you could give us regarding this type of moth and how we can get rid of them.   Thank you.  Janet and Michael,
These moths do not appear to be anything to worry about, and likely are accidental invaders. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to inspect any infestable stored products (such as corn meal, flour, dry pet food, etc.) on hand for any signs of insect activity. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
You may have a species of the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella.) golden - buff and shiny in colour, they crawl rather than fly, like dark areas for harborage. Most importantly the larvae will attack natural fibers clothes, wools, furs etc. check the link or get a pest controller to have a look to be on the safe side.  Barry Phillips - Rentokil Pest Control UK
  #283  What a cool website!  I have forwarded the link to a few people who will be really interested. We've had a few of these little guys in our bathroom in California (about 20 miles Southeast of San Francisco) every day for a couple of weeks.  It's not a swarm, just a constant flow of two to four every day.  Not sure if they're coming in from outside (there are two vent fans in the bathroom) or maybe the drains.  So far, haven't noticed any in other rooms or other bathrooms, or even the kitchen downstairs just below the bathroom where we do find them.  What are they?  I wish I could get a better picture, but this appears to be the best my camera can do. Steve in Hayward.
 Fuzzy picture, but appears to be a small fly, such as a fungus gnat (several families in the order Diptera). Their larvae can be found in a wide variety of damp material, including fungi, potting soil, and decaying vegetable matter, and could be either coming in from outside or from some inside source (including potted plants with excessively damp soil). They usually are of no importance to humans other than causing annoyance by their presence. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  #282  We started noticing these little flies/moths (about 3mm long) in the house about 6 weeks ago.  Over the weeks there are more and more bodies found on window ledges.  They look very black. Helen
This appears to be a moth or drain fly (Diptera: Psychodidae). Although annoying they do no real harm. See  for a fact sheet that includes control recommendations. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #281   I have owned my new house in Cambridge Ontario Canada for approx. 1 year.  We have a cold cellar located in our basement.  Every now and then I will go in and on the cold room floor I  find tiny larvae looking creatures.  They seemed to have begun arriving with the cold months although they may have existed before then.  We have vents to air our the cellar and keep it dry but I cannot seem to locate the actual entry point.  I hope they are not something that the builder may have helped bring to us with the new sod or wood.  I use the shop vac to clean up the floor and within a day or two there are about 4 or 5 more.  I am sorry the photos are not very clear but they range in size and plumpness the largest one about 1 cm in length.  They are light to dark tan color with black heads (like larvae) but they have legs and once out of the cold they seem to travel quite fast.  The legs are short and they have what looks like tiny pincers on their rear ends which are more likely for them to spin a web.  When on the cold room floor they are sluggish but are quick to change once in a warm area.  Could you please help me identify this breed of creepy crawly and give me a few suggestions on how to get rid of them for good?  I would really appreciate this for they are annoying and until they are wiped out I refuse to use my cold cellar at all.  Thank you for you time.  Samantha
These are beetle larvae, but I cannot make a positive i.d. from the photo. On the odd chance that they might be stored products pests, you might want to inspect any infestable stored products (such as corn meal, flour, dry pet food, etc.) on hand for any signs of insect activity. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

Click on the photos  to enlarge

#280  We live in Southern California and I found this insect in my son's room on a blanket.  It looks like a giant flea or a very small shrimp and hops.  Its body is somewhat translucent and shiny and you can clearly see internal structures and mouth parts.  It is slightly larger than 1/4 of an inch and has numerous long rear legs . Several months ago my son had bites on his neck and I'm curious if there is a connection with this insect.  I have never seen anything like this please let me know what you think it is.  Thanks, Peter
Sorry Peter your photo is a little too fuzzy to get a positive identification but it may possibly be a tick.  Perhaps Mr. Saugstad has a better idea.  


The photo is indeed too fuzzy for a positive i.d., but based on Peter’s description, it is unlikely to be either a  flea or a tick. Ticks don't hop, and most fleas commonly found in households (e.g.: cat fleas and dog fleas) are much smaller than ¼.” However, I have seen fleas nearly that size on cottontail rabbits, and there is one reported from a primitive rodent called a ‘mountain beaver’ that can be up to 1/3” long. If Peter’s location is close to water, the specimen could be an amphipod. Amphipods are crustaceans that usually are aquatic, but some species will hop about in moist terrestrial environments. They generally are detritus feeders, and are completely harmless as far as humans are concerned. See   for some flea images, and or for amphipod images.
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#279  Please help me on what these insects are and how to get rid of them.  I found them in my basement under a wood cabinet, the cabinet is attached to the cement floor and wall.  It seems to be a wood eating insect, there is sawdust under the cabinet when I try to scrap them from underneath.  I sprayed Raid  ant, roach, earwig bug killer under the front of this cabinet but I'm unable to spray the full area that is infested.   Thank you for your assistance. Rob
These are dermestid beetles (sometimes called skin beetles; Coleoptera: Dermestidae), likely in the genus Anthrenus that includes the carpet beetle and the furniture carpet beetle among others. They are not wood feeders, but will attack just about any material that has an animal protein content, such as wool (including that found in carpeting, upholstery, etc.) and some dried pet foods. They often are pests in insect collections, and some species may be used by museum specimen preparers to clean small delicate skeletons. It is the larval stage that does the actual damage; the adult beetles primarily are pollen feeders on flowers. For full control, you probably should locate the larval food source and if at all possible, eliminate it. See  for a fact sheet on dermestids in general. 

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV.
See also:  Carpet Beetles on this web site.

#278  We found this bug (body length of around an inch long) in the winter, right in the middle of our bedroom floor, in daylight, not trying to flee.  When I tried to capture it, it slowly tried to get out of the way. It is the third one we see in the past few weeks.  When I killed it, it produced an audible crunch and the smell was exceptionally strong (like heavy grass odor).  We live near a lake close to the Vermont border in Quebec.  Can you help me identify it?  My actual guess was either an assassin bug or a stink bug but I’m not really sure!  Eric.
This appears to be the same as # 276 below.

#277  I found these colourful beetles in my backyard in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  The iridescent colours are beautiful.  Just curious as to what it might be called.  I haven't seen one like that before...but I don't often notice beetles!  Thank you.  ANN
This appears to be a dogbane beetle (Chrysochus auratus; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). One of the more colourful members of their family, they range widely in the United States and southern Canada where they feed on milkweed as well as dogbane. I collected this species on our family farm in North Dakota some 50 years ago.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
#276.  Hi, Please help me to identify these awful bugs that have invaded our home!
We find them mostly in the evening, in the bathroom but, occasionally in the basement and bedrooms. The largest one found was about 2cm in length. Just before it was caught, it let off an unpleasant odour. I have seen one flying in the bathroom. They have 3 legs on each side, and 2 antennae. They also have a long antennae type thing on it's belly that pokes out. They are mostly blackish. Their wings are of a similar pattern to a common housefly (greyish black type of stripes). We have sprayed a common insect repellant in the bathrooms, but haven't found any dead ones. I am afraid that they are going to bite us when we are sleeping and we need to know how to get rid of them! We live in a 26 year old home, in a farm area, near Oshawa, Ontario. Please help...anyone! Thanks :) C.A., Crystal.

Not to worry! These appear to be leaf-footed bugs (Hemiptera: Coreidae). This family includes both predaceous (on other small insects – not humans) and herbivorous species. A few species, including the squash bug, can be of economic importance. Also, some of these bugs do give off a noticeable odor when handled roughly or crushed. As for being in the house, they most likely are simply accidental invaders, and can be dealt with on an individual basis when encountered. However, at least one species that feeds on seeds of evergreens is known to invade houses en mass seeking winter shelter
(see ). You may want to see if you can find where they are getting in and see if it is feasible to seal up that entry/entries.
  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

Click on the photos  to enlarge

  #275   Please help me identify these critters.  They have invaded my bathroom!  I sprayed some flying insect spray and to my surprise, ended up with around 25-50 of them dead in my window and in the bathtub.  The bathroom seems to be the only place that they are in, with the exception of maybe one flying into the living room from time to time.  They are driving me crazy, as everytime I go in the bathroom there they are.  Please tell me what they are and how can I get rid of them.  Thanks, Rhonda in Dallas, Texas!!
Photo fuzzy, but these appear to be wasps. Possible suspects include sphecoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecoidea - see for an image), or  spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae ). In either case, they are not likely to be any thing other than a nuisance, as they do not make large nests nor are they as aggressive as their cousins, the vespid wasps (such as the bald-faced hornet). As for control, there are many wasp sprays readily available at most stores that sell insect control items. Just follow the label directions. But what you really should do is to try to find out how they are entering your house, and seal off those entry points. This is not always easy, as we occasionally find wasps in our house in areas where there are no obvious entry points.
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  #274  The photo is at x10 magnification. i found a bunch of these on a table on my porch in NJ recently.  Joseph.
 Fuzzy photo, but it could be psocid (order Psocoptera – book lice and bark lice). For the most part, these insects are completely harmless. See photo number 254 for more information and some links. If after looking at those you believe that your insects are not psocids, try to take a clearer photo and resubmit.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #273  I live in California. This is a picture of a bug I have taken off a few vegetable plants in an indoor grow room.   Thank you for any help and time you can afford.  Leo

This appears to be a lady beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), but it is not a species that I am familiar with. With a few exceptions (such as the Mexican bean beetle), coccinellids are for the most part beneficial by human standards, feeding primarily on aphids, scale insects, and the like.   

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #272    My wife and I found these interesting little white fellows crawling all over a fence in our back yard one morning. They looked to be coming from a decomposing orange colored fungi, which had appeared on the ground a few days earlier. They were about 1/2 inch in length. As the morning grew warmer, these guys became fewer and fewer by dropping from the fence to the ground. This happened in mid December. You can see black dots on their sides and their eyes and a dark nose or mouth in front. We live in San Rafael, CA. and wondered what they might be. Thanks for your help.  Paul & Carolyn

This appears to be a larva (maggot) of a fungus gnat (Diptera: Sciaridae), likely in the genus Bradysia (formerly Sciara). These gnats once were included in the much larger family Mycetophilidae. For the most part they are considered harmless, but a few species will feed on healthy plant tissue, particularly under greenhouse conditions, if fungus is in short supply.  

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#271   Hopefully this household pest can quickly be identified, and method of control / elimination recommended. It appears to be some type of a very small moth that we initially found on some Buckwheat honey I purchased at a Fall Fair. The food cupboard was totally cleaned out and a week later they had returned with a vengeance. Their larvae are even in the threads of jars! They appear to eat only sugar based food stuffs, ie: candy, honey, baking supplies, soda pop, etc. but not any type of flour or other food.
These things are starting to cost us money since we keep having to discard the food in our cupboards, and can't get rid of them no matter how clean we keep things. Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated.  Thank You - Richard

 It appears that you've had a lovely infestation of Indian meal moths (Plodia interpunctella; Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). We also have had the pleasure of their company, and now keep all infestable products either in air-tight plastic/glass containers or in the refrigerator. You already have taken the most basic and important steps of doing a general cleanup and discarding any obviously infested material. You likely never can totally eliminate them, as there always is the possibility of bringing home foodstuffs (usually flour, corn meal, other cereal products, or dry pet food) that already are infested by their eggs or young larvae. This is why it is a good idea to (1) never buy more of such material than you are planning to use within a short period of time, or (2) (as we do) keep these materials in pest-proof containers or under refrigeration. In addition, it also is a good idea to keep dry pet food stored separately from infestable human food, as sanitary standards for pet food are not as stringent as those for human food, and thus they are more likely to be infested. Finally, there are pheromone-baited traps for these moths, sold under a variety of names in most stores that sell insect control items. These traps are not meant for control, but are monitoring devices. I would suggest using them once you feel that you have your problem pretty much under control, as they will draw any stragglers out of hiding. As long as moths appear in the traps, you will know that you still have an active infestation somewhere. For more detailed information on this pest,
see  for a fact sheet. 
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV


Also: for more information see the Indian Meal Moth page on this web site. 

If you have a pest problem but don't have a picture, see: "Ask the pest professionals"

#270  We are having a hard time figuring out what this is. Not the Ninja Matrix mouse, but the larger rodent in the photo. Looks like a rat sort of, but it has a furry tail and the fur is very very soft and thick. It was hauling off small boxes of food from the cupboard. Hope someone knows what it is. We can't find it anywhere on the net. Thanks Nan.

This is a woodrat. The bushy tail is indicative of the "bushytail woodrat" or packrat (Neotoma cinerea). It's range is Western US, Vancouver & British Columbia. Kim Tarter, District Biologist from the Daniel Boone National Forest, KY.
#269 A.  We live in California near san Francisco.  These critters live in our fridge...constantly shed their exoskeletons, and excrete a smell.  They do not feed on our food. we have never found them in our food.  Mike

Needs a clearer photo – except for the comment about shedding exoskeletons, thus could be a congregation of overwintering lady beetles. Some species have a very noticeable odor, particularly when large numbers are present.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

 #269 B.  I already sent in a pic of this bug but was told I need to send in a bigger pic I hope this helps. I live in the San Francisco bay area, California.  We found these bugs living in the fridge.  They didn't seem to be eating our food, nor did They seem to be alive. but we removed them and they came back.  I don't know if they were living in the motor part, and dying in the fridge but they were stuck to the bottom and top inside.  there were massive amounts of them and they were omitting a smell.  We did find one living on the wall, they are small between the size of a Flea , and a lady bug.

Well, this definitely is not a lady beetle larva! As to what it really is, if forced to make a SWAG at this point, my best guess is that it might be a desiccated larva of a carpet beetle or close relative (Coleoptera:Dermestidae). If so, it has lost most of the characteristic setae that give these larvae a furry/hairy appearance when alive.
See for an example.
I will be most interested in Dr. Hauser’s take on this one. 
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#268    I live in Texas just east of Dallas. What I thought was a hole in the wall from something bumping it was in fact this guy eating his way out from the inside. What is this Andy Dufresne wannabe? I looked on your site but didn't see anything resembling it. Thanks.  Jonathan
This is a metallic wood-boring beetle (Coleoptera: Buprestidae; their larvae also are known as flat-headed borers). Although adults occasionally will emerge indoors from freshly cut lumber, none that I know of can be considered structural pests. Some species are of economic importance by damaging living trees and shrubs/canes.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 #267    Hi Found these guys in our basement Edmonton, Alberta. They seem to come out when we turn on the gas stove to warm up the room. Should we be worried.  bye for now, Isabel.
Hello - Would it be possible to request that Isabel submit additional photos of her wee beasties - preferably including dorsal, ventral, and frontal views? This one really has me puzzled - it looks like a combination of small wasp wings with a rove beetle's body and (except for the antennae) a fly's head!
Sincerely,  Ed Saugstad,  Sinks Grove, WV
Hi guys,  Your #267 is a Xiphydria species, member of Xiphydriidae, Hymenoptera, a kind of "wood wasp". Larvae of Xiphydria live and feed in dying trees and therefore occur in timber and fire wood. Dry wood is not too nutricious, and therefore the life cycle may last some years. The holes from which the adults emerge, are circular (in contrast to those of many beetles, which are somewaht depressed apertures).  Don't worry, the Xiphydrias won't infest your wooden house, because this kind of wood is too dry (at least if it is not a very new house).
Best wishes, Dr. Stephan M. Blank,  >o><< <°)>><
Deutsches Entomologisches Institut,   Müncheberg, Germany,
DEI - German Entomological Institute, an institute of the Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research (ZALF)
#266  I found this spider, less than an inch across, crawling along the baseboard of our church office wall in San Francisco. I used a drumstick to herd it into a plastic CD case, and it reared up on its back legs and splayed its front legs wide, as if to fend off attack. It has hairy, banded legs and an unusual sort of stained-glass cross design on its back.  I later turned it loose in some hedges, but I hope I didn't unleash a deadly monster upon the suburbs.  What is this thing?  Cheers, Jym Dingler.
This is yet another female orb-weaving spider (Araneida: Araneidae), a large family of spiders that includes many large and often colorful species. To the best of my knowledge, none of them are considered dangerous to humans, and most have ‘fangs’ that are too small to pierce human skin. See photos 255, 239, 231, 214, 201, and 183 on this site for more examples.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  The above analysis is correct. It is an orb weaver and is therfore completly harmless. I believe that it is known as a Cross or Garden spider (called so because of the white markings). If you find another keep it. It spins a beautiful web. Jacob Duarte, aspiring arachenologist
 #265   I have a curious creature that I think is a species of ant. It is about 4 mm long and a dark reddish-brown in color. It has a long stinger thingy out of its abdomen that is almost as long as its body. Its antennae is as long as the length of its body. I found this ant in the house in Chatham, Ontario,  Canada.  It has long antenna and also a long stinger. Please help me find out what it could be? Josh. 
This is not an ant, but a parasitic wasp. I cannot be certain of its identification, but it may be a braconid or close relative. The 'stinger' actually is its ovipositor, used by these wasps to lay their eggs in other insects (usually in the larval stage), and the wasp larvae develop inside the host. A commonly seen example is the wasp that parasitizes the tomato hornworm - the parasitized caterpillar often attracts attention when the wasp larvae emerge from the host and pupate on the surface of the caterpillar. Several species in this group exhibit polyembryony, in which two to several hundred larvae develop from a single fertilized egg.
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV.
  #264  Can you help me identify this little creature. Location Iowa. Discovered it crawling across some play equipment this summer. Did not seem to have wings. Very slow. Size was about 5 mm. Howard.

This appears to be the nymph of a treehopper (Homoptera: Membracidae). These sap feeders sometimes develop rather bizarre forms as adults. Some species resemble thorns so well that they almost escape notice when resting on twigs of thorny plants. See and    for some examples.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #263  This was another creature I have been unable to identify from this Summer, in Iowa. Size was about 1cm. Perhaps an infant form of a more commonly known insect?  Howard

This is the larva of a lacewing (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). They are general predators on other small insects, especially aphids, and therefore are considered beneficial by most gardeners. The adults have four membranous wings, and appear quite fragile, belying their predaceous nature (see ). The females lay their eggs on the ends of long stalks, presumably so that newly hatched larvae won’t immediately attack their unhatched/emerging siblings.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  #262  Can you help me identify this insect? Location: Iowa. Summer.
This is the nymph of a leafhopper (Homoptera: Cicadellidae). All are sap feeders, usually on herbaceous vegetation. Some species are of economic importance not only from damage caused by their feeding (such as the potato leafhopper), but also by vectoring viral diseases of plants (including potato yellow dwarf, curly top of sugar beets, and aster yellows).  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
#261 I live in a basement apartment, in Edmonton Alberta, Canada.  I have these bugs living in my electric stove, the owners have the same bugs living behind their fridge upstairs.  The bugs moved into my kitchen over the summer. They vary is size from about 2mm up to about 2cm... They have now started to spread through out the apartment, but I don't see that many outside of the kitchen. They don't fly, but they are very quick.  I know the picture is fuzzy but it was the best one I can get.  If anyone knows what they might be it would be really nice to know. We have just tried a residual spray to see if this might work, if anyone has any other ideas they would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.  Shannon.S
The good news is: we can not be absolutely positive about identification because the photo is out of focus.
The bad news is: it is likely a cockroach.  The best control method used by professionals today is careful  placement of baits.  Residual insecticide sprays may kill some of them but survivors may migrate to another apartment and eventually return to yours.  You should probably ask the building manager to call a professional to inspect the building.
Sorry, these are clearly cockroaches! Martin Hauser, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois


Although the photos are indeed fuzzy, the general habitus of these creatures is consistent with them being German cockroaches (Blatella germanica), exceedingly common sharers of human dwellings nearly worldwide. One of the apartments that I lived in while attending college in Fargo, North Dakota, was infested with them, so they will thieve in cold climates as long as we are willing to provide them with heat and shelter! See for a fact sheet.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #260  I spent a month working in the Peruvian Amazon, and discovered this beautiful creature in my bathroom one night. It was nearly the size of my hand. I had seen another one out in the jungle, and learned that its Spanish name means "free-tailed scorpion", though it is properly a spider.  Paul M. Lantos, MD. Fellow in Infectious Diseases. Children's Hospital Boston.
Thank you Dr. Lantos for sharing these 3 wonderful photos of creatures we don't have the opportunity to see in our environment. Perhaps one of our visitors may be able to identify them and give us a little more information.  Webmanager, Larry Cross
This is a tailless whip scorpion (Arachnida: Amblypygi), a harmless (to humans) relative of true scorpions and spiders. Lacking venom, they rely on their large, spiny pedipalps to overpower and help dismember their prey, usually other small arthropods. Some people keep these as pets! Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 This fascinating animal is called Whip Spider or Amblypygi. They are nocturnal predators and seem to be harmless to humans.   Martin Hauser, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois
  #259  Another visitor from my trip to the Amazon -- this centipede-like beast can be seen taking up half of my footprint. It was about 5 inches long.  Paul M. Lantos, MD. Fellow in Infectious Diseases. Children's Hospital Boston.

This is a large millipede (class Dilpopoda); if you look closely, you can see that it has two pairs of legs on each body segment. Millipedes are general detrivores/scavengers on decaying organic material, part of nature’s recycling scheme. I cannot be certain about this particular species, but some species that are flattened like this one (order Polydesmida; collectively known as ‘plated millipedes’) instead of cylindrical in cross-section can give off a cyanide compound when disturbed that may deter small predators, and, if kept under confined conditions, may even kill other arthropods. Basically harmless to humans, some large cylindrical tropical millipedes can give off corrosive fluids capable of causing chemical burns to the skin and eyes of humans. 

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #258  One last specimen from my trip to the Amazon -- this beautiful insect was sitting on a leaf in the middle of the jungle at night. I believe it's a cicada, of which there are hundreds of varieties in the Amazon.  Paul M. Lantos, MD. Fellow in Infectious Diseases. Children's Hospital Boston.
This does appear to be one of the many species of katydid found in Peruvian Amazonia. As one can see, they are quite adept at camouflage. Most are herbivores, but some have very strong jaws and can give a very painful bite. For several years, an entomologist of my acquaintance at the Smithsonian Institution led Earthwatch expeditions to the Iquitos area to study this group of insects (see ). However, I do not know whether this research remains ongoing. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
  This is not a cicada, it is a Katydid. They often look like leaves and are perfectly camouflaged.
Martin Hauser, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois
  #257  This bug seems to be killing my willow tree in the north San Francisco bay area in California. Pulling off the bark of the tree this pest seems to burrow through the underside of the bark leaving a dense pack of sawdust. There seem to be black beetles and larger caterpillar worms also sharing the underside of the bark. Thanx, Mike

 Whatever this is, it most likely is not responsible for the damage to the tree, as it is not a woodborer. I suspect that it is the larva of a predaceous beetle, such as a checkered beetle (Coleoptera: Cleridae). Once bark has been damaged/loosened in any way, whether by wood-boring insects or by other causes, many other insects and arthropods will take up residence there, and may be mistaken as the cause of the damage. Larvae of wood-boring beetles usually are legless or nearly so. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV.
See and for images.
 This insect is indeed not killing your trees. It is the larvae of a so called snake fly (Rhaphidioptera). The very flexible larvae are living under bark and are hunting wood boring insects, like the beetle larvae which are more likely responsible for the damage to your trees. These insects have strange looking adults and are related to ant lions and lace wings.  If you want to read more about the biology of these insects download this PDF: 
Dr. Martin Hauser, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois

Once again, I am indebted to Dr. Martin Hauser for correcting a bad guess on my part. Unfortunately for me, snakeflies are a group of insects that I never have encountered (except perhaps for a long-forgotten lecture in insect systematics 44 years ago), and I allowed myself to be lulled by their very superficial resemblance to something entirely different. My apologies to Mike and to the visitors to this site.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#256  My mother in law just moved into a new home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  She has found approximately one dozen bugs like this in the furnace room and approximately four just outside of the room.  The floor is linoleum in the basement and near the basement stairs (carpeted). The scale is in centimeters in the photo. Any suggestions as to what the bugs are or how to eliminate them would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance,  Geoff K.

Your photo is a little too fuzzy to tell for sure, but it is probably a sowbug or pill bug.  Check the photos and information on our sow bug pages.
#255  This spider was crawling up onto my husbands easy chair. I'm sending and abdominal view and and top view. We don't know if the round white object on its abdomen was there originally, or if it is a protrusion that resulted from being swatted. It seems to me that the abdomen has shrunk a bit between the time I killed it with alcohol and the time it was photographed.(apox time 36 hrs)   WE live in Kansas, USA. spider was found mid November. The pin peircing the spider is a quite large corsage pin. Spider about the size of a nickel.  This is a terrific website. WE are so glad to find it, and are telling our friends and family about it. Thanks for your help. Marla
This is a female orb-weaving spider (Araneida: Araneidae), a large family of spiders that includes many large and often colorful species. To the best of my knowledge, none of them are considered dangerous to humans, and most have ‘fangs’ that are too small to pierce human skin. See photos 239, 231, 214, 201, and 183 on this site for more examples.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
#254 We found these bugs in our sugar. Also in boxes of various cooking ingredients. I have been looking on the internet and can't find any pictures of the various bugs you can get with food. I am at all loss. We are in Petawawa Ontario. Help. Jennifer.

The photo is too unclear for me to be certain, but it could be a Psocid (order Psocoptera; book lice and bark lice). The wingless members of this family often are referred to as ‘book lice’ from their having been found amongst the bindings and pages of old books stored under conditions damp enough for mold to grow on them. The psocids feed on this mold. They also will feed on other organic material, including stored cereal products, and can be pantry pests under some conditions. See for a fact sheet, and,, and for images.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #253  I found this insect dead on my walkway in Montreal, Quebec. Some tiny ants were making trips in and out of the body at a crack behind the left eye. It is about 1.5 inches long.
 I just found out that the photos I sent are of a cicada - thanks to your website, photo #19.
Many thanks. Great site. Mark.

Directory of pest professionals in Quebec

#252 We have been finding 3-4 of these each week in our newly carpeted basement. They are always dead & crumble to the touch. From what I could see they are centipedes - however they don't appear to be as big as the ones described on the web - perhaps because they have dried out? We live in Manitoba & have had an unusually wet fall this year. I read where they prefer moist conditions yet our basement is dry!! Thanks, Roger

These are indeed dead centipedes. They likely invaded your house when conditions were damp, but once in a drier environment, they succumbed to desiccation and possibly starvation as well. As a group, centipedes may be considered beneficial to neutral in so far as human concerns are considered. They are general predators on other small arthropods, and none of the species in northern North America are considered of medical importance. As far as I know in this region, only the cosmopolitan house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata; see ) is capable of a painful bite if mishandled.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

  #251  Today I noticed several of these larvae on my bathroom floor (located on the second floor of my home).  
I also found one on the carpet just outside that same bathroom.  I have not seen any on the first floor of my home, where the entry door is located.  I have a dog who is confined to the first floor of my home during the day, but sleeps on the second floor at night.  I have noticed no larvae in her sleeping areas on the second floor.  Regarding the larvae, the four shiny larvae were very active.  The “dull” one just to the left of the nickel was less active, and the brown one was dead.  Please help me identify these pests so that I can get rid of them.  Thanks.  Bimmer. 
These appear to be the larvae (maggots) of a higher dipteran, such as the house fly. To confirm, see if they move in the direction of their smaller end. Maggots lack a true head capsule, but have protrusible mouth hooks that they use in processing their food as well as an aid in locomotion. When they are fully grown, they usually move away from their food source in search of a drier place in which to pupate - the "dull one" in your photo could be a maggot just starting the process of becoming a pupa. As these larvae usually do not move very far (they lack legs of any sort), their food source (just about any organic matter that has a high moisture content; preferably decaying) should be close by. Do not overlook the ceiling area, as they could have fallen from an elevated source. Once you have located the source, it should be easy to remedy by removing it.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
#250 We live in N. California and these little guys have started appearing in the past week. This is not the first time they've shown up. This is about the time of the year for their annual visit. They seem to be falling from the ceiling (tongue and groove) in different parts of the house. Two of these pictures show this insect with one of it's legs detached. They are very slow moving and some of them always end up in our bathroom sink and toilet. This is a great website. Thanks for your help.  Paul.

There is a good possibility that these could be termites, especially if you noticed wings on them when they first emerged from the ceiling, or noted shed wings on the floor. I suggest that you take some specimens to your county cooperative extension service office (see for contact information) for assistance in identification and any recommended control measures.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#249 I encountered this insect in Zion National Park, Utah. It was crawling along the sidewalk at the bottom of Zion Canyon. It measured approximately 2 cm in length.  Paul Lantos
This is a
Jerusalem cricket.  They are about an inch and a half long  wingless insect.  Nocturnal predators, Jerusalem crickets burrow into the ground for the day. Renowned for their proportionately large head with strong jaw muscles, this beast can catch and consume just about anything in its size range and will pack a powerful bite if startled when picked up.

This is indeed a Jerusalem cricket (they also go by several other common names), but it is an herbivore, not a predator. See for more details on these fascinating insects. 

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#248  Dear Sir , I appreciated if you could identify me this worm, and what is the pest control for it. And whether it is harmful to human or not. those 2.5 inches long 3 worms were found inside of my bath room , they have a lot of red blood inside. The door of my bathroom is wood  and next to it a book case and carpet on the floor and daily water washing in this area. Expert in my country said it is very rare to find some thing like this an island . Thank you, Tariq S. Althawadi

This appears to be the larva (grub) of a large scarab beetle. Some of these feed on very rotten punky wood, but will not damage sound wood. They are harmless to humans. The ‘red blood’ more likely is the partially digested remains of their food, as their actual ‘blood’ (haemolymph) usually is colorless or nearly so.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#247  We live in Kelowna , BC and my wife found this spider in our basement, and as you can see it is quite large. Part of it has been 'smished' in as she killed it. Can you please identify it for us.  Thanks,  Rod

This appears to be a female wolf spider (family Lycosidae) – they can get quite large, I have seen specimens with a leg span exceeding 80mm. They often are found indoors, especially in houses with poorly sealed entryways into basements and porches. Although fearsome looking, they basically are harmless to humans. However, ones this large could give a painful bite if mishandled (they are not aggressive, and will not attack unprovoked).

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 I'm having trouble believing that this is a wolf spider. Firstly, because of the protrudant spinnerets. Wolf spiders do not spin webs, however females make egg sacks so that may answer that. Secondly wolf spiders perfer outdoor environments not dark basements where their camoflage has almost no effect. Thirdly the spider is to large for any wolf spider that lives in Canada. A picture from the front would have been helpful, Wolf spiders have large front eyes. However I can offer another explanation, a female Cob Web spider (genus /Tegenaria gigantea/). This would explain the spinnerets as this spider spins, suitingly enough, a cob web. Jacob Duarte, aspiring arachenologist.

#246  We found this in our pool recently when cleaning out the leaves.  We live in Nova Scotia.  I have seen insects like this but never this big. What is it???   Thanks,  Karen

This is a giant water bug (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae), sometimes known as electric light bugs or toe-biters. This specimen appears to be in the genus Lethocerus that includes some of the largest species in the family. They are aquatic, but readily fly to lights at night. They are general predators on other aquatic insects, as well as the occasional tadpole or minnow. Basically harmless to humans, they can give a painful ‘bite’ if handled carelessly. 

 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV


Directory of pest professionals in Nova Scotia

  #245  I live in South Central Alaska and this beetle was found among my Dermestid Beetle colony.  It is about 4.5mm in length and is blue in color (on the dorsal side).  Does anyone know what this beetle is and if it is harmful to my Dermestid Beetle colony?  How should I go about getting rid of it?  Thanks!

I cannot be absolutely certain, but this could be a checkered beetle (Coleoptera: Cleridae). Although these beetles usually have prominent bands, stripes, or spots on their wing covers, species in the genus Necrobia are an exception to this (see  ). Most clerids are general predators, so, if that is what you have, it could be preying on the dermestids. If so, I really don’t know what you could do, other than to periodically scan your colony and remove anything that is not a dermestid.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#244  I live in Calgary,  Alberta.  I was picking some flowers to take to a friend when I noticed a bee on the Shasta daisies, so I tried to shake it off and it didn't move and then I noticed a spider was eating it.  I finally got them both off in different locations.  Two days later, I was out looking to cut more flowers and here was this spider again with yet another bee.  I have not known of any spiders that attack and eat bees, I didn't ever see it again as white, but there was one of a similar size on the daisy centre that was a reddish colour.  Would this be the same spider using a camouflage?  January Stallard, Calgary, AB

This is a crab spider (family Thomisidae). They lay in wait, usually on flowers, for their prey to come within their reach. At least one species, Misumena vatia, can change color over a period of a few days – see  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 The exact species is called Flower Spider. It waits in flowers for a bee or wasp to come and collect nectar then it strikes. It will attack insects much larger than itself. Jacob Duarte, aspiring arachenologist.

I just found one of these too. From what I've found on the web I suspect it's the larva of the Yellow Mealworm Beetle or Flourworm (Tenebrio molitor).  Best regards,  Rob
Impossible to be certain from the photo, but if it indeed has legs, it could be a larva of a tenebrionid beetle, such as the mealworm (Tenbrio sp.), commonly associated with stored grain products. See   for a photo of adults and a larva. 
 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 #242  I live in Western N. Carolina and I found this bug in my back yard.  It has what looks like a nectar sucking proboscus on the front of it's head and half a miniature circular saw blade sticking up out of it's back.  Any idea what it might be?  I've never seen anything quite so strange in my life!!  Laurie
This is a wheel bug (), Hemiptera: Reduviidae. Collectively known as assassin bugs, reduviids are for the most part general predators on other small arthropods. Exceptions to this include the so-called ‘kissing bugs’ native to Mexico, Central, and South America that feed on blood and can transmit Chagas’ disease. The wheel bug is the largest reduviid in much of the United States, and can deliver a painful bite if mishandled.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV    
    I have seen other assassin bugs on this web site...but #242 with the saw back I have kept as pets a few times they have a dark diamond shape on there back that shines metallic in light and these little guys can fly, I heard they feed on blood so I gave my first one a mouse that was meant for my snake.  I don't think it fed on the mouse though...So I pricked my finger and gave it a few drops of my blood, and sure enough it drank the blood, just a fun fact I thought you might like.  Great web site by the way, very helpful.  Glad I found this site,  Pingin Shi
#241  Found on the bathroom carpet. Longest one seen is about 4mm. Appears to live in a tube of fairy, hairy stuff. Lots of them sometimes on the floor. They can spin webs too. Vacuuming the floor gets rid of them apart from the ones that get away, they just carry on breeding.  Rob.  UK
This is the larvae of a Casemaking clothes moth.  They spin a web around themselves and drag it around while feeding.  Read more on our clothes moth page.

Click on the photos  to enlarge

#240 Hi There, My wife and I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and we have recently found 3 - 5 of these bugs in the basement of our house.  Do you know what they are? Thanks. Sandor Takats.

This is a sowbug (also known as pillbugs or roly-polys). They are terrestrial crustaceans, more closely related to crabs and crawfish than to insects. They may be found in just about any place that stays moist (they depend on gills for respiration), including basements. Primarily scavengers on decaying organic material, some may become minor pests on very tender plants. Usually, no control measures are necessary; but you may want to eliminate unnecessary sources of moisture anyway, as these can be conducive to the presence of other pests.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV

#239  This spider has taken up residence outside our bathroom window.  Can you tell me what type it is?   Would a bite cause harm to a young infant?  Thank you for your help.  Kris, Ottawa, Ontario

This is yet another example of an orb-weaving spider (see numbers 231, 214, 201, and 183). It either is an immature female (unusual for this time of year) or a male (however, I cannot see the pedipalps, which would be diagnostic). In orb weavers, the males are much smaller than the females of the same species.

 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV
 This is an immature female Garden or Cross spider. Named so because of the white markings on the abdomen. You can tell it's immature because it's colouring is light and it hasn't reached it's full width. Jacob Duarte, aspiring arachnologist.

#238    We live in a very old (about 140 year) house in the Sacramento Valley in Northern California.  We have been getting these beetle type bugs infesting our house each fall/winter for the last 3 years.  They are small, about 1/2 in but some are larger.  When we smack them, they send off a smell (like dirty feet) and are difficult to kill.  They usually hide under things such as furniture and bedding.  I often find them in folded laundry and in our beds at night.  They seem to be attracted to light.  They are simply driving us crazy!!!   
I have searched everyone online and have not been able to identify them as any type of beetle, kissing bug (which we believe we also have) or weevil.  Anyone know???  Tina
This appears to be a ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae). This is a very large family comprising thousands of species. The vast majority are generalized predators on other small arthropods and are considered beneficial/neutral in so far as human interests are concerned. However, as in your case, they can become nuisances when they invade homes. The best defense is to try to find openings where they are getting into the house, and seal those off.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV     
 #237 This type of hover fly has a few people baffled. Any help in ID'ing it would be appreciated.
This female hoverfly belongs clearly to the genus Dasysyrphus and I my best guess from the characters I could see in the picture, would be Dasysyrphus venustus (Meigen, 1822).
Martin Hauser,  Department of Entomology, University of Illinois
#236 This is a spider I found in my front lawn. I am located in southern Maine. I thought by the web, that this was a funnel web spider, but didn't think Maine had any poisonous spiders. The little guy was down in the tube and I took a twig and slightly disturbed the web...he came running out and I took this picture. He (she?) was about the size of a pencil eraser including the legs.   Dan.
This spider belongs to the family Agelenidae, the grass and funnel-web spiders. Although indeed venomous (as are virtually all spiders), the species in Maine are harmless as far as humans are concerned. About the only species in this family that poses any real medical threat (the so-called ‘hobo spider,” Tegenaria agrestis) occurs in the northwestern U.S. and adjacent areas of Canada.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
#235   Please find attached photos of insect for identification. Thanks for your assistance. Have a great day. Sincerely,  Barry
This is a sphinx (also known as hummingbird or hawk) moth (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), in the genus Hemaris that includes several clear-winged species. Your specimen closely resemble Hemaris thysbe, the hummingbird clearwing
see  . 
 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
  #234  Found in north east Texas Texarkana. this bug has a mean sting.
This is a nymph of an assassin bug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). They are active predators on many other small arthropods, and larger species can indeed deliver a painful ‘bite’ if mishandled. Species in the genera Triatoma and Rhodnius found from Mexico south into much of South America can vector Chagas’ disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi.    Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
#233 Hi, what a great site. Maybe you can help us identify this spider we found in our living room, on the floor near a wall. We live in mid-Tennessee, USA, and found it in mid-October. Thanks.



 #232  These bugs were found along the walls and carpet. I live in North Vancouver BC. They are fairly small about 2 to 5mm long with a reddish head and a bunch of legs. Pretty disgusting. I am going to kill all of them if I can but would like to know where they come from. Please help. John
This appears to be a larva of a carpet beetle (Coleoptera: Dermestidae). They will attack just about any material of a proteinaceous nature, including wool. If the carpeting is small enough to be easily taken up, any insects in it can be killed by placing it in a deep freeze for a day or so. Thorough vacuuming of carpets and surrounding floor areas also will be very helpful in control. See for a fact sheet.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
  #231  Hi, found this spider in our laundry room in Toronto Oct. 21, 2004. Didn't seem to be too interested in moving much, guess it came in from the cold somehow. Legs fully extended I'd say it was maybe an inch and a half, maybe a little more. Abdomen was about the size of a subway token, but plump. Can anyone identify it for me? Thanks,  Graeme
  Like numbers 214, 201 and 183, this is an orb weaver spider (Araneida: Araneidae), a very large family of spiders. They usually are noticed in late summer/early autumn as the females fatten up prior to depositing their egg masses. All are harmless to humans, and many species feature banded legs such as are seen in your photo  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV

Click on the photos  to enlarge

#230  This is a moth found on my screen door in southern Maine. The wing span was approx 3.5 inches.
This is a cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia), Lepidoptera: Saturniidae. Collectively known as giant silkworm moths, saturniids include the largest species of moths native to North America. Unfortunately, they appear to be declining in many areas subsequent to habitat modification and to gypsy moth control programs.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV

Photo #230 appears to be a giant silk worm moth. I have seen several of these in various parts of the US in the past but never knew what they were. I did a little research and found this site which gives just a very little bit of information about them. Jon Crownover
  #229 Hi. I took this picture next to Petit Lac Long, in Ste. Agathe North, Laurentians, Quebec.
The residents call it a dock spider, but I need its real name to enter it into a photo contest.
Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated! Diane Dupuis-Kallos, Photographer
Dock spider” is indeed one of the common names by which spiders in this family (Pisauridae) are known. Primarily known as “nursery web spiders,’ another name is “fishing spider,” as these spiders usually are found close to water, and may even catch small fish. They are closely related to wolf spiders. See for more information.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
  #228 Can you identify this pest from the larvae?  Can you tell me how long it would take the eggs of the insect to develop to this full size larvae?  Thanks.  Ven

Note: Can the submitter of Number 228 provide either a clearer photo or more information about the context of the photo? It possibly shows a couple of pupal shells of flies such as house flies, but it simply is too fuzzy to be certain.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV

#227  I found several of these on some very sick looking maples in my yard in upper Michigan. I don't know if they have anything to do with the sickly maples, but I don't know what it is so I can't check. The picture is not very clear, but it is dark brown with red markings either side of the area just behind the head. It isn't a boxelder as I compared this already, it doesn't have that much red on it. There is a little bit of red on the underside as well. Thanks, Vicki

If no one on this forum can provide an identification (I certainly cannot from the photo and description), I suggest that you contact your county extension agent (see ) for assistance.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist, Sinks Grove, WV
This is a lightning beetle, probably a female Ellychnia sp. They cause no harm to trees either as adults or larvae. For an example in similar posture, see:  Jim McClarin
#226   These spiders were found on the veranda of a house in Nanaimo, BC, Canada (on Vancouver Island). 
They were anywhere from 2 – 2.5 inches long including legs.  Paul.
This is one of the large orb-weavers (Araneida: Araneidae) in the genus Argiope (probably A. trifasciata). The females usually are noticed in late summer/early autumn as they fatten up prior to depositing their egg masses. The males are much smaller, and often escape notice.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV
#225  Hi,  This is the best picture I could get of a bug that I found in my garden this summer. I live in Ottawa, Ontario and have never seen this bug before. It came in on some flowers I cut one night after sunset in mid August. The flowers I brought in were Cone flowers, dahlias, sunflowers and coreopsis. I'm looking to find out what it is.  Thanks!  Sarah 

This is an ambush bug (Hemiptera: Phymatidae). These bugs get their name from laying in wait (usually on flowers) for other insects to come within striking range of their mantis-like front legs (visible in the photograph). They appear to be commoner on flowers whose coloration somewhat matches their own. 
 Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV

#224   I'm trying to identify this beetle in my basement. It's about 1 inch long and dark brown with reddish-brown "shoulders". And Man, is it slow! Its about 16 degrees C in my basement and it will only try to get away if I give it a good poke. Its the third one I've found this season.  I'd appreciate any help you may be able to offer.  Brent.

This appears to be a relatively large ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae). This is a very large family of beetles, with nearly a thousand species reported from Canada alone. For the most part, they are general predators on insects and other small arthropods, a very few species, such as the seed corn beetle, can be pests on some plants. The apparent torpidity of your specimen is somewhat puzzling, as these beetles usually are quick to move when disturbed.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV 

 #223.  I think this is a ground beetle, but what I'm really interested in are the little ???? on it.
They look a lot like mom, so I'm not sure if they're parasites or babies. I can't find any information whether or not babies will ride with mom. Doesn't seem likely. Anyone have any ideas? I saw this on a logging road (October) on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Thanks!  Megan
  Although I cannot be certain, I suspect that your beetle could either be a ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) or a darkling beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). The small creatures are mites, not the beetle’s young. Mites often are found on a variety of insects, including many beetles. It often is unclear as to whether they actually harm the beetle, or are just ‘hitching a ride’ (entomologically called ‘phoresy’) to some other destination.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV
 #222   Hello,  Hope someone can figure what these are that are invading our laundry room and how there getting in there? They look almost like wasp but with bigger wings, and almost always just stay in the window of the laundry room, once in awhile will find one dead on the floor or just sitting there. They never really seem to leave the laundry room. And how do we go about getting rid of them. Thanks in advance,  Rich.
These may be winged (reproductive) ants. It is difficult to tell the size but they look large enough to be carpenter ants that could have a nest in the walls of your laundry room.

From their overall appearance, I believe that these more likely are wasps than winged ants. To get rid of them, you need to find where they are entering the room. Is it possible that they could enter through a torn dryer vent or poorly sealed window frame? Insects that are already in the room could be vacuumed up, or you could use any of the commonly available aerosol insecticides (‘Wasp Stopper,’ etc.). 

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV
 These are wasp for sure... cannot really tell from the pic but, almost sure some form of paper wasp. they probably have a nest right outside the window, you can find the nest and kill them or just wait until the fall/winter... they will die, including the queen... the nest will not be used again. -Berry T.

#221    Your bug page is great (although it sort of gave me the creeps and I had to double-check every time I felt an itch while looking at it). Was at the beach at St. Malo this afternoon (October 11, but unusually warm). This critter landed at the edge of where I was sitting and quite freaked me out. The tail looked scorpion like (in my opinion) with different segments, and a knob at the end (that is not visible in the picture). At the end of the rear legs where thicker arms? You can see one if them in the picture. Any help in identifying this one would be appreciated...
This is a female Pelecinus polyturator wasp (Hymenoptera: Pelecinidae). Their larvae are parasitic on the grubs of June beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Males of this wasp are seldom seen – they have an abdomen that is much shorter than the female’s and that is swollen at the tip. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist Sinks Grove, WV
#220.  These tiny spiders/bugs have plagued my condo in Boston since I moved in last fall. Lately I have seen a lot more of them. They are in the bedroom, living room and bathroom but oddly not the kitchen. They seem to like to hang out on fabric and in between sheets of papers.  I often find them on carpets, clothing (ewww!) and in between papers that have been lying around. What the hell are they and how do I get rid of them? Any help would be appreciated!  Krista
(Sorry.  No close-up available on this photo)

As the photo cannot be enlarged, I cannot be certain of an identification, but I suspect that it could be a spider beetle (Coleoptera: Ptinidae – some authorities place Ptinids as a subfamily of Anobiidae). These beetles are cosmopolitan in distribution, and are general scavengers on a wide variety of materials, from old wood to dead insects and grain products. A few species can become pantry pests, infesting almost any dry product that contains cereal grains (wheat, oats, barley, etc.) of any kind. See for a fact sheet, and for an image of the American spider beetle (Mezium americanum), which appears to resemble your specimen.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV

#219  Hello, It is October in Connecticut and I just started getting hundreds of these insects all over my house.  I have looked and looked online and can not find an identification for them.  Any idea what they may be?  They have red in their bodies and red outlines in their wings as well as a red line that is about 2/3’s the way down the wing and goes into the wing.  They have 3 pairs of legs and 2 antenna, they have two large wings that are solid and two wings under that that are a little more transparent.  They are ¾” to 1” long approx.   Here is a photo
This is a Box Elder Bug.
Box Elder Bugs cause concern in the autumn when they gather in considerable numbers on the warm outside walls of homes and sometimes find their way into houses looking for a suitable place to over winter.  When they gain entry to buildings through cracks or other openings they remain in wall cavities and will occasionally emerge inside the home in the spring.  They will not breed indoors, so there is no danger of starting an “infestation”.
  More information and photos of box elder bugs.

We live in Niagara Region and were swamped with the Box Elder bugs and it took me quite some time to track down what they were. (Didn't find your site at the time I was looking)  Someone suggested dish soap and hot water sprayed on them to kill them and boy, did that ever work! It was suggested that I use "Dawn" brand concentrate dish liquid, and I did, but when I ran out I just used Sunlight and that did the trick, also. It killed them (perhaps by suffocation?) and sure made the outside of the house smell nice.  I don't know if you want to suggest this treatment to others, but we found it worked for us. 
Sincerely, Diane,  St. Catharines, ON
#218  I noticed this bug while my friend and I were having lunch at the Toronto Zoo. I'm just glad that it was on the opposite side of the glass as I was! It doesn't look mean, and I'm curious to know what it could be?  Adrienne in Brampton, Ontario

Like number 202, this is an ichneumon wasp (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) This particular wasp is among those parasitic on the larvae of wood-boring hymenoptera in the family Siricidae (horntails), using their long ovipositor (the whip-like terminal appendage) to bore into the tunnel of the host insect.   For a photo of one in action see:  

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV

 #217   Have a swarm of these in my lawn in NE Oklahoma.  Haven’t seen any flying, only crawling around.  Love to be on the brick and in the grass.  Is it a Box Elder bug?  Color tends to be more orange than the typical box elder red.  Color is only on outside edge of the body, not across the back.  Thanks!  Scott

Appears to be a bordered flower bug or a close relative (Hemiptera: Largidae – sometimes included in the family Pyrrhocoridae). Although they superficially resemble boxelder bugs, they are in an entirely different family.

Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV

Click on the photos  to enlarge

 #216   I have found these worm like creatures for a week (about 2-3 a day). I have looked everywhere to find the source. I have come to the conclusion that it may be coming up from the carpet. Now a week later, I find this beetle  (the circular brown one) and dead larvae (or metamorphasising larvae --the tiny medium colored one). These may not necessarily be the same bug, so if anyone can identify any of these, I would appreciate it. I live in central Florida near the beaches. I am most concerned for the larvae. They have 3 pairs of legs in the very front of the body, and nothing in the back. No hair-like structures. It is about 6mm in length. Thanks again.  M.K.
The larvae in the photo likely are the immature stages of the beetle. They do not appear to be carpet beetles (carpet beetle larvae are much hairier – see ), but I cannot make a positive identification from the photo provided. If no one else on this forum can make a positive i.d., I suggest that you contact your county cooperative extension service office (usually in or near the county courthouse) for assistance. See for links to county offices.
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV
  #215  Hello,  This bad boy crawled out of a ground-level planter and made its way up the side of my house in San Diego, California.  We figure it was at least 2-3 inches in length, compared to the 2x4 beams on my house.  It has 3 segmented body parts, bronze colored wings, and long orange antennae-like feelers that my brother observed it using while eating plant leaves.  It has a small mouth and doesn't appear carniverous.  It also appears that the wings may not be functional for flying...they don't appear to be able to be large enough, or positioned in the right place to be able to carry the weight of this guy.  We also observed it using its front legs to clean its feelers.  Any help in identifying this creature would be greatly appreciated.  Much thanks,  Adrian.
This is a large spider wasp (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Their larvae feed primarily on spiders (including tarantulas) that have been stung and paralyzed by the adult female wasp. The female wasp usually constructs a cell or burrow that she then provisions with spiders upon which she lays her egg. The developing larva feeds on the paralyzed (but still living) spider. In spite of the appearance of the wings, they are indeed capable of flight.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV
 #214  This spider has been in our home for a while.  We live in Cochrane, Ontario.  It is large and aggressive.  The abdomen must be at least 1 cm across.  Our kids are curious about the name of this spider, so hopefully someone out there can help us.  Thanks.  The Nelson family.    

Like numbers 201 and 183, this is an orb weaver spider (Araneida: Araneidae), a very large family of spiders. They usually are noticed in late summer/early autumn as the females fatten up prior to depositing their egg masses. Many species feature banded legs such as are seen in your photo. As for its being ‘aggressive,’ as a rule, these spiders are not considered aggressive (at least towards humans), but, like most creatures, they may attempt to defend themselves when threatened.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV

#213  Found in Arnprior Ontario, inside an apartment building. 1/2 inch in length, 6 legs, antenna ( missing in Photo), Black in colour at rear half of body. Brown in colour front half of body. Shiny hard shell. No wings. Can you help identify. Thanks.  Byron
Really need a clearer photograph – could be a cockroach nymph, but impossible to tell for certain.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV

Pest problems in Ontario?   See the directory of qualified professionals in Ontario

#212  Dear Sir,  I found you on the web site. I am interested in determining what this wasp like creature might be.  It found its way onto my neck in my back yard this afternoon in Iowa, USA.  I trapped it and snapped these photos before releasing it.  It appeared to be almost three inches and length.  If you can identify it, I’d be very interested in finding out more about it.  Thank you.  Your servant in Christ the Lord,  Pastor Jeff Harlow
This is a wood-boring wasp (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), sometimes called ‘horntails.’ See
  for more information. Their larvae are parasitized by ichneumon wasps in the genus Megarhyssa (see number 202).   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist Sinks Grove, WV
#211  Hi,  I'm hoping your readers can identify this pest for me, as well as any risks it may pose to humans, and tips for eradicating them.  In addition to the attached photo, there are more photos at this address:
These pests are very small, ranging from about 2 to 7 hundredths of an inch (0.5 to 1.5 mm) in length. The ruler which appears in some of the photos is marked in hundredths of an inch.  They appear to jump when you approach them, although the photos clearly reveal wings, so maybe they were flying instead. If so, though, it is not a slow, hovering kind of flight; it really looks a lot like jumping.  I found several of them in my basement, on the concrete floor, hiding under objects (bags, boxes...). The basement is dehumidified to about 50 - 60 % RH (i.e. relatively dry). We live in Gatineau, Quebec (next door to Ottawa, Ontario).  Thanks.   - Norm.
This appears to be a so-called ‘book louse’ (order Psocoptera). These small, soft-bodied insects often are found amongst old books and other papers, especially under damp conditions. They are harmless to humans, and, as they usually are found in dark/dimly lit situations where humidity is relatively high, the best control is to keep potential harborage (cardboard boxes, etc.) at a minimum, and eliminate all unnecessary sources of moisture. Even though you feel that your basement is relatively dry, there may be many small areas (‘microclimates’) where the humidity is high enough to permit their survival. See for a fact sheet that included more detailed control measures.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV

Click on the photos  to enlarge

#210  While fly-fishing near Beckley, West Virginia, this caterpillar fell out of a tree on to my neck. I brushed it off, and a few moments later I started to develop welts and major itching. Later that evening, the bumps and itching spread down my chest and around the other side of my neck. I saw that most answers were submitted by Ed Saugstad, from WV and thought this might be helpful. Thank you for anything you can tell me. Ian
This is the larva of a tussock moth (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). These caterpillars have urticating hairs that can cause an itching rash if they contact unprotected skin. Although very uncomfortable, they are not considered dangerous. I have handled many of these over the years, and never have experienced any ill effects. See for a fact sheet on stinging caterpillars in general.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV
  #209   If anyone can identify this for me, I would be grateful.  Diana. Girl Guides of Canada
 This looks like possibly a jumping spider from its large, bright eyes and striped legs. Totally harmless to people, really very sweet little spiders with very good vision, they will actually watch you to see what you are up to. Good jumpers, fun to observe. Catherine, Calgary Alberta.
This is most definetly a jumping spider. From the picture it looks to be a Zebra Jumper which have either brown or white stripes on a black background. These are one of the best spiders to watch hunt as they attack insects much larger than themselves. Jacob Duarte, aspiring arachnologist.
   #208   This is a tiny green insect that is tipped with red. I spotted it near a small lake.  It seems to have a triangular head. If anyone can identify this for me, I would be grateful.  Diana.  Girl Guides of Canada
This is a treehopper (Hemiptera: Membracidae). Many of these have the pronotum (upper surface of the first thoracic segment) highly ornamented, sometimes with elaborate knobs and protrusions of uncertain purpose. See for an example. They all are sap feeders, but seldom are abundant enough to cause serious damage.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV
#207  I live in an apartment complex in Sudbury, Ontario. I have been noticing light grey bugs in my kitchen, although my kitchen is usually kept very clean. These bugs usually come out at night, but sometimes I notice one during the day. I think noise is a factor on when they come out. Most of the time they are on my kitchen counter, rarely on the floor, and never anywhere else. I have been trying to capture one for more than a week now, but they are very fast. They seem to have six legs in the front of their bodies, and two in the rear, but they are very small and hard to see. I would appreciate the identification of these bugs, and ways to control them, as I cannot find resources on these anywhere online. Thank you, Shawn

These are silverfish, primitive insects in the order Thysanura. Commonly found in homes, they seldom do any real damage, but most folks object to their presence. See  for a fact sheet that includes control recommendations. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV

 #206  We have property about 30Km north of Belleville, Ontario and wondered why two shrubs planted in the same location died. The last shrub planted was a witch hazel and while attempting to rescue it by transplanting to another location we found a couple of these insects. Two were dead from the digging but the other was alive. We have no idea what these insects are or whether they contributed to the dead shrubs. As you can see in relationship to the shovel they were quite large and very colourful.  B.K.

This is a cicada (Homoptera: Cicadidae) in the process of changing from its immature (nymphal) to its adult form. As nymphs, these insects feed on the roots of trees and shrubs underground. With different species, this time varies from one to 17 years. However, they seldom cause serious damage to their host plants by this feeding, their most noticeable affect is the death of small branches caused by the adult females’ laying their eggs in slits they make in the bark of the branches. For more information, see          Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist,  Sinks Grove, WV

# 205  This is a bug that my husband found on a childhood trip to Equador.  We've always wondered what it was.  Can you help?  The bug is glued inside a plexiglass case (the two white globs are hot glue). 

This is a scarab beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). The scarabs constitute a very large family, with thousands of species in a number of subfamilies. All are vegetarians/scavengers, feeding on leaves, dung, or rotted wood. I cannot tell for certain, but if this is a large beetle (more than 30mm long), it may be in the subfamily Dynastinae, that includes some of the bulkiest beetles in the world. Male beetles in this family often have very large ‘horns’ on their head and/or thorax, whereas the females are hornless.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV

#204    I was sleeping on my couch when I felt this little monster crawling on my face near my ear. I have a pair of 1x12 wood slats holding up the springs in my couch but am unsure if this guy is a fan of the wooden habitat. I live in Morgantown, WV, in an apartment building. Needless to say, I did not get much more sleep after I was awoken by this thing. I would have dismissed it as a cricket and washed it down the drain had it not been for the long pointed tail and its yellow-brown coloring. Any help you can provide will surely help me rest better. Thank you.  Ben Helsley
This insect belongs to the order Orthoptera, that includes grasshoppers and crickets. It is in the family Tettigoniidae, commonly known as ‘long-horned grasshoppers.’ Specifically, it appears to be cave or camel cricket; these harmless insects are found in dark, damp places, including under logs, in basements, and in caves. The sword-like apparatus protruding from the tail end is its ovipositor, used for laying eggs in soil.   Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV
Your first instinct was correct.  This is a common cricket to Northeastern USA.  The appendage on the back end is not a tail.  These two fine filaments are her ovapositors, or the organ used to lay eggs.  It is completely harmless, so rest easy!!!     Tait Klein     Seventh Grade Science Teacher   

#203   Several of these bugs are around the house and I was wondering if it was a harmless but and if it wasn’t how to do I get rid of it.  I’m located in Falkland British Columbia Canada.  Thank you in Advance.
Dan Reid
This appears to be a boxelder bug or a close relative. These true bugs (order Hemiptera) feed primarily on the sap of boxelder trees (members of the maple family), but occasionally will feed on other trees and shrubs as well (I have found them on both pea pods and raspberries). They often attract notice in late summer/early autumn when they congregate in large numbers on sun-exposed areas including walls of houses and trunks of trees. They can become nuisances when they invade homes in search of shelter before the onset of winter. Control measures include removal of female boxelder trees in the immediate vicinity, cleaning up debris in the yard, and sealing off potential areas of entry into the home (such as cracks around window frames, etc.) See for a fact sheet on boxelder bugs.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV

#202    Neighbors found this insect on the tire of their car in western Michigan.  I think it is a wasp but haven't had any luck identifying it off the web.  It is about 3.5 cm long, mostly brown with very striking yellow marks.  If anyone can help with the identification and tell us what the long extension of the abdomen (ovipositor?) is, we would be grateful.  Thanks, Diane and Peter.
This is an ichneumon wasp (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), likely in the genus Megarhyssa. These are parasitic on the larvae of wood-boring hymenoptera in the family Siricidae (horntails), using their long ovipositor (the whip-like terminal appendage) to bore into the tunnel of the host insect.   For a photo of one in action see:
Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist.  Sinks Grove, WV
#201  I was wondering if you could tell me about these two spiders that I found outside our house. They were found in webs about 18 inches in diameter, which were in fairly open locations. The first was on our front porch at waist level just in the corner, and the second was at the edge and underside of our back deck, but again, not really underneath or hidden. We live in Strathmore, Alberta (30 minutes east of Calgary).  Thanks, Tim

Like number 183, this is an orb weaver spider (Araneida:
Araneidae), a very large family of spiders. They usually are noticed in late summer/early autumn as the females fatten up prior to depositing their egg masses. Many species feature banded legs such as are seen in your photo.  Ed Saugstad, retired entomologistSinks Grove, WV

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