Currently viewing the category: "Webspinners"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: This fell out of my friends hair!
Location: Edmonton
September 16, 2014 6:47 pm
Hi,
Not sure what this is? Haven’t never seen one before.
Live in Edmonton, Alberta
Signature: Thanks a bunch

Webspinner

Webspinner

This looks like a benign Webspinner to us.  Some species have wings and others do not.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: We have new friends, what do we call them?
Location: Phoenix, AZ
May 18, 2014 10:09 pm
Dear Bugman,
A few of these just showed up in our house today, we’ve lived here for 4 years and have never seen them before. Could you help us figure out what to call them? They have antennae, what look like little pincers on their back end, and they have wings so they fly. They also seem to like light and they stay in one place for quite a while.
Thanks,
Rachel & Ethan
Phoenix, AZ
5-18-14
Signature: With Love

Webspinner

Webspinner

Dear Rachel & Ethan
We just created a thoroughly entertaining posting on Webspinners like the one in your image, and we hope you enjoy it.  Webspinners are benign insects that will not harm you or your home, so we are glad you made friends.

Wonderful!
Thank you so much, Daniel!!
R&E

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Love Webspinners
April 20, 2014 12:46 pm
I have a female webspinner under my toilet and have had at least one since December 2012.  They are cute insects and very endearing.  I’ve had 4 or 5 generations and each is unique in the direction they take their web tunnels and how they behave.  They can reproduce without a male and I’ve named each one.  The most recent is Wynona and I’ve found and saved 2 different males and “introduced” them to Wynona’s web where they’ve disappeared.  The first male, Wylie,  was successful in mating since a baby was seen 3 weeks later in the web tunnel that Wynona built around the base of the toilet.  I think each generation lives approximately 6 months.  They supposedly molt 3 times before attaining adulthood.  They are supposed to be very social and take good care of their young. I’ve never seen two at the same time.  I watch Wynona run back and forth in her tunnel (females never turn around but males can) and sometimes she extends her tunnels outwards or up the toilet bowl a few inches
.  The first webspinner, Wilma, built a tunnel a couple of inches from the toilet outward and even built a chimney at the end which she would rise out of to “look around” seeking a male.  She was the bravest and least skittish of the generations. I’d put a small drowned gnat in Wilma’s web every few days or so and watch as she ate them (even though everything I’ve read says they are herbivores).  I think they survive on the springtails and algae that must be in the humid area around the toilet.  I’d never seen them before and it took 3 months to solve the mystery.  I refuse to let anyone harm them.  I discovered they must have tunnels under the linoleum around the toilet because the last male disappeared under the linoleum looking for Wynona or one of her daughters.  If you find one – get a good magnifying glass and watch it – they spin their web tunnels upside down at times and are very interesting to watch.  When they wave their front legs around (spinning webs) – they look like they are waving at you with baseball mitt paws.  They are the coolest bugs around.  I’d love to catch her and relocate her to a terrarium but I’m afraid the move would kill her or separate her from her family and she wouldn’t have easy access to the food-source (algae or springtails), if that is what they are eating.
Signature: Kathi

Hi Kathi,
We wish you had sent an image, but since you did not, we are illustrating your posting with a Webspinner image from our archives.  We are also tagging you with the Bug Humanitarian Award for allowing your Webspinners to cohabitate with you in your home.  You did not provide a location for your sighting.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the Humanitarian award.  I live in Henderson, Nevada.  If I can find a good picture of one of my webspinners, I’ll send it to you. Meanwhile, the one from your collection is a great male webspinner ;-).
Thanks for putting up such a great website.
Always,
Kathi

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cute little thing
Location: Hudson, Florida
April 14, 2014 7:24 pm
Hello! We found this cute little guy just today and it really took a liking to us. We were wondering if you might know what it is?
Signature: Madde and Michaela

Webspinner

Webspinner

Hi again Madde and Michaela,
While we are confident that this is a Webspinner in the order Embiidina, we have not been able to locate an individual with matching antennae and wings on BugGuide.  This unidentified species from Florida on BugGuide has similar antennae, but no wings.  Sometimes only males are winged.

Webspinner

Webspinner

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Earwig? Termite? Both? Neither?
Location: San Diego, CA
April 5, 2014 11:54 am
Greetings:
I came across this strange creature (at least to me) in my home last night. It looks like a cross between an earwig and a termite. I’ve not seen something like this before. It’s about a half-inch long. Any idea what it could be?
Thank you!
Signature: RSK

Webspinner

Webspinner

Dear RSK,
The correct answer is neither.  This is a Webspinner in the order
Embiidina, and you can get additional information on BugGuide where it states their habitat is “silk galleries are spun under stones and bark, in debris, cracks in soil or bark, among grass roots, lichens, mosses, and epiphytic plants” and that they eat “dead plant material plus lichens and mosses found around their galleries”.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Small, cute, and a lifelong mystery to me
Location: Yucca Valley, California
August 19, 2013 1:05 am
I have been seeing these as long as I can remember first in San Diego and now in the high Mojave desert town of Yucca Valley. I have tried to identify them in the past to no avail probably due to my general cluelessness as to where in the insect world they might fit. Anyway this one decided to take a stroll on my arm tonight and my husband took a picture in hopes I would finally be enlightened. Thank you!
Signature: Claire Mojave

Webspinner

Webspinner

Dear Claire Mojave,
This is a primitive insect in the order Embiidina known as a Webspinner.  According to BugGuide, they can be identified as being:  “slender, usually brownish insects that may have wings (males) or be wingless (some males and all females); body of male flattened; body of female and immature more cylindrical; tarsi 3-segmented; basal segment of front tarsus greatly enlarged for producing silk from hollow hairs issuing on the basal and middle segments; cerci 2-segmented (but left cercus of some males 1-segmented).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination