Currently viewing the category: "Webspinners"
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Subject: Is this a termite?
Location: Florida
January 4, 2015 12:52 am
I found this bug on my wall. Is this a termite?
Signature: Connie

Webspinner

Webspinner

Dear Connie,
This fascinating insect is known as a Webspinner, and we have one contributor who has written extensively about her experiences with Webspinners in her home.
  She even named all her Webspinners.

Thank you so much for your help!!  I had visions of my termites eating my house!  If I find another one, maybe I could send it to her? (just teasing!)

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Subject:  Love Webspinners (the saga continues)
Location:  Henderson, Nevada
December 21, 2014
Hi Daniel,
Sorry this is so long but I have an update on my Webspinner Dynasty ;-).
I had to create a Family Tree to keep them all straight.  The tree goes as follows:
1.  Wilma 12/20/12 – the bravest and least skittish.  Wilma tunneled out from the toilet base and often stood up at the end of the tunnel looking for a male.  I still don’t know how she came to be in my bathroom to begin with, though we did discover a hole in the exterior of the house on the porch that matched the area of the toilet.
2.  Wanda 7/1/2013 – Wilma’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wanda was skittish and would stay only in the grout space I called the “front yard”.
3.  Wendy 9/1/2013 – Wanda’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wendy was also skittish but would peek over the grout wall of the “front yard”.
4.  Wynona 11/21/2013 – the adventurer/explorer.  Wynona was Wendy’s daughter created through asexual reproduction.  Wynona was awesome to observe.  She built and almost connected a tunnel completely around the outside of the base of the toilet.  She also started a tunnel up the front of the toilet a couple of inches.  She nearly connected the “front yard” to the other grout space area I called” the backyard”.  Wynona was all over the place.

Wynona the Webspinner

Wynona the Webspinner

5.  Wylie 3/13/2014 – I saved Wylie from a water-dish on the back porch.  He would have drowned but revived after I saved him with my finger.  I wasn’t sure if he would find Wynona but I placed him at the opening of the tunnel going up the front of the toilet and to my surprise he immediately twisted himself around to go down the tunnel.
6.  Walt – another male webspinner saved from the water-dish on the back porch.  I introduced him to Wynona’s front yard where he immediately disappeared under the linoleum.
7.  Winnie 4/4/14 – Winnie was skittish and possibly the daughter of Wylie or Walt and Wynona.
8.  Willie – another male webspinner rescued from the water-dish that disappeared under the toilet through the front yard grout area.

On 4/19/14 I had to call in a plumber to replace the wax ring on the toilet and I was worried about Winnie, Willie and any possible off-spring.  When the plumber picked up the toilet – I told him to not harm any bugs found underneath.  (I don’t know what he thought was under there but he jumped back after he pulled up the toilet – LOL!)  I did see Winnie hiding against the grout wall of the linoleum and then she went under the linoleum before I could catch her.   If bugs can be surprised she certainly seemed surprised.  A few days later, Winnie appeared.
On 7/2/14 I saw a Spider Intruder.  A couple of times over the last year and a half, different  black house spiders would find their way to the web-tunnels around the toilet.  I worried that the spiders  would eat the webspinners so I would catch them to put them outside.  The last one got away under the toilet so my husband sealed the hole on the porch and I waited for several days before seeing a webspinner alive and well.
9 & 10.  TWINS:  Wilfred & Willard – 7/21/14.  Until the twins made an appearance, I had never seen 2 webspinners at one time.  I believe the twins were Winnie and Willie’s offspring.  I was fairly sure they were males because they made appearances as immature light brown webspinners.  The females only showed themselves as black adults, no doubt looking for mates.  Also, the young webspinners could turn around in the web tunnels which is a male behavior and which females never do.

Webspinner Twins:  Wilfred and Willard

Webspinner Twins: Wilfred and Willard

11.  ACTUALLY TRIPLETS!!:  Enter Wilbert.  Another immature male webspinner.
13.  Wilda – Not sure if Wilda started out as a male and then became a female or if she was a 4th offspring of Winnie and Willie.   Wilda always stayed around the back-yard grout area.
14.  Wally – 7/12/14 rescued Wally from the water-dish and put him in the back-yard grout area where he disappeared looking for Wilda.
15.  Waldo – 7/19/14 offspring of Wally and Wilda.  Another light brown immature male.  Waldo was ready to fly on 8/15/14 so I caught him and released him outside.
16.  Wilbur – 8/13/14 offspring of Wally and Wilda.  Wilbur also stayed in the backyard grout area.  Wilbur was ready to fly by 9/16/14 so I caught him and released him on the rose bush in the front yard.
Apparently, Wilbur was the last of the dynasty.   I can’t believe how much I miss them.  I’m working on a webspinner children’s book which may help children to realize the value of a bug.  The webspinners were with me from 12/20/12 until 9/16/14 – almost 2 years!!  I’ve learned that it is possible to get attached to specific insects and that they have their own unique personalities and habits.
Thought you’d like to know ;-).  I’m attaching a few pictures (this time 😉 ):
1.  Wynona building the tunnel up the front of the toilet.
2.  The “twins in tandem” in Wynona’s web that goes around the base of the toilet.
3.  Waldo saying “goodbye” as I released him outside.
Always,
Kathi

Waldo the Webspinner

Waldo the Webspinner

Hi there Kathi,
Thanks so much for your wonderful update on your Webspinner dynasty.  Good luck with your book.  As with your previous Love Webspinners submission, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

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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.

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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