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.
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.