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

Subject: bug
Location: San Francisco bay area
October 10, 2012 2:42 am
I live in northern California about an hour from San Francisco. I found this bug in on a paper towel in my bathroom sink. It is just the start of Fall here. Can you tell me what it is? It was about a inch long. Almost looks like an earwig with no pinchers. It’s head was very flat looking!
Signature: Thank you, Jessica Hunt

Snakefly Larva

Hi Jessica,
We quickly confirmed that this is a Snakefly Larva by comparing your photo to this image on BugGuide.  The information page on BugGuide states:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Beaverton, OR, USA
September 10, 2012 11:44 pm
This thing was inching along my computer screen, moving along like a caterpillar or inch worm. When I put something in front of it, it inched backwards. I tried scooping it onto a piece of paper to put outside and it almost spring loaded away, like it jumped. I’ve attached a photo
Signature: The bug man?

Snakefly Larva

This sure looks like the larva of a Snakefly, and this image from BugGuide looks even closer than the individual from our archive.  According to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying ant with Stinger?
Location: Lakewood Washington 98499
May 27, 2012 12:25 pm
I live in Washington State, Lakewood to be precise. I discovered these yesterday flying around my front door. This one has what looks like a stinger, and the other two had no ”stinger.”
Signature: Scott

Square Headed Snakefly

Dear Scott,
While we knew immediately that this was a female Snakefly in the order Raphidioptera, it looked different, so we checked BugGuide where we learned it is a Square Headed Snakefly in the genus
Negha.  The “stinger” is the egg laying organ of the female and it is known as an ovipositor.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Preschoolers Want to Know!
Location: Encino, CA
March 6, 2012 12:05 pm
Hello…I’m working on a preschool project for 4-5 year olds and we have recently seen this bug on our playground. Please help!
Signature: Billy Berrios

Snakefly

Dear Billy,
Tell the preschoolers that this is a Snakefly, and though the word is a mouthful, it is in the order Raphidioptera and you can browse BugGuide for great information and photos.  The stingerlike ovipositor is an indication that this is a female.  According to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”  Snakeflies are perfectly harmless. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a snakefly?
Location: Sierra Nevada, 5.000 ft. elevation, near Dorrington.
March 10, 2011 7:40 pm
There were LOTS of these flying around our cabin in the Sierra last summer. In looking at your site, I noticed that, aside from the large arms by the head, it closely resembles a mantisfly. In another post, it also appears to be much like the snakefly photos, but this one is probably a bit longer at 1-3/4 inches. Not knowing what it was (and this was the first time I’d seen them up there despite our having been going to the same spot for 30+ years), we dubbed it the ”Loch Ness Fly”.
Signature: Typeaux

Snakefly

Dear Typeaux,
You are correct.  This is a Snakefly.  Insects are frequently prone to cyclical appearances.  They won’t be seen for years and suddenly there is a population explosion.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

bug identification request
Location: Manteca, California
November 28, 2010 4:19 am
We’ve found this bug 3 times now – twice on the bed and once in the garage (which is directly below our bedroom). Haven’t been able to find a picture of it anywhere – I hope you can tell us what this thing is! It’s about half an inch long and can move very quickly. The first one my husband saw went in a sandwich bag to try and get identified – I was very surprised that it’s still alive a week later – no food, no air, no water.
Thanks for your efforts – looking forward to your answer.
Signature: Brenda W.

Snakefly Larva

Dear Brenda,
The beneficial and harmless Snakefly Larva you have imprisoned in a plastic bag would be much better off if you released it where you found it.  According to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods. Adults take efforts to clean themselves after feeding. Females have been observed to ‘have a curious habit of frequently wagging their ovipositor during the process of eating, as though expressing satisfaction with the food.’ [pg. 104, Carpenter, 1936]

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination