Ok this one is really gross. I live in Singapore. A couple of days ago, I looked down and saw this flattened rice krispie looking thing on my floor. I looked closer and it was moving. A tiny little brown head looking thing came out and helped it inch along. That head like thing could come out either end. The "casing" whatever it was looked like a whitich rice krispie. I think it was something the thing had excreted. I think it is a worm inside but I am not sure. Maybe it is something in its larva stage. Do you know what this sick looking thing is?
wendi in Singapore

Dear Wendy in Singapore,
There are certain moths that have a caterpillar that spins a cocoon like case that they live in. They can drag the case around. sounds like that is what you saw. The family, called Casebearers, is Coleophoridae.

thank you so much. It is difficult to find pictures but I did find one that is similar of the one that eats Larch. The one here is whiter casing but I think you are correct. I really appreciate your reply.
wendi m

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

ok anyone out there know how to get rid of the lady bugs in ky? we have tried everything house is tight but they are still getting in. a person could make a million dollars with a great answer. i dont have a million but bet ya people would buy the idea if it works.we have tried chemicals, herbs, etc. but there still here. anyone? thanks…….. cindy

Hi Cindy,
I can’t tell you how to keep them out, but I can tell you how to get them out. Because they release a staining substance when trying to remove them, a light touch is necessary. How about the vacuum cleaner. Just vacuum them away.

Hi, Bugman.
Is it true that a male praying mantis must have his head bitten off by the female he is mating with, in order to ejaculate? If so, that would be quite a decision to make, it seems to me! For the male, that is. And is this uncommon in the insect world? What might be the reason for this to be the case with the praying mantis?
M. Mattison
Oslo, Norway
(the praying mantis is referred to as a "kneeler" in Norway)

Hi Mark,
While it is not necessary for the male preying mantis to be beheaded in order to consumate the mating ritual, the female mantis will occasionally bite off her mate’s head. Much like a chicken with its head cut off, the male mantis will continue to perform actions, in this case, continuing the mating procedure. The male mantis doesn’t really make a decision in this matter. He is a slave to his hormones. It is fair to call this behavior uncommon in the insect world, though many female spiders, including the black widow, also devour their mate, which gets to the main reason this occurs. The female requires a considerable amount of nutrition to produce strong eggs, and to survive to protect them as well. The sacrifice of the male of the species helps to ensure that a healthy future generation gets off to a good start. It is for the good of the species, not the survival of the individual. "Kneeler" is an interesting local name. I wonder what its origin is. Here are some photos I love. They are steps 4 and 5 in the mating of the Preying Mantis shot by Catherine Chalmers for her book Food Chain: Encounters Between Mates, Predators, and Prey published by Aperture.

Thanks a lot for your explanation. And what is the correct spelling? "Preying" or "praying?" Both of them make sense. As for the reason why they’re called "kneeles" in Norwegian, I will try to find out. Thanks again.
Mark Mattison

Both spellings are correct, depending upon the author. I prefer to spotlight the hunting versus the religious connotation.

I now believe that the Norwegian name "kneeler" is from the same reason we say "praying" mantis: you kneel when you pray. At least if you accept the "praying" spelling. At least it makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that
before?
Mark

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi, Bugman.
Is it true that a male praying mantis must have his head bitten off by the female he is mating with, in order to ejaculate? If so, that would be quite a decision to make, it seems to me! For the male, that is. And is this uncommon in the insect world? What might be the reason for this to be the case with the praying mantis?
M. Mattison
Oslo, Norway
(the praying mantis is referred to as a "kneeler" in Norway)

Hi Mark,
While it is not necessary for the male preying mantis to be beheaded in order to consumate the mating ritual, the female mantis will occasionally bite off her mate’s head. Much like a chicken with its head cut off, the male mantis will continue to perform actions, in this case, continuing the mating procedure. The male mantis doesn’t really make a decision in this matter. He is a slave to his hormones. It is fair to call this behavior uncommon in the insect world, though many female spiders, including the black widow, also devour their mate, which gets to the main reason this occurs. The female requires a considerable amount of nutrition to produce strong eggs, and to survive to protect them as well. The sacrifice of the male of the species helps to ensure that a healthy future generation gets off to a good start. It is for the good of the species, not the survival of the individual. "Kneeler" is an interesting local name. I wonder what its origin is. Here are some photos I love. They are steps 4 and 5 in the mating of the Preying Mantis shot by Catherine Chalmers for her book Food Chain: Encounters Between Mates, Predators, and Prey published by Aperture.

Thanks a lot for your explanation. And what is the correct spelling? "Preying" or "praying?" Both of them make sense. As for the reason why they’re called "kneeles" in Norwegian, I will try to find out. Thanks again.
Mark Mattison

Both spellings are correct, depending upon the author. I prefer to spotlight the hunting versus the religious connotation.

I now believe that the Norwegian name "kneeler" is from the same reason we say "praying" mantis: you kneel when you pray. At least if you accept the "praying" spelling. At least it makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that
before?
Mark

Hello, we live in Tampa, Florida and we have recently been seeing these beetles in our home. They are brownish in color, about 1/16 of an inch in length, are more active at night, can fly and seem to be attracted to light. They also appear to like linens and laundry. I am trying to find their access to the home as they disturb my daughter at night.
Thank you,
Adam Matthews and Family

Dear Adams Family,
Most of the time when small beetles appear in the home, they are some type of pantry beetle. The larvae feed on a wide variety of grain products in the pantry. They can be found in flour, cookies, dog food and pasta among other things. Adults which fly are pollen feeders. Perhaps your fabric softener is attracting them to the clothes. Check your dry goods and try to track down the source of the infestation.

Our houseflies seem to show up seasonally, after the heat of the summer andbefore it turns cold. The warm winter we’ve experienced so far this year inNorth Carolina seems to have extended the flies’ season. While ours seem tobe common houseflies, they tend to congregate in our bathrooms and thekitchen. They aren’t as small as the writer Holly describes "bathroomflies". They look very much like the 1/3/04 picture that Jackie sent.While Jackie and her boyfriend were on vacation and returned to full-grownflies, we NEVER see anything less than an adult fly, no immature flies orlarvae. The cycle is that the adult flies show up over a period of two-three days(about 50-80 in number) then die in the next 3-4. We’ll have some peacethen and the cycle resumes, seemingly tied to the outside temperature–nottoo hot or cold. Of possible interest is that they also afflict one of our next door neighbors at about the same time (September-Octoberish) each year,but not the house on the other side of us (same side of street not far from a creek).
Finally, my questions:
1. What would you use to clean the drains in order to kill and eggs/larvae that might be germinating there?
2. What is the lifespan of the type of fly I’ve described?
3. Since they seem to be breeding inside and are drawn to the light, buzzing around the North-facing windows, is the outside temperature just a coincidence?
4. As there is no obvious organic matter that these flies are breeding in, have you any knowledge of something we could spray around the kitchen baseboards that might help control them?
5. Our dogs like to eat the flies. Is this a potential health threat forthem?
I am grateful for any help you can provide.
Heather

Dear Heather,
You have such a lucid letter. I hope I can be of some help. Bathroom flies are a totally different species with a different appearance. They breed in drains, but other flies do not. You do seem to have cyclical broods appearing. Finding the food source is the true key to solving the problem. A little bit of ancient history provided by Encyclopaedia Britannica: Spontaneous Generation or Abiogenesis was a theory that stated that fully formed living organisms sometimes arise from non-living matter. Aristotle taught the theory as observed fact. The Italian Redi, in 1668, proved that no maggots were "bred" in meat on which flies were prevented by wire screens from laying their eggs.
The fact is, flies seem to have a way of magically appearing. Flies were also, in the days of the persecutions, associated with witches. There is no magic, they are breeding on something. Adult flies will live for several weeks, but the maturation cycle varies with the temperature. It can be as short as a week in warm temperatures. The dogs can eat the flies without harm. Spraying poisons will help kill the adults, but will make your home toxic. Get to the root of the problem and discover the food source. Could there be something dead in the walls? Potatoes rotting under the sink? They are eating something. Good Luck.

You’re a good man. A good man with bad news. The thought of a dead rodent in the wall had flickered in my mind, but I was able to suppress it before it took hold. Until you wrote. I believe I’ll try the vents first. Perhaps the pantry floor. It would be easier if something smelled. I appreciate your thoughtful reply and bonus history lesson very much.
Heather