Little worms in white paper houses
Dear Bugman, I recently moved to Florida to a just constructed home. I have a monthly bug service that I pay for dearly, as our new home had cockroaches before it was even occupied. Now I keep finding a very strange bug in my bathroom. It is a little tiny reddish worm carrying a big (1/4 inch long) paper shell, acutally dragging it around. The shell looks similar to a large sunflower seed in shape, but is white and papery. When you go near them, they retreat into the little shell. Then when they think it’s safe, they pop out of the end and start akwardly dragging the shell around again. I keep picking them up and tossing them outside, but everytime I go into my bathroom there are more of them. Yesterday when I was taking a bath, one crawled up out of my bubblebath, pulling his little paper shell with him. Now that’s the last straw for me. Yuck! What could these things be? None of my neighbors have ever seen or heard of such a thing. They suggested silverfish, but I know what they look like and these definatley are not silverfish.
Help!
Leslie M*^^!##s

Hi Leslie,
You have Case-Bearing Moth larvae. The small larvae carry a noticeable case made of fine sand and debris. The case, which is about a quarter to half an inch long, is flattened on top and bottom, expanded at its center and tapered at both ends. They are often found on walls (both outside and inside) of houses and other structures. Larvae are said to feed primarily on insect remains, fur, flannel, and hair: they do not seem to be a clothes pest. We have gotten many letters from Florida regarding Case Bearing Moths.

Update: Invasion of Privacy????? (03/22/2008)
March 22, 2008
Hello,
We are writing to you on behalf of Leslie M*^^!##s. She has asked us to contact you to see if you will consider removing the content about her … Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are ReputationDefender, Inc., a company dedicated to helping our clients preserve their good name on the Internet. Our founders and employees are all regular Internet users. Like our clients, and perhaps like you, we think the Internet is sometimes unnecessarily hurtful to the privacy and reputations of everyday people. Even content that is meant to be informative can sometimes have a significant and negative impact on someone’s job prospects, student applications, and personal life. We invite you to learn more about who we are, at [web address removed] . When our clients sign up with our service, we undertake deep research about them on the Internet to see what the Web is saying about them. We find sites where they are discussed, and we ask our clients how they feel about those sites. Sometimes our clients express strong reservations about the content on particular websites. They may feel hurt, ashamed, or “invaded” by the content about them on those sites. As you may know, more and more prospective employers, universities, and newfound friends and romantic interests undertake Internet research, and the material they find can strongly impact their impressions of the people they are getting to know. When people apply for jobs, apply for college or graduate school, apply for loans, begin dating, or seek to do any number of other things with their lives, hurtful content about them on the Internet can have a negative impact on their opportunities. At some point or another, most of us say things about ourselves or our friends and acquaintances we later regret. We’re all human, and we all do it! We are writing to you today because our client, Ms. M*^^!##s, has told us that she would like the content about her on your website to be removed as she considers it outdated. Would you be willing to remove or alter the content? Simply omitting her last name would be more than sufficient. It would mean so much to Ms. M*^^!##s, and to us. Considerate actions such as these will go a long way to help make the Internet a more civil place. Thank you very much for your consideration. We are mindful that matters like these can be sensitive. We appreciate your time. Please let us know if you have removed or changed the content on this site by sending an e-mail to: [email address removed]. If another individual would be more appropriate to contact on this matter, we’d be grateful if you could forward this message to him or her. Yours sincerely,
Bistra
ReputationDefender Service Team

Hello Bistra,
Though it is time consuming, we can provide a do-over for her by removing Ms M*^^!##s name from our website post haste. We never intended to invaid her privacy. We merely posted a query letter she willingly sent to our site. We would hate to impact her potential dating opportunities, her chances of getting into a university (we would never forgive ourselves if this was a deal breaker with Harvard) or her chances of getting a lucrative job merely because of the world knowing that she had Case Bearing Moths in her bathroom. It is sad that potential love connections and employers could be so cruel and insensitive when a good look at their own closets, kitchen cupboards or bathrooms might reveal an infestation of carpet beetles, meal moths or bathroom flies. Our sympathies go out to Ms. M*^^!##s and we wish her all the luck in her subsequent internet romances, post graduate work, and securing that six figure income now that she cannot be connected to Case Bearing Moth Larvae on the internet.

Our readership weighs in:
On the ” Leslie M*^^!##s” thing.
(03/24/2008)
I have a sneaking suspicion that this young woman probably had a problem with an entirely different place all together. Or perhaps had no problem at all and this company is phishing. Either way, they just did an internet search for her name and, since it came up on your site, they mailed you. That’s my opinion and can be taken as such. This sort of thing always makes me mail the person in question to see if it’s true. Bye! Love your site!
Jill Sylvan

Invasion of Privacy
(03/24/2008)
Dear What’s That Bug,
At first I thought that your letter from the ReputationDefender team was a joke since it was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. Ironically, I think that worse than having your name associated with a picture of a Case Bearing Moth Larvae in your bathroom, is being associated with a “reputation defender team” trying to get your name removed from being associated with a picture of a Case Bearing Moth Larvae in your bathroom! Personally, I would feel honored to have my name as one of those privileged few who have had their pictures and/or letters posted on such a respected and loved web site. In fact, I wouldn’t want to have as friends or employers those who would think that writing such a letter to What’s That Bug would be liability. Some of the coolest and most interesting people I know are those who are frequent visitors to this site. Keep up the good work!
Laura from NJ
PS

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mystery bug
We have these in numbers in the back yard and are not sure that they are. I was thinking it was a type of chinch bug but I have not been able to verify. If you could help I would appreciate it.
Thanks allot,
Rick

Hi Rick,
You have an immature or nymph stage Box Elder Bug. Both nymphs and adults congregate together in large aggregations often on Box Elder and Maple trees, but also on other deciduous trees. They are usually noticed in fall and warm winter day. They sometimes enter homes in great numbers.

Is this an Assasin bug?
Hi There! I’ve been trying to identify this bug, and I am fairly sure it’s an Assasin bug of some sort. It was quite large, although I did see one even larger (no camera though!) It doesn’t have the typical leafy leg decor, so I pretty sure it’s not a leaf leg bug. And he also doesn’t have a lighter tip on his antenna. I live in NW Georgia. I found this guy on my Pyrracantha during the summer, and he stayed there for weeks. Thanks for your input!
Shannon Davidson
Dallas, GA

Hi Shannon,
We wrote to Eric Eaton who correctly identified your: “This is not an assassin bug, though. It is a male Acanthocephala species, family Coreidae (leaf-footed bugs). Males have greatly swollen hind femora (“thighs”) armed with spikes and teeth, which they use in battles over females. Both genders have leaf-like flanges on the hind tibia (“shins”). Neat bugs, totally harmless, feed on seeds mostly.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Toe Biter
HI. I found one of these Water Scorpions dead in my living room and did not know what it was until I found your site. After I found it, I put it in a box with a lid, and the next day when we opened it, it smelled like a dead corpse. Can you tell me why?
Gina

Hi Gina,
Your dead Toe-Biter began to smell like a corpse because it is a corpse. Insect collectors preserve most specimens by letting them dry out. If you placed the still fresh specimen in an enclosed space, it could not dry and began to decay, hence the smell. Your specimen appears to be a Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus americanus, and not one of the Nepa Water Scorpions which rarely fly. We are getting a second opinion on the very long breathing tube your photo illustrates, and are unsure if this is an individual anomoly. Your image is beautiful.

what is this bug?
1/4" in length. many legs on each side. somewhat hairy. has a wormlike head that wiggles around, the back end almost looks like wings creeping out from under a jacket. the jacket is light oolored belt around the midsection and the ends are darker. the tummy of the bug is all light colored. they had no visible antenna or tail (through a magnifying glass)…… 4 of these were on one sons wall in his bedroom. one more was sighted in an upstairs bedroom. they are very slow moving, in a slow wiggle sideways. when dropped in the carpet, they burrow down into it. help. thanks.
Jean

Hi Jean,
You have a Carpet Beetle Larva, one of the Dermestid Beetles which eat wool and other natural fibers as well as doing major damage to museum collections.

What’s this bug
Hi,
I recently found many of these bugs in my apartment. It has been raining a lot recently and I’m not sure if that has anything to do with them being inside. I have included pictures of them but they are actually an amber color and transparent. They fly and seem to be attracted to the light. Please help me identify them so I can get rid of them!
Julie

Hi Julie,
Eric Eaton wrote to us identifying these images as “brown lacewings (family Hemerobiidae, order Neuroptera). Larval brown lacewings prey on aphids, so they are nice insects to have around.”