Hi! When I lived in Alabama as a child there was a bug that lived in the ground that we call a "doodlebug" or a "pinchin bug" because of the big pinchers it had…..it would burrow straw sized holes and back into it…..we as kids would put broom straw in the hole and wait until it started to wiggle then jerk the straw out and hanging from it by it’s pinchers would be the ugliest meanest looking little bug/worm thing less than an inch long. What was it?

Hi Stacey,
Your Doodle Bugs are the larvae of Ant Lions, Family Myrmeleontidae, winged insects that resemble Lacewings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Mr. Bugman,
A couple years ago when I was a courier in Philadelphia I found a Praying Mantis in an office building elevator, so I took her outside and let her go. Then a couple days later I found another one in a different building’s elevator ! This has been keeping me awake nights ever since. Should I worry about some ancient chinese curse or expect some munificent blessing ?
Colin Barclay

We have lost the original reply to Colin’s letter, but we assured him that he would fall victim to no curse, and helping the poor Mantids could only result in blessings.

Found bug crawling out from a crack in my wall, the house it like 50 or so years old….. Live in Kentucky it is light brown six legs antennas and pinchers on the back, it can curl up and when it flips over its lighter brown torwards the front of it. Thanks

Dear Kentucky,
I believe you have an earwig which can get quite plentiful in damp locations. We have additional information on our site.

We have this weird bug in the house that I have not been able to identify in any of the "household pest" lists, so maybe you can help.
It’s a warm weather bug, starts out small (1/2 inch) at the beginning of the season and now is an inch to an inch and half. They seem to come out mostly at night, but we have seen a few during the day. The body has 2 segments, blackish brown with lighter colored legs on each side and can crawl fairly fast across the carpet or up on the walls. The weirdest part is a tail that looks kind of like a crab claw or a pincher that’s the same color of the legs. It can be up or down, open or closed. I believe they originally came from the outside like the lady bugs and the box-elder bugs, but once they got in, they haven’t left. We don’t see them in the winter, but I don’t think they’ve actually left; they’re probably just dormant then. Any info would be helpful. Thank you for your time and attention,

Hi Julie,
You have earwigs. We at What’s That Bug have gotten many questions about earwigs since beginning this column. They belong to the order Dermaptera.
They frequent debris piles, stacks of lumber, compost piles and rocks that can be overturned. It is believed that their common name originates from the Anglo-Saxon word earwicga (ear worm) since they often found their way into the ears of sleepers on straw mattresses in sod huts. Their outstanding physical characteristic is the forcep pincers on the rear end of the abdomen. Earwigs are active a night. They can be attracted to lights and one species in particular, the European Earwig (Forficula auricularia), which has wings that are hidden under wing shields, is often a nuisance indoors. Despite having wings, they rarely fly, preferring to keep the wings hidden from view and to scuttle about in the dark. Though earwigs have an undeserved reputation for being garden pests since they sometimes chew tender young plants, they prefer to eat other insects, and are, in fact, beneficial. I think an internet search for earwig will provide you with photos that support my identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Lately I have been seeing some of the large mosquito-like creatures and am wondering: Do they really eat mosquitos? I’m talking about the ones that look just like mosquitos but are much lagers and fly with their legs dangling in an almost comical way. They never bother us excpt for an occasional tickle as they brush over an arm, and we are careful to not kill them, ushering them outside if the cat hasn’t already gotten them… Thanks. I just occasioned upon your web page thanks to google…

Dear Lou,
I’m so happy that search engine is doing what it is supposed to do, direct the curious to our site. You are talking about crane flies which though they are known locally in some areas as mosquito hawks, do not really feed on mosquitos. They have soft mouthparts incapable of biting. The Giant Crane Fly, Holorusia hespera, is one of the world’s largest flies with a 3 inch wing span. I’m also happy to hear we have a reader who knows how to cope with insect visitors in a kind and logical manner instead of just bombarding the entire environment with pesticides to no avail.

Thanks! I found a corroborative answer in further searching, Crane Flies! Never heard the name but known the interesting creatures all my life. And Mosquito Hawks are also names for dragonflies and Damsel flies. Fascinating photo article on Damsel flies in National Geographic recently, too.
Thanks, Bugman!

I live in SC and yesterday (4/30) I found 3 bugs attached to my miniature pincher’s bare belly (only on hairless spots). They were much easier to remove than a tick. I know they were sucking her blood because they were attached exactly the same way (like a tick would be) and were full of blood. They leave red patches that get about as big as a dime and last 3-4 days but don’t itch. The spots look almost like ringworm. The bugs looked very much like sweat bees but didn’t sting me when I removed them. They had tiny transparent wings and were black like a sweat bee but a little smaller. Our vet didn’t know what this could be. I have never found one of them on a person, but my dog has been getting these red spots whenever she’s been outside over an hour (which only happens in warm weather). Please tell me what this could be so I can protect my little dog.
Thank you,

Dear Angie,
Louse Flies, family Hippoboscidae, are small with flattened bodies. They look like winged ticks that cling tenaciously or crawl sluggishly when they land on skin or clothing. All louse flies are blood suckers, though none feed regularly on humans. Upon emerging from the pupa the adult fly, which has fully developed though fragile wings, flies among trees and shrubs in search of prey. They are ectoparasites whose natural prey includes deer and certain birds.

Hi Mr. Bugman,
We found this on our daughter’s wall in her bedroom and of course think the worst. We thought it was a tick. My husband says it’s "pinchers" were open. Can’t find it on the net anywhere. Any ideas???
Itchy in Syracuse, NY

Dear Itchy,
It is a harmless pseudoscorpion.