Currently viewing the tag: "snow bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black beetle walking on the snow
Location: Wilmington, MA
February 10, 2016 1:54 pm
Wondering what kind of bug this is. We are in Massachusetts, north of Boston. It is February 10, ~3:30pm, ~35 degrees F, cloudy, very light snow falling intermittently.
Signature: Kim Rose

Ground Beetle, we believe

Ground Beetle, we believe

Dear Kim,
There is not enough detail to be certain, but we believe this is a Ground Beetle in the family Carabidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Snowy recluse?
Location: Stratford, Connecticut
January 30, 2016 7:48 pm
I snapped this picture while dog walking last week. I was surprised to see a spider crawling across the snow. Is it a brown recluse?
Signature: Karen

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Dear Karen,
We are going to go out on a limb and say that this Spider walking on the snow is an unusual sighting.  The pronounced pedipalps indicate your spider is a male and the large mandibles made our identification relatively easy.  The Spiders of Connecticut site has a good image of a male Hacklemesh Weaver,
Amaurobius feros, that looks like a very close match to your spider.  The site states:  “Native to Europe, it has become established in southeastern Canada and the eastern U.S., though is not limited to those regions. This robust spider is common in and around homes, but also lives under rocks, logs, in leaf litter, and other dark, humid places. Adult males are notorious for wandering in the spring.”  BugGuide also has a good matching image and the information page on BugGuide provides the common name Black Lace Weaver and states:  “A synanthropic species; found associated with humans and man-made structures.”  Spiders.Us provides this life cycle information:  “For this nocturnal spider, mating seems to take place mostly in the spring, but sometimes also in the fall. However, because this species seems to have a lifespan of 2 years or more, it is possible to find sexually mature specimens year-round, so mating may take place at any time really. Egg laying seems to happen mainly in the early summer. The female deposits eggs into a lens-shaped, silken sac about 7-15mm in diameter. Each sac can have anywhere from 60-180 individual eggs inside and it takes about 3-4 weeks before the spiderlings emerge. She stands guard over them that entire time.  Interestingly, this species is matriphagous, which means the mother sacrifices herself as food for her spiderlings. This happens a day or two after their first molt, which is roughly one week from their emergence from the egg sac. This species is considered ‘subsocial’ because, after cannibalizing their mother, the spiderlings remain together and feed communally for about a month. They overwinter in their immature stage, and most overwinter once again in their adult form.”  Our favorite bit of trivia also comes from Spiders.Us:  “Cloudsley-Thompson (1955) mentions that, in England, Amaurobius ferox is sometimes called the ‘Old Churchman’ because it can be seen scurrying around on the walls and pews of old churches before rain storms.” 

Awesome Daniel!  Thanks for the ID and the info about him.  I’ve been a fan of the site for many years and this is my first “bug of the month”, very cool!  Happy (early) spring!
Karen in CT

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasps or Hornets in winter
Location: Connecticut
January 28, 2016 7:58 am
A couple days ago, I was walking in my front yard and I saw a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket walking on top of the snow…
I live in central Connecticut, so it seemed a bit odd because I’ve never seen that before in my 44 years here.
Is this normal?
Thanks,
Signature: Michael

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

Dear Michael,
We suspect this unusual sighting of a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes in the snow is related to the unseasonably warm weather experienced by much of the eastern U.S. through the end of 2015.  We are relatively certain this is an introduced European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula, which is described on BugGuide as:  “No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.”  Because of the snow, your images were underexposed, but if the images are lightened, the antennae do appear to be orange.  BugGuide also notes:  “Only females are able to overwinter. Some ‘workers’ of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. ”  You did not indicate what the temperatures were like on the day you took the images, but we are suspecting it was a warmer day, with temperatures above freezing, despite snow still being on the ground.  If the late start to winter allowed the nest to remain active considerably later in the season, and this individual survived a short “quiescent phase”, then it is possible she set out from the nest on a warm winter day.  BugGuide also notes:  “An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.  There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas,” which is prompting us to tag this as an Invasive Exotic, especially since the BugGuide range in quite extensive in North America considering the species has been reported here for less than 40 years.

Paper Wasp in the Snow

European Paper Wasp in the Snow

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Millions of snow bugs!
Location: Eastern Ontario,
January 4, 2016 7:17 am
Saw thousands, maybe millions of little black specks in the snow around trees generally, and they are actually tiny bugs. They seem to be falling from the sky, but more likely the trees. What the heck are they?
Signature: Jon Paul

Snow Fleas

Snow Fleas

Dear Jon Paul,
We are very thrilled to be able to post your documentation of cold tolerant Springtails commonly called Snow Fleas.  Springtails are benign creatures that can become a nuisance if they are too plentiful, but they pose no threat to people, pets, dwellings or plants.  There are very few creatures that are active during winter weather with below freezing temperatures, but Snow Fleas are not deterred by either snow or cold.

Snow Fleas

Snow Fleas

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found on snow !!
Location: Shea Lake, Quebec, Canada
March 23, 2014 10:26 am
Hello.. I was at my cottage ( I’ll put a google map link at the bottom ). The temperature was about +2 celsius. While walking in on a path we had made the day before, I notices what I thought was dust or soot from out wood burning fireplace, all alone the surface of the snow. I was more concentrated on the path, especially in the foot depressions left in the snow from walking on it. Then I noticed that the “soot” was moving !! Then I realizes I was looking at a bug of some sort. They were jumping like fleas !! I have video also. The first pictures shows the bugs up close and the second pictures shows the bugs next to the tire of my vehicle.
Any help will be appreciated.
Signature: sg.

Snow Fleas

Snow Fleas

Hi sg,
These Springtails are commonly called Snow Fleas because they are so small and because, as you observed, they jump.  They are not related to true Fleas, and they are benign creatures.  Snow Fleas often congregate in the sun while there is still snow on the ground.  They feed on lichens and when conditions are favorable, they can get quite plentiful.

Snow Fleas

Snow Fleas

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Winged insect above snow in mid-February in NH
Location: New London, NH
February 22, 2014 1:51 pm
We were snowshoeing on a trail in New London, NH, on 22 Feb 2014 when we came upon a small swarm of this insect, about a foot above the snow (three feet of snow pack). It wad the warmest day in months, about 44F. As we watched them, they all settled onto the snow and I took a few pictures of one.
Signature: M Wms.

Snow Fly

Winter Crane Fly

Dear M Wms.
This appears to be some species of fly with two wings, and it resembles a Crane Fly, and there is a genus of Crane Flies found in the snow known as Snow Flies, but they are wingless.  We also located and extensive page on Hiking With Chuck that has images that look identical to your fly, and interestingly, they were taken in Arethusa Falls as well as Mine Falls Park in New Hampshire.  All the photos are dated 2007.  We have tried contacting Chen Young and Eric Eaton to see if they have any ideas.

Thank you. “Naturalist Guy” Kenneth Barnett (on Facebook) said it was a snow fly, but this one definitely had wings and they are functional. I’m inclined to think Chuck is right and it’s a winter crane fly. Bug Guide (http://bugguide.net/node/view/8522) photos of the winter crane flies look right, too.
I appreciate your contacting Eric (whom I’ve contacted before about some bugs) and Chen Young; let me know if you learn any more.
~ Molly Williams

Hi Molly,
Thanks so much for providing the BugGuide link.  The Winter Crane Flies in the family Trichoceridae, not to be confused with the wingless Crane Flies known as Snow Flies in the genus
Chionea, look correct to us.  Both are contained in the infraorder Tipulomorpha along with other Crane Flies.  We will let you know if we hear back from Eric or Chen.

Dr. Chen Young confirms identity of Winter Crane Fly
A winter crane fly of the family Trichoceridae.
http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/cranefly/trichoceridae.htm
Chen

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination