Currently viewing the tag: "snow bugs"

Subject: Bug on snowy mountain in NH
Location: New Hampshire USA
March 3, 2013 9:13 pm
Hello – I spotted this insect last weekend while back country skiing near Jackson NH in the white mountains, elevation 2200 feet. It was walking around on the snow. I was surprised to see an insect active this time of year but perhaps it is common.
Signature: Tom

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Hi Tom,
This is an exciting posting for us.  There are several unrelated insects commonly found on the surface of the snow that are lumped together under the common name Snowflies.  This Wingless Winter Crane Fly, most likely in the genus
Chionea, is a true fly, albeit without wings.  More photos and information can be found at The Backyard Arthropod Project and The Crane Flies of Pennsylvania.  Adaptation to life on the surface of the snow is not very common with insects and arthropods, so we are always excited to post new documentation.  

Thanks Daniel. Let me know if you need any more information about this bug.

Subject: what is it?
Location: northampton ma
February 11, 2013 9:15 am
Several of these were walking on top of a snowdrift in central-western Massachusetts after the blizzard 02/10/2013. They were about an eighth of an inch long at most. I didn’t realize that bugs could live outside in the winter. Maybe their nest was disturbed by the snow breaking off dead tree limbs or something like that.
Thank you!
PS: They look a lot like the bug drawing on your website here!
Signature: kandy

Small Winter Stoneflies

Hi Kandy,
Not many insects are found in the snow, but these Small Winter Stoneflies which are also known as Snowflies are frequently found on the surface of the snow.  The drawing you refer to is actually an Earwig.

Subject: what is it??
Location: central Pennsylvania
February 10, 2013 4:52 pm
Hey bugman 🙂 today my husband nd i decided to take our four year old or a walk around the reservoir. Its early February in were in central Pennsylvania. We came across this bug just walking around in the snow. We would love to know what it is! Can you help?
Signature: S*C*A*M*

Small Winter Stonefly

Dear S*C*A*M*,
There are a few insects found in the winter on the snow that are commonly called Snowflies, and this is one of them.  This is a Small Winter Stonefly in the family Capniidae.  Their presence near your reservoir is an indication that the water quality is quite pure as they cannot survive in polluted waters.

Thank you so much! We’re happy to have these little guys around if it means we have clean water! Its interesting how they survive in such cold conditions!

Subject: id caterpillar
Location: northwest NJ
January 16, 2013 5:25 pm
Good afternoon. This morning I found over two dozen of these caterpillars all dispersed throughout my yard on the snow! This is in NJ can’t understand what brought them out in this weather! Thanks.
Signature: Alexandra

Winter Cutworm

Hi Alexandra,
This is a Winter Cutworm, the caterpillar of the invasive, exotic Large Yellow Underwing,
Noctua pronuba.  This species appears to be rapidly spreading in North America.  According to the Diagnostic Services at Michigan State University:  “Noctua pronuba caterpillars were found in large numbers in the fall of 2007 in central and northern Michigan; extension agents reported thousands of caterpillars around homes and in hay fields. The extensive defoliation of hay is one of the first confirmed reports of economic damage attributed to this insect in the U.S. … In large numbers, caterpillars move across fields and roads, similar to armyworm. However, unlike other caterpillar species winter cutworm is very cold tolerant, emerging even in the winter to feed. Thus if a large cutworm-like caterpillar is found late in the fall or during the winter, it is likely Noctua pronuba.”  According to BugGuide:  “Introduced from Europe to Nova Scotia in 1979, this species has since spread north to the Arctic Ocean, west to the Pacific, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Great information – thank you so much for taking the time to research!


Subject: Snow fly?
Location: Durham, NC USA
January 18, 2013 3:37 pm
I’m an avid insect and macro photography enthusiast and I spotted something this morning on some fresh snow that caught my attention. Looks to be a sp. of snow fly, but I’m not positive. It was a tad smaller that a Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit fly) Any ideas?
Signature: Andrew B.

Aphid in the Snow

Hi Andrew,
This appears to us to be an Aphid, and we presume that snow is not its typical habitat.

snow insect
Location: mt rainier national park, washington state
February 25, 2012 2:20 am
we saw this 6 legged, spiny insect on a snowshoe in mt. rainier national park (washington) late feb 2012. from limited, ignorant research– it looks similar to firefly and lacewing larvae but not exact. wished we would have put something down there to show size-but didn’t- was at least 2 inches long. thanks
Signature: jen

Hellgrammite in the Snow

Dear Jen,
This sure looks to us like a Hellgrammite, the larva of the Dobsonfly.  Interestingly, BugGuide has a photo, also from Washington, that was posted two years ago in February.  That individual is also in the snow and there was speculation about why it was in the snow.

Thank you so much-  very nice to get an answer so quickly.  we were right next to a spring fed beaver pond with numerous geothermal springs/vents.  if that makes any difference with the strange location (snow) of a typical aquatic  bug.
Again- thanks again-

Hi Jen,
Those details might be significant, but it is still interesting that there was another Hellgrammite sighting in Washington in the snow.