furry gray insect (Gray Velvet ant)

by Rebecca
(San Marcos, California, USA)

6 black legs, gray fur on body


Moni says Gray velvet ant also called thistledown velvet ant

Rebecca, it does look like a strange velvet ant...my thoughts exactly. However,with a little searching it is a Gray velvet ant also called thistledown velvet ant

found in So. Calif. It is really not an ant but a wasp, which makes it sound more confusing!?

There seems to be some confusion to the actual species...it might be the same as the red velvet ant or a subspecies. If the velvet ant experts don't know...I know I don't know...that is not my area of expertise.
Hope that helps a little.

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Velvet Ant?
by: Anonymous

Looks like a strange Velvet Ant.

Thanks
by: Rebecca

Thanks Moni. It is good to know the name of this little guy. One question, since it is a wasp, does it sting?

Gray Velvet ant
by: Moni

Rebecca
The wingless female does have a painful sting.

She lays eggs in sand wasp burrows where the larva of the velvet ant feeds on the sand wasp larva as well as the food of paralyzed flies the female Sand Wasp provides for her young. Male Velvet Ants do have wings and fly.

Velvet Ant
by: GG

It looks like a Thistledown Velvet Ant, possibly Dasymutilla gloriosa. They look a bit like creosote bush seeds. This one has a bit shorter "hairs" than many I've dealt with, but they do vary. While they do sting painfully, you have to really harass it to do so--either on purpose or accident. They're cute, I think, but that's the biologist in me, I suppose.

Thank-you
by: Anonymous

Thank you Moni & GG, Your help is greatly appreciated. I'm glad to know that they sting because our 2 yr old granddaughter loves to pick up bugs. Rolly-pollies especially.

Thank you!
by: Tanya

My boys just found one of these outside! I spent 30 minutes trying to figure what it was (I thought it was a spider), thanks to your site now we know!

Finally an answer
by: Alex

This little guys are very common in Sonora (Mex), we know them as "hormiga de hueso" my grandparents told me long ago that it is because if it stings it hurts so bad that you can feel it in your bones. I wanted to know the name in English and found on to this page. ^.^

ouch
by: Anonymous

It had a terrible bite and i try to flick it off then its tail arched up like a scorpion i was so scared

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Gray insect w/ orange legs (Wheel bug nymph)

by James Wagner
(Shaw AFB, SC, USA)

This insect is grey bodied, almost hairy looking, and the bottom half of its six legs are orange, as well as it's antennae and some long mouthpart. The feet are all forked into two, like claws. It walks like a spider and sticks it's black spiny abdomen into the air like a scorpion would. What is it, and is it poisonous?

Moni says, James This is a photo of a wheel bug nymph or young stage of a large bug known as the Wheel bug.

The nymphs and adults are great predators to have in the garden to get rid of caterpillars, aphids, etc.

They overwinter in the egg stage then emerge in spring to grow into the adults. There is just one generation per year.

CAUTION: The adult wheelbug is reported to inflict a very painful bite. It has been reported use of ammonia water or Epsom salts is helpful in relieving pain from the bite.

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Assassin Bug
by: Anonymous

Looks a little like an assassin bug

Wheel Bug
by: Anonymous

Had one of these creepy bugs in my truck! Athens, GA

Wheel Bug
by: Anonymous

Wheel bugs DO give a VERY painful bite... Feels like a wasp sting!

hest
by: Anonymous

dose any one no if it is rare

Wheel bug nymph
by: Moni

hest
It is not rare...rather common beneficial insect.

I have seen those at home
by: Eduardo

I have seen some of those at home at Guayaquil, Ecuador.
They run very fast!

location
by: Anonymous

I just had one of these bugs on my car the other day in Folsom, NJ

Thanks
by: Anonymous

We found one on our patio in Ohio! It looked ready to jump when approached.

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Gray Furry, with Red antenni and jaw spike thing (Wheel bug nymph)

by Emily Marder
(Atlanta, GA USA)

Found in Atlanta, GA. June 20th 2009


Moni says this is a wheel bug nymph

There have been several of these critters sited in the south recently on Insect Id.
This is a wheel bug nymph which is considered a beneficial insect. It is scouting for insects to eat in your garden.

As it grows it will molt a few times and turn into a large gray bug with a spiky looking 'wheel' on its backside behind the head. As it gets to be an adult you would not want to pick it up as it reportedly bites with its long piercing sucking mouth parts and if so it is said to be very painful.

You have a photo of a wheel bug nymph or young stage of a large bug known as the Wheel bug. The nymphs and adults are great predators to have in the garden to get rid of caterpillars, aphids, etc.

They overwinter in the egg stage then emerge in spring to grow into the adults. There is just one generation per year.

CAUTION: The adult wheelbug is reported to inflict a very painful bite. It has been reported use of ammonia water or Epsom salts is helpful in relieving pain from the bite.

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wheel bug nymph
by: jeannie

Found one on my mailbox. Thanks for knowing what it was. now I know to leave it alone.tried to take a pix but was afraid to get to close see how it seemed to follow me instead of run away.

Wheel bug nymph
by: Moni

Jeannie
So nice to have out there to help with garden pests for this summer!

Thank you
by: Tiauna

We found one on the playground at my job (preschool teacher, in MD) we were both scared and interested... Glad to know whatbit is and to make sure my children symtay away from it at all costs...

In Pa.
by: Jody

Had one in my jeep was on my neck so i grabed it not knowing what was, apparently they bite!! Hurt like a yellow jacket sting, left a little blood blister on my finger!! Beware!!

Ouch!
by: Emily

I was just bitten by the nymph. I'm in Paulding County (west of Atlanta) and was moving some outside furniture. It either stung me through my shirt or climbed up my shirt sleeve. All I can say is YOWSERS!! I am reading that only the adult stings/bites. I can say from experience that that is not true!! Thank you so much for helping me ID this bug. I think I'm now going to live.

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Grey bug (Masked hunter bug)

by Lavi Yatziv
(Ottawa Ontario Canada)

Grey (ugly) Bug

Grey (ugly) Bug

Grey in colour, can jump.
What do I do?

Moni saysYour insect is the nymph stage of a true bug called masked hunter.

This is in the assassin bug family so they are predators on other insects.

Nymphs exude a sticky substance that causes dust, lint, and other small particles to adhere to the surface of their body. This camouflage may help the nymph avoid detection by both predators and prey.These nymphs can bite humans in self-defense when mishandled. The bite is said to be very painful.

Both the adult and nymph are predators. They prefer dry habitats and if found in the house there are never very many. They are said to feed on woodlice(think pillbugs or rolly pollys that do not roll), lacewings, earwigs,and bedbugs.

Hopefully it just came in thru the cracks or on your clothing and you don't have bedbugs!

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Grey Bug ID
by: Anonymous

I forwarded the photo of the grey bug to a friend who is a bug and creepy crawlie expert...he said it is a Masked Hunter, and their prey is bedbugs. He was concerned that the photo was of a bug I had found, and relieved to hear it was not.

YIKES!
by: Lavi Yatziv

It's likely that the bug came in on my outdoor cat.
Going to check for bedbugs.

Thanks for the help!

masked hunter bug
by: Moni

Lavi
Probably just brought in on the cat or your clothing, but doesn't hurt to look. You would know if you had bed bugs, they bite and you would see blood spots on your sheets.
They are very light sensitive and hide with any light or movement, so it is best to check quickly at night with a flashlight.

Grey Bug
by: Richard

You are not alone i've found these in my house in Niagara Falls, ON a couple times a year. I was hoping it wasn't a tick cause I have dogs and smaller kids playing around. They have always been found in my basement where I do have alot of wood panelling and stuff.

Does anyone know of a way to get rid of them of kill them off ?

Masked hunter bug
by: Moni

Richard
These are predators on other mostly pest insects in your house....Please do not kill them!

If you do not want them in the house, then just collect them in a paper cup or container and put them outside...where they will be good for your yard and garden!!

found masked hunter
by: carine

Hi there,
A bit concerned...We moved in december in a new house (5yrs old) in the country and we found a dead masked hunter. But 2 month after, we found a nymph and an adult in the same spot alive. I cleaned the house, vacuumed all the crevices. Now, 1 month later, I decided to move my son's room in another, while cleaning the closet, I found another one (dead this time again!????? WTF! Tonight (2 months later), I found a live adult one and I am sick of this bug, it feaks me out. I don't have bedbugs for sure. My question; Could it be hanging around in my central vacuum cleaner? And also, how many babies do they make? I'm pregnant with my second child and disgusted by the thought of one of my children being bitten...May I point out that I have a cat and a dog also...
Please help!!!

Masked Hunter
by: Moni

Carine
As noted in the comments about this insect written by Moni, these insects feed on other insects. So you may have other insects in the central vac that they feed on like Dermestids or other indoor pests.

They do not intentionally bite people...only if mishandled.

Leaving the porch or other lights on at night may allow them to not only be attracted to the house but also get in.

You could send in a pic so we know for sure that is what you have.

Masked hunter in my house!
by: Anonymous

We live in a wood sided house 10 yrs old in the ottawa valley..,im clean crazy and we do not have bed bugs...However I keep finding these baby versions of masked hunter bugs! I have tried to find their source of entry as they are always found on second floor bedroom baseboard areas...I have tried washing baseboards every couple of days vacuuming and washing floors daily and I am still finding them..I do not have any carpet in my home....I'm wondering if they might have been in the wood that was used in construction and they just keep reproducing? It seems like they might be entering the room from the walls through the electrical plugs?..or fresh air supply system? I'm wondering if they are attracted to bugs that like wood as well?

Masked hunter bug
by: Moni

Anonymous
As we have commented to others, masked hunters eat other insects. They can come in thru any kind of openings/cracks from the outside to the indoors.

With that said, perhaps you have a different insect? You could post a photo of your insect and let us see if it is the masked hunter or another insect.

range
by: bugurious

As i understand it, sow bugs have few preditors. Here on the central east coast of Vancouver Island we have a great many sow bugs, often living in huge colonies. Would these grey 'ugly' bugs happen to be able to survive out here in the milder climate of the B.C.coast?

masked hunter in action
by: Anonymous

so i found an earwig in my bathroom twirling around with fluf on its head. apon looking closer i found out it was on of these masked hunters. i thought it was some weird spider so i picked the earwig (with the hunter attached) up on a peice of toilet paper . it freaked me out but we live in an old house and i hate bugs but im kinda glad this guy was around to get the earwigs haha. i have some pictures of it attacking the earwig where can i post them?

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Grey bug (Assassin bug - Masked Hunter)

by Gabe
(Toronto, Ontario)

Hi,
I have three pictures of the same insect. The back looks more concaved than in pictures. It looks very close to the Masked Hunter Bug. I have found a couple in my home in Toronto, Ontario. Are they dangerous? Bite? They haven't let out any smell.
Thanks and best regards,
Gabe


Moni saysYou are right it is a masked hunter.

Great job with the identification!

Your insect is the nymph stage of a true bug called masked hunter. This is in the assassin bug family so they are predators on other insects.

Nymphs exude a sticky substance that causes dust, lint, and other small particles to stick to the surface of their body. This camouflage may help the nymph avoid detection by both predators and prey.These nymphs can bite humans in self-defense when mishandled. The bite is said to be very painful.

Both the adult and nymph are predators. They prefer dry habitats and if found in the house there are never very many. They are said to feed on woodlice(think pillbugs or rolly pollys that do not roll), lacewings, earwigs,and bedbugs.

Hopefully it just came in thru the cracks or on your clothing and you don't have bedbugs!

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Hey! I got one too!
by: Tim

February 4, 2013, Toronto, Ontario: I found one of these in my kitchen sink, captured it in a jeweler's tin. I did a basic Google search and found this website with description and pics. Thank you.

masked hunter
by: Moni

Tim
Glad you put it in a tin rather than handling it since they can bite.
Now that you have found this site if you have other insects that need ID'ed, you can post them on the Insect ID home page. :)

stuck hunter...
by: Anonymous

I've found one of these tonight when I got home and freaked out!! It was on my fuzzy blanket and wouldn't move.. I blew on it to see if it would and nothing.. Could there be more than one in my house? Scary thought..
Do these bugs come in groups or is it safe to say that I can actually sleep in my bed?? How long can they live for?

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Strang fly looking grey bug (Robber fly, female)

by Gina
(Tarpley, Tx 7883)

I found this on my porch. It looks like a fly because of the eys and the hairy legs, but the body is too long and pointy for a fly. It is grey with a needle like thing on its face and tail, it ha 6 hairy legs with small wings that are almost not seen


Moni saysYour photo is of a robber fly

like MydLars suggested. And it is a female noted by the long narrow point of the abdomen.

Robber flies are predatory on other insects.

he adults lay eggs in soil or plants where the larvae eat other insects and their eggs in decaying matter.

There are many different species of robber flies in many different colors.

You did not give size, but your specimen looks like it might be in the genus Machimus.

Without more info and probably viewing under a microscope would be needed for positive ID beyond robber fly.

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fly
by: MydLars

Possible female robber fly

Robber Fly Size
by: Gina

This picture is life size of the fly. I was able to zoom in to get the actual size of it. It was a pretty large fly and was able to see it before I stepped on with my foot. I would have to say that it was about an inch and a half to two inches long..I have neer before seen one of these and it was pretty scary looking to me.

Giant robber fly
by: Moni

Gina
With that large of a robber fly it may have been the giant robber fly genus Promachus. They are predators on bees and wasps.
They have a tiger-striped abdomen and yours does not look that striped but one photo is hard to judge.

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Gray with Metallic Gold Tipped Wings, Hump on Back (Wheel bug adult)

by Lisa
(Bristol, TN, USA)

I found this little guy on my driveway. He crawled slowly, but it may not be his nature, because it is now November and although we are having warm days in the upper 60's the nights are cold.

Therefore, he may not be in full health.

He is about 1 1/2" long and fully gray except the tip of what appear to be wings is a shiney metallic gold

Moni says This is the adult wheel bug.

These are one of the true bugs also known as assassin bugs. Like the name suggests they are known as such since they hunt down their prey to attack and 'kill' them for food.

They have a large strong beak to pierce the prey to suck the juices out. All stages prey upon other insects - caterpillars, aphids, bees, sawflies etc. Therefore they are considered beneficial.

Great to have in the garden!

Wheel bugs overwinter as adults.

CAUTION: the adult wheel bug is reported to inflict a very painful bite.

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Wheel Bug
by: Paul

The Wheel Bug is a true insect found though out North America. They are beneficial to humans as they feed on insect pests. Their bite is said to be painfull so I would avoid touching or picking it up.

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Grey furry longhorned beetle (Spotted tree borer)

by Cheyne Kobzoff
(Auburn,ca)

I've looked up longhorn beetles and this guy never shows up. he's about an inch and a half long.

I live in northern Cali.


Moni says I Believe your beetle is the spotted tree borer - Synaphaeta quexi.


There is not much info on this longhorn.

Did see a comment that said southern California populations are darker and smaller, while those in the Sierra Nevadas are larger and more silvery-white.

These are found in CA from April to July.

Let us know if this is it?

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Thats him!
by: Cheyne Kobzoff

Thanks for your help! That's totally what he is!

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gray long horn insect red antenna (Wheel bug adult)

by Josh Ebbecke
(new jersey)

insect has 2 reddish/orange antennas with a grey body and wings.


Moni saysYes, it is a wheel bug.

These are one of the true bugs also known as assassin bugs. Like the name suggests they are known as assassin bugs since they hunt down their prey to attack and 'kill' them for food. As you can see on the back is a spiky looking 'wheel' behind the head...hence the name wheel bug.

Read more here

They have a large strong beak to pierce the prey to suck the juices out. All stages prey upon other insects - caterpillars, aphids, bees, sawflies etc. Therefore they are considered beneficial. Great to have in the garden!

Wheel bugs overwinter as adults.

CAUTION: the adult wheel bug is reported to inflict a very painful bite.

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Wheel Bug
by: Anonymous

It's adult Wheel Bug. They feed on other insects and are considered to be beneficial to have around, however they are also said to have a painfull bite if disturbed.

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big grey bug clear wings (Ant Lion)

by Diane
(Orlando, FL, USA)

It is about 4 inches long, and the picture is very descriptive :) But what is it??


Moni says Your large interesting insect is one of the antlions

Indeed, one of the largest known antlions.

The actual species name of your insect is Vella americana.

The larvae of this group of insects are called doodlebugs.

The larvae live in sand and burrow backwards.

As the larvae live in the sand, they leave a funnel that other insects fall into, which are then eaten...so they are great predators!

Most of the adults are nocturnal and come to lights at night.

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Big gray bug (Cicada last nymphal stage)

by Mindy McCormick
(Valparaiso, Indiana)

We had a soft blanket laid draped over something under a tree in our yard. When we flipped it the shaded side back, we saw two fat gray bugs with what looked like armor and red beedy eyes. We freaked out!!! I've never seen a bug like this in my life!

Moni says This is a Cicada last nymphal stage

Mindy

Your insect is in the last nymph stage of the cicada. The annual cicada lays eggs in dead tree limbs, the young hatch and crawl down the tree to the root area where they feed on perennial plant sap and live for three years. Then in late summer when in the last stage of development they start emerging. The adult will break out during the last molt from this 'shell'.

The adults are green with black markings and are found mostly east of the Rockies. Adults feed on sap or plant juices while the nymphs feed on plant juices from roots.

The adults 'singing' is what we hear in summer and are called the 'dog day' cicadas after the term the 'dog days of summer'.

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Cicada
by: S. Walters

Yep....you got it. Can't believe the lady has never seen one.....they are everywhere. I kinda like them.

The BUG
by: Joyce

The cicada singing is wonderful to hear. A part of nature, like the cooing of a morning dove. The chirping of crickets (outdoors). The calling of birds to others in the trees. And answering when you match their call.

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