Antlion craters in my yard?
Have you ever seen these holes in sandy soil around your house and wondered what they are? They were obviously created by something for a purpose. This is the trap constructed by an antlion, sometimes called the doodlebug. The larval form digs the crater in order to catch prey by kicking out sand to make the walls of the crater unstable. They do this by only walking backwards. Then when an unsuspecting meal falls in, the antlion kicks more sand on the walls of the crater making the walls unstable preventing the prey from escaping. The antlion has large hollow mandibles like needles filled with enzymes to liquify the preys insides in preparation for drinking. Check out this really cool video of an antlion in action. Click for video
Not every bug around your home is bad. In fact most are beneficial in the correct numbers for that environment. Muddaubers eat spiders. Spiders eat anything they catch in their web, The Antlion might not eradicate your ant problem but they are at least doing their part. “Antlions are absolutely harmless and cause no damage to flowers, people or structures. They are highly beneficial and feed on ants and other insects that fall into their traps. It is best to leave them alone. But, it is interesting for kids (and adults, too) to watch them make their pits and catch their prey. You can speed up the process by dropping an ant or other small insect in their pit.” Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
If you are so inclined towards exotic pets, you can keep antlion larvae and watch the fun unfold before your very eyes. check out the Antlion Den if this has sparked your interest, I know it has mine. You can find out more about insects and pests at my blog #whatbugsme or Phoenix Pest Control. And if you are in the Knoxville TN area and need help removing pests from your home, just drop us a line HERE.