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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mosquito-like w/o wings


bug on wall
bug on wall  

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bug size  
I live outside Philadelphia, and when I came home today there were about 50 of these bugs on my living room wall.  I had fresh boxwood and magnolia branches on my mantle, and they appeared to be coming from there.  At first I thought they were mosquito's - it's been unseasonably warm, but they didn't fly. I'm grossed out - are they harmful, will they bite?

Dear Lee - No need to worry - these are newly hatched praying mantis nymphs, there must have been at least one of their egg cases (oothecae) attached to one of the branches that were brought in. They likely will die fairly soon from starvation, as there probably aren't any insects for them to eat other than each other.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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