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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/wormlike insect in basement

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Question
insect larvae?
insect larvae?  
I found 6-8 of these last night on the slate floor of my half underground bsmt,it has couches & a rug- they would climb on top of the rug also. It has high windows which I did not see them coming from- just the floor. It has been quite damp lately. They appear to have 2 body sections to me- black body, brown head, 6 legs. No different coloring on underside of body. I also cannot tell what type of mouthpart they have-maybe chewing?. I think i see 2 small antennae and 2 what would be canines & a little saw part in the middle. I have noticed quite a few earwigs there- but I checked & this does not look like larvae stage of them. They are about a 1/4 inch long. help?!

Answer
Karen:

The insect in your image is the larva of a soldier beetle, family Cantharidae.  They are predatory on other insects, so are beneficial.

I think the larvae are mostly subterranean, so probably came up through cracks in the floor of your basement.  They are definitely *not* a pest at any rate.  Here's more about soldier beetles:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/118

Hope this puts your mind at ease.  Take care.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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