If you are one of the many people that abhor insects (or at least don’t like them) remember there are some friendly insects. Well, if not friendly, at least good for the environment and your garden. One of these insects is the antlion. You may know the antlion as a doodle bug. Because they can only walk backwards, the larvae make curvy, spiraling trails that look like doodles in the sand. Hence, the nickname, doodle bug.
What is an Antlion?
As an adult, the antlion resembles a dragonfly and is nocturnal. Once they reach maturity, antlions eat pollen and nectar, but this is not so when they are in the larva stage. As larvae, they look beetle-like, boast a fierce set of jaws, and their homes serve as insect traps. They create pits that resemble a cone and lie waiting at the bottom for prey. Unsuspecting ants (hence the name ant) and other insects fall into the center of the cone and become a meal for the antlion larvae. That’s why they are considered an insect predator.
Although antlions are interesting and helpful to man, they are not something you actually need to worry about infesting your home. The larvae are found on the dusty floors of sheds and barns, in sandy fields and other sandy areas, under logs, rocks, and around the base of trees. Because adults only appear at night and are poor flyers, you are hardly likely to see them. However, they tend to be found in open fields of tall grass.
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