Sunday, June 19, 2011

Holy Shit! Ninja bugs?! (that's rad!)

Bugs don't really bother me, as long as they stay in their place. The ant problem has been documented already; although the fact that they're coming in the front door now just proves their persistence. But there are others.

For instance, I've had swarms of little drain flies, especially down in the basement. But rather than attempt some sort of control, I just left the spiders in the laundry room window. Four spiders, to be precise. And they're doing the job splendidly. All I have to do is dust up the corpses.

The recommended treatment is foaming drain cleaner -- in this case, probably in the wash basin drain, since that's the only open drain in the area. I may get to that yet, but we'll see how the arachnids do first. If they get a little too big I may have to sell them as pets too.

But the real news was this little doozy. I had no idea what these things were, but they have a strange cockroachy aspect to them that I wasn't willing to trust completely. On the other hand, I've only seen four or five a year (if that) since moving into this house, so I didn't want to go on an all-out cockroach assault without first getting a positive ID.

I submitted some photos to Pest Control Canada, which has an identification page with advice from retired entomologist Ed Saugstad. I found out that this is something called an "assassin bug," most likely of a variety known as the "masked hunter."

Wait a sec... "masked hunter?" "Assassin?" Holy shit! Ninja bugs?!

Yeah, that's pretty rad. These guys eat other bugs, so apart from the fact that they can get a little nippy if you mishandle them (apparently not if you lance them with a toothpick though), I see no reason for alarm; at least not until they start appearing in swarms. Let's face it...a lot of predators means a lot of prey, so if there are lots of these assassins there's probably lots to feed on, and that might be a different problem altogether.

There's more info HERE of course (would I leave anything out?).

But badass does a bug have to be to have a name like that? Assassin. Masked Hunter. Sounds like a cool name for a movie. I'm off to write the script. Meanwhile, here are a few nifty details:

  • They're about 3/4 of an inch long.
  • They're solid black in colour, with a wing cape that looks cooler than anything Marvel could come up with.
  • That beak you see is like a laser-guided insect destroying death ray.
  • Someone else mentioned that if I did have cockroaches, I wouldn't for very long with these guys holding down the fort.
  • They're called "masked hunter" because the juveniles (get this) camouflage themselves with dust and lint. OMG! it's like some kind of stealth mantis thing!
  • If I had a Volkswagen, I would totally name it after this bug.
  • Chuck Norris is only alive because the Masked Hunter Assassin Bug allows him to live!


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