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What is an Instar?

We often use the term “instar” when discussing larvae and caterpillars. Today, we are going to discuss instars in depth, so that we all know exactly what we are talking about. According to the Amateur Entomologists’ Society, an instar is “the name given to the developmental stage of an arthropod between moults.” So, to understand instars, we must first know what “moult” (spelled “molt” in the US) means. Arthropods (animals such as butterflies, insects, spiders, and centipedes) go through several life stages as they grow from infants to adults, much like humans. However, humans and arthropods have different skeletal systems. Our bones are a living part of our bodies. They grow along with our muscles and skin. Butterflies and other arthropods have exoskeletons. They Continue reading [...]

Dead Black Creature is Probably a Slug

We received some very interesting pictures from a man who found a creature in his living room. The critter appeared to be dried out and dead. It was about 1.25” (~3.2cm) long. Its body was black in color, though its underside was brown. The interesting thing is that it has two or three hook-like appendages around its mouth. He has scoured the internet, but has not been able to identify it. Continue reading [...]

To Get Rid of Centipedes, Take Away Their Food!

Today, we will discuss a question from a reader who would like to know how to eradicate centipedes in her home. The good news is that centipedes do not tend to swarm or invade in large groups. This means it is not usually difficult to control local centipede populations. Continue reading [...]

Case Bearing Moth Larva Found On Wall

A reader wrote to us freaked out by a teeny-tiny visitor she found in her house. First, she saw a strange thing on her wall, near the ceiling. It looked like a bit of fluff or debris, but then it moved. She took a picture for us: Continue reading [...]

Creatures in Pram May be Sawfly Larvae

A worried mother wrote to us from Melbourne, Australia. She is concerned because she has found some worms or larvae in her baby’s pram (stroller). The creatures move quite quickly and are about 2mm (a bit less than 1/10”) long. She would like to know what they are, if she should be worried for her baby’s health, and where they came from. Continue reading [...]

The Best Way to Remove Caterpillars from Your Trees and Plants

We get many questions from worried readers who have seen caterpillars on trees or plants. For the most part, these creatures aren’t causing any real harm and can be left alone. However, some species can be quite destructive and should be removed for the health of the plant. Continue reading [...]
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