This post is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
But I’m hoping someone can identify these insects for me, at least I hope they’re insects and not spiders.
We live in fertile territory here, and I have spent many moments enjoying nature and the young life that springs forth. I’ve thrilled to the sound of baby birds chirping with seemingly insatiable hunger; I’ve adored infant and juvenile fawns as they skamper through the yard; I was entertained by fox kits and a juvenile owl. But I guess I’ll have to say that infant insects is where I draw the line.
What are these things?
I was about 90% of the way through chopping down a volunteer yellow-flowering plant in our garden when I noticed a bunch of tiny red spots on a stem. Upon closer examination, I could see they were tiny insects.
The only other insect in close proximity was this black ant. There were several other black ants on the plant as well, which isn’t really a big surprise as we have a lot of them here. A grand-daddy long-legs spider was also on the plant. We also have a lot of them. Ants I can tolerate, spiders, not so much. If these were baby spiders, I might have to do a nature intervention.
I went inside and got my camera with my extension tubes for a macro shot. I can see I got those tubes just in the nick of time. Magnifying what I was seeing really didn’t make me feel much better. Then I started wondering if the other stems I had chopped off the plant and put in the trash receptacle also had the red invaders.
Here’s the important question, did any get on me?
I hope not. And I think not. I’m pretty careful how I handle refuse and live plants in the garden because of the aforementioned abundance of spiders.
I tried to count legs, but there seemed to be a lot of black thin things sprouting out of the bodies. I looked online, and think they might be Zelus longipes – Milkweed Assassin Bugs.
Apparently they’re predators of bad bugs, and are good to have in gardens. I hope I didn’t upset the eco-balance here because of the number of them that went the way of the refuse pile.
I think they’re creepy and and kind of spider-esque.
Please let me know if you can confirm or refute my identification of these little creepy crawlers.
9 thoughts on “What are these creepy crawling critters?”
could they be red aphids?
I did not mean to post the image. Let me try to provide the link again.
Thanks Dennis. I’m glad you posted the picture. Convinced me.
I guess the lead you’ve got is a good one.
you have identified correctly, they are not baby spiders but are Milkweed Assassin bugs….they won’t hurt you!
I was counting on you to check in Marty. Thanks.
or aphids, either way not harmful.
I found the same on my milkweed plants this year. This was a prolific year for them, apparently. When I looked them up, I found Milkweed Assassin bugs, too. On milkweed. How fitting!