Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

What kind of insect - critter -- makes this hole in my landscape bark? - Myrmeleon

What kind of insect - critter -- makes this hole in my landscape bark? - Myrmeleon
Washington, USA
Size: 1 " hole
Can you please help me identify what kind of critter/insect is making this strange hole in the landscaping bark alongside my house? It is small enough that it is a little bigger than if a broom handle poked it. It also does not seem to continue like a tunnel (perhaps there are itty bitty tunnels beneath it?) The bark appears to have been digested into tiny bits of powder like bark.

Moved from ID Request.

They are antlions!

Even tried it out...


Then I was concerned - is this a sign of termite infestation? I looked into it and read that apparently - NO it is not -- they eat all sorts of bugs!

Do you have squirrels? Tree squirrels leave such holes when they retrieve buried food.

Some insects -- wormlions and antlions -- dig pits like that, but they use sand rather than bark.

I think antlion (Myrmeleon sp.) is plausible/likely
There shouldn't be any wormlions in Washington. The substrate appears fine-grained enough for an antlion larva to have made this, and there is often a row of antlion pits along the side of a house.
Here's an example of an antlion pit in mulch:

Yes -- but
Hi, I just did a google image search on squirrel holes -- The difference is that these holes do not really go anywhere -- they are more like "indentations." If you still think so, feel free to inform.

Different holes
Squirrels like to live in holes. Ground squirrels (including chipmunks and marmots) dig tunnels underground. Tree squirrels use natural cavities in trees, or build leaf nests if no hole is available.

Ground squirrels also store food in tunnels.

Some tree squirrels, including gray and fox squirrels, dig shallow holes a few inches deep to store food. They cover the hole when storing food and leave it open after retrieving food. Your crater looks like this kind.

Other tree squirrels, such as the pine squirrel (American red squirrel, Tamiasciurus) make piles of pine cones above ground and do not leave craters in your lawn.

Yes - we have squirrels
Wow, that is amazing! I sure didn't know that! I wonder if that's why numerous holes keep showing up... We changed the bark and added plastic at some time, and I wonder if they just can't find their food? That is fascinating!

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.