Description: 3/8-5/8″ (9-15 mm) including abdominal forceps. Body reddish brown to almost black. Antennae, legs, and elytra yellow. Underside yellowish brown. Forceps reddish brown; male’s curved, female’s almost straight and parallel. Short wings do not cover abdomen. Antennae have 15 or fewer segments; 2nd tarsal segment lobed beneath.
Food: Vegetables, orchard fruits, garden flowers, garbage, as well as mites and insect larvae and pupae.
Life Cycle: Female digs cup-shaped nest in upper soil, deposits mass of up to 30 oval grayish-white eggs, and stays with them until a few days after they hatch. Nymphs mature in about 10 weeks. Eggs and adults over winter in soil or under boards and stones. 1 or 2 generations a year.
Habitat: Dark damp crevices and ground litter; grasses, herbs, shrubs, trees, and even buildings.
Range: Eastern Canada and southern New England; also the Pacific Northwest. Gardeners often lure these tiny insects by spreading poisoned bran sweetened with molasses. In California, a parasitic tachinid fly has been introduced from Europe to control this minor pest.
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