Expert Answer

Q: What the heck is this? Its three inches long and found on the 16th floor of a high-rise apartment. The tenant recently came back from a camping trip.


From: Blair in Dallas, TX

How often do we run into that odd bug that we have never seen before in a situation such as a high-rise where occasional invaders are not the norm? More than you can believe! When we run into these situations, it’s important to ask key questions that might help you solve the “how” it got there and then “if” it will infest the home. Start with questions such as: “Have you recently gone on any trips?” or “Have you had any house guests?" These questions can sometimes lead you to the answers as to “how”. Leave the “What is it” to us! Partnering with a distributor that has Board Certified Entomologists can help you be the expert! While the insect sample itself is the best way to make an identification, good pictures can work too. Here are a few tips to make the ID easy... Always put something down for scale (a coin or a ruler). Take pictures from both the top view (dorsal) and the bottom view (ventral). Other structures that help are wings, legs and antennae. You can upload your pictures right on the Ask the Experts page!

So, in this case, what is it? It’s a Dobsonfly Larvae. Blair you asked the right questions and likely it hitchhiked from the camping trip. More important it won’t be infesting that high-rise anytime soon since it’s an aquatic species and usually found in streams and rivers. The larvae can bite if handled, but the effects are short term.