AZ Critter Getters

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doodlebugs, not just a cute saying!!!

Did you know there really is a bug called the Doodlebug. Yes it is true, it is also known as an Ant Lion. Ant Lions and Doodlebugs, Have you ever been walking along on some sandy soil, perhaps a path through the woods, a vacant lot, or some bare area under a tree, and looked down to see numerous little round pits in the sand? These little depressions could range from one to three inches in diameter, and dozens of them could be present in just a few square feet – depending on how good the pickings are in that location. As a curious child I would stop to investigate, and with a small twig or piece of dry grass stem I would poke around at the bottom of that pit. Much to my surprise, now and then something would fling a little bit of sand back at me, so now I absolutely HAD to see what was down there. You have to be quick now, for once it is disturbed the resident insect in that pit will quickly go deeper, but with luck you might be able to dig out a little “doodlebug”, the larva of an insect called an Antlion.
The name ant lion is derived from the habit of the doodlebug larva to prey on ants and other small insects that may stumble into its pit. The sandy soils they choose for their pits are perfect traps for crawling insects like ants, which have difficulty climbing back out once they have tumbled in. As they try to climb back up the steep walls the sand continues to slide under their feet, and they continually end up back at the bottom. The doodlebug itself has a hand in this, for it quickly detects the presence of the ant in its pit by the bits of sand falling to the bottom. Immediately the doodlebug begins flinging sand by using its massive jaws (mandibles), and this bombardment adds to the difficulty the ant has in removing itself from this trap. Once the ant tumbles to the very bottom of the pit the doodlebug clamps its jaws around the ant and drags it under, where it then is consumed. Ant “lion” is a very descriptive name
Its other more colorful name of “doodlebug” is also appropriate, and it refers to the squiggly patterns these insects make on the top of that sand as they move from place to place. Their huge mandibles make walking while facing forward nearly impossible, so they walk backwards, dragging their mandibles behind them. Walking in a straight line seems to be difficult for them, so they end up moving in various directions, leaving behind the meandering line which reminds us of our “doodling” on a piece of paper, perhaps as we sit through a long phone conversation.
Despite its fearsome appearance in these images, we have to recognize that this is a very small insect, and it is not capable of harming people. The jaws are strong enough to capture a tiny ant, but far too small and weak to pinch our skin. The adult antlion feeds on a variety of foods, such as nectar, pollen, or even other small insects, depending on the species of antlion. The adult is often mistaken for more familiar insects such as damselflies or caddisflies. It has two pairs of very long wings, a long, thin body, and relatively short antennae. But, unlike damselflies the antlion adult is a very weak flier, moving about in a fluttering motion. They may often be attracted to lights at night, and you will see them resting on the wall of your front porch. Most species are only about 1 to 2 inches long in the adult stage, but in the southwest, such as in Arizona, there is a giant species called, appropriately, the Giant Ant Lion – Vella fallax – which has wings that may be more than 3 inches long, giving it a wingspan of over 7 inches.
Antlions are in the insect family Myrmeliontidae, with a variety of different species, some with habits very different from the typical sand-pit kinds. There is one species found in the southern states whose larva inhabits tree holes of the burrows of turtles. Other kinds may just hide out in any available crevice, and lunge out to snatch other insects that happen to walk past its hiding place. But, it is those antlion larvae that create the pits in the sand that attract our attention, and the doodlebug is perfectly built for this activity. It begins by marking out just where its pit is going to be, and then begins to dig from the outside of that circle. It piles bits of sand onto its head and then flings this sand outward with a quick movement. The “neck” behind the head is very narrow, giving it the flexibility needed for this movement. It continues to move around the perimeter of its pit until the walls of the pit are as steep as they can be without sand sliding down, and now the doodlebug buries itself at the very bottom, often with its jaws sticking out of the sand and at the ready for the first victim to fall into the pit.
The antlion larva has a little help in capturing its prey. Its mandibles are actually more like a pair of hollow straws, and as it bites into the insect in the pit it injects a bit of venom, paralyzing that other insect. Now the doodlebug can impale it with its mandibles and suck out the body juices that it ingests, and once the prey is empty the doodlebug tosses its carcass back out of the pit. Depending on the species of antlion and the availability of food, it may require up to 3 years for the larva to complete its development. It then pupates, transforms to the adult insect, and these then may live another 3 or 4 weeks.These are fascinating little insects, and they are harmless to humans and should be encouraged due to the benefit they provide in eating other insects. Some people capture the larvae and place them in a terrarium with the proper sandy soil and a food supply, and enjoy watching this little bit of nature in their own home.

I LOVE this line of work!!! It is fascinating to me that all of these little critters have a place in this world. Now when you go hiking or camping and find this little depression in the sand, you know there is probably a Doodlebug awaiting it's next meal below..... If you have any questions or wanted to look up more info about critters, you can check out our website. We have a lot of pictures and good inf about bugs at or you can try Hope this blog finds you well!!! Until next time, Keep the sunblock on!!!! Critter OUT!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring is in the air!!!

Ahhh, It's starting to warm up again. It was 81 yesterday. Spring training baseball will be starting soon and the flowers will be starting to bloom and the birds and the bees will be doing their things too. I love this time of year. There are some real cool pic's of some bugs here at this link: It is from a photo contest. I didn't enter anything but I'm on the search for a good opportunity to snap a photo so I might enter next time. I did get a shot of the kids next to a couple of critters we just got. We have gotten 4 raccoons from this property in Scottsdale and the homeowner thinks there are still more so we are getting back out there this week to set some more traps and catch some more critters. We are also working on another job in Phoenix, where we think we have a ringtail in an attic. We just set traps today so we'll see what we have tomorrow. We are keeping pretty busy and It looks like we will only be getting busier. I am hoping to hire another tech here in the next month or two and get this other truck back on the road. But first I have to drop a few hundy on a A.C. condenser for the s-10. I have signed up with a S.E.O. company out of California. It is not to expensive and if they deliver, it will be well worth it. I'm looking at landing on the first page of when people search for key words such as, exterminator, rodent control, pest control, bee removal, bedbug control, wildlife control, roof rats, rat control, animal removal and skunk removal. These are just a few of my key words and phrases. I am going to dive into this marketing thing this year and see if we can't get some more traffic to our site's at and I just received confirmation from U.P.S. and a tracking code for our 100 yard signs. I hope I can place one in your yard!!! If you would like a discount on your service, allow us to place a yard sign in your yard for one month. We would really appreciate it and for your generosity we will save you money$$$. It's a win-win!!!!! We would love to place one in all of the cities we service, such as, The East Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Queen Creek, Santan Valley, Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and anywhere else. Well, I've got to run for now, but remember to keep the sunblock on!!! Critter OUT!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I-phone apps are Awesome!!!

Well, Verizon just came out with the I-phone this week and it is about time!!! I've been in the dark ages with a flip phone still and I think I might have to upgrade this year. Although I do like my flip phone I think it is pretty sweet to be able to have the technology at your finger tips that the I-phone offers. It even has a app for bug identification. You can read more about this here- There are so many apps, it's crazy!!! Just crazy I say!!!! Well I have to run, I have a bedbug service I have to go take care of. If you have any questions about bedbugs, this site has a lot of good info. Or give us a call here at Critter Getters, and we can help you out. our # is 480-984-2660 or you can find us at or the newest one is However you find us, I'm glad you did!!! Hope you have a great weekend!!! Be sure to keep the sunblock on!!!! Critter OUT!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

Well, Winter has reared it's ugly side and is dumping major snow and storms back East. While here in Sunny Phoenix, AZ we are feeling some of it's intended effects. It's only going to get up to the mid 40's today here. Not to bad I'd say. The famous groundhog Puxitony Phil did not see his shadow today, Of course not folks, there was no sunshine to cast a shadow. They are in the middle of a blizzard right now. Thank goodness I live here in sunny AZ!!! If you have any pest issues that need to be addressed, give us a call or look us up at or We don't get freezing cold winters here like they do back East so our bugs and critters are active all year around. If you live in the East Valley or West Valley and need pest control or exterminating give us a call @ 480-984-2660 or 602-578-8363. We would love to help you resolve your pest issues. I have included a link to the groundhog story if you care to read about it. I think that's about all for today, I usually sign off with "remember to keep the sunblock on" but today I don't think you'll need it so remember to stay bundled up!!! Have a great day and with that...... Critter OUT!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pest Control Links

Good morning blog readers, Today I'm going to attempt to try some links in my blog to see if it can increase the traffic to the site. Have you seen the video of my son getting some bees? The link is He does a great job!!! He is our up and coming Critter Getter. He so wants to go on some more bee services. He loves the line of work we are in and looks forward to some more fun adventures. I also found a good article on termite inspections. I wanted to share that link with you as well. It is right here, click on this, Okay,So if you check these out and have any questions, feel free to look us up at or call us in the East Valley at 480-984-2660 or our Metro Phoenix Area # is 602-578-8363. I have a lot on my plate today. Busy is good in my opinion!!! I think I'm going to try to market the website heavy this year and see if it can generate some good leads. Well, I have a few proposals I have to get out, so if there is no additional issues to discuss, I call this meeting adjourned!!! Remember to keep the sunblock on!!!! Critter OUT!!!! P.S. We can get all your Critters, BIG or Small...... Bees, Ants, Roaches, Spiders, Scorpions, Snakes, Skunks, and a whole lot more!!!! Have a GREAT day!!!!