winter stonefly

small winter stonefly

5940   My name is Tammy and I live in Midland, Ontario, Canada. It is mid-March but still very cold. We have had a couple mild spells over the last couple months. I am finding these bugs in and around my hot tub. Concerned that they may be carpenter ants but they don’t look like the other photos I can find online. Help please!   Thank you!

This appears to be a small winter stonefly (Plecoptera: Capniidae)  see http://tinyurl.com/qj2bhsf for an example. They are completely harmless and their nymphs are an important part of the freshwater food web. See http://tinyurl.com/n4jqv8w for more detailed information. Ed Saugstad, retired entomologist; Sinks Grove, WV.