Silverfish, cockroaches, and grasshoppers are just some of the bugs that have long antennae. There are hundreds of other species with very long antennae.
How long can atennas be on bugs?
The length of the antennae can be objectively assessed only about the size of the bug itself.
It’s not uncommon to see antennae a few times longer than the bugs themselves in the bug world. As a result, you can get an idea of which bugs have the most impressive antennae from the list below.
1. Bush Crickets (Tettigoniidae sp.)
Also known as Katydids, Bush Crickets have much longer antennae compared to similar species such as crickets.
There are thousands of species of Bush Crickets in the United States.
All of them can be large insects with a length of up to 5 inches. Bush Crickets have antennae with a length between 3 and 6 inches.
You can find these types of insects all across various types of vegetation, including in deserts.
Native Bush Cricket species such as Saguines often have antennae that exceed the length of the body.
2. Silverfish (Lepisma saccharinum)
Silverfish are some of the most common house pests. These bugs often found in high humidity places such as bathrooms and basements are known for their long antennae.
The antennae of silverfish can reach a length equal to its long body.
The antennae of silverfish are even known to move in wiggling motions.
You can identify this species in your home by its silver elongated body color and wiggling motions that resemble the movements of fish.
These bugs can eat paper, cotton, and even other insects around the house.
3. American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
One of the most common cockroaches in homes has very long antennae that are even longer than its body.
American cockroaches have thin long antennae they use to pick up odors as well as to stay away from obstacles.
Their long antennae help them detect physical obstacles early before bumping into them.
These roaches are known for nesting in areas with high humidity around homes.
American cockroaches are also known for picking up certain disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella.
4. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys)
This type of bug has long antennae both as an adult and as a late instar caterpillar.
The name of the species comes from the bad odor these bugs are known for. Brown Marmorated Stick Bugs have an unpleasant pungent odor often compared to coriander. This odor stays with predators for hours.
Shaped like a shield, this bug has marble-like patterns across its dorsal side and long dark antennae which have the same brown-gray color as the rest of the body.
This species of bug isn’t a happy sight in gardens as it’s considered a pest of multiple types of vegetables and even fruits.
5. Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Orgyia definite)
Tussock Moth caterpillars have very long antennae. These caterpillars have a dark green body with orange spots and long black antennae.
Tussock Moth Caterpillars are native to the US. They have at least 2 subspecies in California.
As with other types of caterpillars, Tussock Moth Caterpillars eat host plant leaves.
The setae of the caterpillar are further visible as very long antennae on adults.
6. Caddisflies (Trichoptera genus)
Caddisflies are a group of aquatic insects which may establish themselves around pools as larvae.
Only the larvae of caddisflies feed while the adults don’t eat at all. Caddisflies have short lifespans but they are known for having very long antennae.
This species has an antenna that equals the length of its body. The antennae are thin and often difficult to spot.
You might see these flies around sources of water such as pools and ponds around homes.
It’s not uncommon for the larvae of caddisflies to feed on other insects and larvae as predators.
7. Crickets (Grylloidea sp.)
Crickets are some of the most common bugs with 6 legs and long antennae. The antennae of these bugs can reach the length of the body of regular cricket.
Crickets have multiple functions in their antennae. These bugs can even fold their long antennae for defense when they want to become less visible in front of possible predators.
Crickets also have chemical receptors in their antennae. Their role isn’t fully understood but it has been tied to mating strategies.
Male crickets rely on their antennae to pick up other males in the area, a sense required for mating success.
You might know crickets eat all types of grasses and vegetation around the house and in the garden.
Other crickets can be seen as beneficial by being small predators. This is certainly the situation in gardens with many aphids as crickets can sometimes eat the eggs of aphids.
8. Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.)
Some of the ants with long antennae include carpenter ants. You immediately separate ants from other species by the shape of the antennae.
Carpenter ants have folded antennae, unlike many other bugs that resemble ants.
Carpenter ants are insects with 6 legs and long antennae of black color.
These ants can be herbivorous. They can feed on fruits and seeds.
Just like crickets, many Carpenter ants don’t adhere to a stereotypical diet as these ants can also eat other insects.
You might find Carpenter ants in your garden whenever there are aphids around as they consume the honeydew or residue of aphids on plants.
9. Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis)
Part of the Coreidae family, Western Conifer Seed bugs grow to a size of up to 20mm.
These bugs also have a very long antenna that can also grow to a length of up to 20mm.
Most often seen as bugs that look like Stink bugs, Western Conifer Seed bugs also have a shield shape. You can distinguish them from similar stink bugs by the long length of their antennae.
The name of the species suggests its natural habitat. These bugs live on fir and other conifers.
Pine and Douglas’s fir are among their natural habitats. They might wander indoors in your log cabin or vacation home up in the mountains.
Western Conifer Seed bugs are native to North America and Europe. Much of their US range is concentrated in the Western states.
10. Bald Faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculate)
Bald Faced Hornets are some of the most common insects with long antennae in Eastern North America.
These black and white insects have flexible long antennae which they use for feeding guidance.
These hornets feed on multiple insects but they also consume plant nectar, mainly sourced for their larvae.
Gardens are one of the most common places to find a Bald Faced Hornets. You can see hornets collecting pollen from plants such as dogbane.
Dogbane is among the plants that thrive in shaded places of your garden so you might find these hornets in the most remote areas of the garden.
11. Drain flies (Psychodidae)
Drain flies are some of the most common insects with impressive antennae that live indoors.
Almost all homes have these types of flies as they thrive in plumbing and the waste accumulated in plumbing.
These types of insects are further known for having a dull brown-gray body with antennae almost as long as the body itself.
Drain flies aren’t true pests inside the house as they cause no real damage.
However, they can be an annoying problem.
You can rest assured that these insects die fast even if you don’t kill them yourself. Drain flies die within 20 days with or without organic waste as food.
12. Termites (Isoptera sp.)
Termites have varying antennae length. Some of the termites with the longest antennae include the Arid Land Subterranean Termites.
Pacific Dampwood Termites also have very long antennae that can measure more than half the size of the termite itself.
These termites are all a bad sign around homes as they can incur further damage to rotten or wood exposed to humidity.
Some of the most common termites in the South have short antennae but species such as Southern Drywood Termites still have significant antennae.
13. Mosquitoes (Culicidae)
Mosquitoes are found all around the world. These insects have 3 pairs of legs and long antennae.
Known for their itchy bites, mosquitoes have some of the most complex antennae in the world of insects and bugs.
They rely on receptors within antennae for finding water sources.
These are vital sources for mosquitoes as they lay eggs in water.
You may notice mosquito antennae don’t resemble others. They are segmented.
Some mosquitoes have hairy antennae while others don’t. This is tied to the gender of the mosquito.
14. Bed bugs (Cimex sp.)
Bed bugs are some of the smallest bugs you can find indoors as pests. These bugs are compared to sesame seeds in shape and size.
With a maximum size of 5mm, these small bugs still have visible antennae. They can be distinguished from other small bugs you find on your bed by the outward-pointing antennae.
You need to treat these bugs indoors seriously. These bugs can bite and deal with these bites involves cleaning up beds, lines, carpets, and the entire house.
As nocturnal creatures, it’s highly unlikely you will get to inspect their bodies during the day. They prefer to hide during the day.
15. Oriental Cockroaches (Blatta orientalis)
Oriental Cockroaches are some of the most common types of cockroach pests.
These types of roaches have very long thread-like antennae that sit in a curved position given their excessive length.
Oriental Cockroaches are some of the most common bugs that resemble water bugs given they prefer high moisture habitats.
They live behind the refrigerator, under the refrigerator, in the basement, or around plumbing and water leaks.
These types of roaches are also numerous in gardens decorated with mulches. High moisture is favored by mulched which prevents regular or quick water evaporation
16. House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata)
House centipedes are among the bugs with many legs that have impressive antennae.
Many types of centipedes are known for long antennae but House Centipedes are the most common ones.
These types of bugs are found in moist dark areas of the house.
They are true predators and often seen as beneficial insects to have indoors as they eat other insects.
House Centipedes are also some of the most common species that eat spiders.
However, it’s best to eliminate House Centipedes as these bugs can sting.
17. Earwigs (Dermatera sp.)
Earwigs are some of the most common bugs with pincers at the back of the garden. You might get scared when seeing the species with the pincers but they also have long antennae at the front.
These bugs have a varied diet which means they can survive on almost anything they find around the garden.
This includes various types of plants and fruit.
Earwigs can also eat small insects such as arthropods. This includes spiders and the larvae of moths or butterflies.
A common food source for these bugs includes small eggs of aphids.
18. Pink-Legged Tiger Moths (Spilosoma latipennis)
Moths are known for having short or long antennae. Among all the various thousands of species, Pink-Legged Tiger Moths have long antennae that are also clearly visible as they contrast the white wing of the species.
These types of moths are all-white.
They have black and white antennae with long black hairs that make them look feathery.
Moths of this genus grow to a wingspan of up to 38mm and seeing these antennae up-close is possible, at least until the season of Pink-Legged Tiger Moths ends in September.