Subject: Bee mimic?
Location: Northern California (Sierra Nevada Foothills)
May 4, 2016 5:18 am
Hiya bugman,
What is this thing??? Looks like some kind of beetle to me, based on the antennae and wings, but that inverted abdomen is wild! Found in Northern California a couple of days ago. Please help us figure out just what this little critter is.
Thanks!
Signature: -M

Lion Beetle

Lion Beetle

Dear M,
We absolutely love to receive images of Lion Beetles,
Ulochaetes leoninus, as they are not commonly seen.  Lion Beetles are Longhorned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae and they are effective mimics of stinging bees or wasps.   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this butterfly species?
Location: Stanford University
May 3, 2016 7:12 pm
Snapped this photo of a newly hatched butterfly today, May 3. This was taken in Palo alto, ca. Any ideas? I didn’t want to disturb it to get its wings to open.
Signature: Audrey

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Dear Audrey,
We opened your email about two hours ago, and we have been mentally writing our response to you while taking advantage of the waning daylight outside to pick peaches to make a cobbler.  This is a Mourning Cloak Butterfly, a species that hibernates in the winter and lays its eggs early in the spring so that caterpillars can take advantage of tender leaves from elms and willows which we verified on BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae eat primarily willow (
Salix spp.) but also other trees and shrubs including Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Trembling Aspen (P. tremuloides), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).”  In our experience in California the caterpillars also feed on Chinese Elm which has tiny leaves.  Mourning Cloak butterflies will even fly about on winter days when it is warm and sunny, and since it has such an extensive range, in cold climates, it is occasionally seen when there is still snow on the ground.  According to BugGuide:  “First-generation adults emerge in early summer, and estivate until fall, when they re-emerge.”  Because it has two adult dormant periods, hibernation in the winter and extivation in the summer when it is dry, the Mourning Cloak is a very long lived butterfly, relatively.  We don’t believe many butterfly live in the imago or adult stage more than a year, meaning the adult Mourning Cloak that emerges from hibernation dies shortly after laying eggs.  Those old Mourning Cloaks generally have rather ragged looking wings.  Adult Mourning Cloaks rarely feed on nectar.  Mourning Cloaks do feed on plant sap which generally runs in the spring, and ripe, rotting and fermenting fruit which is frequently abundant in the summer.  We hope you got a good look at the opened wings of your freshly eclosed individual, which is the proper term for hatching from the chrysalis, leaving behind the exuvia or cast off exoskeleton which is visible in your image.  Mourning Cloaks often rest with spread wings, the dark, velvety surfaces soaking up the warmth.  Your Mourning Cloak is in the family Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies.  Butterflies in the family Nymphalidae have vestigial front legs that are useless for walking, so they appear to have only four legs as the brush legs are held close to the body.

Subject: Which spider?
Location: Anaheim,California
May 2, 2016 8:34 pm
Can you identify this spider for me. Sorry it’s not the clearest (I know, another one of those), but your best guess would be helpful. It was in my kitchen this morning and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen one near or in my house.
Found today, May2nd, 2016, in Anaheim, California. We live in an urban neighborhood, house built in the 60s. 64 degrees out, clear cool day.
Signature: Huh? “You’re the greatest”, “All my love”… Lol. Not sure what you mean, you pick.

Black Footed Spider

Black Footed Spider

Generally, the signature line in our standard form is used so that folks may use their real name or some funny phrase for those who want to maintain internet anonymity.  This is a Black Footed Spider or Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium mildei, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide, it is  “More often found inside man-made structures.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help identify this bug
Location: Sacramento
May 2, 2016 8:38 pm
Hello,
I originally thought I had bed bugs due; can’t remember why. I’m pretty sure they came from this terrible library checkout. They were inside !
So I don’t know if they are thrips or not.
Signature: A

Thrips

Thrips

Dear A,
We agree that these look like Thrips.  They are outdoor insects and we don’t know why you are being bothered in bed.

Thrips:  Enlarged and Enhanced

Thrips: Enlarged and Enhanced

Subject: Green fly on a warm spring night
Location: Puget Sound, WA
May 2, 2016 10:40 pm
Left the balcony door open for the pets on a warm and slightly heavy spring evening, and this attractive creature fluttered by about an hour after the door was closed and the lights turned on. We live close to a pond and shrubs. Looks like something that would be tasty to frogs or trout.
Signature: Bug Friendly

Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

Dear Bug Friendly,
This marvelous insect is not a fly, but a Green Lacewing, and despite its somewhat annoying habit of occasionally biting humans, it is considered a highly beneficial insect because of the large numbers of Aphids consumed by both adult larval Lacewings, which are sometimes called Aphid Wolves.  We recall reading that they have an unpleasant taste, which would discourage predators, and we will attempt, when we have some time, to research that information.  Green Lacewings are sometimes called Golden Eyes.

Subject: luna moth
Location: nc
May 3, 2016 5:54 am
hello, please help !
I have (what I believe is a male) luna moth by my front door for several days now. I was hoping it would have flown away at night but it hasn’t and now its at the bottom of the door step and does not look like its in a comfortable spot his wings tip bent as he is long. I have read a previous post that someone had moved one to a tree , I would do that but its pouring out and he is currently sheltered from my porch. please advise what I should do as I do not want to see it die
Signature: thanks

Male Luna Moth

Male Luna Moth

Like other Giant Silkmoths, Luna Moths do not feed as adults, meaning they must survive off of energy in the form of fat stored while the caterpillar was feeding.  Flying takes tremendous energy.  The female Luna Moth lives as an adult to mate and then lay her eggs.  The male Luna Moth flies to locate a female when he senses her pheromones.  He does not fly around needlessly.  If there is no female nearby, your male Luna may be waiting until he catches the scent of a female before he flies off.  In a previous Cecropia Moth posting, we recommended relocating the female so that she might lay eggs.  There would be no purpose to relocate this male unless it is to place him nearer to a mate.  Adult Giant Silkmoths, including the Luna Moth, only live a few days, perhaps a week at most.  Sadly, if this male does not sense a female soon and fly to mate with her, he may die at your front door.  Our advice is to wait and let nature take its course.

thank you so much for responding , I did relocate him to a tree in my front yard so no stray cats in the area will eat him as a previous posting on your website had mentioned. Im so happy I found your website and was educated about these beautiful moths.