Subject: Moth
Location: San Fernando, CA
August 22, 2014 5:31 pm
Friend found this in his home in San Fernando, CA. It’s huge
Signature: J Lytle

Black Witch

Black Witch

Dear J Lytle,
This impressive moth is a Black Witch, and they are found in the American neotropics.  They are a common species in Mexico and each year at the end of summer, individuals fly north, some reaching as far north as Alaska.  Though they are unable to naturalize in the northern climes, larvae have been found in Southern California, though most sightings in the continental US are of migrants.  This individual is a male Black Witch.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle with False Eyes?
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
August 22, 2014 7:26 pm
This tiny critter is eating my butterfly bush. But I guess nobody will be eating him because he seems to be flying the jolly roger on his butt. False eyes?
Signature: Joanne

Red Megacerus

Red Megacerus

Dear Joanne,
This lovely beetle really threw us for us for a momentary loop, because the body resembles that of a Scarab Beetle, but the antennae are decidedly un-Scarab-like.  We quickly identified this Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae as
Megacerus discoidud thanks to Beetles of Eastern North America, the new book by Arthur V. Evans.  According to BugGuide:  “This handsome species with its quadrate, red elytral maculae can hardly be mistaken for any other eastern American bruchid.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults are commonly found on flowers of many plant species” and “Host plants: Calystegia spp.; Convolvulus arvensis; Ipomoea spp. Flowers of Daucus carota and Hibiscus sp.” 

Leaf Beetle:  Red Megacerus

Leaf Beetle: Red Megacerus

Subject: Bot Fly Larva
Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
August 21, 2014 10:25 pm
Hi there,
I am located in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. I have recently found a mouse inside my house walking around pretty slowly. I put gloves on and picked him up to put him outside and when I looked at him I saw a weird brown thing protruding from his side. Upon closer examination I determined it was alive and I recognized it as a bot fly larva that I had read about online a while ago while researching animal parasites. I pulled it out carefully with tweezers, plus about 5 other ones. They were quite large. I have a video of this extraction. I estimate the larger ones were roughly 3cm, maybe slightly larger. Definitely matched the description of rodent bot fly larva. I kept the mouse in a container and fed him until his wounds healed and let him go.
A couple days later (before I let the other mouse go) I was cleaning out and removing a big work tent that was in our backyard that had been used for our house renovations. It was damp, lots of wood scraps etc. I emptied a basket of garbage wood and a mouse emerged from the stuff I was dumping. He was slow and you could actually see two huge bot flies hanging out of him. Very disturbing.
Due to the fact that I have worked extensively in that gross work tent, plus the other mouse was found in our house full of the parasites, some serious questions have come up.
Firstly, how concerned should I be regarding bot fly infections on/in me or my two cats? Is there something I should be looking for on the three of us (obviously a gross black worm thing, but I would prefer to catch it waaaay before that).
Secondly, is this normal??? Are bot flies common this far north? Should I be reporting this, and if so, then to who?
Lastly, how do I avoid coming into contact with the eggs? Are there common types of material they are laid on or environments I could perhaps minimize in order to dissuade them from being laid near my house?
Thank you for your help with this.
Signature: Kate Griese

Bot Fly Larva

Bot Fly Larva

Dear Kate,
Thank you for your thorough and engaging request.  You are correct that this is the larva of a Rodent Bot Fly.  A link from that posting is no longer valid, however we did quote from what might have been the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University which stated:  “
Cuterebra is a normal bot fly of rodents and rabbits, but can also infect cats, dogs, and man. “  This online library seems to support that cats can become hosts to Rodent Bot Fly larvae.  Companion Animal Parasite Council indicates:  “Cats and dogs are accidental hosts.”  VCA Animal Hospitals indicates:  “Cats are accidental hosts of Cuterebra larvae. They are most commonly infected when they are hunting rodents or rabbits and encounter the botfly larvae near the entryway to a rodent’s burrow. Most cases of warbles in cats occur around the head and neck.”  BugGuide data on sightings indicates that you are in the normal range for Rodent Bot Flies.  We believe it is highly unlikely that a human will be parasitized by a Rodent Bot Fly.  We will attempt additional research on this when time permits.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN
August 21, 2014 5:30 pm
Please tell me what these are? There are thousands of them flying all over my yard!
How do I get rid of them?
Signature: Creeped out in MN

Our automated response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

So… does that mean that I should wait to get an answer or that you can’t answer my question? ?

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

Dear Creeped out in MN,
You received our automated response so that you would know that your inquiry arrived in our email box, and that response means exactly what it states, that:  “We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!“  We also cannot promise additional instant gratification beyond our automated response which should help to clarify the level of expectations that many people have with regards to the internet.  You don’t have to wait to get a response from us.  You can go about your daily life and perhaps even seek out other resources for providing the answers you seek.  We actually hope that folks don’t sit by the computer or impatiently watch the screens of their portable communication devices since we get inquiries at all hours of the day from all parts of the world, and we do not staff our site 24 hours a day.  We can never guarantee that we will be able to answer questions posed to us, and we have no certified authorities, meaning no actual entomologists with degrees who are on our small staff, however we frequently do have professionals who provide input, identifications and corrections for us.
With that stated, we will now attempt to the best of our ability to respond to your initial questions.  This is a flying ant, commonly called an Alate, which is the reproductive component of an ant colony.  There must be a nearby ant nest that resulting in this nuptial swarm that you witnessed.  Alates, which are virgin queen and newly matured male ants, swarm and leave the colony when conditions are ideal, often on a sunny day following a rain.  They mate and start new colonies.  The swarm should only last a day or two, and if you never noticed the ant nest prior to the swarm, you will probably again return to a state of blissful ignorance to the natural world around you.  Your individuals look very much like this image we found on FlickR that might be in the genus
Lasius, and this account is given for the sighting:  “Early September must have been the mating season for this ant species. Thousands of alate (wing-bearing) virgin queen and male ants were emerging from nest entrances, warming up their wings. They climbed up leaves, mounds of earth, stems, and branches before taking to the air in search of mates from another colony. The countless workers, wingless and small compared to the queens, did not stray far from the winged reproductives and were probably guarding them from predators that would regard the queen’s egg-filled abdomens as nutritious snacks.”  Here is another image from Minnesota on BugGuide, where the genus is identified as Cornfield Ants or Citronella Ants.  In response to your question “How do I get rid of them?”, we do not provide extermination advice.

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

 

Subject: Spider wasp’s (rescued) victim
August 22, 2014 9:14 am
I saw a wolf spider being attacked by a blue spider wasp today, and I managed to chase away the wasp and rescue the spider. I know some species only temporarily paralyze the victim, and I’ve seen the spider twitch, so…does he have any chance of recovering? I feel bad for intervening, especially since it’s probably too late for the spider, but the poor guy was trying very hard to get away, and I wanted to help him out.
I don’t know what kind exactly the wasp was, but it’s a Michigan variety.
Signature: Kitt

Blue Black Spider Wasp preys upon Wolf Spider (from our archives)

Blue Black Spider Wasp preys upon Wolf Spider (from our archives)

Dear Kitt ,
We have heard of a Tarantula recovering from the sting of a wasp, but the whole purpose of the sting is to paralyze the spider so that it will provide food for the wasp larvae.  We are uncertain if it will recover.  We have illustrated your posting with an image from our archives.

Subject:  Successful Identification
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 21, 2014
Tobacco hornworm according to whats that bug! Can’t believe how much it likes hot peppers. There were two of them and they decimated the leaves and chomped a couple of hot peppers. Yuck.
That was a big ugly bug! I’m glad it’s identified, but there were two of them. What if there are more?!?
Sent from outer space.

Tobacco Hornworm

Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Lisa Anne,
We are happy you were able to make use of the extensive WTB? archive to identify your Tobacco Hornworm.  We generally get several on our tomato plants toward the end of the season and we allow them to eat as many leaves as they want, and the do occasionally eat unripe tomatoes, but since we cannot possibly eat all the tomatoes we grow, we don’t fret.  If you find you cannot abide these Tobacco Hornworms eating your pepper leaves, you can try transferring them to native Datura that grows in nearby Elyria Canyon Park.  The adult Carolina Sphinx is a large and impressive moth.