From the monthly archives: "May 2003"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Are cockroaches known spreaders of disease? That is my only question, because they certainly look like they would be, truly gruesome characters what with their greasy demeanor and inquisitive antennae.
Having spent much time in South East Asia, you will be pleased to know I am sure, that I once was neighbor to a Thai girl who lived basically on a linolium floor. Thai’s eat on the floor. Lunch time, she would tap her foot, and one limping fellah, I guess it was a male I did not inqiure, would limp and dash across the floor from the vicinity of the bathroom, lodge itself next to her heal, and enjoy a lite meal, hand fed. She would then later tap her heel again, and the little fella (not so little) would limp and dash back to where he came from.
I personally am not particularly fond of cockroaches. However, I am beginning to respect the intelligence of insects, as I know you do, and whether or not you publish this is up to you.
But I knew you’d love to hear the story–and it is a true story. God bless you bug guys. New website for me thanx to Yahoo. See ya again soon. (Not the cockroach, you!)
Best regards,
frederick pavese

Dear Frederick,
Thank you for the sweet letter.
According to Hogue, "The importance of cockroaches in transmission of human diseases sems overrated, although most of the domiciliary species have been found capable of mechanically transmtting some disease organisms, especially dysentery bacteria." The key word here is mechanical transmission, meaning the roach must walk through a disease infested area before transmitting it to a person who puts dirty fingers into the mouth. Roaches are scavengers who help clean up dropped food, especially in the tropics where their large size prohibits huge numbers inside the home, unlike the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) which is the small, quick, light hating roach known to infest tenement slums and other high human population environments, including restaurants. I think that Thai girl’s pet sounds like a delightful companion.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

interesting looking beetle
I was outside doing a little star gazing one night and when I went to look through my telescope I found this little guy just sitting on my eye piece. I’ve done a little investigation and I think maybe it’s an Asian Longhorned Beetle? Any idea what it could be? It was probably 1″ long and it had huge antennae.
Thanks a bunch.
Chris

Dear Chris,
We are uncertain what species of Longicorn or Longhorned Borer Beetle you have here.  It may be in the genus Monochamus.  A location would help as we are not certain you are in North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I was outside doing a little star gazing one night and when I went to look through my telescope I found this little guy just sitting on my eye piece. I’ve done a little investigation and I think maybe it’s an Asian Longhorned Beetle? Any idea what it could be? It was probably 1" long and it had huge antennae.
Thanks a bunch.
Chris

Dear Chris,
It looks more like a Banded Alder Borer (Rosalia funebris) to me. Borers are beetles characterized by extremely long antennae and the Banded Alder Borer has striped antennae like your photo. The larvae feed on wood, boring into the host plants. The Eucalyptus Long Horned Borer is an introduced pest in California which is reeking havoc on another Australian import, the eucalyptus tree.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

this centipede was found on a trail at the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy reserve about 5 miles off the 5 Freeway down Ortega Highway. Got a Latin name?
Thanks···.

The multicolored centipede is the common name for Scolopendra polymorpha. Here is some information from the website
http://www.goldenphoenixexotica.com/cent.html
Scolopendra polymorpha This Scolopendra polymorpha is a local Arizona species. Polymorpha is Latin for ‘many form’ and it lives up to its name. We have seen these entirely yellow, orange, blue, and any gradation in between. In December of 2000 we spotted a baby blue polymorpha with bluish black bars within the Phoenix city limits. We were recently pleased to see a specimen at the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute about seven inches long and about as big around as a finger. We keep these on soil just damp enough to change the color. A bit of sand in the soil mix is ideal. Keep the substrate shallow if you wish to easily view your centipedes. These creatures are voracious predators that inject venom with forelegs which have been modified to function as fangs. They thrive on a diet of crickets or cockroaches that have been fed nutritiously. Humidity is easily supplied by daily misting. Even a very small polymorpha is capable of administering a bite capable of causing sharp discomfort. Pain arising from the bite of larger polymorpha may well be proportionate, and additional effects remain unknown. Handling is therefore NOT recommended. The picture to the left above is one of the low desert forms. Those to the right are high desert forms. The rightmost centipede is coiled around a clutch of eggs. She will continue to hold her young in this manner until dispersal.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bugman,
I have been gardening or helping to tend to the garden since I was just a wee fella.Most of my life was spent gardening in Ohio.Shorter growing season,not a whole lot of bugs.Cold winters killed alot of the buggers I guess.
we move to Georgia about four years ago.whole new ballgame you might say.Since moving here I have discovered at least forty new insects I never knew.Some of these things can eat entire plants in a night.Well maybe not that bad but close.
I have searched high and low to figure the latest one out.You may be my last hope.So far they have wiped out my potatoes and have since migrated to the tomatos.They are less than a quarter inch in length, soft fat bodies,red except for the head and underbelly,looks like about six or eight legs,black spots.The head is much smaller than the body.Oh and they’re really juicy when you pick them off.
I wish I knew how to send a picture on this stupid thing but I don’t.Any help or pictures for me to look at would be appreciated.
Thanks Doc.
Frank Kovach

Dear Frank,
You have Colorado Potato Beetles, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. The grubs are as you describe and the adults are striped black and yellow. Both adults and grubs feed on potatoes and related plants including tomatoes. This is an example about how a relatively unimportant insect can change its role as the environment changes. this beetle was once native to the Rockies, living on nightshade and other wild members of the potato family Solanacea. When settlers began togrow potatoes, the new food gave the beetles a fresh start. they prospered and spread, till they now exist in practically all of the 48 continental states. Here are some photos and more information can be found on this site:
http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/veg/leaf/potato_beetles.htm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bugman,
I have been gardening or helping to tend to the garden since I was just a wee fella.Most of my life was spent gardening in Ohio.Shorter growing season,not a whole lot of bugs.Cold winters killed alot of the buggers I guess.
we move to Georgia about four years ago.whole new ballgame you might say.Since moving here I have discovered at least forty new insects I never knew.Some of these things can eat entire plants in a night.Well maybe not that bad but close.
I have searched high and low to figure the latest one out.You may be my last hope.So far they have wiped out my potatoes and have since migrated to the tomatos.They are less than a quarter inch in length, soft fat bodies,red except for the head and underbelly,looks like about six or eight legs,black spots.The head is much smaller than the body.Oh and they’re really juicy when you pick them off.
I wish I knew how to send a picture on this stupid thing but I don’t.Any help or pic
tures for me to look at would be appreciated.
Thanks Doc.
Frank Kovach

Dear Frank,
You have Colorado Potato Beetles, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. The grubs are as you describe and the adults are striped black and yellow. Both adults and grubs feed on potatoes and related plants including tomatoes. This is an example about how a relatively unimportant insect can change its role as the environment changes. this beetle was once native to the Rockies, living on nightshade and other wild members of the potato family Solanacea. When settlers began togrow potatoes, the new food gave the beetles a fresh start. they prospered and spread, till they now exist in practically all of the 48 continental states. Here are some photos and more information can be found on this site:
http://creatures.ifas
.ufl.edu/veg/leaf/potato_beetles.htm

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination