From the monthly archives: "April 2009"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green and black moth
Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 9:31 AM
This little moth has come back this year to the same spot on the white wall at work here in Kingston WA. Another one was here the same time last year in April. It is only about 1 inch long, but it’s colors are so lovely. I haven’t seen it with it’s wings open, so don’t know what the body looks like. Hope you can tell me what it is. Where does it start it’s journey, and where does it end it? I’ve seen 2 or 3 of them this year, but not together. Glad you’re writing a book! Hope you include my moth!
Mary
Kingston, WA 98346

Sallow Moth

Sallow Moth

Hi Mary,
This is a Sallow Moth in the genus Feralia based on photos posted on BugGuide. It is a lovely green owlet moth in the family Noctuidae. We are uncertain of the exact species, though a few have interesting common names. It might be The Joker, Feralia jocosa, which has been reported from nearby Idaho, or it might be the Deceptive Sallow Moth, Feralia deceptiva, which has been reported from Washington State and Oregon as well as across the border in British Columbia, Canada. The adults fly in early spring and the caterpillars eat the foliage of Douglas Fir.  We believe the species we find in Southern California is Feralia februalis whose larvae feed on the foliage of oaks. After numerous discussions with our publisher, we have determined that we will not be using photo illustrations for our book, but rather vintage entomological drawings since we are producing an entertaining popular culture book as opposed to a traditional identification fieldbook.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Brown Butterflies Mating in Flagstaff, AZ
Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 3:50 PM
Hello, today, April 29, 2009, I noticed 2 brown butterflies mating on the side-railing of my porch. At first, I thought the wood was peeling and went closer to pull it off, but realized that they were butterflies in the throes of passion :) They remained very still, but intermittently would flap their wings. I watched them for about 30 minutes and took several pictures and video. Although I attempted to identify what type they were by searching on the internet, there are far too many species for a non-etymologist like myself to even narrow it down. Bugman, please help me to identify these unknown butterfly lovers!
Beatrix G.
Flagstaff, Arizona

mating Mourning Cloaks

mating Mourning Cloaks

Hi Beatrix,
We love Mourning Cloak Butterflies, or Camberwell Beauties as they are called in England. The Mourning Cloak, which hibernates in the winter, is a harbinger of spring in many parts of the world. It is often the first butterfly seen when it begins to warm and the days are sunny. We are thrilled to have your image of a mating couple.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

WHAT IS THIS CREATURE??
Mon, Jul 9, 2007 at 6:59 AM
Dear Bug-Guys,
I saw this creature outside my job today. I work in Jamaica, Queens, NY — I
have never seen this bug anywhere before – EVER! I didn’t even try to google
it or anything — I just turned to you guys.
Its about 4″ long, with large wings covering its body up to its head. Its
got two bulging eyes that were looking right at me while I was taking its
picture. Let me tell you it knew I was there and it didn’t look happy! I
think it was hurt  because it didn’t attack or fly away — it just kept
circling around to look at us. Its got two antennae and two very large
pincers near its jaws.
Please help identify this thing.
Oh, and just so you know, we didn’t kill it. My coworker and I got it to
climb onto a stick and we moved it off the sidewalk and onto a grassy patch
by the LIRR train station so it’d be safe. Thought you’d appreciate that.
Have a good one,
Pete from Brooklyn

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Hi Pete,
Actually, from May through July, this is one of our most common identification requests.  This is a male Dobsonfly, a perfectly harmless creature.  The female Dobsonfly has much smaller, but considerably more formidable mandibles.  The big mystery for us is why your email from nearly two years ago just entered our inbox today.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tiny spider with jeweled green abdomen
Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 6:51 AM
I was taking pictures of two mating moths on my front door this morning when I saw this beautiful but tiny spider. The body can’t be more than 1/4″ with it’s legs it still wouldn’t be an inch. It was small and delicate but had such a great green color on its abdomen. Can you help me identify it?
Resa
Atlanta, GA

Unknown Spider

Unknown Spider

Hi Resa,
What a beautiful spider, but sadly, we don’t know what species it is.  We suspect this is a hunting spider that does not spin a web.  It has certain similarities to both Lynx Spiders in the family Oxyopidae and Jumping Spiders in the family Salticidae.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Eastern Cicada Killer?
Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 11:25 AM
I was watching TV this morning, and heard a loud buzzing sound behind me. I found this huge hornet? I did some research and concluded that it was a Cicada Killer. I know it’s a ground dweller because I’ve seen these hornets go underground in a hole. I’m just not positive if it’s an Eastern Cicada Killer. Can you confirm?
Chris
Georgia, United States

European Hornet

European Hornet

Hi Chris,
Though the large size of your specimen is similar to the size of a Cicada Killer, your specimen is a European Hornet or Giant Hornet, Vespa crabro, possibly a queen emerged from hibernation.  According to BugGuide:  “Paper nest is built in hollow trees, or in human structures such as attics. Adults come to lights at night, perhaps seeking prey?
Queens emerge from hibernation during the spring, and they search for a suitable location in which to start a new nest. They build the nest with chewed wood pulp, and a few eggs are laid in individual paper cells; these eggs develop into non-reproductive workers. When 5-10 workers have emerged, they take over the care of the nest, and the rest of queen’s life is devoted solely to egg laying. The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.
The nest reaches its peak size towards mid September. At this time the queen lays eggs that develop into males (drones) and new queens, she then dies shortly after. The new queens and males mate during a ‘nuptial flight’, after which the males die, and the newly mated queens seek out suitable places in which to hibernate; the old nest is never re-used.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Sun Spider
Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 6:39 AM
Just thought I would tell you Thank you for your site !!
I found this in my son’s towel when i was getting him out of the bath, we caught it and looked it up on the comp. what it was. Thanks to you it’s back out side where it can kill other bug I dont want in the house .
Thank you,
Jennifer Beard
Odessa Tx.

Sun Spider

Sun Spider

Hi Jennifer,
Years ago, when our website didn’t exist and What’s That Bug? was a column in a fledgling zine called American Homebody, people like you were our target audience.  We wanted to make homemakers more aware of the crawling creatures they would encounter around the house and to educate them to the beneficial natures of many of the creatures they might otherwise squash or exterminate.  We are happy your harmless, predatory Solpugid, AKA Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion, is now back in the wild.  Thanks for your letter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination