From the yearly archives: "2013"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you identify this orb-weaver?
Location: Barbados
December 31, 2013 5:35 pm
Hi,
This spider had set up her (?) web about 2 feet from the entrance of a bee-hive and almost every time i saw it, there was a bee caught in its web. Smart eh?
Anyways, i was wondering if you can tell me an official name for it as i have seen it referred to by a couple names including “handwriting spider”, “garden spider” and (my sister’s description) “spider with a shell on its back”.
Thanks
Signature: Niaz

Silver Argiope

Silver Argiope

Hi again Niaz,
When providing names for creatures, and plants for that matter, the scientific binomial is always the safest bet, and it eliminates confusion, because each named living thing should only have one scientific name.  Sometimes the same common name is used on numerous, often unrelated creatures, and often there are multiple common names used for the same creature.  This is
Argiope argentata, the Silver Argiope, but Writing Spider and Garden Spider are names commonly used for the entire genus.  You can compare your photo to this image on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fly identification
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 31, 2013 2:45 pm
We were hoping that somebody in your institution could help us identify this insect we saw at a lodge we were staying at in the Masai Mara. It was a couple of inches long and was the biggest fly we have ever seen!
Please would it be possible for someone to give us an idea of what sort of fly it was? We would really appreciate your help.
Signature: Clara

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Hi Clara,
This appears to be a Robber Fly in the family Asilidae, a group of predators that can take large insect prey while on the wing.  We have several other photos of large Robber Flies from Africa in our achives, including this
Proagonistes species from South Africa and this Carpenter Bee Robber Fly, also from South Africa.  The one other possibility that we are considering is that perhaps this is a Bot Fly in the family Oestridae.  The organs at the base of the wings, which we believe are called calypters, are distinctive in Bot Flies and this individual has very developed ones, however the furry legs remind us more of the legs of a Robber Fly.  As an aside, while researching this posting, we learned that the largest fly in Africa is the Rhinoceros Bot Fly, Gyrostigma rhinocerontis, and you can view a photo of it on Natural History Museum.   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mystery bug
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
December 31, 2013 11:56 am
Hi!
I dropped a box of strawberries on the floor and as I was picking them up I noticed this little guy. Not sure if he was a stow away from somewhere in California or not. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, where currently winter is just beginning and it’s -40 Celsius with wind chill. I have never seen a bug like this around here so any ideas are much appreciated! Thanks for your time.
Signature: Jess from SK

Earwig:  Doru species

Earwig: Doru species

Hi Jess,
This Earwign appears to be in the genus
Doru, and according to BugGuide:  “Back edge of the forewings is black, with the other two thirds yellow. With wings folded this gives the appearance of a black stripe down the middle of the back.”  Though most of the sightings on BugGuide are from the south, it is indicated that these Earwigs are found in Ontario.  So, it may have been a stowaway on the strawberries, or it may have been a local species for you, though we would favor the stowaway possibility.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tiny Bugs on sofa?
Location: Los Angeles
December 26, 2013 11:41 pm
Can you tell me what these are? Found them in the cushions around a fabric sofa in my living room.
We live in L.A., CA. Thought maybe immature bed bugs, but don’t look right.
Signature: Stownsend

Blood Sucking Conenose Bug Nymphs

Blood Sucking Conenose Bug Nymphs

Dear Stownsend,
We would love to get a second opinion on this matter, but we are pretty certain that these are the immature nymphs of a Bloodsucking Conenose Bug in the genus
Triatoma.  Also known as “Kissing Bugs, Big Bed Bugs, Mexican Bed Bugs, Bellows Bugs” according to BugGuide, Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs are a known vector for Chagas Disease.  Though this tends to occur more often in the tropics, there have been occurances of Chagas Disease in the U.S.   See this photo on BugGuide for comparison.  We would urge you to take immediate action to eliminate these Bloodsucking Conenose Bug nymphs.

Blood Sucking Conenose nymphs

Blood Sucking Conenose nymphs

Ed. Note
We get slightly annoyed when we respond to an identification request and then we receive a spam blocker reply like the one below.  We generally ignore them but in this case, we decided to take the time to decipher the cryptic code that ensures the email came from a person and not some internet bot.

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.
To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.
If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Thank you Daniel.  That certainly looks like the critters.  I still have the nymphs.  the Los Angeles County Agricultural comm. Entomologist wants to examine them for ID.  Can I send one to you or somewhere?
Thanks so much for your help.   Stanley Townsend, Los Angeles

Hi Stanley,
You are best to send them to the the county agency and you may want to contact the LA County Museum of Natural History.  We do not accept specimens, only photographs.  Please let us know what you learn.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  mourning cloak hanging out on a motorcycle
Location:  Long Beach, California
December 31, 2013 5:20 AM
Thank you for the quick response!  Actually, it was easy to explain, since I was taking the picture when my boss got back from his own lunch break.  And yes, potato bugs–we find those in our yard quite often.  The dogs are freaked out by them :-)  I’ve never taken any pics of those, but I do have some (in my humble opinion) nice shots of a mourning cloak hanging out on a motorcycle.
Signature: SMTO

Mourning Cloak on a Motorcycle

Mourning Cloak on a Motorcycle

Thank you for attaching your Mourning Cloak photo.  Was it taken in Irvine as well?  We used a lovely image of a Viceroy on a Motorcycle when we produced a What’s That Bug? calendar back in 2006.

The mourning cloak was in Long Beach, taken several years ago.  I managed about 10 decent shots before it flew off.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insect identification
Location: Rio de janeiro, brazil
December 31, 2013 6:48 am
HI,
WOULD YOU HELP ME TO KNOW WHAT KIND OF BUG IS THIS?
IT HAS HALF OF AN INCH,
IT IS VERY BEAUTIFUL, AND I DON T KNOW IF IT BITES.
THANKS
Signature: ANTONIO

Immature Giant Mesquite Bug

Immature Giant Mesquite Bug

Dear Antonio,
This is an immature Giant Mesquite Bug in the genus
Thasus, and they are much more colorful before they metamorphose into adults.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination