What’s That Bug? served over 900,000 page views in July, 2010 to almost 250,000 unique visitors. We generate revenue to pay for hosting and bandwidth costs when visitors click on ads on our site, when they donate through the PayPal link, and when they click through the Amazon.com link and buy a book. Whats That Bug? is a labor of love, although there are definite costs to keeping it running. Please keep this in mind as you browse the site.
Daniel Marlos, The Curious World of Bugs author and The Bugman on the internet sensation What’s That Bug?, cannot find any problematic pests in his vegetable garden in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. Carrots and onions, seen flowering in the background, are both known to attract beneficial insects like wasps and syrphid flies. The adult wasps and syrphid flies feed on the nectar and pollen from the flowers, and their larvae eat garden pests like caterpillars, crickets and aphids.
“What’s That Bug?” began in 1998 when my longtime collaborator Lisa Anne Auerbach asked me to write a column for a fledgling photocopied zine entitled “American Homebody” and I proposed insect identification as the subject matter. I justified the decision by stating matter-of-factly that “Everybody wants to know what’s that bug?” and that mantra has proven true through the years. I nostalgically dredged up an early childhood interest in insects as my source of inspiration and I assumed the persona of the Bugman.
When the column went online a few years later, I proceeded to respond to the web browsing readership’s letters and photographs, attempting to identify the curiosities encountered in the home, lurking on the tomato plants or spotted while on holiday in Costa Rica.
In 2002 “What’s That Bug?” became a unique website and through the years, I have tried to promote an appreciation of the natural world around us, especially a tolerance of insects and their relatives.
A network of faithful readers began to form, and soon those readers began to offer suggestions for unidentified and mystery specimens with links to other websites containing evidence of identification verification. The readership’s fascination with the mating habits of insects, the intricacies of the food chain and the appalling number of images depicting unnecessary carnage all resulted in a further subcategorization of letters within the archive, each producing a tagged component of the website.
The fragility of our planet and the interconnectivity of all life forms continue to be driving forces behind the ecology minded tone promoted at What’s That Bug?
Daniel Marlos, AKA The Bugman
April 14, 2010