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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Snail eating millipede
Location: Harpers Ferry, WV
May 23, 2016 5:24 pm
I thought you guys might like the picture I took this morning of a snail eating a millipede. Enjoy!
Signature: Barb

Predatory Snail Eats Millipede

Predatory Snail Eats Millipede

Dear Barb,
There is a similar image on BugGuide, but we think yours has more attractive subjects.  We don’t know if this is a native Snail or an introduced species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

For Us, Donald Trump is clumsy and deadly, kind of like a Toe-Biter.  They sound stubborn too.  We can well imagine a predatory, aquatic True Bug being used by a young boy to scare a young girl.  That scenario seems somewhat Trumpian.

Close-Up of a Toe-Biter

If The Donald was a Bug:  Close-Up of a Toe-Biter

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand is much more stealth than she is clumsy, and we would not want to cross her as we imagine her wrath would be unflinching.  Hillary reminds us of a Preying Mantis.  She is deliberate and she is stronger than her mate, who can become a meal, losing his head while copulating, and never losing a beat, so that she would have the energy to raise a brood.  A Preying Mantis can turn its head to look behind it.

If Hillary was a Bug: Mantis Eats Hummer.

If Hillary was a Bug: Mantis Eats Hummer.

For Bernie Sanders, we decided to reference the “Feel the Bern” campaign slogan and we selected the Iron Cross Blister Beetle, which could cause folks to feel the burn if it is carelessly handed.  We found a great image from our archives of an Iron Cross Blister Beetle taking a dip in the swimming pool, but Bernie’s campaign is showing no evidence of cooling off as California’s primary approaches.

Iron Cross Blister Beetle: Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders:  Cooling Off or still Feeling the Burn???

Origin of this Posting:  May 7, 2016
We thought today while working in the yard how we might anthropomorphize some bugs that remind us of the political candidates, and the first thing that came to mind today for Donald Trump, because of a comment from Roxanne we received, is a Toe-Biter.
  According to Roxanne:  “I have never been bitten. they pinch however, with their big front legs. they are also difficult to remove from clothing, as they are velcro-like. Also difficult to remove from hysterical humans, they have landed on. They are terrible flyers.. bombadiers.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: BC Beetle
Location: BC
April 30, 2016 4:12 pm
This Beetle has been hanging around our backyard the last three days. We live in southwestern, British Columbia, Canada. Cannot find a match anywhere.
Signature: Jason Peckham

Elderberry Longhorn: Desmocerus aureipennis cribripennis

Elderberry Longhorn: Desmocerus aureipennis cribripennis

Dear Jason,
This gorgeous Longhorned Borer Beetle is a subspecies of an Elderberry Longhorn that does not have a common name,
Desmocerus aureipennis cribripennis.  A close relative in the same genus is more typically called an Elderberry Longhorn, but the same common name also applies to the entire genus.  The Elderberry Longhorns are not common and they are generally not found far from their host plant, Elderberry, according to Eric Eaton.  Because of your submission’s timely arrival at the beginning of the month, and because of your excellent image, we are designating your Elderberry Longhorn as the Bug of the Month for May 2016.  The common name Golden Winged Elder Borer is used on Encyclopedia of Life.

Daniel;
Well that just made my day!
Thank-you so much for you time to enlighten me and everyone in my Facebook and Instagram feeds who were drawing blanks.
I have four little girls and I love that exposing them to and coaching an appreciation for the diversity of life, they come running into the house yelling like someone is on fire when they find a new insect.
Thanks again,
Jason Peckham
Cheers,
Jason

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fascinating Winged Creature
Location: Fall Canyon Trail, Death Valley, Calif.
April 4, 2016 3:41 pm
Yesterday, while hiking the Fall Canyon Trail in Death Valley, my eyes bugged out when I crossed paths with this incredible creature that looked like a giant winged ant scrambling over the gravel in front of me.
A cursory search of “strange insects of Death Valley” and a dive through my usually trusty Laws Field Guide proved fruitless so that is why I am compelled to bother you in hopes you can solve the mystery. For what it’s worth the insect appeared to be approximately two inches long.
Signature: W. Campbell

Master Blister Beetles

Master Blister Beetles

Dear W. Campbell,
Each spring, nature lovers who flock to the deserts of the southwest to see desert wildflowers in bloom send us magnificent images of Master Blister Beetles to identify.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?!
Location: Massachusetts
March 10, 2016 5:56 am
This insect survives all winter and gathers by the hundreds in clusters on the south side of my home, in the sun. They find their way inside my home and I release them. Are they harmful and how can I get them to leave the area without killing them?!
Thank you! Kevin
Signature: Kph

Democrat Bug

Democrat Bug

Dear Kevin,
This is an Eastern Boxelder Bug,
Boisea trivittata, but we are really amused at its other common name, Democrat Bug, so we are postdating your submission to go live the day before the primary elections Tuesday to remind our readers to get out and vote.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs hibernate over the winter, and they will emerge on sunny days exactly as you describe.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs are benign, though they can become a nuisance when they appear in great numbers, especially if they decide to hibernate indoors.  If you are not troubled with their appearance, you can safely allow them to sun themselves as they pose no threat to you, your pets or your home, nor do they damage plants as they feed primarily on seeds.  The common name Democrat Bug, as well as names like Populist Bug and Politician Bug, refers to the communal habits of the Boxelder Bugs, and in light of the political circus of the 2016 primary season, we will be featuring your submission for the duration of the election season.

Very helpful, thank you for taking the time to respond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Comment:  After reading the first three comments that arrived, we decided to upgrade this posting to the Nasty Reader tag.

Subject: Comments, Responses, & Sad Backpedaling
January 24, 2016 4:35 am
Hello,
I am a biologist and I work for the Government. I mention this only to reveal my familiarity with reading disturbing and mysterious things. I have been on your site several times hoping to see something interesting. Tonight I did, though not topically expected.  Areas now perfectly clear are:
1)  Nothing here of more knowledge or with  more information than a public high school text book.
2) That you care.
3)You attempt to deflect this by mockery and  wildly unwarranted superiority.
4) That this site does more than babysit its curator’s undernourished egos.
On reading a post , a  schoolyard comment  from another reader, your curiously condescending and marginalizing reply, the rebuke  .. and wait for it…the transparent cowardice of your denial. Perhaps you overlooked a small detail. Tiny detail really..its just that you  typed words on the page.   Hands in pockets and  think  words really, really hard next time? Just a thought.
It’s not too late for this to morph into a catalyst for positive change. Love yourself a little more and understand that cruelty is a game played in shallow water.  Ultimately you will lose. The rest of us can clearly see your feet.
Peace.
Out.
Signature: Amanda

Dear Amanda,
We do consider this website and our life both to be works in progress and we like to think that we have evolved considerably since we first began writing What’s That Bug? in 1998.  From the very beginning, we have maintained that we have no credentials to provide scientific information and we have always strived for our site to be a pop culture site that is accessible to the average person rather than to be a true scientific endeavor targeting intellectual specialists.  That there is “nothing here of more knowledge or with more information than a public high school text book” is not a problem in our mind because there is no requirement that the web browsing public possesses a college degree.  Many children visit our site and a high school text book would be quite educational.  Out of concern for younger readers, we try our best to keep a clean site, so we do not use vulgar language. 

We always defer to true experts, so we question your allegations of our “wildly unwarranted superiority.”  With that stated, your comment has us a bit confused.  There is some praise there, but it is overshadowed by your criticism of our editorial stance.  We are well aware that once content enters cyberspace, it gains a life of its own and it is nearly impossible to rescind, so we actually do carefully consider our words prior to hitting the publish button.  We are not infallible and we do not apologize for our ego.  It can be argued that anyone who enters public life in any way, be it running a blog or running for public office, has an inflated ego. 

Your comment seems to refer to a specific posting with “a schoolyard comment from another reader” and our “transparent cowardice” and what you perceive as “cruelty” on our part, but without a real citation to correspond to your criticism on how we have chosen to run our own public site, we can neither justify our stance nor clarify or defend the meaning of what we have written.  Clearly your background in biology and your position as a government employee has prepared to to analyze our psyche.  In our opinion, your focus on our use of occasional sarcasm vastly overshadows the public service we provide free of charge.

Elise from Facebook Comments.
January 24 at 6:21pm
Love your page, and appreciate that you tried to interpret that sometimes incoherent comment. The poster seems to lack both a sense of humor and a mastery of basic sentence structure. Keep doing what you do.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination