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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN
August 21, 2014 5:30 pm
Please tell me what these are? There are thousands of them flying all over my yard!
How do I get rid of them?
Signature: Creeped out in MN

Our automated response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

So… does that mean that I should wait to get an answer or that you can’t answer my question? ?

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

Dear Creeped out in MN,
You received our automated response so that you would know that your inquiry arrived in our email box, and that response means exactly what it states, that:  “We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!“  We also cannot promise additional instant gratification beyond our automated response which should help to clarify the level of expectations that many people have with regards to the internet.  You don’t have to wait to get a response from us.  You can go about your daily life and perhaps even seek out other resources for providing the answers you seek.  We actually hope that folks don’t sit by the computer or impatiently watch the screens of their portable communication devices since we get inquiries at all hours of the day from all parts of the world, and we do not staff our site 24 hours a day.  We can never guarantee that we will be able to answer questions posed to us, and we have no certified authorities, meaning no actual entomologists with degrees who are on our small staff, however we frequently do have professionals who provide input, identifications and corrections for us.
With that stated, we will now attempt to the best of our ability to respond to your initial questions.  This is a flying ant, commonly called an Alate, which is the reproductive component of an ant colony.  There must be a nearby ant nest that resulting in this nuptial swarm that you witnessed.  Alates, which are virgin queen and newly matured male ants, swarm and leave the colony when conditions are ideal, often on a sunny day following a rain.  They mate and start new colonies.  The swarm should only last a day or two, and if you never noticed the ant nest prior to the swarm, you will probably again return to a state of blissful ignorance to the natural world around you.  Your individuals look very much like this image we found on FlickR that might be in the genus
Lasius, and this account is given for the sighting:  “Early September must have been the mating season for this ant species. Thousands of alate (wing-bearing) virgin queen and male ants were emerging from nest entrances, warming up their wings. They climbed up leaves, mounds of earth, stems, and branches before taking to the air in search of mates from another colony. The countless workers, wingless and small compared to the queens, did not stray far from the winged reproductives and were probably guarding them from predators that would regard the queen’s egg-filled abdomens as nutritious snacks.”  Here is another image from Minnesota on BugGuide, where the genus is identified as Cornfield Ants or Citronella Ants.  In response to your question “How do I get rid of them?”, we do not provide extermination advice.

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Epic bug battle
Location: Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, Northeastern Oregon, in a river canyon
August 14, 2014 6:56 pm
Dear bugman,
In late April of 2009, my best friend and I went backpacking in the remote Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness of Northeastern Oregon, along the Wenaha river canyon. It was a spectacular trip made even more spectacular when it ended in near disaster; during a flash flood, my backpack with all of its photographic equipment was swept away and we narrowly escaped the same fate. Remarkably, the backpack was found one month ago by some hikers who pulled out one of the photo memory cards and brought it to the local sheriff, who tracked me down on facebook.
ANYWAYS, during the intervening 5 years, one of our greatest regrets about losing the photos was that we had witnessed an epic struggle between the largest spider I’ve ever seen in Oregon, and an enormous (for Oregon) long, cylindrical fly with a bright orange head that I had never seen before and couldn’t easily identify with online searches. We doubted anyone would ever believe how completely legendary and unbelievable the struggle was as these two titans locked themselves into a dance of death for at least 10 minutes. They did not care that we were there one bit. The battle was too fierce. We were able to get right up next to them with cameras and take photos….. and now we finally have those photos back! Unfortunately, my good camera with a macro lens was permanently lost, so the photos we have are only ‘decent,’ but I think they will work. I’ll be forever grateful if you can help give even more life to this newly revived fabled cha pter of my life by identifying these two mighty contestants.
Thanks so much,
John Felder
P.S. If it helps, I also have a low quality video – no fine details in focus but it give a better sense of the size because of the movement that’s visible.
Signature: John Felder

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Dear John,
If forced to choose which we are more impressed with, your amazing images or your fantastic story, we are going to have to go with the story, which is why we are featuring this posting on our scrolling feature bar.  The fact that you witnessed this “Epic Bug Battle” and then lost the images and then reclaimed the images after five years is truly an amazing story worth relaying.  The spider is a Wolf Spider in the family Lycosidae, and based on the size and eye arrangement (see BugGuide) we believe it is in the genus
Hogna.  The Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, is found in Oregon, and you can see images of it on BugGuide which states:  “Considered to be the largest wolf spider in North America.” The Carolina Wolf Spider is also represented on the Spiders.Us site which states:  “This species is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, but we have included those states in our range listing because it is still possible to find them there.”  We are going to check with spider expert Mandy Howe to get her opinion on the species.  The prey is a Giant Stonefly in the genus Pteronarcys, and it is most likely the California SalmonflyPteronarcys californica.  Here is an image from BugGuide.  One interesting note is that this sighting obviously occurred near the river, which is the correct habitat for the California Salmonfly, however, Spiders.Us indicates of the Carolina Wolf Spider:  “This spider is typically found in arid habitats such as deserts, prairies, glades, and open fields and pastures.”  Thanks again for providing your fascinating story for the entertainment and awe of our readership.  On a final note, we really hope we hear back from Mandy regarding the identity of this Wolf Spider because it may represent and new or little documented species as it was observed in such a remote location.

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Hi Eric,
This is a truly amazing story with some wonderful images.  I’m not certain how good you are with Spiders, but since you lived in Oregon, I am hoping you can provide some input.  Can you confirm or correct the identity of this Wolf Spider:  Carolina Wolf Spider or other???  I have also contacted Mandy Howe.
thanks
Daniel

Eric Eaton Disagrees
Hi, Daniel:
Definitely “other.”  I’m not even sure there are any recent records of the Carolina Wolf Spider from Oregon.  Hopefully Mandy can put it to genus.
Eric

Ed. Note:  We are guessing that Eric agrees that this is a Wolf Spider, but not that it is a Carolina Wolf Spider.

Wow!  Thanks so much!!!!
I found the salmonfly online shortly after I submitted the photo and then I felt guilty for potentially wasting your time, so I’m glad you liked it!!!
A couple of things that add up based on what you’ve told me:
1) the habitat for Hogna Carolinensis:  the area around the Wenaha river is usually quite arid in terms of ambient humidity throughout the year and probably rainfall as well.  It’s the type of canyon that’s covered in dry brown grasses, rocks, and pine trees in the gulches but not on the exposed ridges.  In spring, the river swells from the melting snowfall of winter in the mountains, but rain is usually fairly sparse. EXCEPT for the week we were there, when it rained almost nonstop, causing the flood conditions and raising the river to probably historic levels.  So I think that if Hogna Carolinensis likes arid conditions, it probably likes the Wenaha area.
2). From what I’ve read, emergence of salmonfly larvae from the water tends to occur when rivers are at peak or rapid flow, which was definitely the case at the time we were there, further confirming the identity of the salmonfly.
I am going to send you a link to the (shoddy) video I have. Quality is poor but you can see their movements as they battle. Very compelling.
The hikers who found my pack were unable to open the rusted body of my metal dSLR to remove the memory card, so we unfortunately only have the lower quality images that my friend took with his plastic lower-megapixel point and shoot. Otherwise, we would have glorious, high definition, macro lens shots and video, but at least we have something.
Thanks again for the help and for featuring the story. You guys are great. I’ll send a link to the video when I get home.
Best,
John

Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iQSxBXFy6c
Cheers,
John

Thanks for the update John.  We were under the impression that the images you sent were from the card retrieved from the missing camera.  Your most recent email indicates that you were always in the possession of the images.  Do you by chance have a dorsal view looking down on the top of the spider?

No no, your initial impression was correct.  I only just got the images this week after not having them for 5 years.
What I was attempting to convey is that there were two cameras in the missing backpack and the hikers who found it only retrieved the memory card from one of the cameras, which happened to be the poorer quality one.  If they had been able to get the images out of the other camera (they didn’t because it was rusted shut and they couldn’t get the memory card out and didn’t want to carry out the entire camera), we would have been dealing with better quality images.  That’s all.  The story, as it is posted on your website, is completely accurate.
Here are the closest I have to a dorsal view (focus not great):
John

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Thanks for the clarification.  Bummer:  Too bad they didn’t bust the camera body to get the memory card.  Thanks for providing the dorsal view.  We wanted to be able to show the markings on the carapace.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Very large bee insect
Location: Cumming, ga
August 9, 2014 4:00 pm
Hello,
The attached picture looks like a very large bee, but it has long legs, flies, has a furry ruff around it’s neck and was on my green car side view mirror the other day. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Signature: Marisa

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Red Footed Cannibalflies

Hi Marisa,
This is the fourth image we are posting today of a Red Footed Cannibalfly, a large predatory Robber Fly, including one image of a mating pair of Red Footed Cannibalflies.
  Add to that two images of Hanging Thieves, another type of large Robber Fly, and that makes a total of six Robber Flies posted today.  We are declaring today the Day of the Robber Flies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: They are devouring my figs!
Location: San Diego County, CA
August 5, 2014 12:15 pm
Dear Bugman
My young fig tree was going to have a big crop of figs – until these guys arrived! We live on 3 acres in northern San Diego County, CA, mild weather, etc.
I have spent HOURS looking online, but still haven’t found anything quite like them. I don’t think they are Japanese beetles, but that’s as close as I can come. I believe that they attack fruit that has had a bird peck at it, but once that happens, they are voracious.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your time,
Signature: Kathy

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

African Painted Bugs eat Figs!!!

Hi Kathy,
When we read your subject line and saw the title of your digital image “BIG beetles”
, we thought for certain we were going to be responding that you have Figeaters, which fly in Southern California in August.  These are not big beetles, but rather, small Stink Bugs, African Painted Bugs, Bagrada hilaris, to be more exact.  We first encounted African Painted Bugs in our own garden in 2009 on kale and collard greens, and we learned at the time that this was a new invasive, exotic species that was just discovered in Southern California.  Several months later we predicted that:  “If there are no known predators, the African Painted Bugs might become a very serious agricultural pest in California.”  Most literature we read indicated that the African Painted Bugs prefer members of the cabbage family, including the kale and collard greens in our garden, but in 2010, we received a report from Arizona that African Painted Bugs were found on figs.  In 2011, the African Painted Bugs made the Los Angeles Times.  You should be able to locate significantly more information on the AFrican Painted Bugs now than we found back in 2009, and we still maintain that this is probably the biggest threat to agriculture in Southern California in recent memory.  African Painted Bugs have also been reported on citrus on the island of Cyprus.  We rid our garden of African Painted Bug by ripping out the kale and collard greens, but sadly, that is not an option with your fig tree.  Good luck with this scourge.

Yikes!
Daniel, I fear that you are dead on in your diagnosis!  My “BIG bugs” tag referred to the size of the photo: I had significantly enlarged it.  Now that I have a name I will do more research.  Thank you soooo much!
Gratefully,
Kathy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large black beetle
Location: East Coast of Virginia
July 31, 2014 1:13 am
We had this beetle stuck in our air duct system. It was 2-21/2 inches long We live in temperate zone. Our home in on creek with marsh and trees. Temperatures are in 80-90′s with hug humidity.
Signature: Jennifer in Virginia

Triceratops Beetle

Triceratops Beetle

Dear Jennifer,
Hot, humid summer days in the eastern portion of North America is peak beetle sighting season, and that is the time large Scarab Beetles like your Triceratops Beetle are active.  You can compare your image to this image on BugGuide and according to BugGuide‘s information page, the Triceratops Beetle is:  “Black, distinctly flattened, both sexes with three prominent horns on head. Elytra deeply striated. … Both genders have horns. This is unusual among horned scarabs.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Food:  Adults of this genus will take fruit and meat in captivity. One sources says adults eat other insects.
Life Cycle:  Adults come to lights. Larvae feed in rotten logs, reported, in particular, from dead oaks. Presumably, males (?) use horns to defend breeding sites. Lifespan of adults is reported to be quite long (up to two years) in captivity. Reported to have structures for sound production (stridulation) (2). Stridulate softly when handled (P. Coin, Durham, NC 11 July 2007).  Larvae and adults are also “carnivorous” and will – if not preferentially – feed on grubs & pupae of other scarabs (incl. D. tityus).”

Triceratops Beetle

Triceratops Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination