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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Since we just received these two inquiries that depict the male and the female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, we decided to feature a posting that would inform our readers that this magnificent beetle is currently being sited in the eastern portions of North America, so stay vigilant.

Subject: Large Yellow Beetle?
Location: Oxford, MS
June 22, 2015 11:24 am
Found this bug in Oxford, MS (north central) during the middle of the summer. It was outside on my porch. I am very curious because this is one of the biggest bugs I have ever seen. I was also wondering why I would not have seen more of them. I spotted when I was getting out of my car and about 15 yards away. Seems like I would’ve come across more like this unique bug.
Signature: Hotty Toddy

Male Eastern Hercules Beetle

Male Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Hotty Toddy,
The male Eastern Hercules Beetle is considered the heaviest North American beetle.

Subject: Beetle I’m Effingham County, Georgia
Location: Effingham County, Georgia
July 3, 2015 4:40 pm
I would appreciate assistance in identifying this beetle found in Effingham County, Georgia. Thank you.
Signature: William R.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear William,
We are really excited to get your image of a female Eastern Hercules Beetle because we just posted an image of a horny male Eastern Hercules Beetle.
  We are going to create a new featured posting with both inquiries combined.  You can get better images in the future by keeping the shadow of the cellular telephone out of the shot by slightly moving your body relative to the sun.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle in the shadow of a cellular telephone.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle in the shadow of a cellular telephone.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Because our previous posting of Elm Seed Bugs has received so many recent comments, we have decided to make the Elm Seed Bug our Bug of the Month for July 2015 and to post it live a few days early.

Subject: Invaders!
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
June 27, 2015 12:13 pm
We have these little buggers that we seem to keep finding on the back end of our home near the windows. I found a nest of them underneath one of the blinds in our bedroom window. They dont appear to fly. They are about 1/4 inch long. What are they? Do they bite? How can we get rid of them? Thanks in advance…
Signature: -Loyal WTB fan for 5+ years

Elm Seed Bug

Elm Seed Bug

Dear Loyal WTB fan for 5+ years,
It appears that you have an Elm Seed Bug,
Arocatus melanocephalus, infestation, a nonnative species first reported in North America in Idaho in 2012.  As you must know, we do not provide extermination information, though we are sometimes freer when the species is invasive like the Elm Seed Bug.  There are currently numerous comments from readers on the first Elm Seed Bug posting in our archives, and you may find some help there.  According to Gemtek:  “Identification: Elm seed bugs are typically ⅓ inch long and are dark brown in color, with an abdomen that is reddish colored. Like a boxelder bug, their wings fold to form a thin X shape. Aside from color differences, elm seed and boxelder bugs look nearly identical.  Diet, Habitat, Life Cycle, and Habits:  Once again, elm seed bugs are similar to boxelder bugs in all of these aspects. A key difference is that elm seed bugs are primarily found on elm trees. They feed on elm seeds, but will also feed on and live in other types of trees. They are most visible in warmer weather and will create an unpleasant odor if crushed.”  According to BugGuide:  “Invade homes during the summer to escape heat, and then stick around through the winter … One generation per year and adults overwinter. Doesn’t pose a threat to trees, but may show up indoors in huge swarms.”

Elm Seed Bugs invade home.

Elm Seed Bugs invade home.

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Subject: Large Blue
Location: Collard Hill, UK
June 26, 2015 12:26 pm
Hi bugman
I thought you might like this picture for your site. It is a Large Blue, Phengaris arion, that i photographed on 20th June at Collard Hill here in the UK. Large Blues have a really weird lifecycle, with the caterpillar spending most of its life in an ants nest feeding on ant grubs. Large Blues became extinct in the UK in 1979, but they have been reintroduced and have spread to over 20 sirtes in south west England.
Signature: Zoovolunteer

Large Blue

Large Blue

Dear Zoovolunteer,
Thanks so much for sending your images of a Large Blue, but especially for providing the information on the reintroduction of the Large Blue to the UK after their extinction there.  We would love to know the circumstances surrounding their extinction as well as where the introduced individuals originated.
  According to the IUCN Red List site, the range is:  “From notthern [sic] Spain and eastwards to Italy, Greece and southern Scandinavia. Extinct in the United Kingdom due to the loss of the short turf habitat when rabbits died out during the myxamotosis crisis. Recently successfully reintroduced to a dozen or so sites in southwestern England.”  A different IUCN Red List page provides this information:  “This species occurs in Central Europe from north and central Spain via France to Denmark, south of Sweden and south of Finland and from the south of Italy and Greece to Siberia, Mongolia, China and Japan. Re-introduced successfully into a number of areas in southern England. 0-2,000 m. The global distribution area of the species is situated both within and outside Europe.”

Large Blue

Large Blue

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Subject: Unknown fling ?
Location: Winona area of Arkansas
June 8, 2015 8:03 am
We came across this feeding on butterfly weed and cannot identify. Can you help us.
Signature: Lon and Annie

Small Headed Fly

Purple Small Headed Fly

Dear Lon and Annie,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  Though it appears green, this is is known as a Purple Small Headed Fly,
Lasia purpurata, and it is only the third submission we have received of this species since we went online in the late 1990s, and the last submission was nine years ago.  All three submissions of Purple Small Headed Flies are nectaring on the same blossoms and all are from Arkansas.  Of the 2006 sighting by Julie Lansdale, Dr. Jeffrey K. Barnes, Curator of The Arthropod Museum in the Department of Entomology of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville wrote:  “What an exciting find! This is Lasia purpurata, a fly in the family Acroceridae. The larvae of this species are parasites of tarantulas. Adults, as you have observed, are nectar feeders. This is not a commonly observed insect.”  There is also an image posted to the University of Arkansas website where it states:  “In 1933, Harvard University entomologist Joseph Bequaert described Lasia purpurata from a large, pilose, metallic blue fly with strong purple reflections that was collected in Oklahoma. Adults are often found feeding on nectar with their long proboscides inserted in flowers of butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa. This species is now known to occur also in Arkansas and Texas. While little is known of the biology of this particular species, we do have some understanding of general family biology. Larvae of all biologically known species are internal parasitoids of spiders. Large numbers of eggs are deposited in the vicinity of host spiders. Most species have planidium-like first instar larvae, that is to say they are strongly sclerotized and have spine-like locomotory processes. These young larvae are capable of crawling and jumping in search of spider hosts. Upon finding hosts they burrow though the integument and migrate to the spiders’ book lungs, where they can breathe outside air as they remain in diapause for several months to several years. Larvae of the subfamily Panopinae, to which Lasia belongs, have long second stadia and 4-5 day third stadia. In 1958, William Baerg, retired head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas and world renowned tarantula expert, reported that acrocerid flies, probably Lasia purpurata, sometimes attack Arkansas tarantulas. Female tarantulas produced 4-6 of these dipterous parasites. The parasites emerged from the tarantulas’ book lungs as larvae, and the tarantulas soon died. At Pea Ridge, most tarantulas appeared to be infested. The parasites emerged from mid April to mid May.”

Small Headed Fly

Small Headed Fly

Thank you for this information. we were stumped. My Granddaughter, Annie, age 12, and I, age 74, are very excited that this is only the third submission you have received for the Purple Small Headed Fly. Please keep up the good work that you do. This is the best use of the social media we are surrounded with today.
God bless you.
Lon Freeman

That is very kind of you to say Lon.  Back in the late 1990s when we were approached to write a column for the now defunct American Homebody, we defended our decision to write a column on insect identification because we maintained that “Everybody wants to know ‘What’s That Bug?'” but we never dreamed how accurate that statement would actually prove to be.  We really do have a strong network of regular readers and contributors.  We are very envious at your sighting of the Purple Small Headed Fly because they are apparently quite rare.

Small Headed Fly

Small Headed Fly

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Subject: Giant insect in Seattle
Location: Seattle, Wa
May 31, 2015 12:03 am
I saw this giant insect on an Italian plum in late May in Seattle. It was a warm 75 degree day. It moved slowly on the branches and the butt was pulsating. I made direct eye contact with her. She looked me right in my eyes.
Signature: Bugged out

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear Bugged out,
Though it is in the same insect order as wasps and bees, this Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, is perfectly harmless to humans as it is incapable of stinging.  A day earlier, we received another identification request for a “Bee with yellow tipped antennae” and we suspected it too was an Elm Sawfly.  Your images are of a living specimen and the other is dead, and we much prefer images of living insects to those of dead insects, so we decided to feature your submission as the Bug of the Month for June 2015.  The Elm Sawfly, according to BugGuide:  “hosts include elm (Ulmus), maple (Acer), birch (Betula), willow (Salix), and basswood (Tilia); adults girdle bark on twigs.”

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfl

Thanks for the info and for featuring the sawfly! The insect will live out her natural life as we choose not to kill anyone.
Thank you again!
Joe Mirabella

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination