Currently viewing the category: "_Featured"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Small beetle, windowsill & baseboards
Location: Vancouver Island, BC – southern tip.
April 13, 2014 11:12 am
Hi,
I have been finding these little beetles on my windowsill in my atrium (18′ ceilings) and along the baseboards in that atrium. There is no carpet – it’ s laminate flooring. The house is only 7 years old. The atrium is our ‘dining room’ which is only used for dinner in the evenings and kept clean.
Can you please advise what the bug is – I’m assuming it’s some sort of beetle.
Signature: Thanks, Tammy

Varied Carpet Beetles

Varied Carpet Beetles

Hi Tammy,
You have Varied Carpet Beetles,
Anthrenus verbasci , currently our most common identification request with an average of five requests arriving daily.  Varied Carpet Beetles are members of the family Dermestidae, a group that contains many members that are cosmopolitan and that infest homes.  The adults, which you are finding, feed on pollen, and they are likely congregating on the window sills in an attempt to gain access to the outdoors.  The larvae are the pests that infest homes.  According to BugGuide, they are “primarily a household pest on plant (dried fruits/nuts) and animal materials; regularly encountered in dried-milk factories, occasionally in flour mills and warehouses” and they eat a “wide variety of materials of animal origin (wool, fur, skins…)(1); stored food materials and products (biscuits, cakes, seeds, wheat, maize, oats, rice, cayenne pepper, cacao, and dried cheese)”.  They are reviled in museums and BugGuide also notes they are: “arguably, world’s most important pest of insect collections.”  The best way to eliminate them from the home, in fact the only way to eliminate them from the home, is to identify the source of the infestation, the place where the larvae are feeding, and discard any food or other item that might be feeding the larvae. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Swarms of wood chewing bugs
Location: grand rapids, michigan
April 12, 2014 4:35 pm
At first glance I thought “carpenter ants,” but that’s only because we have a massive carpenter ant issue in our neighborhood. Upon taking a closer look, I realized that they were definitely not carpenter ants. They come in swarms of 20-50 and land on any exposed wood in the area. At first it seemed that they were just congregating, but I noticed that the totem pole I’d been carving was starting to look smoother… Like someone had come around and sanded it for me. Since Wednesday of last week I’d noticed that the entire pole was covered in these things, but was too busy with other things to look closer. Today I went out and got a good look, and it was pretty clear that their mandibles were working extra hard. They were gorging away. I’ve had no luck identifying them on my own, and more than anything I’m just really curious what they are. They don’t seem to come from any particular direction, one minute there’s none , and five minutes later there’s dozens of them. They aren’t the best flyers, and seem to land in the grass every few feet before launching off again.
Signature: dave

Sawfly Chews Wood!!!  But Why???

Sawfly Chews Wood!!! But Why???

Hi Dave,
We wanted to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion on this perplexing behavior prior to assembling the posting.  Chewing wood is generally a behavior associated with paper wasps and hornets that use the wood pulp in the construction of a nest.  The numbers of wasps you observed coming to your totem pole at the same time also implies that this is some type of social wasp, but it resembles a Wood Wasp more than a social wasp.  Here is what Eric Eaton wrote back.

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Dolerus Sawfly chews wood, but why???

Eric Eaton provided an identification, but cannot explain behavior
Daniel:
Ok, I can identify the wasps, but cannot explain the behavior….
The wasps are sawflies in the genus Dolerus (pretty sure anyway, definitely sawflies).  I’ll ask around and see if anyone can explain them flocking to a wood carving.
Eric

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Sawfly attracted to wood shavings.

Update:  Thanks to Eric Eaton’s identification, we were able to locate an image of a Dolerus Sawfly on BugGuide that does indeed resemble the Sawflies in your images, and it is also crawling on some exposed wood.  There is no explanation regarding what is going on in these BugGuide images, nor in this BugGuide image.  This Cirrus Image website provides some information, including “Their flight is slow and clumsy, resembling that of a common firefly. Larvae feed on various grasses.”  But alas, there is no information on wood chewing activities.

Thanks for the identification!  Its quite odd, they definitely match the description, especially the clumsy flight.  On that note they certainly don’t fly together, they arrive one at a time within a minute or two of each other.  I had to take down some tree limbs today and sure enough the cut ends of the limbs were crawling with these guys within a few minutes.  The odd thing is they don’t interact with each other at all.  In fact it really looks like they are just sitting there.  If you get really close however, you can see their mandibles are hard at work.  They don’t really leave any marks, it seems that they just clean off any small dangling bits of wood.  Yesterday I noticed one had its abdomen curled down in an awkward position as though it was a bee trying to sting the wood.  But I haven’t seen any others do that.  But its like they can smell fresh cut wood for miles, because you won’t see them all day, but cut a log and they’re everywhere.
Thanks again!  You’ve definitely satisfied my curiosity, even if their behavior leaves a new mystery to solve.
Dave

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: large moth
Location: southern nevada
March 31, 2014 7:07 am
the last few months these big moths have been everywhere and my little brother is dying to know what they are. i’d say it’s bigger than a quarter at least
Signature: curious

Whitelined Sphinx

Whitelined Sphinx

Dear curious,
We have been getting in increasing number of requests to identify Whitelined Sphinxes, the moth species in your image, and we have decided to make your submission the Bug of the Month for April 2014.  We suspect there might be a significant annual Whitelined Sphinx population this spring, and we also got a Wanted Poster from University of Entomology PhD candidate Cristina Francois to report significant sightings of masses of Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillars.  During favorable years, the Caterpillars, which can be eaten, are found in great numbers.  We are currently observing Whitelined Sphinx Moths very regularly as they are attracted to the porch light.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi Daniel,
A Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona is seeking information on White-lined Sphinx Moth larvae, especially large aggregations of them.
I have posted her “Wanted!” poster on the LepSoc Facebook page, and I told her I’d also send them to you (PDF and JPEG formats, attached) to be considered for sharing on What’s That Bug?
Julian P. Donahue
WANTED!

WANTED

WANTED

Hi Julian,
We are unable to post large files to What’s That Bug? so we included a link to the large pdf and a smaller version as a visual.

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  April 15, 2014
Please assist in the identification of this Black
Argiope from Hawaii.

better pics of spider from Nounou mountain
I went back to the mountain and got some better pictures of the same spider. It was still there! One of it’s babies at top right It has sorta of a bull’s eye on the butt side view you can see how high we are, bout 1000 feet elevation That’s a bee it caught on the right The underside a better shot I’ll just sent the rest. I hope these help! Let me know what you can find out. Thanks,
Nancy

Unknown Hawaiian Argiope
12/30/2007 Kauai spider
I found this spider on the Nounou mountain trail (Sleeping Giant trail). It is on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I haven’t ever seen this spider on our island. Sorry the quality isn’t very good. I’d appreciate any info you could give me about it. Thanks.
Taeru Andrade
I forgot to add that the body was a metallic blue and the spots were white.

This is definitely in the genus Argiope, but it does not look like Argiope appensa, commonly called a Garden Spider, that lives in Hawaii. Perhaps it is just the poor quality of the photo.

Thanks for the reply, It’s not our typical Garden Spider for sure, we have tons of them around. This is a real different one. It was bigger than the biggest garden spider I’ve ever seen!! I am 31 and have lived my whole life on Kauai and have hiked MANY trails since 5 years old and this is a first for me. Thanks,
Taeru

Dear Nancy or Taeru,
We had trouble finding your original email since you used a different email address and signed the letter with a different name. We still maintain this is an Argiope, but we have no idea what species. We will try to research this and meanwhile, we will post your photo in the hopes that one of our readers will save us a bit of work and properly identify your gorgeous spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination